2014 State of Wine Blogging Survey

WBC state of WineBloggingSurvLast year was the first year we surveyed and reported on the State of Wine Blogging (2013). This year we are asking wine bloggers to once again participate in this informative exercise that allows us as a community to gain insights into our demographics, passions, objectives, and goals as they relate to wine blogging.

If you have an active wine blog, please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey:

2014 State of Wine Blogging Survey

Since last year was the first year of this report, we didn’t have much to compare the data to. We believe that this year’s findings will be much more telling. Has readership increased, have objectives evolved, and is Facebook losing ground in a wine blog’s marketing efforts?

These are all things we can guess on, but supporting data is always useful!

On the Wine Bloggers Conference website, we host the Complete List of Wine Blogs. The list of wine blogs is a living document, and we do our best to keep it updated and current with only active wine blogs. If you have a wine blog and are not listed on the site, there is a form at the bottom of the page to submit your information.

At the end of the survey you have the option to provide us with your email address. While all information collected from wine bloggers is aggregated and kept confidential, if you give us your email address we will email you the results once they are compiled.

The deadline to participate in the 2014 State of Wine Blogging Survey is April 30th, 2014.

Additional Post Conference Excursion: Visit Santa Barbara!

We have added a second post conference excursion to the #WBC14 agenda for Sunday evening, July 13th!

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 11.39.57 AMHosted by Visit Santa Barbara, this excursion begins at 3:45pm (at the conclusion of the Bridlewood Estate excursion), making it an excellent option to create a full post-conference day in the region. The city of Santa Barbara is one of the premier beach towns in California and this excursion shows off the best of the city from a wine lover’s viewpoint.

The excursion includes bus transport from Buellton to Santa Barbara; small-group tours of the eclectic Funk Zone neighborhood with its tasting rooms and food trucks, led by local winemakers as your tour guides; and a pizza party at the Santa Barbara Winery. The excursion finishes in Santa Barbara and you are free to stay the night or continue onward. If you stay the night, you can easily fly out from Santa Barbara or arrange transport to LAX the next morning.

The cost of the excursion is only $15.00 per person.

lo_avasantabarbara_2Itinerary & Logistics

Sunday, July 13, 2014

  • 3:45 PM – Bus departs Santa Ynez Valley Marriott (bring your luggage)
  • 4:45 PM – Bus arrives at the Santa Barbara Winery for a warm welcome to Santa Barbara (store your luggage here)
  • 5:30 – 7:15 PM – Explore the Funk Zone tasting rooms by foot in small groups led by a local winemaker and enjoy small bites from local food trucks
  • 7:30 PM – Return to the Santa Barbara Winery to enjoy additional wines from wineries with tasting rooms located in downtown Santa Barbara paired with freshly prepared pizza from a local chef
  • 10:00 PM – Event concludes. Uber cars will be on hand and available to transport attendees to area hotels and/or to your final destination, if needed. You are responsible for this transportation cost.

Hotel Accommodations
Participants of this excursion are responsible for their own lodging. The Santa Barbara CVB has negotiated rates of $239 single or double occupancy ($50 off published rates) at the Fess Parker Doubletree Hotel, one of the premier hotels in the area. Reservations must be made by June 13, 2014 and you can book your room by contacting the hotel directly at 888-884-8508 and referencing “Wine Bloggers Conference”.

For less expensive accommodations, consider the nearby La Quinta Inn ($175 on Orbitz for this date), Orange Tree Inn ($160), Hotel Indigo ($189), or Avania Inn ($179).

Participation on this excursion is limited, so sign up soon if you want to conclude your WBC14 experience by having a little beach city fun with us in Santa Barbara!

Announcing the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference Keynote: Corbett Barr

The Wine Bloggers Conference has been taking place annually since 2008 – six conferences in all to date.

Historically, when we set out to find a keynote for the conference, we first look at who the person is within the wine industry. We then look at what they do around the topics of writing (be that blogging, print journalism, novels, etc), social media, or something that we feel the community of wine bloggers would appreciate. A foundation in wine, however, has been a key element.

This year an alternate opportunity presented itself, and we feel like it is time for us as a community to look outside of ourselves for deeper inspiration on the secondary thing that brings us all together once a year: blogging.

Corbett BarrCorbett Barr is a blogger’s blogger. What started out as a personal sabbatical from startup life (in the form of an RV and road trip through Mexico with his wife) has turned into several thriving online blogs and businesses.

Very early on in his personal blogging adventure, when his focus was on the intersection of lifestyle and career goals, Corbett realized that most bloggers struggle with a fundamental problem – growing an audience. This led him to start Think Traffic in 2010. Quickly, bloggers flocked to Think Traffic to learn from Corbett and get inspiration for their own projects.

Always keeping the Golden Rule in mind to whatever methods he applied, Corbett taught others by sharing his successes, failures, experiments, and ideas. Many top bloggers (across all niches) today owe a lot of their success to the things Corbett Barr has shared with them.

In 2013, Corbett joined forces with two friends and online entrepreneurs, Chase Reeves & Caleb Wojcik, and relaunched Think Traffic as Fizzle. The Fizzle blog is called The Sparkline, and Fizzle itself is a community where budding bloggers and online entrepreneurs can receive training from various experts, engage in forums, and get support with their projects.

Andy Perdue, Editor and Publisher of Great Northwest Wine, is a Fizzle member. When asked about Corbett Barr, he had this to say:

When I decided to launch my own business in 2012, I found Corbett Barr and his Think Traffic site just as he was launching Fizzle. The moment Fizzle opened to membership, I joined. What I’ve been able to learn as a result of Corbett and his team’s work has helped lead me to early success with Great Northwest Wine. He continues to be a mentor, an inspiration and a friend.

Corbett is an expert in niche blogging and is a regular figure at major social media events, and we are very pleased and excited to announce him as the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference keynote speaker.

As we get closer to the conference, we’ll be doing more with Corbett in the form of a Google Hangout On Air. Stay tuned for details on that, and help us welcome Corbett Barr to the Wine Bloggers community!

You can keep in touch with Corbett on Twitter: @CorbettBarr 

To learn more about Fizzle, visit their site: http://fizzle.co/

About the Wine Bloggers Conference

The 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference will take place in Santa Barbara County, CA where upwards of 400 wine bloggers and industry representatives will assemble to discuss all things wine, blogging, and social media.

Registration is still open for the conference, and we anticipate a full house. You can register now here.

 

Post Conference Excursion: Explore Bridlewood Estate Winery

130726_0201We have a very nice post conference excursion planned for the afternoon of Sunday, July 13, 2014.  This off-site excursion will take place at the iconic Bridlewood Estate Winery, nestled in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, immediately following the conclusion of the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference.

Just 30 miles north of Santa Barbara on the eastern edge of the Santa Ynez Valley, Bridlewood is Southern California’s local winery. Their picturesque 105-acre estate rests on a high bench of ancient seabed, facing the Pacific breezes that meander through the Santa Ynez Mountains to the south and the Purisima Hills and San Raphael Mountains to the north. The mountains run East-West, allowing the fog to roll in from the Pacific Ocean, which slows the ripening process and paves the way for a long growing season. With more time to mature and develop, the grapes develop a crisp balance between acid and sugar.

A destination all its own, Bridlewood blends a modern, artisan winery with rustic, Spanish-style architecture reminiscent of California’s historic missions.  At the center of the property sits a striking bell tower, flanked by Adobe-tiled rooftops and breezy verandas. After a very busy WBC14, attendees will get to spend the afternoon relaxing in the Bridlewood courtyard that overlooks 40 acres of breathtaking estate vines.

130726_1032Behind the mission-style façade lies an intimate winery – an artist’s workshop – where the winemaking team crafts Bridlewood’s artisan wines. They spend much of their time in the barrel room, tasting different vineyard lots and blending them together to create exquisitely balanced wines that embody the unique terroir of the Central Coast. A peek at what’s to come during this excursion.

In true Santa Barbara fashion, attendees will enjoy a picnic lunch provided by local caterers New West with Bridlewood wines by the idyllic estate pond. Then, all participants will have the opportunity to partake in an engaging and interactive educational session lead by leading industry experts.

Logistics:

The cost of this excursion is $15 per person. Participants of the excursion will depart by bus from the conference hotel at 12:30 pm on Sunday, July 13, and will be returned from Bridlewood by 3:30 pm.

If you’ve already registered for the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference, you can add this excursion by registering for it here.

If you still need to sign up for the conference, you can add the excursion on when you register here.

Stay in touch with Bridlewood as more details unfold on the Wine Bloggers Conference website, as well as the Bridlewood website and Facebook page. Can’t wait to see everyone in Santa Barbara Wine Country!

A Quick & Handy Guide to Social Media Image Sizes

wbcblogimageA picture is worth a thousand words.

The above quote rings especially true when communicating via social media. Studies show that status updates and tweets yield more engagement when accompanied by photos and images, and many bloggers swear by photos as a way to promote traffic to their blog posts via social media.

While most services will automatically adjust photos to fit their image size requirements, the outcome doesn’t always look the way you want it to. Whenever possible (but it not always is!), it’s best to upload images that are sized correctly.

Whether you need to update your cover image and profile photos or whether you want to create a graphic for your status updates and tweets, below is a quick reference guide to the image size requirements for various photo placements on some of the top social networking sites. All sizes are referenced in pixels.

Facebook

  • Cover Photo: 851 x 315 px
  • Profile Photo: 180 x 180 px
  • App Images (pages only): 111 x 74 px
  • Shared Link Thumbnail: 377 x 197 px (this is the size of the image pulled from the source)
  • Timeline Photos: 2048 x 2048 px is the max size upload. Facebook adjusts the image down to fit it in to various placements. For basic timeline photos, the size is 403 x 504 px.

Twitter

  • Profile Picture: 81 x 81 px
  • Header Image: 520 x 260 px
  • Tweeted Image: 375 x 375  px

Google+

  • Cover Photo: 2120 x 1192 px (16:9 ratio)
  • Profile Photo: 270 x 270 px
  • Shared Image: 497 x 373 px (max upload 2048 x 2048 px)

Pinterest

  • Profile Image: 160 x 160 px
  • Large Thumbnail on Boards: 222 x 150 px
  • Regular Pin: 222 x scaled height px
  • Enlarged Pin: 600 x scaled height px

Instagram

  • Small Thumbnail: 205 x 205 px
  • Large Thumbnail: 410 x 410 px
  • Profile Image: 110 x 110

Tip: Canva is a free online graphic program that I recently discovered that has made creating graphics for posts and social media a little easier.

WBC14 Update: 200 Already Registered!

There are 5 months until the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference, and we’ve just past the 1/2 way mark in terms of registrations! We are anticipating a sold out event of 400 wine blogger and wine industry members meeting in Santa Barbara County for the 7th annual Wine Bloggers Conference.

We have updated the online list of registered attendees and have added any registered attendees with Twitter accounts to our WBC14 Twitter List for one-click following. These lists will be updated on a regular basis as more registrations come through.

The agenda is taking shape so check it out. There will be a lot of great wine and blogging-related content for you this year. We’re also working on finalizing your 2014 Keynote speaker, so stay tuned for that!

Two excursions have just been announced – a pre-conference overnight trip to the Paso Robles wine region and a post-conference lunch at Bridlewood Estate Winery. Check out our Excursions page with details and information on how to register. There are only a limited number of spots for both events, and the Paso Robles overnight excursion is 1/2 full already – so sign up soon if you want to go!

Need to register for WBC14? Do that here!

 

Two Excursion Announcements for WBC14

The Wine Bloggers Conference is headed back to California for the first time since 2009. We’ve been all across North America exploring various wine regions, and the time has come to spend some quality time with the wines of the Central Coast region.

We have two exciting excursion options now available for WBC14 attendees, and we hope you consider joining one — or both!

More details on each excursion will be forthcoming, but registration for both excursions is now open. You can register for the excursions when you register for the conference. If you are already registered for the conference, please fill out this separate excursion registration form. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged. There is an additional charge for each option. Details below.

Pre-Conference:: Paso Robles Wine Country Excursion

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance pre-conference excursion begins with a winery-hosted tasting and lunch en-route to Paso Robles from San Jose airport. 

Paso Robles Logo_PrimaryGuests will then be immersed for the next 24 hours in all things Paso Robles AVA. This includes focused tasting seminars, a small-brand walk-around tasting and barbecue, marquee vineyard visits with tastings and farewell luncheon with presentation.

We estimate you will taste up to 150 wines from up to 50 brands and leave with a new-found knowledge of the Paso Robles terroir, its wines, and its people. All this in 24 hours? Absolutely! Come Grow Wild in Paso Robles Wine Country.

Cost of this excursion is $100 for Citizen Bloggers who agree to post at least one blog post about their experience on the excursion. The excursion cost is $200 otherwise and for non-Citizen Blogger attendees. The cost includes all of the above as well as transportation from SJC to the conference and overnight accommodations in the Paso Robles area.

This excursion will depart by bus from the San Jose International Airport (SJC) at approximately 12:30 PM (time subject to slight change but it won’t be earlier than this) on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014. If you live or will be in the area and wish to meet in Paso Robles, you can do that and then either drive from Paso to the conference the next day or join us on the bus. Attendees are responsible for making it to the departure spot on time and are responsible for making their own arrangements home after the conference. If you’re flying into SJC, we recommend booking an “open-jaw” ticket and departing from a Southern California airport. Check out the Details page for more information on transportation options to and from the conference.

Post-Conference:: Explore Bridlewood Estate Winery — Lunch

Following what is sure to be an outstanding Wine Bloggers Conference, Bridlewood Estate Winery invites you to gather with new friends and reconnect with those met long ago before we bid farewell to WBC14. This off-site excursion will take place at the iconic Bridlewood Estate Winery, nestled in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley.

Bridlewood’s range of critically acclaimed Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines tell the colorful story of the Central Coast: the 130726_0201adventurous spirit, the relaxed lifestyle, the fresh, local foods and the incredible vineyards.

As part of the excursion, attendees will enjoy a Santa Barbara-style lunch provided by local caterers New West accompanied by Bridlewood wines by the idyllic estate pond. Then, all participants will have the opportunity to partake in an engaging and interactive educational session that is sure to spark conversation.

Cost of the excursion is $15 per person and will include lunch and round-trip transportation to Bridlewood Estate Winery from the conference hotel. The buses will depart for Bridlewood at 12:00 PM and return participants to the hotel by 3:30pm.

Each excursion is limited in the number of participants, so register for WBC and your excursions soon! You can register for the conference and excursions on our Registration page. If you have already registered for the conference and want to add either excursion, please fill out this separate excursion registration form.

How Facebook Changes Affect Bloggers and Businesses

Do you have a Facebook Page for your blog or business? 

If you have a Facebook Page for your blog or business, then you may have noticed a substantial drop in engagement within the last month and a half. That’s because in early December Facebook implemented some major changes on how pages are promoted within the platform. The result is that much of the content shared by pages now may never be seen in a follower’s News Feed.

Many suspect that Facebook’s motives here are to lead page owners to purchase ads or pay to boost posts. That may be one reason, but Facebook’s official goal here is to put forth an effort to declutter the News Feed of its users by devaluing some of the content that is shared on its platform… content like memes and caption contests that many users post to generate a quick laugh, comment or like, but that don’t offer any real news, value, or content. Twitter is touted by many users to be a source of news; this is Facebook’s way of trying to position itself in the same way.

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For a blogger or small business, these changes can present some challenges. We are all keenly aware that one of the “rules” of social media is that it’s not all about self-promotion, and many lean on the 80-20 rule for content (only 20% of the content you share should be self-promoting like a link to a blog post or product, and the rest should be “other”). If you’re a blogger or business that has developed a strategy where your 80% is now considered low-value by Facebook, your efforts may all be for not and all those likes on your page may now rarely, if ever, see anything that you share.

The irony here is that Facebook is largely responsible for the meme and caption contest boom by putting a high value on photos (without links) that generate likes or comments into previous algorithms. 

What hasn’t changed is that in order to organically grow your presence on Facebook, a page owner still needs to be putting out content on a regular basis. It’s just that now, more of your messages than not need to provide value to the reader (i.e. a link to something news-worthy like a blog post or article), and they need to generate engagement (comments and likes).

Facebook now has a long-tail

If you’re still trying to maintain the 80-20 rule this may all sound tough, but there is a flip side that is very positive.

One new way that Facebook is rewarding those who post high value content is by making those posts last longer. You may have noticed that if you have your News Feed setting set to “sort: most recent” that you sometimes see posts from earlier that day or even the day before. What is happening here is that Facebook is re-positioning both page and profile posts to the top of a follower’s News Feed if one of a few conditions are met: a friend of yours comments on that post or your settings are such to see all activity of that profile or page. Whereas posts had a limited shelf-life previously, comments on a post are now keeping that post alive and helping pages grow.

The following post was published Dec 31 & had comments through Jan 2!

 

The bottom line here is that you can still grow your presence on Facebook without paying for likes or paying to promote a post, but you’re just going to have to work a little harder now than you did in the past to do it. If you can grasp these new Facebook changes and apply them to your promotion strategy, you’ll be successful, you’ll be sharing valuable content, and you’ll attract more readers to your blog or business. Facebook, in a way, is just making everyone step it up a notch or two. Touché.

Do you have a new approach to promoting your blog or business on Facebook? If so, please share in the comments below!

Jordan: Excellence in Wine & Social Media

Jordan Vineyards & Winery is near to reaching a new milestone: 1 million views on their YouTube channel.

Jordan is used to setting the bar high, and in social media they make no exception.

Jordan_engraving_lowSince 1972 when Tom and Sally Jordan first purchased the land in Alexander Valley that would become their estate vineyard and winery, their family vision has been to craft excellent wines and equally excellent experiences for their guests. The working winery and adjoining chateau were symbiotically constructed with the intent of complete guest immersion into the experience of Jordan.

Deeply inspired by French food and wine culture, the Jordans sought to emulate the french style by creating intensely balanced wines and offering unparalleled food and wine experiences. The first vintage of 1976 Cabernet Sauvignon was released commercially in 1980, and it didn’t take long for the Jordan portfolio of wines to quickly reach the pinnacles of success with awards, recognition, sales and demand. Not content to rest on their early successes, Rob Davis, head winemaker since their inaugural vintage, has not slowed in his pursuit of producing world class wines; the Jordan wines of today are better than ever!

Today, Tom and Sally’s son, John, is at the helm as CEO. He has become an industry leader in many ways, and has transformed Jordan Vineyards and Winery into a sustainable, carbon-neutral organization. One of the attributes of John’s leadership is his embracing of technology in all corners of his business. Jordan was one of the first wineries to effectively incorporate the use of iPads in both production and in facilitating sales, and the winery has increased their customer base widely with the use of social media.

Lisa Mattson, Director of Communications at Jordan, has been an integral part of Jordan’s social media success, and she is an industry leader in her own right. She oversees the Jordan blog (which has won several Wine Blog Awards), and has been a top speaker at both the Wine Bloggers Conference and Wine Tourism Conference – sharing her expertise on engagement and in using technology to drive online traffic to a physical location.

What Lisa and Jordan Vineyards and Winery do so well in Social Media is create viral videos. The winery’s YouTube channel is abundant with over 200 videos that are all creative, unique, and appeal to varying tastes.

Some of the videos are fun parody – playing on trending pop-culture.

This recent 2013 video has over 32,000 views!

see also: Gangnam Style in Wine Country (33,000 views)

Some videos are inspiring and informative – sharing unique perspectives of a working winery.

This video from 2010 has over 72,000 views!

see also: Winemaking – making barrels for Cabernet Sauvignon wine aging (41,000 views)

Some are about food – demonstrations and tutorials to make your mouth water.

This video (great for the holidays) has over 34,000 views!

see also: How to make French Macarons (259,000 views)

With this incredibly diversified approach to content, Jordan has been able to dominate YouTube, reach a vast number of potential new customers, and engage in a relatable way – effectively making their wine very appealing and approachable to many who may not have considered them before.

Jordan Winery’s YouTube channel has over 960,000 views. Check out their latest videos to help them hit 1 million before the new year: http://www.youtube.com/jordanvineyard

Jordan Vineyards & Winery is a proud sponsor of the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference. In addition to YouTube, you can also follow Jordan on Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest.

2014 Wine Bloggers Conference – Call for Content Suggestions

WBC14 call for content imageWhoo hoo – it’s that time of year again!

It is time to start planning content for next year’s Wine Blogger Conference in Santa Barbara County!!

If you have a suggestion for WBC14, please complete the form below by Dec 11, 2013.

Suggestions can be for you to provide content yourself or for other speakers or topics. Please complete one form per suggestion.

Below are the types of sessions we will be having:

Breakout Sessions: 50 minute breakout sessions are the chance for you to hear from experts in the field, be it blogging, writing, technology, or the wine industry. Do you have suggestions for breakout session topics and speakers?

Wine Tasting: There is a lot of wine to be tasted at the Wine Bloggers Conference. Some of this is presented in educational content sessions. If you have ideas for educational wine tasting sessions, you can present them here.

Blogger Discussions: These are community discussions about topics of interest to wine bloggers. In years passed we’ve discussed Monetization, Wine Blogging and the Wine Industry, and Reaching Outside the Wine World. If you could sit down and talk with your fellow wine bloggers, what would you like to discuss? What bloggers would you like to hear from specifically?

Block Session: 2.5 hour sessions offered Sunday, July 13 9:30am – 12pm. These are longer sessions – intended to be more like “workshops”.

To provide suggestions, please use the submission form below. If you have any questions, please contact Dennis Agnos at dennis@zephyradventures.com.

Submit Your Ideas Below: