There has been a lot of talk about what to expect and recommended points of action for attending the wine bloggers conference. That said, I will give you a pre-cursor of what to expect based on today and my past 2 years at WBC.
Day #1 of the PreConference was hosted by www.VisitLoudon.org (DC’s wine country), which quickly reminded why I started and how awesome it is to be a wine blogger.
So why is it awesome???
Well first off, you get special attention and great treatment. You get to see a side of the industry that the average consumer never experiences. However, you may find yourself back in “dodge“, as is referenced by Heimoff, but that is okay or exactly what is to be expected – so be ready. However, it is the unexpected that always re-affirms the luxury of wine and the sport of being a sanctioned wine enthusiast, or self-endorsed wine geek, take your pick.
We started the day off at Tarara Winery, where Jordan Harris GM/WineMaker astounded me with his knowledge, business sense, and passion for VA wine. I always wondered, if winemakers and vineyard owners complain about growing grapes in “sunny california” why would anyone try to make wine and grow grapes on the east coast. Well it took me, 10 minutes to remember my roots and my thoughts of growing grape in new Jersey… anyway I digress. Tarara is doing some fun stuff, and if you get there ask them about their Petit Manseng.
We went to Breaux afterwards. They had me at, “Go on a hayride through the vineyard, wine is made in the vineyard.” This is so true and despite all the kvetching (names not mentioned) about the humidity and heat, I did not travel 3000 miles to not see some vines. Breaux shocked everyone with their Nebbiolo and their barrel samples were great. I am excited to see their new wine maker David step into place.
After Breaux we went to a dinner at Grandale Farms a “Farm To Fork” styled restaurant and paired our meal with several local wines, with all local foods. A delicious dinner where our small “family” of pre-conference wine bloggers got to talk and further re-acquaint each other. In actuality, there were not many new people in the pre-con, and that is what resounds to me about the WBC. A tight knit group of people who share the same passion and obsession for wine. Which leads me to my take on the WBC and what to expect, and some rules of engagement.
WBC Rules of Engagement:
- Do not miss the WBC. If you are serious wine blogger, shame on you for not being here.
This is your online community and if you neglect to meet them IRL, that stinks. With anything it is the people that matter. This is your time to move past avatars and #FF & #WW and whatever else you do online: get physical, interact, smell, touch, and get a feel for who your community is.
- Sit at a table where you do not know anyone. Comfort zones are for beds. Meet people, connect IRL.
- Leave your professional side at home. When you started blogging it was not professional, and it still is not. Do not make this what it is not. This is your passion, your character, and your time to make awesome friends and connections.
- You’ll probably learn more outside of the seminars than in them. Choose wisely.
- Don’t be intimidated by the cliques of wine bloggers, they are old friends. Do butt-in on conversations and let them know your blog is better than theirs, if they do not laugh, walk away. If they do laugh and they make a snarky retort, you are in good company.
- Make sure you get to an afterparty – the most important connections with fellow bloggers are the ones that are blurry.
- This is too many guidelines. Turn off your computer or stop staring at your phone, make sure you have biz cards and get ready for the showdown.
Look forward to meeting you,