The results are in! Voting for the WBC14 destination has now closed. Stay tuned for the announcement live at #WBC13 in Penticton!
The 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference will return to California for the first time since 2008 and 2009 when we held the conference in Sonoma and Napa. We are working with three excellent wine areas interested to host the 2014 conference and think all three would make fantastic partners.
Please help us decide which location will host the 2014 conference by indicating your preference in our online survey. Please see the official descriptions of each location below (presented in the order the bid was received) accompanied by our comments. You can then vote to indicate your preference here:
We will combine four factors in choosing the host location: the public vote, a private vote of past and current WBC attendees, any restrictions on timing provided by the potential hosts, and the strength of each location’s bid from our point of view as conference organizers. We will announce the 2014 date and host location live at the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton.
Santa Barbara County
Nearly 200 wineries call the premium wine producing and wine grape growing region of Santa Barbara County home. Its unique topography and climate offer a diverse growing atmosphere, which would all be showcased during the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference. There are four official appellations (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and Sta. Rita Hills) and several other micro-regions within the broad Santa Barbara County designation. It is a region that offers a wealth of diversity featuring Burgundian-influenced Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to Syrah, Mourvedre, and Sauvignon Blanc. The region also offers the potential for planned excursions/dinners in the vineyards and wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley (Buellton, Lompoc, Foxen Valley, Solvang).
Coincidentally, 2014 marks the 10-year anniversary of Sideways, the movie that propelled not only this region but also California wine in general into mainstream, popular culture. No doubt the local wineries will be planning for this anniversary, and our conference will benefit as well from their efforts.
Organizer’s Notes: The WBC would be held at the Marriott hotel in Buellton, which is located in the heart of the Santa Barbara wine region. The Marriott is large enough to accommodate the entire conference, including sessions and hotel rooms. Buellton is 40 minutes from Santa Barbara airport or 1:45 from Los Angeles.
“Lodi Wine Country” has been one of California’s major winegrowing regions for over 150 years (yes – even through Prohibition!). It sits 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, south of Sacramento, and west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Here, wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting-edge technology to the region. Lodi is home to a number of major wineries (Robert Mondavi Woodbridge, Turner Road Vintners, Sutter Home Winery, Bear Creek Winery, Michael David Winery, and Oak Ridge Winery) and more than 75 “boutique” wineries. You’ll would certainly visit a few of these on excursions out to wine country.
Grape growing is truly the center of the culture, and the Lodi AVA specifically has about 100,000 acres of winegrapes farmed by more than 750 growers to yield over 20% of California’s total wine grape production. In addition, its signature Lodi Rules accredited sustainability certification makes the region a leader in sustainability.
Organizer’s Notes: The main sessions of the conference would take place at the Hutchins Street Square meeting facility in the city of Lodi. We would negotiate group rates at a number of hotels within one to two miles of the meeting space. Lodi is located near three major airports: Sacramento – 35min; Oakland – 60min; and San Francisco – 90min. Given Lodi’s rich grape-growing history, we might align the conference with this by adding more content related to grapegrowing and vineyard practices.
Paso Robles / San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo County offers a shared opportunity to welcome the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference to Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. Conference and guest accommodations (as well as our general sessions, to be staged in an outdoor tent structure) would take place on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Pismo Beach / Shell Beach with excursions into both Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo wine regions.
Pismo Beach offers the perfect pairing of wine and waves in a warm an inviting atmosphere. Beautiful beaches and a taste of California wine country are at your fingertips with oceanfront hotels and distinct restaurants. Visitors can learn about the local culture and discover new varietals produced here in the historic winemaking regions of Edna valley, Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles, all of which are located just 10-30 minutes outside of downtown Pismo Beach and area attractions. Our wine country offers a refreshing perspective and insight on artisanal winemaking by some of the most respected winemakers in California.
Organizer’s Notes: There is no facility in Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo large enough to accommodate the WBC. This is a joint bid from both areas that includes accommodation and meeting facilities in Pismo Beach. Large group sessions would be held in a walled tent, which might present challenges but also potentially a fantastic environment. Pismo Beach is 3.5 hours drive from San Francisco’s airport, three hours from Los Angeles Airport, 1:20 from Santa Barbara’s airport, and only a short distance from SLO’s airport, which offers flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.