From Blogger to wine maker – Thralls scores a home run

Thralls Family Wine - Luscious LushesIt’s enough to make a make for TV movie, or at least – a great article in the Sunday food section.  You know the story, small town boy, goes to the big city to live a dream and makes it big.

In this case, this is the story of a little blogger who could.  When I first met Ed Thralls, he was part of the first handfull of bloggers that were a group, around wine country, figuring out what this social media thing was all about.  Ed was also one of the finalists for the now infamous Murphy-Goode lifestyle (which is another story – for another blogger – who also makes wine.  But more on that later).

Interning at Holdredge Wine (who, as it happens, is someone I have known for over 10 years, and also makes world class Pinot Noir) as cellar rat, Ed sucked up as much knowledge about winemaking as he could.  Realizing that he couldn’t possibly leave this wonderful world of delicious Pinot Noir and juice, he made the leap and moved to wine country full time.  While working a full time job in the wine business, he tested, crafted, experimented, and made wine.  Thus, the Thralls Family Wine label was born.

These days, Ed has created a line of four distinct, terroir driven Pinot Noirs from around Sonoma and Mendocino counties.  Each wine expresses a different piece of personality that makes Pinot Noir such an amazing wine.

Thralls Wine

Ed Thralls – Photo by Thea Dwelle

First up, the so called entry level 2012 Russian River Pinot Noir.  This juicy, balanced, and bold example is everything I love about Russian River Valley.  Not overblown like so many Russian River Pinots can be these days, the bright cherry, cranberry adn red fruit sing out with bold flavor and juicy fruit.  Using 1/3 new French oak gives this wine those beautiful hints of baking spice, without overwhelming it.  This is a fantastic everyday drinker for $32.

Next, moving in to a single vineyard showcase, the 2012 Bucher Vineyard Pinot Noir is one of my favorites.   With a deeper cherry flavor base, Bucher shows more black cherry, dark raspberry, and forest floor than the brighter Russian River.  The nuances of cedar and white pepper on the finish leave you guessing for more after the first sip.  This is a wine that gets better with time, so try it over a couple of days, and see what develops!  $40

Moving further west, the 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir takes a step away from the bolder 667 and 777 clones of the Russian River bottlings.  Bringing in some bright 115 and 114 froim the cool, foggy Sonoma Coast, this Pinot Noir has alpine strawberries, cranberry, bergamot smokiness and amazing acid.  This wine goes native, using all wild yeast with 10% whole cluster fermentation to give it a bit of a wild thing note.  Yum!  $36

Finally, for the Pinot Noir geeks in the group, the 2012 Roma’s Vineyard Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley is one for the ages.  100% Pommard clone goes in to this unfined and unfiltered gem, which looks a bit like cloudy cherry Kool-Aid but tastes like a dream.  Roma’s Vineyard sits at about 1800 feet in elevation, high above the valley floor, which creates a sunbelt in a cool climate.  This beauty is popping with mushroom, pine needles, bright cherry cider and rhubarb pie.  It’s bright and has brilliant acidity, and will pop with any mushroom dish or creamy cheese.  $42  (Editor’s Note:  Another fabulous Roma’s Pinot, make in an entirely different style, can be found in Cartograph’s Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.)

The 2012’s are Thralls’ third time out of the gate, with the 2008 Syrah being his first attempt at going it on his own.  Beginning with the 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Ed fed a passion for pinot, and intends on continuing this tradition of small lot, hand crafted premium pinot noirs while also sourcing chardonnay for his next release.

I can’t wait to see what comes next for the Navy Brat from Atlanta, who came to  Sonoma County to pursue a dream!

Hats off to you Wine Tonight, and cheers!

 

The View from the Top

Sasha Kadey

Christopher Watkins

Ed Thralls

I’ve often said that relationships will get you farther than anything in this world.  Whether that is a romantic relationship, a business relationship or a platonic relationship, it is that connection and interaction that forms the road to future endeavors.

Recently, at the Wine Bloggers Conference, three winery representatives formed a panel to discuss the winery view of bloggers.  Hot on the heels of How Bloggers Influence the Wine World, this session was a lively conversation between the established media, digital media, and three winery employees.

Ed Thralls is a wine blogger who is now working at the Windsor family of wineries in social media marketing.  Christopher Watkins is the manager of retails sales & hospitality at the Monte Bello tasting room for Ridge Vineyards, and also the author of 4488:  A Ridge Blog.  Finally, Sasha Kadey is the Director of Marketing for King Estate Winery in Eugene, Oregon and is active in social media.

Here, with three very different examples of winery views, as well as bloggers, we discussed how winery work with bloggers, how bloggers can make themselves more visible to wineries, and what they look for in a partnership.  These three are some of the biggest fans of social media and bloggers, and work hard to ensure that they are engaged with the blogging community and that bloggers are engaged with them.

Bloggers, and digital media in general, has the unique ability to be agile and fast.  There are very few mediums as flexible as the online writer has access to.  Gone are the days of paper galleys that go for approval, and are they print in large batches.  Today, we have the ability to not only write on the fly, but also edit that on the fly.  Change your thoughts on a topic, and it is a simple process to edit and add a note to a post after the fact, and call attention to that.  Digital media, according to Watkins, affords the writer flexibility and leverage that cannot be accomplished in other environments.  Digital writers can maximize, and should maximize the tools they have access to, since they cannot be replicated elsewhere.

Thralls, who began his wine career and social media campaign as a blogger himself, now runs the social media marketing efforts or a large winery family of brands.  He goes on to state that the relationship with bloggers and writers is different today than it has been with traditional PR and writers.  Because of this, it’s necessary to pitch them differently.  Gone are the the days of email blasts to the bloggers on his list; bloggers and online media require a different approach and different engagement.

Conversely, bloggers who are pitching wineries also need a different tactic.  Bloggers should not be intimidated about approaching wineries.  As we discussed in the Are Bloggers Influential session, as an online writer, we need to go out and make it happen.  But that doesn’t mean that the thousands of wine bloggers should all pitch the same winery or brand in the same way.  How are you unique?  How do you stand out?  The opportunities are endless as wineries are flattered any time a blogger reaches out and expresses interest in covering your brand in any way.

As a blogger, it’s important to build relationships with wineries and wine tourism, but you need to have a pitch in mind.  It’s far easier to write about a wine that you are having for dinner, but what can you do to stand out?  It’s harvest season right now; that means wineries are a hive of activity, and a wealth of information.  Have you approached your local winery or region about staying in a guest house so you can be the first one up at the early light of dawn, to watch the grapes come in?  We have the unique ability to dig around behind the scenes and learn details about an operation.

As a blogger, we are one of the many.  There are literally thousands of “wine blogs” in the US today, and many thousands moire around the world.  How can we stand out at a winery and make them take notice of us?  This actually isn’t very complicated – it’s all about expressing interest.  We can do that by being active, writing regularly, being passionate, and engaging with the blogging and wine business community.  This is more important, according to the panel, than maintaining a narrow focus of content on our blogs.

One method that wineries use to measure this interaction and passion is the relative activity level in social media.  with Klout being a hallmark (more on that later) of social engagement these days, it is one method to gauge how active a writer is in the greater online community.  Unfortunately, Klout has changed some measurements of social influence and is no longer the best method for measuring these things.  Smart winery markets know this and also look at engagement on tools such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and blog commentary.  It’s all about engagement.  All three of the panelists agree that the full cycle of engaging with the community is much more important than someone who blogs frequently.

Another factor that wineries are looking for is a clear and individual voice.  When developing your blog style, it’s critical to use your own voice and maintain that clearly and consistently.  your voice is your key.  That said, each brand is looking for different people.  While you might be appropriate for Big Label with an Animal, you might not be appropriate for Small Winery on a Mountain Top.

In the end, i’ts about being authentic and staying true to who you are.  There is an attraction to your uniqueness that wineries will flock to.  Doin’t blog, just for the sake of blogging; make sure you have something to say, and even better, something to say that is unique.  quality is better than quantity.  Engagement is better than one directional conversation.

When you are fully engaged in social media, you are active on multiple platforms, and engaging on multiple levels.  Evidence of this engagement, whether it’s using Alexa, Kred, or Klout as a baseline, is more important than large amounts of followers or frequent posts.  To engage your audience is to build your audience and build your credibility.

While there have been a few examples of bad blogger politics, whereas the offenders are clearly digging for free tastings, samples, or experiences, the vast majority of bloggers are honest and integrous people who are looking to learn and share their experiences.  Relationships with bloggers build the long tail consumer business that a winery thrives on.  If you build a relationship you build a customer for life; conversely, if you sell a bottle of wine, you sell a bottle of wine.

So, where will you go from here?

 

How to be a good conference attendee

It’s July 31st.  HOW is it the end of July already?  Eeks.  Must.  Go.  Pack.  I’ll be leaving in 10 days for some pre Wine Bloggers Conference fun, and meandering through Oregon experiencing the best of the Willamette with my friend from Fab OC Wine Chick.  Can we say I cannot wait?

But really, the point of my trip to Oregon is to attend the 5th annual Wine Bloggers Conference, where 350+ wine bloggers, food bloggers, travel bloggers, and industry people of all sorts will get together to exchange ideas, get to know each other, and learn from each other.  What a way to spend a weekend!

That said, there are a large amount of WBC Virgins attending this year.  Even those that have attended before have been guilty of not following some of these suggestion below, and have left a…lasting impression.  Here are a few things I have learned from my five conferences.  Five years and five conferences, the event has grown and changed – but most of these tips hold true no matter the size.

  • Get to know your sponsors.  We have a few hours on Friday to learn who has made the event possible; stop by and say hi!  You never know what relationships might form.  I will be there manning the WBC Scholarship table for the first time (YAY!), so if you’ve ever wondered what we’re about, please come talk to us.
  • Attend the keynotes with Rex Pickett and Randall Graham –  The keynotes are a fascinating way to get to know how the wine community thinks of bloggers, and also, how they became who they are.
  • Attend the breakouts –  There is a lot to learn.  Too many people don’t attend the core of the conference and they miss out.  While you need choose which bits are important to you as a blogger, not attending them is just a waste of your time.
  • Spit spit spit.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  Yes, there are moments (dinner, after hours parties) where I don’t spit and enjoy myself, but you are representing bloggers as a whole, and should have some decorum.  It’s a business conference at the core, disguised as a party.  Present yourself accordingly.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Our goodie bags are sure to contain an aluminum water bottle which you can use to fill up at every opportunity.
  • Don’t forget to sleep –  There is nothing worse than a blogger snoring in a session.
  • Enjoy your wine responsibly – no one likes a drunk blogger.  It is embarrassing for others, irresponsible, and sets a bad tone.  Additionally, it is not looked upon favorably by speakers and sponsors when the audience is only half full after a night of partying.  You will miss parts of the conference while sleeping off your hang over!  By all means, enjoy yourself.  I certainly plan to partake.  But if you cannot get your butt int he chair the next morning, please go to Vegas instead.
  • Engage in the spontaneous events – these are the best way to network with your fellow bloggers, writers, and industry professionals.  Going to dinner?  Sure!  Having a beer at a local brewery?  Awesome!
  • Go with the flow, don’t get overwhelmed – Don’t attempt to schedule yourself within an inch of yourlife.  Be prepared to want to do more than one thing at once.  There are always going to be multiple tastings and pop up parties; you can’t attend everything, so don’t even try.
  • Have an open mind –  You never know if there are wines you wouldn’t normally try, sessions that might make you think about something in a different way.  Try something new!
  • Don’t try to control things – Don’t worry about what bus you’rell be on or what winery you’ll be attending.  Even if you end up some place you’ve been 100 times before, just enjoy the experience.  This is not a traditional winery visit and trying to over analyze it will make yourself more miserable.  I know this from personal experience.
  • Bring a piece of yourself – something that represents your region, style, and / or personality.  This could be wine, but it could also be food, a book, or a t-shirt.
  • Bring business cards – Lots and lots of business cards.  Yes it may seem archaic, but it’s the best way to quickly introduce yourself with a memorable item.  The stacks of cards collected are reminders when we get home to follow, tweet, and read other peoples information.
  • Follow the #wbc12 twitter stream – Make sure your twitter account is not protected (my main account is, but I tweet under @luscious_lushes for public consumption).  We want to hear your thoughts!  This is the best way to share with the entire conference at once.
  • Don’t try to blog at the conference – Jot down your thoughts but don’t feel the need to be the blogger with the most posts during the conference.  It’s more important to be engaged than it is to be typing.  Editor’s note:  in previous years, I have said, blog before, during and after the conference; however, I have noticed that some people will be missing key events at the conference for the sake of blogging.  While inspiration can come anywhere at anytime (thank you Tom Wark for the reminder!) my advice is to participate fully.  If you find a golden nugget of thought, by all means flesh it out and post, but don’t hide yourself in the wi-fi matrix the whole time.
  • Find a party to attend – This is a great way to get to know people on a personal level.  Sponsors, wineries, and bloggers all host formal and informal parties during the event.  These will be communicated via twitter, email and facebook so this is a great reason to be active on social media.  Heck, you can be assured that if you just walk the hallways at the host hotel, you will hear where a party is after hours!
  • Turn around and say hello to your neighbor –   Don’t be shy, just say hi!  Many of us know each other online but not in person.  Some of us might know know each other at all.  The WBC is all about community so don’t isolate yourself as this will make for a lonely weekend.  This is a social conference, but you need to be proactive and be social.  Sitting around and complaining that no body asked you to play kickball is not going to make you have a good time.

Here is what I think I will be doing:
Thursday August 16th

Returning from the Salem pre-conference excursion,  the official welcome reception will be hosted by the Oregon Wine Board.  Those who are already in twon will have a chance to get to know their fellow attendees before the madness.  There are also some pop up events in the works.  Join the facebook group to learn more!

Friday, August 17th

  • 10-12 Meet the Sponors – I’ll be there with my WBC Scholarship crew, selling blogger bling ribbons, and meeting the other sponsors.
  • 10-12:20 Argentinian wine pariing walk aroudn lunch – the perefect time to grab some food before the confernece begins.
  • 12:30 – Keynote with Randall Graham
  • 1:20 – Live wine blogging; Speed dating for whites & roses!
  • 2:30 – winery visits!  Wherever you end up, it will be a great afternoon & evnign!
  • 9:30 – back at the hotel, the free form Night of Many Bottles offers you a chance to share your favorite wine, and taste some other favorite that attendees have brought.

Additionally, there are more pop up parties on Friday nigtht!

Saturday, August 18th

  • 9:25 AM Three Blogger-to-Blogger Discussions
  • How Bloggers Influence the Wine World
  • 10:45 AM Breakout Sessions
  • The Winery View of Wine Bloggers
  • 11:45 Lunch at a local brewery nearby
  • 1:15 PM Three Breakout Sessions
  • The Art of Oregon Pinot – A Clonal Tasting
  • 3:35 PM Keynote Speech – Rex Pickett
  • 4:20 PM Live Wine Blogging – Reds
  • 5:20 PM Pre-Dinner Reception with New Wines of Greece
  • 7:00 PM Dinner with King Estate Winery
  • 8:45 PM International Wines Night
  • 10:15 PM Unofficial Post Parties

Sunday, August 19

  • 9:30 AM Q&A with Wine Blog Awards winners who are present
  • 10:30 AM Ignite Wine!
  • 11:15 AM  Preview of 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference

On Sunday I am off to Carlton to taste some more delicious wine and have fun.

Finally, above all have FUN.  Don’t take yourslef too seriously, and engage.  Join a

past blogger bling - we will have some new ones, and some of these, and some others!

conversation, meet new people.  Say hello to random strangers with WBC badges on.  We don’t bite!  Buy blogger bling ribbons, they are a great ice breaker.  What’s a blogger bling ribbon?  They are ribbons that stick on to your name badge.  Some are just silly, some identify you, some show a bit of personality.

See you soon!

If you are a registred attendee of the WBC and you are on Facebook, please join this group. Unofficial WBC 2012 Facebook Group

And, LIKE the official page HERE  Official Wine BLoggers Conference Page

Putting the PLUS in Google

Recently, while at the 4th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA – a discussion on wine and technology was moderated by John Meyer who started 9 Clouds, Paul Mabray of Vintank, and Philip James from Lot 18 and Snooth.

Part way through the session, which included a lively discussion on flash sale sites like Lot18 and whether harm or help the wine industry, a vibrant discussion (ok fine it was me) erupted about Facebook, Twitter, and various forms of Google.  Currently, the latest hot button platform is Google+.   What is Google+ you ask?  Like it’s predecessors Google Wave and Google Buzz (which are both alive but atrophied), Google+ promises to be the next social media flashmob trigger.  Basically, I call it Twitter on steroids, with a dash of Facebook thrown in for good measure.

Essentially, on Google+ you friend up people by adding them to Circles.  Circles are groups of people you are following, and can be defined any way you want.  Social media experts advise creating as many circles as possible, so you can slice and dice your followees and folowers; I might have gone a tad overboard on this but it will shake it self out. Based on your circles, you will have a stream.  Wait, isnt’ that Twitter?  Or Facebook?  Sort of.  The cool thing about Google+ is that you can target your stream, based on circles.  So I can see just my wine circle or just my friend circle in my stream.  This is simliar functionality to twitter lists, but where you get the power of google+ is that you can now target your posts to specific people, and specific circles.  This functionality currently exists in Facebook via Lists, so it’s not news to those of us who like to keep grandma out of my morning rants on The ‘Book.

One thing that Google+ is lacking however is the ability to expressly BLOCK peole from reading a post.  This can be helpful if you don’t want someone who might be in a group to see a post.  Say you’re planning a surprise party for Joe, and you want all the Wine Bloggers to plan but dont’ want Joe to know.  you’d hav eto create a new group with everyone except Joe.

A feature that that G+ has already proved to add great value and provide content is the Hangout.  This weekend, at the WBC, our illustrious leader Joel Vincent started a Hangout – or group chat room basically – to broadcast WBC news and keynote videos to people not in attendance.  As I was stuck in my room in the depths of some nasty bug, I would have loved to watch via the stream.  It’s my own fault I didn’t know the hangout existed, but bloggers who weren’t’ at WBC were able to watch Eric Asimov’s speech real time, via G+.  Pretty powerful!  Yes you can accomplish this with WebEx or a recorded video, but this allows you to share LIVE data in a real time stream. The only thing that Hangouts don’t do is save content.

A feature that is NOT available on the web platform (wtf?  Come on people, that is stupid) but IS available on the mobile app is the Huddle.  A huddle is another group chat, which allows you to have text conversations with a group of folks on the go.  You simply start a Huddle and add a circle or individuals.  We had a mini WBC huddle going pre-conference, and it was a very effective way to community pop up parties and meetups to a small group quickly.

Are you looking for more blogs to follow?  Maybe more information about a specific subject to augment your already overflowing knowledge stream?  Sparks are great to augment your information stream.  Enter a few sparks in the search box, and you will get a ton of posts and data that you can read, share, and contemplate.  This is a great way to discover new blogs, and in turn. have your blog discovered.  Type in wine.  Type in a specific wine.  Go ahead!  See what happens! If it works well, then it could be a invaluable service that means you’ve always got something cool to check out – if not, there’s a danger that it could become a very annoying form of spam. You can delete interests from your list if they begin to bore you and we would expect that they’ll be a few other ways of tweaking the settings, too.

The real power of Google+ comes when you use extended sharing or public sharing to post links, information, content, pictures, and whatever else you want.  If I post a blog to Google+ and select all of my wine circles, and use extended sharing, then that post will be visible to everyone that is in a circle of a person in my circles.  Capice? Additionally, if you enable Public sharing, your post is in the public stream and is visible to everyone.  If you are trying to get more traffic to you site, this is a great way to be picked up on the Spark stream and broadcast your message.

So why is Google+ better than Twitter or Facebook? I don’t want to say better, I want to say different.  I am one of the few people that do NOT think that Twitter has jumped the shark. I love twitter.  not only for my personal snipes, rants, and chirps, but also – as a wine blogger, there is a vibrant community of wine writers, lovers, and business people on twitter.  You can cast a wide net.  If you’re account is open and you use hashtags that are relevant, you can reach a targeted audience.  It’s the most effective crowd sourcing, and information gathering tool I use.  I can generally get an answer to a question with a few tweets, retweets, and please helps.  Google+ has the potential to be better at this.  Twitter also ha sa list ability.  While you cannot compartmentalize your tweets by list, you CAN follow people by lists.  Because i have 4000 followers, I can’t possibly follow the primary stream on a regular basis.  To streamline the info that I want, I rely heavily on lists.  Lists in twitter allow you to add people (even without following them) to your stream.  I have Friends, Wine Bloggers, WIne Biz, and many more lists that make up my Seesmic dashboard.  Occasionally, I also look at the main stream, if I neglected to add someone to a list.  This helps manage the constant influx of tweets at a reasonable speed.  Facebook is aslo becoming an important tool in social media reach.  My blog page gets readers on Facebook that I dont’ garner from any other source.  For that reason alone, Facebook matters.  I can also talk to my best friend from high school.  There is a powerful tool in Facebook with Lists; you can compartmentalize your posts.  When I talk about makeup, I don’t think my wine friends care.  So I don’t share it with them.

Bottom line, Google+ has the POTENTIAL for being ANOTHER great resrouce.  It is not the end all be all, because as most Google products go, early adopters and tech geeks are there first and in depth.  If you don’t use Chrome, you run at a deficit because many of the tools that make Google+ more useful are Chrome extensions.  If you don’t use Google email, you are also at a deficit because Google integrates email, chat, and all other tools seamlessly. What I need to make Google+ part of my overall social media strategy, for persona and for my blog, is a social media desktop application that allows posting and streaming.  With multiple twitter accounts for different purposes, facebook pages for blogs and work, and Google+, I need a single sign on platform mission control. Now, as I prepare for both the next WBC Scholarship fundraising campaign, as well as the 5th Annual Wine Bloggers Conferecne in Portland, Oregon I will be mining Google+ for new resources and people.  Information is my diesel baby!

Are you on Google+?  Add me to a circle.  Need an invite?  Let me know!

WBC here I come!

It’s less than 2 weeks before the annual Wine Bloggers Conference, and I’m finally getting a little jazzed with it.  life has been busy these days, with my day job, the WBC Scholarship, and, well, STUFF but I’m looking forward to a few days off spent with my 300 closest friends in the sweaty summer weather in Virginia. As a 4 year veteran, some things that I’ve learned on the road to blogging:

  • Get to know your sponsors.  We have a few hours on Friday to learn who has made the event possible; stop by and say hi!  You never know what relationships might form.
  • Attend the keynotes with Jancis Robinson and Eric Asimov.  These sessions are great kick starters and will get you in to the groove.
  • Go with the flow, don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Be prepared to want to do more than one thing at once
  • have FUN!
  • Don’t be overly structured
  • Spit spit spit.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  Yes, there are moments (dinner, after hours parties) where I don’t spit and enjoy myself, but you are representing bloggers as a whole, and should have some decorum.  It’s a business conference at the core, disguised as a party.  Present yourself accordingly.
  • Don’t forget to sleep!
  • Engage in the “Anti-Conference” spontaneous events; these are the best way to network with your fellow bloggers, writers, and industry professionals.
  • Participate in the Unconference sessions.  These informal discussion panels let you get involved.
  • Have an open mind.  You never know if there are wines you wouldn’t normally try, that you will love!
  • Bring something from home that represents your region, style, and / or personality.  This could be wine, but it could also be food, a book, or a t-shirt.
  • Bring business cards.  yes it may seem archaic, but it’s the best way to quickly introduce yourself with a memorable item.  The stacks of cards collected are reminders when we get home to follow, tweet, and read otehr peoples information.
  • Follow the #wbc11 twitter stream.  Make sure you are not protected (my main account is, but I tweet under @luscious_lushes for public consumption).  We want to hear your thoughts!
  • Find time to post a few quick blog posts with your thoughts BEFORE, DRUING, and AFTER the conference.  First impressions are great conversation starters.
  • Spend some time on Friday morning meeting the sponsors.  They are the reason we are all able to attend this event, and they want to know the bloggers are much as we want to know them.
  • Participate, however briefly in the after hours events such as the Other 46 Tasting and the International Wine Night.  While there will undoubtedly be parties at the time time, it’s a great way to get to know other people.
  • Find a party to attend!  This is a great way to get ot know people on a personal level.  Sponsors, wineries, and bloggers all host formal and informal parties during the event.
  • Attend the break outs.  Too many people don’t attend the core of the conference and they miss out.  While You Need to choose which bits are important to you as a blogger, just to pull the meat out.
  • am Content
Here’s what I thnk I”ll be doing: 

  • Keynotes, of course
  • Breakout 1 – Online Technologies and Wine. I am really looking forward to hearing more about current online technologies and how they relate to blogging and the wine world.  Hey, I work in IT.  Once a geek, always a geek.  This stuff fascinates me.
  • Live Wine Blogging: Red and White – Also known as Speed Tasting, Speed DSating, or Insanity, I get a kick of out fast first impression tastes and the twitter storm that occurs.  you can tweet or blog, or take notes to blog later.  I suggest tweeting, as it’s the fastest way to keep up with the tasting.
  • The Other 46 Tasting – I’m the first to admit, I’m a snob when it comes to wines being made in other states.  But, in keeping with my belief that you need to go with an open mind, I’ll show up to taste wines from Texas, Indiana, and other states (spit cup in hand).  Who knows!  I might find something I like!
  • Saturday Morning Wine Country Visit – one of the core events of every WBC is visiting a local winery or two and learning about the local wine culture.
  • Vibrant Rioja After Hours Party – I like Rioja, and what’s NOT to like about a wine and food crawl?
  • Unconference Blogger-Led Discussions – This was one of my favorite events at the first WBC, and I’m pleased to see it has finally made it back.  Part of the inspiration for me, is hearing what other bloggers think on topics.  This format allows us all to have a structured but informal conversation on topics we all want to hear about.
  • Ignite Wine! – Five minute mini presentations on all sorts of topics.  How much can YOU distill in 5 minutes?
As you can see, there are some sessions not on my personal agenda. It’s not that I don’t find them valuable, it’s just that I don’t think I will be personally interested in them.  In leaving them off my “must do” list, I create some free flow, where I can catch up with my blogger friends, experience some of the local restaurants, write some posts, join an off the grid get together, or just chill.
I will see you in 10 days and can’t wait to report this year’s news!