We at Zephyr Adventures just finished running the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference. 300 bloggers and others involved in online media in the wine world gathered in Walla Walla, Washington. This was the third annual conference. While I know wine is not beer, wineries are not breweries, and wine bloggers are not beer bloggers, it would be pure head-in-the-sand avoidance not to take away a few thoughts for the upcoming Beer Bloggers Conference. Here are five – replace the word “wine” for “beer” and this might be your crystal ball.
1. Wineries Believe in Wine Bloggers: I estimated last night that around 1800 bottles of wine were opened this weekend by wineries. We had 14 wineries and wine associations pouring wine as Premier Sponsors, two dinner sponsors, two After Hours party sponsors, one lunch sponsor, and another 30 or so local wineries participating in a Saturday morning field trip. Wineries believe in the power of bloggers to influence consumers.
2. Making Money – Offline – From Wine Blogging: We learned loud and clear at the first Wine Bloggers Conference that most bloggers do not make more than pocket change from their blog and probably never will. However, there have been some highly public instances of wineries hiring bloggers to run their social media marketing. There were winery representatives at the conference specifically to scout out potential employees. In addition, one key wine blogger expressed his intent to move from blogging to starting his own winery. Very cool.
3. Live Wine Blogging Kicks Hiney: Wow. Our featured Live Wine Blogging session is awesome. This year we had two different sessions, one for white and one for red wines. The format is sort of like speed dating where 25 wineries each have five minutes to pour, talk, and answer questions for one table of bloggers before rotating to the next table for a total of 12 rounds. Bloggers were writing, Tweets were flying, and wineries were loving the access to educated, passionate people who were publicizing their views.
4. Walla Walla Loves Wine Bloggers and Wine Bloggers Love Walla Walla: We held the first WBC in Sonoma County and the second in Napa and Sonoma. This year we moved the conference and it was a huge success. The Walla Walla community rolled out the carpet and our reception was awesome. In turn, I heard only fantastic comments from bloggers about the town and the local wine community. Next year we are on to Charlottesville, Virginia. Moving the conference from year to year is a powerful idea that lets everyone win.
5. You Don’t Want to Miss the next Wine (Beer) Bloggers Conference: Every conference gets a little better and attendees at the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference raved about the food, the wines, the interaction, and the education. We had 10 people sign up for the 2011 conference, 13 months out, within four hours of finishing the 2010 conference. There are many reasons people might hesitate in signing up for the first-ever Beer Bloggers Conference, including budget, time constraints, and simply a wait-and-see attitude. Don’t wait.
What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know.