We created Live Wine Blogging at the first Wine Bloggers Conference back in 2008 and it has been our signature event ever since.
Yesterday was the latest iteration (and we will repeat it again today with red wines.) We had 25 wineries in a room, each stationed at a round table. Wineries had five minutes to pour their wine for that table of bloggers, tell a bit about the winery and the wine, answer questions, and let attendees form their opinions and write about the wine. It is a fast, fun, loud, and crazy event that generally gets great reviews from both participants and wineries.
For attendees, there are a number of ways to participate:
- Tweet About Each Wine: This is a popular and certainly the easiest way to participate as it is fairly manageable to evaluate and Tweet within five minutes. Plus, it is fun because we present a rolling Twitter feed using the hashtag #WBC17. Alternatives are to publish a Facebook post or Instagram/Pinterest photo.
- Publish a Summary Blog Post: Another plan is to write about each wine on one blog post you publish at the end, which is also relatively manageable. Tim Lemke of Cheap Wine Ratings did a version of this by writing and updating his post live after each round.
- Publish Ten Blog Posts: We have also seen participants publish ten blog posts in 50 minutes, which is not at all easy!
- Tweet Then Blog: Finally, some participants Tweet on the spot and then later go back and incorporate those Tweets into a blog post. Gwendolyn Alley of Art Predator did that this year as did Anatoli Levine of Talk-a-Vino.
Our only advice is to not plan to take notes and write a post later. It is too crazy at the moment and too busy the following days!
We know some wine bloggers do not like Live Wine Blogging because it is too fast to allow a proper evaluation of the wine or, taking the wineries’ viewpoint, doesn’t allow them enough time to properly present a wine. Our take is Live Blogging is a useful exercise requiring bloggers to improve their evaluation skills and forcing wineries to get their pitch down to a few minutes.
In the end, we pay attention to the cheers of the audience at the end of the session and the favorable comments we get from the wineries. As one winemaker told me when I asked if he had enjoyed it: “I didn’t want it to end!”