9 Things I learned at the Wine Bloggers Conference

So it’s been just over a month since we were out in California for the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference. Once again we had a great time and learned much about being better bloggers and how we can better understand our place in the wine industry. Here’s a list of 9 things I learned while at this year’s conference.

1. Sonoma (and Napa) are Open for Business

Reports of the Northern California wildfires were greatly exaggerated. By the time we arrived at the conference, fires in the region were well extinguished. The devastation to personal property, residential homes, and many of the natural areas was extensive. However, only a small percent of the vineyards and wineries in Sonoma and Napa were impacted. Those that suffered complete losses was a smaller number yet.

2. If You Want to Visit, Now is the Time

By now, I’m sure that word has gotten out that the whole place isn’t closed for business. While we were there, what should have been a very busy tourism season was a little on the light side. One of the consistent messages we heard from the wineries is that they want people to get out there adnd visit. That will definitely help the economy recover from the fire damage.

3. Tasting Room Appointments are a Way of Life

Here in North Carolina, the wine industry is much smaller in comparison to California. Having to make an appointment for two people is unheard of, so we were a little surprised. Appointments shouldn’t be viewed as pretentious. They help give you the best experience possible and the staff can give you their fullest attention. Plus it will guarantee that you have a spot at the tasting bar.

A note about appointments in North Carolina: Groups of 6 or more should call for an appointment a few days in advance. Many places don’t require it, but they will be thankful you called and you’ll have a much better experience.

4. California Wine Can be Really Good

From the top: Thomas George Estates, Miner Family Winery, Plump Jack Vineyards, Hill Family Estate Wines, Stewart Cellars

We never doubted that California made really good wine. I mean, if you pick up any wine magazine you’ll see a whole section devoted to California. We really enjoyed our visits at Thomas George, Miner Family, Plump Jack Vineyards, Hill Family Winery and Stewart Cellars. Each wine was well-crafted wine, full of character, and none were mass produced. It gave us a new view on California wines.

5. Overly Oaked California Chardonnay is Hard to Find

At least it was in the places we went to. There were several Chardonnays that were nicely oaked, but nothing was like licking a barrel.

6. Lodi is Still a Really Cool Place

Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards

We really enjoyed it last year so we decided to make a quick stop (it’s only 2 hours away)! Again we found it a worthwhile experience and it’ll be on future agendas.

7. Spain is Making some Interesting Wine

We attended two sessions covering the lesser known regions of Cariñena and Rias Baixas. The reds of Cariñena were mostly Garnacha (aka Grenache), but there were a few Syrah and Cariñena (aka Carignan) as well. The Rias Baixas session focused solely on Albariño and was simply amazing. Every wine we tasted was fantastic and bargain priced.

8. The Average Social Media User’s Attention Span is 57 Seconds

This is mostly talking about video, but in general I can agree. It takes about 10 seconds to draw in a reader, and then you just over 45 seconds to sell your message. It gave us some good ideas and we might be trying out a few new things.

9. Write Less to Say More

It sounds counterintuitive, but incredibly it works. Having too many words on the page can cloud the message and bore readers. For example, when I first wrote the draft for this post, it was 836 words. Now it’s 651. Could you imagine reading 185 more words?

Posted by Matt Kemberling

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