2018 Wine Bloggers Conference Agenda
All sessions will take place at the host Marcus Whitman Hotel unless otherwise indicated. If you wish to plan or participate in any unofficial events, please respect our sponsors and speakers by not doing so if they conflict with anything on this official agenda.
Wednesday, October 3
Pre-Conference Excursions: Excursions are only available to registered attendees of the conference. Details are available and registration is open.
- Wine Yakima Valley, WA will be hosting a two-day pre-conference excursion starting in the Tri-Cities and overnighting at the Hotel Maison in Yakima, WA. @YakimaAVA
- SOLD OUT! The Red Mountain AVA Alliance and its winery and vineyard members will be hosting a two-day pre-conference excursion including overnight accommodations at the new Lodge at Columbia Point in Richland, WA. @RedMtnAVA
Thursday, October 4
9:00 AM Pre-Conference Excursion: Force Majeure Wines will be hosting a morning excursion with a visit to the winery with tours, tastings and a seminar. Details are available and registration is open. @ForceMVineyards
1:00 – 6:30 PM Registration & Expo: Pick up your name badge, check in for the Conference, and visit our many sponsors.
2:00 – 4:30PM Sherry Wine Specialist Certification Course by The House of Lustau: This session is limited to 25 people, requires separate registration (which will open in May), and costs $15. Program consists of a 2.5-hour class that shall include: a 1.5 hour instruction on the history, viticulture, vinification (Solera process), wine styles and their differences, pairings, a tasting of all the basic styles (Finos, Amontillados, Olorosos, and Sweets) and a test (28 questions). The test will be graded and those achieving a passing score of 20 will be awarded the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist recognition. The Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and Cesar Saldana, Director of the Regulatory Council of Jerez. A list of those that passed the course will be shared with the Regulatory Council. A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those that do not achieve the passing grade but only signed by Lustau. This session will be well worth your time even if you don’t pass the test (or care about the certification) and it is also possible to retake the exam at a later date.
2:00 – 3:00 PM Wine Education Sessions: These small-group sessions are designed to provide exposure to high-value, rare, or unique wines, accompanied by an educational component. Each session is limited to 25 people, requires separate registration, and costs $15. Details will be provided as sessions are confirmed.
3:30 – 4:30 PM Wine Education Sessions: These small-group sessions are designed to provide exposure to high-value, rare, or unique wines, accompanied by an educational component. Each session is limited to 25 people, requires separate registration, and costs $15. Details will be provided as sessions are confirmed.
4:30 – 6:30 PM Welcome to Walla Walla Reception & Expo: Meet our sponsors and taste wines from both the local area and around the world as you meet and greet your fellow attendees.
6:15 PM Wine Country Evening Excursions: These optional evening excursions require pre-registration and cost an additional $20. Confirmed excursions include:
- Mullan Road Cellars Dinner – Limit 65 @mullanrdcellars
- K Vintners Dinner – Limit 100 @kickasswawine
- Cadaretta Winery Dinner – Limit 40 @cadaretta
Friday, October 5
8:00 – 3:00 PM Registration & Expo: Register for the conference if you did not last night and have another chance to visit with our sponsors.
9:00 – 9:30 AM Conference Opening: We will officially open the conference as well as provide tips on how to make the most of your time during the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference.
9:30 – 10:30 AM Introduction to the Walla Walla Valley: The Walla Walla Valley has one of the most interesting geologic stories of any wine region in the country, if not the world. The breaking of a massive ice dam during the last ice age released an epic flood of the region, which greatly impacts grape growing today. We’ll learn about this history and the current state of grape growing and wine making in the Walla Walla Valley.
10:30 – 10:45 AM Break
10:45 AM – 12:15 PM Wine Bloggers vs Wine Influencers: Wine blogging is just one form of writing and just one aspect of being a wine influencer. Hear from a panel of non-blogging wine influencers that use social media, published writing, and other avenues to get their voices heard.
1:45 – 2:45 PM Wine Discovery Sessions: Choose one of three wine tasting sessions designed to present you with interesting wines and information from the actual producers.
2:45 – 3:00 PM Break
3:00 – 3:45 PM Keynote Speaker: To be announced
3:45 – 4:45 PM Live Red Wine Blogging: This is the pre-eminent event at the Wine Bloggers Conference. 25 winemakers will each have five minutes to pour their wine, present their story, and answer questions from a table of bloggers. At the end of five minutes, winemakers will rotate to a new table. Bloggers will analyze and describe their impressions live via social media or their blogs.
4:45 – 5:15 PM Live Wine Blogging Followup: Communicate with and try wines from wineries participating in the event.
5:15 PM Wine Country Dinner Excursions: We are reinstating our famous “Mystery Excursions”, hosted this year by the Walla Walla Wine Alliance (@WWValleyWine). We will have approximately eight buses depart the Marcus Whitman hotel for eight different destinations. Just jump on a bus and be whisked away to learn about the local wine region, explore a vineyard, and have dinner with your hosts.
Saturday, October 6
8:30 – 6:00 PM Registration: Registration will remain open all day.
9:15 – 10:00 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three
- Videography for Bloggers: Consumers are demanding more video-based content and wine lends itself to this more engaging form of media. Discussion includes ways to embed video into your content, different platforms to execute it, and a wide variety of examples that could be applied to wine content.
- The Micro Influencer: How can the micro influencer work with a winery or wine region? The micro influencer (5,000 followers) could be more valuable than the macro influencer (100,000+) very soon. In this session, you will learn how to forge relationships with wineries to bring value to your audience and the winery, even if you don’t have that many readers in your community.
- How to Seal the Deal with a Kick Ass Media Kit: In this session, you’ll learn what is essential to include in your media kit and how to make your media kit work for you so brands are banging at your door.
10:00 – 10:15 AM Break
10:15 – 11:00 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three
- How To Monetize Yourself: People always want to know how to monetize a blog but in the world of wine blogging the traditional means (advertising, sponsored posts, etc) don’t always work well. What does work is using a blog to create a personal brand and then monetizing yourself / your brand off-blog via consulting, events, paid writing, etc.
- How to Make Wineries Adore You: Bloggers and wineries need each other but wineries have to decide which bloggers to work with – and whether that includes you. This session will explore how you can make winery marketing and PR folks adore you before you are ever in contact, during your visit or interaction, and in your followup. Topics will include putting reach and demographics of readers on your site, delivering what you promise, and much more.
- Can Google Read? How your Writing Affects your Rank in Google Search: Get ready to learn strategies to instantly apply to push your content to the top of Google search results. You’ll learn the seven components of readability Google considers when crawling content and be introduced to free (FREE!) online tools to help you assess your writing. Then learn about the technical side of how this works with Google Hummingbird and Rank Brain. It’s not necessary but having a document with a draft blog post will help you apply some of these strategies in real time and solidify your learning. Get ready to learn, leverage, and laugh!
11:00 – 11:15 AM Break
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three
- Succeeding as a Hobbyist Wine Blogger: When you don’t have the time, you need to work smarter not harder. This practical session will provide tips to be more effective and efficient in blogging and social media for those looking to succeed without investing a ton of time.
- Advanced Strategies for Facebook and Instagram: Facebook and Instagram are two of the most powerful and yet obscure forms of social media in terms of marketing. Learn how to use advanced bidding, paid promotion, and content creation strategies on Facebook & Instagram to provoke engagement, reduce costs, and be a rockstar digital marketer.
- Copyright Issues for Wine Writers: What permission do you need to use someone’s photo? What can you do if someone else publishes your content without permission? How do you copyright your blog and other work? The session will go over the essential elements of copyright that apply to every blogger.
1:30 – 2:15 PM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three
- How to Craft a Compelling Professional Pitch: With wine writing now dispersed among many more writers, it’s more important than ever for writers to craft concise and compelling pitches aimed at specific outlets and audiences. This presentation will discuss how to develop a strong article concept and effectively communicate it to possible publishers.
- Creating Effective Social Media Content via Your Smartphone: Content is critical for bloggers who want to grow an engaged following and set themselves apart in a crowded field. Using just their phone, users will learn how to start conversations with engaging captions, boomerangs, timelapses, 360 images, Stop-Motion, Facebook and Instagram LIVE videos, Instagram Stories, and Twitter Surveys. We’ll cover which apps are needed for these executions as well as when to employ them.
- From Volunteer Blogging to Getting Paid: Learn how to make money from your wine blog through various channels, including advertising networks, sponsored posts, and freelance writing.
2:15 – 2:30 PM Break
2:30 – 3:30 PM Wine Discovery Sessions: Choose one of three wine tasting sessions designed to present you with interesting wines and information from the actual producers.
3:30 – 3:45 PM Break
3:45 – 4:45 PM Wine and Cheese Pairing with Cheeses of Europe: Cheeses of Europe is a campaign led by the dairy farmers and cheese producers of France. Ever wonder why some cheeses are cave-aged? Or perhaps you would like to taste a cheese that’s so rich, it was once used as currency in 18th century Europe? From the salty breezes of Normandie to the wild flowers of the Rhone-Alpes, explore the flavor and tradition of French Cheeses. And learn the secrets of how to make any dish, recipe or occasion manifique! Find out more by visiting www.cheesesofeurope.com or @cheesesofeurope.
4:45 – 5:45 PM Live White & Rosé Wine Blogging: This is the pre-eminent event at the Wine Bloggers Conference. 20 Winemakers will each have five minutes to pour their wine, present their story, and answer questions from a table of bloggers. At the end of five minutes, winemakers will rotate to a new table. Bloggers will analyze and describe their impressions live via social media or their blogs.
5:45 – 6:15 PM Live Wine Blogging Follow-up: Communicate with and try wines from wineries participating in the event.
9:00 – 9:30 PM Presentation of Wine Media Awards
9:30 PM Announcement of 2019 Location and Date and Wrap Up of Conference
Sunday, October 7
Post-Conference Excursions: Excursions are only available to registered attendees of the conference. Details are available and registration is open.
- SOLD OUT! Maryhill Winery & Cathedral Ridge Winery will host a Gorge-ous Wine Country Experience with an all day excursion ending in Portland, OR. @MaryHillWinery @CathedralRidge
- Join Visit Tri-Cities for a familiarization tour featuring inspired cuisine, unique experiences and interesting story angles that will appeal to a variety of editors and publications. @TriCitiesWA