Our hats go off to WBC Advisory Board member and avid wine blogger Thea Dwelle (Luscious Lushes). Not only is she one of only six people who have attended ALL TEN WBCs but she also started and maintained the WBC Scholarship program for the past 9 years.
Her efforts to provide compensation for travel and registration to qualified applicants to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference has raised over $50,000 for 78 bloggers over the years. Many of those recipients have gone on to create professional careers from their interest in blogging, including Becca Yeamans-Irwin, who now has a successful award-winning blog in the Academic Wino and is Lew Purdue’s editor for Wine Industry Insights; Charlotte Chipperfield, who founded Chipperfield Media, a media and public relations company specializing in the wine business; and Lauren Mowrey, who writes for Forbes and the Village Voice among other publications.
But times are changing and the ability to raise money to fund the scholarship has grown more difficult in the past several years. She has had amazing support from wineries over the years but, while many of the larger wineries recognize the value of the scholarship program, they have more and more legal issues with contributing to the fund for an alcohol-based event. The 10th conference was also the last year for the Scholarship Fund.
With the scholarship fund now laid to rest, Thea is now looking forward to immersing herself in the sessions at the Wine Bloggers Conference this year in Walla Walla. “Since I won’t be working the scholarship program, I can actually sit in on all the sessions!”