We spent last weekend immersing ourselves in wine, food, blogging and wisdom with about 300 other wine loving bloggers in Lodi, California. Lodi was a very special place with great food, wine and people that made all of us feel so welcome. Lodi would be enough to bring us back, but next year’s conference will not be in Lodi. It is returning to its roots for its tenth anniversary gathering. The conference will be held in Santa Rosa, California in Sonoma Valley. Sonoma is certainly enough of a draw, but that is only one of the reasons we will be returning for our second Wine Blogger’s Conference next year.
The wine – it wouldn’t be a wine blogger’s conference without the wine. Can you imagine how different a fitness blogger’s conference might be. We are tasting amazing wines while those fitness bloggers are stretching, bending and sweating. I’ll take wine blogging anytime. WBC 16 included at least seven different tasting experiences including Live Wine Blogging. It was like speed dating with wine. Each winery visited our table (one of nineteen) for five minutes, poured their wine and described it while we tweeted, posted, photographed and sipped. One day was whites and the next was reds. We also had tastings with lunch and dinner as well as a “Wines of the Worlds” tasting prior to the Saturday evening banquet. And, that banquet, it included wines from 19 different wineries with each winery hosting its own table. We were lucky enough to enjoy wine from Durst Winery, all were amazing. We can’t wait to try the wines next year from Sonoma.
The food – Great wine is even better when paired with amazing food. WBC16 did not disappoint. Each meal was a culinary extravaganza, from a picnic lunch to a banquet barbecue dinner and a special wine dinner at a surprise winery.
The place – Lodi is a special place, made more special by the people who so actively engaged with the bloggers who were filled with questions, demands for photos and hungry (or thirsty) for as much information as possible. I know Lodi is a special place, four days there convinced me of that, but I also think that anywhere WBC16 is held will be as welcoming or it wouldn’t be held there. That’s a compliment to the organizers of this amazing event. Zephyr Adventures left nothing to chance, from transportation to accommodations to food to wine.
The people – We arrived as strangers and left as friends. Corny as that sounds, it is absolutely true. There were so many amazing, interesting, smart, creative and engaging people at this conference and all were happy to share their expertise with even the freshest bloggers in the group, including us. The people who shared their wine with us were equally wonderful. These are mostly small, boutique wineries but their generosity and warmth were beyond anything we could have imagined.
The knowledge -Okay, I like to think I’m a fairly smart girl, but I learned so much I thought my head was going to explode. Mainly I learned how much I don’t know and the amount is overwhelming. From iMovie editing to social media platforms I have never heard of, this was information overload. I want to master every single thing I heard about, but that might take a day or two.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this was one of the best professional experiences of our lives, and one we can’t wait to experience again in November, 2017 in Santa Rosa.