2017 Wine Bloggers Conference Agenda
The following agenda is tentative while we contact speakers whose sessions were selected to be presented by a vote of our alumni. All sessions will take place at the host Hyatt Vineyard Creek. 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, November 8
1:30 PM Pick Up for Pre-Conference Excursions
Thursday, November 9
12:00 – 1:30 PM Drop Off at Host Hotels from Pre-Conference Excursions
2:30 – 3:30 PM Wine Education Sessions: Wine Education Sessions focus on learning about and tasting interesting or unique wines. Registered attendees of the conference will be notified about these sessions first when they are set. There will be a small additional cost to reserve your place.
3:45 – 4:45 PM Wine Education Sessions: Wine Education Sessions focus on learning about and tasting interesting or unique wines. Registered attendees of the conference will be notified about these sessions first when they are set. There will be a small additional cost to reserve your place.
5:00 – 7:00 PM Registration, Expo, Opening Reception, and Wines of the World: Check in to the conference, hear from our sponsors, and taste wines from both the local area and around the world as you meet and greet your fellow attendees. Our current list of Expo presenters includes:
- Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC
- El Dorado Wines
- Sacramento International Airport
- Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute
- Wine Industry Network
- Wine Institute
- Wine Road
- Wines of Alsace
Friday, November 10
8:00 – 9:00 AM Registration
9:00 – 9:10 AM Opening & Welcome
9:00 – 11:00 AM Professional Wine Writing Tips: We will have four professional wine writers or editors present four different sessions of 30 minutes each. Presenters will be selected in the coming months.
- Tell a Story Don’t Describe a Wine: Readers get bored reading wine reviews. What really resonates is telling the story behind the wine – the terroir, the history of the winery, the winemaker, or even your experience while drinking.
- The Dirty Work – Checking Facts, Asking Questions, and Finding Sources: It is easy to write a blog post but hard to write a news story, much less an investigative piece. Learn how to go about the grunt work of writing to improve your product.
- How to Pitch Wine Stories to Magazines: Learn from a pro how to pitch your wine stories to magazines … and what they want once your proposal gets accepted.
- The Ethics of Wine Writing: Should you accept free wine? Free travel? Are you expected to provide a story if you do? Should you write about a wine you don’t like? We’ll hear about these and other ethical issues in wine writing.
11:10 – 11:25 AM Break
11:25 AM – 12:25 PM What Companies Want from Wine Bloggers: Ever want to write for a winery or review their wines? Or perhaps get invited by wineries or wine regions to press trips, local events, or wine dinners? Learn from a panel of industry experts the most important criteria that wineries and other companies use to evaluate whether to work with a wine blogger. Our panel includes Lisa Mattson from Jordan Winery, Birgitt Vaughan from Sonoma County Tourism, and Katie Calhoun of Calhoun & Company, with moderator Allison Levine of Please the Palate.
12:25 – 2:25 PM Lunch With El Dorado Wines: Details to come
2:25 – 3:25 PM Wine Discovery Sessions: Choose one of three wine tasting sessions designed to present you with interesting wines and information from the actual producers.
3:25 – 3:40 PM Break
3:40 – 4:30 PM Keynote Speaker Doug Frost
4:30 – 5:30 PM Live Wine Blogging (White & Rosé) This is the pre-eminent event at the Wine Bloggers Conference. 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.
5:30 – 6:00 PM Live Wine Blogging Followup: New in 2017, we are assigning 30 minutes after Live Wine Blogging to allow attendees to communicate with and try wines from wineries participating in the event.
6:30 PM + Wine Country Dinner Excursions: The Dinner Excursions will take the place of the previous Friday afternoon Wine Country Excursions. Details forthcoming.
Saturday, November 11
All Day Registration: Registration will remain open all day.
9:15 – 10:15 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three breakout sessions to attend.
- Advanced Social Media Beyond Hashtags and Likes: This seminar will focus on boosting engagement on your social media channels and funneling traffic to your wine blog. Our presenter is Allison Day, who is Director of Social Media and Content at Good Things Done Right; Social Community Manager at 3 Rock Marketing; and Head of Content and Social at WineCountry.com.
- Take Your Camera Off Automatic: Tips for better food, wine & travel photos for beginner to expert. Learn how a few simple changes can improve your blog photos. We’ll cover tips for your phone as well as your camera. We’ll highlight a useful, minimal travel kit. Finally we’ll cover inexpensive tools and lighting for your home studio. Our presenter is Jeff Burrows from Food Wine Click!
- How To Help Wineries And Get Paid Doing It: In his WBC16 presentation that was so well received, Austin Beeman inspired bloggers and wine brands to work together and meet the future head on. This year it all gets practical. Drawing on his time as Director of Marketing for Bonny Doon Vineyard and his MBA in Wine Management from Bordeaux, Beeman with outline the specific skills, tools, and experiences that bloggers can offer. And show exactly how to sell it to the wineries that need it most.
10:15 – 10:30 AM Break
10:30 – 11:30 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three breakout sessions to attend.
- Pitch Perfect – A look at the Blogger-PR Relationship: As a blogger, whether new or seasoned, you’ve heard about free wine samples to review, tastings to attend, press trips to wine country, media lunches at fabulous restaurants, and interviews with fascinating winemakers. You have also seen wineries sponsoring content or having bloggers act as brand ambassador or representative. You know you want a piece of that action, but are not sure how to go about approaching wineries or their marketing and PR people. Our panelists are successful bloggers Jana Seitzer, Rebecca Gomez Farrell, and Frank Morgan with moderator Leeann Froese.
- Corporate Blogging – Why Your Company Should Have a Blog and How to Do It Right: Learn why your company should have a blog (news page, etc) and how to make it more than just the navel gazing that across from writing about yourself. We’ll discuss how to choose topics of interest to your readers, not just what you want to tell them.
- To Be Determined: This session is currently saved for future use.
11:30 AM – 1:30 PM On Your Own
1:30 – 2:30 PM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three breakout sessions to attend.
- Lights, Camera, Action! With video being the main way we consume content, bloggers need to reach consumers beyond just wine notes and reviews. In this session we’ll discuss how to create videos to capture and experience wine beyond the glass. Our panelists include Tanisha Townsend from Girl Meets Glass, Jenn Nelson from Wine Antics, and Sarita Cheaves from Vine Me Up.
- Eight Pillars of Digital Marketing: Learn the Eight Pillars of Digital Marketing, from website to SEO, content creation to social media, video marketing, influencer marketing, online advertising, and one more – perhaps still the most effective way of marketing. Our presenter is Robyn Scott, head of marketing for Zephyr Conferences.
- To Be Determined: This session is currently saved for future use.
2:30 – 2:45 PM Break
2:45 – 3:45 PM Wine Discovery Sessions: Choose one of three wine tasting sessions designed to present you with interesting wines and information from the actual producers. Details to come.
3:45 – 4:00 PM Break
4:00 – 5:00 PM Panel of Wine Blog Award Winners: We will hear from a panel of 2017 Wine Blog Award winners, who are excelling at their craft!
5:00 – 6:00 PM Live Wine Blogging (Red Wines): This is the pre-eminent event at the Wine Bloggers Conference. 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.
6:00 – 6:30 PM Live Wine Blogging Follow-up: New in 2017, we are assigning 30 minutes after Live Wine Blogging to allow attendees to communicate with and try wines from wineries participating in the event.
7:00 – 9:00 PM Dinner Sponsored by NakedWines.com: Join NakedWines.com as they host our annual banquet dinner.
9:00 – 9:30 PM Wine Blog Awards Presentation: Alan Kropf will again return to entertain us and present winners of the 2017 Wine Blog Awards. The actual awards will be announced several months in advance, giving winners the opportunity to make sure they can attend.
9:30 – 9:45 PM Announcement of 2018 Location and Date and Wrap Up of Conference
Sunday, November 12
9:30 AM Pickup at Host Hotel for Post-Con Excursions: New in 2017, our post-conference excursions will start in the morning, allowing excursion hosts to have more daylight hours and attendees to return to their homes this evening. Details to come.
2:30 PM Drop off at Host Hotel from Post-Con Excursions
4:00 PM Possible drop off at area airports