2016 Wine Bloggers Conference Agenda

All official events will be held at the Hutchins Street Square in Lodi, California unless otherwise noted. If you wish to plan or participate in any unofficial events, please respect our sponsors and speakers by not doing so if they conflict with anything on this official agenda.

Wednesday, August 10

2:00 PM Pick Up at Sacramento International Airport for Pre-Conference Excursions

Thursday, August 11

4:00 PM Drop Off at Host Hotels from Pre-Conference Excursions

6:00 – 8:30 PM Registration and Lodi Opening Reception

Friday, August 12

8:00 – 9:00 AM Registration

9:00 AM Opening & Welcome

9:10 AM Keynote Speaker: Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson This is all we need to introduce you to this year’s keynote….”Andrea is a vinous bad-ass.” – Joe Roberts

9:55 AM History of Grape Growing and Wine Making in Lodi: Hear from a panel of some of the original modern-era players in the Lodi grape growing and winemaking scene how Lodi came to be one of the preeminent grape production areas and, additionally, now known for its quality wines.  Moderator – Mark Chandler, Mayor, City of Lodi, former Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission (1991-2011), and vineyardist.
Panelists – Aaron Lange, Vineyard Manger with Langetwins Winery and Vice Chair, California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG); Kevin Phillips, Vice President of Operations at Michael-David Winery and Phillips Farms, and Markus Bokisch, Owner/CEO/Vigneron at Bokisch Vineyards.

10:50 AM Break

11:00 AM The Truth About Viticulture: Learn from a panel of experts how every little detail is important to successful grape growing, from weather to planting the right grape variety to harvesting at the proper time. Our panelists include: Moderator – Stuart Spencer,Program Manager at the Lodi Winegrape Commission, and Owner/Winemaker atSt.Amant Winery.  Panelists – Tegan Passalacqua, Director of WinemakingatTurley Wine Cellars; Stan Grant, Viticulturist, Progressive Viticulture; Chris Storm, Viticulturist,Vino Farms.

11:55 AM Lunch and Expo (including the new Writers Corner)

1:45 PM Wine Discovery Sessions: Choose from one of three Wine Discovery Sessions

  • Discovery Session: UC Davis alumnus Loyal Miner will discuss the Clarksburg region and the unique history of his family wine business, and offer a tasting of special varietals and blends.  Wines produced at Miner’s Leap are made from the finest grapes and are produced in small lots, rarely over 100 cases per varietal.
  • Discovery Session hosted by Dashe Cellars and Periscope Cellars from the Oakland Urban Wine Trail
  • Discovery Session: Wine Educator Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET presents From Prosecco to Amarone: The varied and delicious wines of Italy’s Veneto, sponsored by Consorzio Italia di Vini & Sapori.

2:45 PM Break

3:00 PM Live Wine Blogging (White & Rose): This is the pre-eminent event at the Wine Bloggers Conference. Over 25 winemakers will each have five minutes to pour their wine, present their story, and answer questions from a table of bloggers. At the end of five minutes, winemakers will rotate to a new table. Bloggers will analyze and describe their impressions live via social media or their blogs.

4:00 – 8:30 PM Excursions into Lodi Wine Country: This is your opportunity to get out and into the local wine country. We will have eight different excursions going to eight different locations. Each excursion will include winery and vineyard visits, tastings, and dinner.

Saturday, August 13

9:15 – 10:15 AM Breakout Sessions

  • Advanced Social Media for the Wine Industry: Hear from two experts in social media who will tell us what is current with our favorite social media platforms and how to use them to promote our blogs and websites. Our presenters are Beth Peluse from Zephyr Adventures and Maria Frangieh, a digital marketing consult to the wine industry.
  • Traffic Analysis – Using Data to Make Decisions: Examine Google’s Search Console, BrainstormTools, and Facebook Insights that can all help you increase your traffic and revenue today. And forever more. Our presenters are Dan Morris and Rachel Martin from Blogging Concentrated.
  • Wine Samples: Learn from both wineries and bloggers the intricate (but sometimes clumsy) dance that involves wineries sending samples to wine bloggers. How to get involved and how to do it right, from both sides’ perspective. Our panel is moderated by Marisa Indelicato of Fox Run Vineyards and consists of bloggers Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like and Rebecca Gomez Farrel of The Gourmez along with winery representatives Ivy Hover of Left Coast Cellars and Chris O’Gorman of Rodney Strong Vineyards.

10:30 – 11:30 AM Breakout Sessions

  • Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, & Periscope: These four photo and video social media platforms are among the hottest on the internet. Explore best practices for building your community and audience, with a special focus on tips, tricks and tools you should be using. Our presenters are Beth Peluse from Zephyr Adventures and Maria Frangieh, a digital marketing consult to the wine industry.
  • United States Wine Regions & Climate Change: Learn how climate change will impact the major wine growing regions of Washington, Oregon, California, and New York and what growers are doing to adjust to these changes. Our expert presenter is Michael Fagin of West Coast Weather LLC.
  • Monetization: Most wine bloggers will not earn a living from their blog but earning a respectable income can be done. We’ll cover Ad Networks, Adsense, Affiliate programs, display ads, selling products on your site, and hiring yourself out as an expert. Learn how from Dan Morris and Rachel Martin of Blogging Concentrated.

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM Lunch on your own

1:00 – 2:00 PM Wine Discovery Sessions

  • Discovery Session : Au Natural Alsace: Organic and Biodynamic Wines presented by Wines of Alsace. While many wineries are just now beginning to convert to organic and biodynamic methods, France’s Alsace region has long been a leader in both, with preservation of the land and pure expression of the terroir its ethos and driving force. Join Wine Educator May Matta-Aliah, DWS, to learn more about Alsace and its sustainable agriculture and taste top expressions from one of the greenest regions in France.
  • Discovery Session : A Bold New Look at Sustainability – The Benefits of Carbon Negative Wine Production at Every Level - Please join us for a conversation led by Yealands Family Wines chief winemaker Tamra Kelly-Washington who will discuss Yealands’ decision to construct the world’s first winery to be certified carboNZeroCertTM from inception and their motives for pursuing a path toward becoming a fully energy self-sufficient and carbon-negative operation through the employment of a variety of alternative sustainability initiatives. Tamra will also lead the group through a tasting of the Yealands portfolio, including single vineyard and single block expressions, cultivated from the coastal vineyards in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley – the region’s windiest, driest subzone.

2:15 – 3:15 PM Panel of Wine Blog Award Winners: Hear from five winners of the 2016 Wine Blog Awards. The awards have been in place since 2007 (the year before the first Wine Bloggers Conference), honoring excellence in online wine writing. The winners represent the best of the best of wine blogging and all have a story to tell. Our panelists include Sophie Thorpe from Berry Bros. & Rudd, Mary Cressler from Vindulge, Jill Barth from l’Occasion, Susan Manfull from Provence Wine Zine, and Jerry Clark who received Best Blog Post of the Year. Our moderator is Sujinder Juneja from Town Hall Brands.

3:15 – 4:15 PM Live Wine Blogging (Red Wines): This is the pre-eminent event at the Wine Bloggers Conference. Over 25 winemakers will each have five minutes to pour their wine, present their story, and answer questions from a table of bloggers. At the end of five minutes, winemakers will rotate to a new table. Bloggers will analyze and describe their impressions live via social media or their blogs.

4:15 – 4:30 PM Break

4:30 – 5:30 PM From Passion to Pro – Getting Paid to Write About Wine: We know from surveys the vast majority of wine bloggers do so because of their passion for wine and expressing their opinion about it. But there is nothing wrong with getting paid, either! Learn some tricks of the trade, ways to make the jump from personal blogging to paid writing, and stories of the trials and successes of being a wine journalist. Our presenters are veteran wine journalists Randy Caparoso (moderating), Jameson Fink, Debra Meiburg MW,and Deborah Parker Wong.

5:30 - 7:00 PM Wines of the World: This year’s reception will feature Wines of Alsace from France, Yealands Family Wines from New Zealand and wines from the Consorzio Italia diVini & Sapori from Italy.

7:00 – 9:00 PM Dinner With Lodi Wine

9:00 – 9:30 PM Wine Blog Awards Presentation: Tonight the 2016 Wine Blog Award winners will be presented with their awards. The awards process will begin in spring 2016 and winners will be announced in June.

9:30 – 9:45 PM Announcement of 2017 Location and Date

9:45 – 10:30 PM Buses Return to Hotel

Sunday, August 14

9:30 – 10:30 AM Breakout Sessions

  • The Big Jump – Why Wineries Desperately Need the Skills Bloggers Have: Hear from one person, Austin Beeman of Understanding Wine, who made the jump from blogger/small wine shop buyer in a small town in Ohio to being the Director of Marketing at Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, California.
  • Increase Your Audience & Engagement: From social media groups to television producers, freelancing to working with other media sites, find ways to promote your blog and increase your community engagement. The discussion will be led by Mary Cressler and Sean Martin of Vindulge.

10:45 – 11:45 AM Blogger Reports: Hear five-minute reports from your fellow bloggers that describe what they are doing as bloggers in the wine world.

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM Conference Close

12:15 PM Depart for Ironstone Post-Conference Excursion return to Lodi Hotels at 7:30 PM or 10:30 PM

12:15 PM Depart for Lodi Post-Conference Excursion return Lodi Hotels at 9:00 PM