Reno Walsh and I just returned from Walla Walla where we were finalizing details for the upcoming conference. I am actually a Seattle-area native, visited Walla Walla a number of times, and remember it as a pleasant small town. I have to say, the wine industry has really electrified the city. And everyone we met was extremely eager to host the Wine Bloggers Conference.
The Marcus Whitman Hotel is a gem that Walla Walla is lucky to have. Opened in 1928, the hotel is historic and yet has modern comforts. The facilities are excellent and the service first class. Everyone we met at the hotel asked us “What can we do to make your conference better?”
As much as Walla Walla is lucky to have the Marcus Whitman, the area wine industry is lucky to have Elizabeth Calder. Elizabeth, who heads up the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, took Reno and me around to a number of different wineries and vineyards in the area to show us how Saturday morning of the conference will work. Conference participants will split into small groups of 20 and visit three separate properties to meet with local grapegrowers and vintners and to learn about the area.
The wine industry has really helped Walla Walla grow. The dozen or so downtown tasting rooms provide the town center with a sophisticated look. We’ll visit these on a Friday evening After Hours Party. A number of high-end restaurants have started in the area and we will have restaurants from the local area – and as far away as Seattle – at our Food & Wine Pairing session. The 100+ wineries of the area have had a big economic and social impact and we’ll be in the midst of it during the conference.
When we first broached the idea of holding the conference outside California, we were concerned whether another area would be large enough to host us and attractive enough to draw bloggers to what might be a more distant location. Those concerns are gone. The conference is 2/3 full and we are getting reservations every day from bloggers across North America. If you are deciding whether to attend, now is the time to commit!
- Allan Wright