Below is the outline of an agenda for the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference. This is very rough and designed to give you an idea of the general structure of the conference. As always, we will proceed with filling the agenda by putting out a call for suggested content and speakers in the coming months and will then have a vote on your suggestions. All events will be at the host Marriott Hotel in Buellton, Santa Barbara County, California unless otherwise noted.


Wednesday, July 9

12:30 PM Pickup at San Jose International Airport for Pre-Conference Excursion with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.  Additional Cost. See Excursion page for details.

Thursday, July 10

4:00 PM Pre-Conference Excursion finishes at the hotel
7:00 – 10:00 PM  Registration, Expo, Gift Suite, and Opening Wine Reception
10:00 PM After-hours event with the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association

Friday, July 11

10:00 – 11:45 AM Registration & Gift Suite
10:00 – 11:45 AM Food & Wine Pairing Brunch – Hosted by Wines of Portugal
12:00 – 12:15 PM Conference Opening
12:15 – 1:00 PM Keynote Speech – Corbett Barr of Fizzle
1:00 – 2:00 PM Panel of Santa Barbara County Winemakers
2:15 – 3:15 PM Wine Discovery Breakout Sessions

  • Wine Discovery hosted by Rutherford Hill – #MerlotMe – details below
  • Wine Discovery Hosted by Winebow – more details soon
  • Wine Discovery Hosted by Jackson Family Wines – more details soon

3:30 – 4:30 PM Live Wine Blogging – Whites & Rosés
4:30 – 5:00 PM BREAK
5:00 – 8:30 PM Excursions into Santa Barbara County Wine Country
9:00 – 11:00 PM Reception: Wine Tourism Throughout North America Hosted by Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media
11:00 PM  After-hours Reception with Jordan 

Saturday, July 12

9:30 – 10:30 AM Breakout Sessions

  • Terroir of Santa Barbara County
  • Panel of Veteran Wine Bloggers
  • The Business of Wine

10:45 – 11:45 AM Breakout Sessions

  • To Be Decided
  • Writing Wine Tasting Notes
  • Search Engine Optimization

11:45 AM – 1:15 PM Lunch with Santa Barbara County Vintners Association

1:15 – 2:15 PM Wine Discovery Breakout Sessions

  • Wine Discovery Hosted by Sanford Winery – more details soon
  • Wine Discovery hosted by Ballard Canyon Grower Producer Wineries – more details soon
  • Wine Discovery hosted by New Wines of Greece – more details soon

2:30 – 3:30 PM Panel of Professional Print Wine Writers
3:30 – 4:30 PM Live Wine Blogging – Reds
4:30 – 6:15 PM Wines of the World
6:30 – 7:00 PM Wine Blog Awards
7:00 – 9:00 PM Dinner with Santa Barbara County Vintners Association
9:00 – 9:15 PM Announcement of 2015 and Official Conference Close
9:15- 10:30 PM 2014 Location Expo:  Learn About the Region, Wines, Hotel, etc

Sunday, July 13

9:30 AM – 11:30 PM Block Sessions

  • Photography & Videography for Wine Bloggers
  • Wine Writer’s Workshop
  • Technology and Blogging with

12:00 PM Depart for post-conference lunch at Bridlewood Estate Winery. Additional $15 cost. See Excursion page for details.

3:30 PM Return to host hotel in Buellton from post-conference lunch


Corbett Barr - Fizzle

Corbett BarrRead our announcement of Corbett Barr as Keynote here.

Corbett Barr is a leader within the blogging world – teaching and mentoring others as they navigate new media and the challenges of standing out online. He runs, a training portal and online community where entrepreneurs and bloggers come together to learn how to launch and run successful online businesses and projects.


We will provide detailed information on each session as details become available.

Wine Discovery hosted by Rutherford Hill – #MerlotMe

The noble Merlot varietal has been derided by some and dismissed by others, all the while maintaining its legacy of rich character.  Does this varietal belong in the company of its more powerful cousin Cabernet Sauvignon? Can Merlot make a come-back with the cool kids in school?  Join winemakers who have bet their careers on this misunderstood grape and explore Merlot’s  viticultural history, specific winemaking techniques and unique flavor profiles.

Panel of Santa Barbara County Wine Makers

The region’s rich history will come alive as told by Santa Barbara County wine industry pioneers, Bob Lindquist of Qupé, Richard Sanford of Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Ken Brown of Ken Brown Wines, and Richard Longoria of Longoria Wines.  The panel will be moderated by Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines.

Terroir of Santa Barbara County

What is it about the soil and climate that makes wines from Santa Barbara County taste delicious?  Michael Larner of Larner Winery will provide an overview on the Terroir of Santa Barbara County.  He holds a bachelor degree in Geology from Colorado University in Boulder, and a Masters degree in Viticulture and Enology.  He makes wine for his family estate winery and for Coquelicot Estate Vineyard.

The Business of Wine

Tim Hanni, Master of Wine, Certified Wine Educator and Wine Industry Faculty at Sonoma State University, along with Paul Mabray, Chief Strategy Officer of VinTank will discuss current trends in the business of wine production, sales and marketing.

Panel of Professional Print Wine Writers

Christopher Watkins of 4488: A ridge Blog will moderate a panel discussion of professional print wine writers who will share stories of their professional wine writing experiences, how best to work with industry representatives, along with their thoughts on what makes for good wine writing.  Panelists to date include, Nose author James Conaway, and Mike Dunne, whose blog Dunne on Wineappears online at the Sacramento Bee.

Photography and Videography for Wine Bloggers

Lisa Mattson, a thought leader in video storytelling, social media and digital brand strategy for luxury wines, will guide you through best practices.  As Communications Director for Jordan Vineyard and Winery, and as an early adopter of social media and video storytelling, Mattson developed the The Journey of Jordan blog, which was named Best Winery Blog (2013, 2012) and Best Photo/Video Blog (2013) by the Wine Blog Awards.

Search Engine Optimization

Tim Resnick from Moz will teach you how to maximize your visibility on search engines.

  • allanwright

    William, we have had famous wine writers most years. Some years we even had two. We are in our seventh year. Embrace change!

  • William Allen

    Randall Grahm. Jancis Robinson…..then Corbett who? no wine writers will speak?

  • ToledoWinesandVines

    Sorry I’m late to the discussion. Live wine blogging is high energy and fun, but certainly a different experience than enjoying wine in a more reflective setting, like a winery visit. I’ve participated at all 4 WBC I’ve attended and enjoyed it. You meet winemakers and taste wines you otherwise wouldn’t. I have never been told I was required to tweet. I think the organizers listen and use feedback to improve the program. Cheers!

  • allanwright

    Yes, Janelle. That will work out fine.

  • Janelle Becerra

    We’ve registered for the Paso Robles pre conference and will be driving from the San Francisco area. We’re hoping it will be arranged that we and other drivers can meet up with the bus in Paso Robles on Wednesday before the winery visits.

  • Richard Jennings

    I’m not persuaded by your poll results. They may suggest that other wine & food events at Penticton were even less well received, but they hardly make a strong argument for an event like “live wine blogging” in which producers “pitch” their wine, with bloggers expected to listen, make a useful wine evaluation and report via tweet to others in the producers efforts all in one or two minutes.

    You speak of respect? I don’t think your “speed-dating” format respects either the winemaking efforts or the wine evaluation and reporting process.

    I do respect others’ rights to have their own opinions, but that doesn’t mean I have to respect those opinions. In the case of the live wine blogging exercise, I don’t see how anyone with much experience judging wine or in eliciting the story of how and why a wine was made from a winemaker/producer would view the minuscule time allotted to this exercise as being anything that other than an attempt on your part to maximize revenue in the form of what producers pay to participate in that particular event.

    As someone with a lot of experience evaluating and reporting on wines and winemakers, I feel an obligation to share my view with bloggers at an earlier point in their careers that engaging in something like live wine blogging, under the time frames you organizers have given for it, is a waste of theirs and everyone else’s time (e.g., the producers and any audience they may have out there in Twitterland).

  • Luke Whittall

    Boycotting something *again* Richard?? I thought you’d be happier with this conference now that will be somewhere that isn’t “retarded” like Penticton. Well, whatever works to make your site’s stats go higher.

    I agree with you that the live wine blogging isn’t the most eloquent of wine tasting experiences and Penticton was a particularly loud room compared with the rooms in Walla Walla and Portland. But I’ve also found it a fun, social time with fellow wine lovers where I’ve been able to taste some real gems (Molly Dooker’s Velvet Glove, Jonah Pinot Noir) that may not have otherwise been easy to pick out at a conference. It’s about being adventurous and wanting to discover new things, which most, if not all, of your fellow countrymen attendees that I met in Penticton were particularly good at.

    Unfortunately I am not able to attend. I’m not boycotting it or anything, nor do I plan on phoning any local Santa Barbara radio stations to “protest” the conference in advance. I hope that you are able to enjoy yourself in Santa Barbara and I wish you safe travels.

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  • allanwright

    Richard, please remember everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Live Wine Blogging in Penticton was rated a 4.0 (Very Good) on our five-point scale, making it the third most popular out of twelve wine and food events at the 2013 WBC. It also was very well received by wineries and has been each year. So others do not share your opinion. We respect your right to have your opinion and not participate in any events. Please respect others’ rights to have their own opinions; please do not come to the WBC with the goal of enforcing your opinions on others.



  • Richard Jennings

    I urge the sponsors to get rid of the “Live Wine Blogging” exercise as part of the program. Personally, when I participated in it in Virginia, it made me feel dirty. It consisted of participants being harangued to tweet about a wine that one barely had a minute or two to taste and hear a quick pitch about from a winery rep. I don’t see how such a short tasting period and obligatory tweet benefits the participant or consumers, or even the sponsoring winery, frankly. I think the Wine Discovery breakout sessions are a much better idea.

    I know that slots are already being sold for the Live Wine Blogging, but I recommend that those sponsorships be refunded and that wineries wanting to pour their wines have other portions of the program, like the walk around tasting, in which to do so, rather than the miserable and obnoxious live wine blogging session, as currently designed.

    I am already registered as a participant, but will not participate in any live wine blogging, and will urge other participants to avoid that aspect of the program, if it remains, as well.

  • Jamie

    So excited for Santa Barbara =) can’t wait!

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  • marikane

    Cool! Thanks!

  • allanwright
  • marikane

    Would love to have a link to the 2013 agenda.

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  • Cindy

    Rosalind! I recently found out that you lived in the area, and I would have loved to meet you. Please email me at if you can. I manage the blog here for the conference and would like to connect. You live in a spectacular place. It has been a wonderful experience.

    Cindy Molchany
    Wine Bloggers Conference

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  • Rosalind Gardner

    Disappointed that I didn’t know about this conference beforehand as I am a full-time blogger and live in Penticton .. but on the road at the moment. Have a wonderful conference!

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  • Voth Photography

    Me too! ~ Melissa Voth McHugh :)

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  • marikane

    This is a great idea.

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  • Monique Soltani

    I can’t wait for WBC13! Monique Soltani:)

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  • mike

    Thank you for the information..

  • allanwright

    Not sure what you mean by the “international” conference. Ours is now the Wine Bloggers Conference, which always takes place in North America but is open to everyone. There used to be a European Wine Bloggers Conference but that has changed to the Digital Wine Communications Conference.

  • mike

    Allan, is there a date and location for the international conference?  There are a number of us who would like to know and participate if the location and dates work.
    Mike Beltran

  • allanwright

    Mike, the first two conferences back in 2008 and 2009 were in Santa Rosa and the next one was in Walla Walla! We move the conference around each year and will announce the next conference in June in Penticton.

  • mike

    Looks like a full few days of total wine information. I think Woodinville and Santa Rosa would be great venues for a wide swath of excellent wines.

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  • Chris

    Also I hope we keep the Speed tasting & blogging session from WBC12. I loved it. Thxs.

  • Chris

    Several of us were discussing how we could use an intermediate-advanced session on the use of technology when blogging. We were discussing tips & tricks for using twitter, connecting it to your blog etc. The reason to host your own blog vs. using wordpress etc for analytics. This Tech session would probably need to be a break out session to have enough time for discussion and then Q&A.

  • Janelle Becerra

    I like the idea of a photography session at a vineyard.

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