The 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference took place July 11-13 in Buellton, Santa Barbara County, California. 367 citizen wine bloggers, industry bloggers, and other wine and social media professionals gathered from throughout the world to meet, learn, and share at this, the seventh annual conference and the first one to return to California since the initial conferences in 2008 and 2009.
About Santa Barbara County
“No viticultural region in America has demonstrated as much progress in quality and potential for greatness … as the Santa Barbara region.” Robert Parker Jr.
Santa Barbara County’s wine region is an area of expansive vistas, rolling hills, and a climate directly affected by the Pacific Ocean. You are as likely to see horses running along pasture fences as you are stretches of grapes ripening in the California sun.
Because the Pacific Ocean shoreline and thus the Santa Ynez and San Rafael coast mountains run east and west for 50 miles in the Santa Barbara area, the cool ocean breezes and occasional fog makes this one of the coolest grape growing regions in the state. The result are complex wines full of acids, tannins, and flavors that will impress you at WBC14.
The Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Associations boasts 101 member wineries planting a total of 55 grape varietals. The area has four official appellations (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and Sta. Rita Hills) and several other micro-regions (Los Alamos Valley, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District, and the Santa Maria Bench). Buellton in the Santa Ynez Valley is a small town of 5,000 people located 45 minutes northwest of Santa Barbara.
Who Should Attend
“The Penticton Wine Bloggers Conference was my first rodeo and I can honestly say it was one of the most fun, beautiful and interesting trips I have taken in years. And while I am from Santa Barbara, I look forward to the same at the next conference, scheduled to take place in Santa Barbara’s wine country next July.” Matt Talbot, WineRabble.com, June 2013
- Citizen Bloggers or writers who write about wine or the wine industry and who wish to network with other new media; learn from experts in writing, technology, and social media; and enjoy a fantastic weekend of meals and wines from Santa Barbara County and around the world.
- Industry Bloggers who maintain a blog to support their winery or other wine-related business.
- New Media Innovators who work in the world of blogging and social media.
- Wine Industry members who would like to learn about new media or interact with bloggers.
Cost, Payment, Cancellation, and What is Included
The cost of the conference is $95 for citizen wine bloggers (those unaffiliated with a business or organization), $295 for industry bloggers (those whose blog is affiliated with a winery, retail store, or other business or organization), and $395 for non-blogger participants (industry, media relations professionals, friends and family, etc). To sign up as a Citizen Blogger, you must have an active (i.e. at least three current posts) blog that does not promote a business. Friends and spouses you wish to bring with you who are not clearly identified on your blog as part of the team need to sign up as a non-blogger. We are able to offer a lower price to citizen bloggers and wine-industry bloggers because it is for these folks our sponsors underwrite the conference.
Payment is required in advance by credit card. If you must cancel your registration, your payment is 50% refundable through June 11, 2014 and not refundable after that. Please note you can insure against losing your conference registration fee (and your airplane tickets) by purchasing trip insurance. This is only good for those of you traveling from outside of the conference area and staying overnight.
The conference includes multiple wine tastings, two dinners and usually several other meals, an afternoon of winery visits, and outstanding content. Not included in the conference price are your hotel, transportation to and from the area, and the pre-conference and post-conference excursions.
Arrival and Departure
The conference begins at 7:00 PM on Thursday evening, July 10 with Registration, Expo, Gift Suite, and Opening Wine & Food Reception. If you are unable to arrive on Thursday, you can also register on Friday morning. Content begins at noon on Friday.
You will need to find transportation to Buellton yourself. The town is located 40 minutes from the airport in Santa Barbara, two hours from Los Angeles International Airport, and five hours from San Francisco. If you are flying, you might also check prices into the Burbank or John Wayne Orange County airports. The easiest way to reach Buellton is either to rent a car or take the Central Coast Shuttle or Roadrunner Shuttle. If you’re interested in sharing a ride with a fellow participant, post a comment on our WBC – Alumni & Registered Attendees Facebook Group.
Attendees who sign up for the pre-conference excursion will fly into San Jose Airport or meet directly in Paso Robles and will be dropped off at the hotel in Buellton. Attendees who participate in the post-conference excursion to Santa Barbara will be provided with transportation to that city and will need to make their own arrangements after that.
Host Hotel and Other Overnight Accommodations
The host hotel, which is the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton, Santa Barbara County, California, is now sold out. However, we have made special arrangements for conference pricing with backup hotels within short walking distance of the Marriott. When considering your overnight accommodations please review the following information regarding other backup hotels.
We are excited to offer a roundtrip, $20 off your first 2 Uber rides to our event for anyone who hasn’t tried Uber yet. Haven’t heard of Uber? It is a mobile app that connects you with a driver for immediate transportation. Request a ride with the tap of a button and have a driver curbside in minutes. Payment is seamless and cashless – billed to your card on file with no need to tip.
To help you get to the Wine Bloggers conference in style, Uber is offering $20 off each leg of your roundtrip by using the code “wineblog14”. Head into the app and enter the code when registering or go to http://www.uber.com/go/
Weather & Dress Code
The average high temperature in the Buellton area in July is 73 degrees. Nighttime temperatures drop a pleasant 20 degrees and there is almost no chance of rain. One of the great benefits of holding the WBC in Santa Barbara County is the beautiful weather.
Dress is “wine country casual”. What does that mean? Really, you should dress as you feel comfortable. For daytime sessions, jeans or shorts and a polo shirt are fine. For the Saturday evening banquet, many people will dress up a bit.