Blogger Recipient: Jenn Nelson is full of Wine Antics

The WBC Scholarship Fund is delighted to award the Ethnifacts Diversity Grant to Jenn Nelson of Wine Antics.  Adding diversity to the content creation world, beyond blogging, Jenn is a military veteran and has re-invented herself many times over to become Wine Antics.

Jenn is a second-time attendee to the Wine Bloggers Conference, having made the trip to Lodi last year.




Jenn live blogs, mostly via Facebook Live, about wine, beer, and spirits on a weekly basis, and feels the platform best fits with how she enjoys sharing her love of wine with others. Jenn had been doing the Facebook Live wine thing since 2016, but had previously tried different channels before settling on Facebook.

She hales from the DC area and is looking forward to experiencing the WBC in its original home in Sonoma.

Make sure to check out her upcoming Halloween special on Facebook on Thursday 10/26!

Wine Antics (facebook)

Imbibe Live (facebook)






Blogger Recipiant: Meg Shannon has a lot of Palate Practice!


Meet Meg Shannon, one of our 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship recipients!

Meg founded Palate Practice in 2015, spurred on by a family that always welcomed wine to the table. Her stepfather introduced her to the art of wine tasting and appreciation.

Through Palate Practice, Meg invites readers to “ask your most embarrassing wine-related questions and be met with love and answers.”

Writing is her favorite part of running a blog, but as she’s gone from a casual wine taster to passing her WSET Level 3 with distinction, she’s ready to admit she’s fully crossed over into wine geek territory.

Part of what Meg hopes to get out of the Wine Bloggers Conference is developing a way to invite readers to fully nerd out with her over wine without losing her charm as a “goofy, informal, approachable friend you can come to for cool wine trivia stories and answers to wine-related questions, ” per her post on her WSET results. Of course, she also looks forward to networking with fellow wine bloggers and supporters of the industry.

Meg lives in Toronto, Ontario, so she joins the fold of awesome Canadian bloggers attending the #wbc17.  Her day job involves lobbying on behalf of the nonprofit Professional Association of Canadian Theaters and her writing interests include short story, memoir, fantasy, and playwrighting, but it’s safe to say that wine blogging reigns among her passions.  She is excited to attend her first WBC!

We can’t wait to meet you Meg!  See you in 19 days!

Blogger Recipient: Nicole Ruiz Hudson

I’m thrilled to introduce Nicole Ruiz Hudson, a food and drink writer and educator currently living in Oakland, California.

She’s happiest nipping, sipping, and hiking her way through new places. Above all, she loves how wine makes friends.

Her excitement about meeting so many wine writers and content products from around the country (and world) is palatable as we approach the conference – wine and friendship? This is a perfect pairing!

She grew up around the hotel industry and has lived all around the U.S. as well as Valencia, Venezuela.  After graduating from Harvard University, Nicole worked in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles until thoughts of food and wine got the better of her.

Upon moving to New York City, she made the switch and went to culinary school at the International Culinary Center, following it up with a WSET Diploma and Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. That’s quite a pedigree!

She spent three years in the Tasting Department at Wine Spectator in New York, and is now extremely excited to be back in California. You’ll now find her part-time at Bay Grape in Oakland.

You can also find her recipes with wine pairings regularly on There are also more food and travel adventures on her own blogs,, as well as her latest project,

We are looking forward to meeting you Nicole!

Please stop by and say hello at

Somms Table (facebook)


Nibbling Gypsy (facebook)





WBC Scholarship Wine Club – May Selections

Spring!  It’s official!  Though it’s hard to tell given the confused weather here in California, it is indeed Spring, and with that comes the Spring WBC Wine Club Shipment.

Arriving in mid-May, this shipment is sure to tickle your tastebuds with some great small production wines.

Not a member of the wine club yet?  Here’s the scoop!

  • 3 boutique, hand crafted, hand selected wines a quarter
  • 4 shipments a year in February, May, August, and November
  • $99 per shipment (that’s just a little more than $1 a day for some scrumptious wines you probably can’t find anywhere else!

  • Drink for charity!  For each new wine club member, we are one step closer to funding a blogger / content creator in attending the 10th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference this fall.  Fifty percent of the profits from each shipment are donated to the scholarship so it really si #drinkingforcharity.


  • Virtual tastings of select wines will occur frequently online, allowing to hear directly from the winemakers, and like-minded wine lovers who are enjoying the wine!

And now to the May wines:


Paix Sur Terre 2016 Kiler Grove Vineyard Ugni Blanc

Ugni Blanc is a rare grape in the New World. but is a workhorse white in the Old World where it is also known as Trebbiano.  It is important in Cognac and Armagnac production, and is often used in large production wines in Italy.

Jumping across the pond to Paso Robles, Paix Sur Terre harvested a bountiful crop, which is good news for the cult following of this wine.  Typical of this varietal, the wine has tons of mineral tension, taut acidity and lots of refreshing citrus notes. Picked on September 10th at 22.8 brix, the fruit was whole cluster pressed to tank, chilled to 45 degrees Fahrenheit and racked into stainless Muellers.  All barrel fermented with Champagne yeast, the Ugni Blanc was aged in 100% stainless steel barrel giving it a fresh and fruity finish.


Kita 2013 “Spe’y” Central Coast Red Blend

Founded in 2010, Kitá Wines is a small, premium winery located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. The word “Kitá” means “Our Valley Oak” in the Santa Ynez Chumash native language of Samala.  Camp 4 Vineyards, the estate vineyard, once owned by Fess Parker, was purchased by the Santa Inez Band of Chumash Indians and the winery was founded.

Winemaker Tara Gomez, a member of the Chumash Band, always loved wine and received a scholarship from the Chumash to study enology at Fresno State.  Gaining hands on experience at Fess Parker during her studies, she was one of two female enologists to graduate in 1998.  Continuing her work at Fess Parker after graduation, and honed her skills both locally and internationally.

When the Chumash purchased the property, Tara returned to her roots at Kita, focusing on sustainable methods and a blend of old world and new world winemaking techniques.

This wine’s name means “Flower” in the Native language of Samala. This Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignane highlight the beauty of these varietals. A deep colored wine that is bursting with exuberant freshness and complexity with aromas of violet, blueberries, and cherries are accompanied by hints of coffee and cinnamon. The palate is full-bodied, yet balanced with traces of spice, blueberries, and rose petals. The acidity in the wine emphasizes the balance of dense tannins to its elegant long finish.


Nobelle 2013 Paso Robles Carmenère

Carmenère, originally hailing from Bordeaux, is a member of the Cabernet family and means “crimson”; it was used to produce deep red wines and often for blending instead of Petite Verdot.  In fact, Carmenère was originally thought to be Merlot in plantings in Chile!

Grown in VERY small quantities here in Califrornia, Colbert in San Miguel is one of the only vineyards to carry the varietal in the region. Carmenère always ripens late; mid-October to mid-November is the usual picking time. The leaves turn black in fall, which is very surprising and rare! 100% Carmenère. The fruit came cleanly to the winery and right after crushing (less than 24 hours later) we inoculated the batch with classic Bordeaux yeast. After press we moved the wine to a Le Roi pungeon where it aged for 24 months. 76 cases produced.This varietal has a light and delicate perfume. The density of the wine is very interesting, a lot of weight, followed by long and smooth spice. It will go perfectly with a rack of lamb with rosemary or similar, the simpler the better!


Be sure to sign up my May 1st if you’re not yet a member so you don’t miss out on these fabulous wines!


3rd Annual Ethnifacts Multicultural Scholarship Announced

Wine Blogger’s Conference Scholarship and EthniFacts Announce Third Annual Multicultural Scholarship

(March 14, 2017) San Francisco, CA – Today the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Foundation and EthniFacts, announced the third annual “EthniFacts Diversity in Wine Writing & Content Creation Scholarship,” to encourage ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity in the Wine Bloggers Conference attendees.

This year, the Ethnifacts Scholarship has been expanded to support two individuals in attending the conference this November in Santa Rosa, California, the heart of Sonoma’s wine country.
“While it is clear that America is changing, the amount of blogger diversity hasn’t kept up with the changes in the American mainstream,” said Mike Lakusta, CEO and Founding Partner of EthniFacts. “For the past two years, we’ve seen our scholarship recipients go on to do great work in expanding their reach and readership. This scholarship is meant to encourage participation and support of diverse candidates who write great blogs while providing expanded knowledge of wine regions throughout America.”

2016 Ethnifacts Scholarship recipient Julien Miquel, of Social Vignerons, says:

“Being able to attend the 2017 WBC thanks to the Ethnifacts Scholarship grant allowed me to connect with so many fellow wine bloggers and wine enthusiasts, I have now friends spread around the United States and the world to share the journey with. Since, we’ve exchange thoughts, tips and perspectives on how to improve the quality of our content, what to cover in the world of wine, trends and much more. Furthermore, anywhere I am traveling to know, I am sure to find support from the network I established at the conference, and of course, someone to share a glass of wine with J”

And inaugural recipient Regine Rousseau from Shall We Wine feels that

“The conference truly exceeded my expectations and direct contact with winemakers and winery representatives broadened my understanding of the region and how climate impacts wine making overall,” she said.  “This scholarship is about diversity and blogging is about diversity of voices. I am so appreciative of the opportunity afforded to me by EthniFacts.”


Candidate requirements include having a blog that maintains an active status and has been in existence for at least one year, demonstrate a clear financial need, and meet the multicultural guidelines set forth by EthniFacts and the WBC Scholarship Fund.

  • First Year Attendee
  • Citizen Blogger with no paid wine writing experience
  • Diversity Candidate

“We appreciate the long-time partnership with EthniFacts and are excited to double the impact this scholarship will have in 2017,” said Thea Dwelle, chairman of the WBC Scholarship Committee. “Many bloggers do not have the ability to fund a trip that may cost more than a $1,000 by the time hotel, flight and conference registration are totaled, and this newly established scholarship will remove financial barriers.”

The Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship was founded in 2009 to provide well established “citizen bloggers” with a stipend so they can attend the wine bloggers conference, further their knowledge, their network, the wine blogging community and the wine industry as a whole.  The recipients are bloggers who are not affiliated with a winery or other company in the wine industry with a demonstrated financial need. Specific attention is paid to bloggers who post regularly, have never attended the conference before and who are students with a particular focus in wine.

The tenth annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference is scheduled for November 9-12, 2017, and brings together hundreds of wine bloggers, social media educators and leaders, and wine industry members in Santa Rosa. This year marks the tenth conference and brings some exciting changes to format, including in depth focal tastings, video content creation sessions, and a diverse group of writers, video makers, and podcasters.

The Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship is partnered with Enobytes, an organization dedicated to sharing passion and knowledge of wine and food.   This non-profit organization serves a global audience of wine lovers, and takes innovation to the next level with interactive maps, in depth wine reviews, and wine business analysis.

For more information please contact and visit

2017 Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Applications are OPEN!

Applications are now open for the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship!

The Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship was founded in 2009 to provide established non-professional writers and content creators, including blogs, video content, and alternative media in attending the Wine Bloggers Conference.  As, unfortunately, not all who wish to attend can afford the costs associated with the conference, the scholarship was established to assist in this effort.  The scholarship recipients are writers and content creators who are not affiliated with a winery or other company in the wine industry with a demonstrated financial need. Specific attention is paid to individuals who post regularly, have never attended the conference before and who might be students with a particular focus in wine.

The weekend of November 10-12, 2017, hundreds of wine bloggers, social media educators and leaders, and wine industry members will gather in Santa Rosa, California, for the tenth annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) the premier conference for new media and the wine industry.

This 10th Anniversary Celebration will bring together more than 300 people in the place where the Wine Bloggers Conference began in 2008.  Sonoma County has been intimately engaged and influential with wine bloggers for several years, and frequently hosts both media trips as well as virtual tastings for wine writers around the world to experience the breadth of wines available in this region.  With the large number of wineries and variety of wines being produced, Santa Rosa is the perfect central location for a deep dive into wine, the wine business, and evolving topics in content creation.

Situated just over 50 miles from the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Rosa is the heart of Sonoma County and is a short drive to several famous AVAs such as Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, and Alexander Valley.

Applicants to the Wine Bloggers Conference are asked to describe their blog, their financial need pertaining to the conference, and why they are deserving of sponsorship. Stipends are awarded through a committee selection process based on the above mentioned focus criteria.

Funds are generated by donations from participating wineries and other industry entities as well as generous individuals. In 2016, the scholarship fund assisted 7 wine bloggers in attending the Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, and has assisted over 70 individuals over the last 9 years.  One hundred percent of the funds supported the scholarships and bloggers received an average of $1000 to attend the conference including registration, travel costs and accommodations.
In 2016, the Scholarship announced a partnership with World’s Best Wine Clubs, a Paso Robles firm specializing in unique wine clubs for fundraising, to create the WBC Scholarship Wine Club.  This club offers three small production California wines to members four times a year, and fifty percent of all proceeds go to the WBC Scholarship Fund.  This exciting new option allows the Scholarship to partner with wineries from around the state and beyond to provide exposure and raise funds.

Thanks to a partnership with Enobytes, the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Fund is accepting donations as a US based 501(c) non profit organization. This means, that you can donate to the scholarship fund TAX FREE (subject to your tax professional’s advice of course). Donations are accepted via our donor page personal or corporate check (please let us know if you prefer this option.)

In Santa Rosa, we will once again be hosting a Donor table, where the WBC Scholarship Committee and former recipients will be available to answer questions, pour your wine or share your business information, and interact with the attendees.  This is a fantastic opportunity for you to present your company to over 300 industry & blogger attendees during the “Meet the Sponsors” event.
For more information please contact and visit

WBC Wine Club: February Shipment

Wow!  2017 is here, and we are really gearing up to get donations for #WBC17.

With only 8 months left to fund some awesome content creators, we need your help!

Remember this past November when we announced our partnership with Worlds Best Wine Clubs?  Well it’s time for the February shipment!

As you recall, we have partnered to bring you 3 delicious, small production, fun California wines, while benefiting the WBC Scholarship.  Each quarterly shipment is a mere $99, and 50% of the proceeds go to the scholarship!  It’s the ultimate meaning of #DrinkingforCharity.

Now, we come to the great wines of the February shipment!

BellaGrace 2016 Amador County Vermentino

When most people hear the name Vermentino, they think of crisp, citrusy, slightly briny wines from Sardinia and Corsica, the original birthplace of the grape. But few know that Vermentino is also a staple white grape in southern France and the Rhone Valley under the name “Rolle.” This is why you are startinBellaGrace 2016 Sierra Foothills Vermentinog to see more and more Vermentino wines popping up in the warmer-weather, more Rhone-friendly parts of California, such as Paso Robles, Santa Babara County, and the Sierra Foothills.

Be among the fortunate exclusive few to get to sample BellaGrace’s 2016 offering of Vermentino shortly after it is bottled and before it is released to the general public. A multiple medal winner for the 2015 vintage, BellaGrace’s Vermentino tends to have bold notes of tropical citrus like guava and pineapple, along with a lemon peel nose and a hint of minerality from the calcareous soils in the Foothills. Is higher-elevation warm weather Vermentino superior to Coastal seaside Vermentino? This is your opportunity to put your own stamp on this wine and be among the first to taste it!

I was lucky enough to visit Bella Grace while at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference, and this fantastic, family owned winery is producing a wide variety of yummy things.  I’m particularly fond of their Rhône varietals, as well as the Vermentino!

AronHill Vineyards NV KickAss “Britchen Red” Paso Robles Red Blend

One of the only mother-daughter owned & operated wineries in the Central Coast – let alone California – AronHill Vineyard worships at the alter to two things: fantastic Primitivo from Paso Robles, and an enduring love of all things equine. Their KickAss wines are a natural expression of everything owner/winemaker Judy Aron and her sales and marketing guru daughter Kathryn love about their lives in the Central Coast: a strong, fiery steed to ride, and exquisite estate grapes to blend together into a wine for all time.

The “Britchin Red” (you horse people must love the pun) is a non-vintage blend of grapes from two of Paso Robles’s premier vintages: 2012 and 2013. The wine is combination of AronHill Estate Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon, and Westside Paso Robles Zinfandel. The final product is more than the sum of its parts – rich, zesty, tannic but smooth, with deep candied black cherry and plum notes along with a strong black pepper finish. It’s the wine you’ll want to enjoy after a long trail ride while enjoying an immaculate mountaintop sunset.


Tlo 2012 Central Coast GSM

Sometimes it takes a trip to Croatia to awaken a passion for winemaking. That is exactly what happened to Tlo Wines owner and winemaker Andy Zaninovich, except his trip did not occur during adult hood, but rather as a child. While visiting relatives in the still Communist-controlled country, Andy ventured down into the cellars of his uncles and assisted in the winemaking process, learning the art and becoming mesmerized by how sweet, round robust grapes could be transformed into a unique, sour, dry concoction with complexity and character.

Decades later, it was this memory that spurred Andy to try his own hand at winemaking. With the garagiste movement exploding in the Central Coast, Andy threw in his lot and dedicated himself to making wine that recaptured those same memories and passions he felt as a child in the cellars of Croatia. His 2012 GSM blend is 37% Grenache, 34% Syrah and 29% Mourvèdre harvested by hand from the cool, fog-drenched Arroyo Grande Valley in southern San Luis Obispo County. Aged 18 months is 25% new French oak, the wine explodes with rich and vibrant blackberry and smoked fig flavors with a distinct peppery zing from the cool-climate Syrah. A primal example of the classic Rhone blend, this wine will give you a new appreciation for exactly why Rhone varietals thrive on the Central Coast.

AronHill KickAss Britchen Red


Are you drooling yet?  Well head on over to World’s Best Wine Clubs and sign up!  Look over to your right to see how many more memberships we need to fund a scholarship to Santa Rosa!

For every 10 wine club members, we can send a content creator to Santa Rosa!

Exciting news! WBC Scholarship Wine Club has arrived!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the start of the WBC Scholarship Wine Club, another awesome wine club brought to you by World’s Best Wine Clubs.


The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund and have partnered to create The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club. Now all attendees and alumni of the Wine Bloggers’ Conference and their friends and family can enjoy some of the finest boutique wines from California delivered to their door every quarter while helping to raise money so that deserving citizen bloggers can attend the upcoming Wine Bloggers’ Conference.

Four times per year (in February, May, August, and November) for just $99 per shipment, you’ll receive three handcrafted, highly rated wines from three of the finest boutique wineries in California. These wines come from some of the finest established wineries in California and have been expertly curated and hand-selected for you by America’s Uncommon Wine Expert, founder, and WBC alumnus Chris Kern.

Best of all, 50% of the profits from every club shipment are donated directly back to the WBC Scholarship Fund to assist with their mission to provide well established “citizen bloggers” with a stipend so they can attend the wine bloggers conference, further their knowledge, their network, the wine blogging community and the wine industry as a whole.

Sign up now and receive three unique, highly rated wines delivered to your door every quarter for just $99 per shipment, and help make a difference in someone’s life today.

Become a member of the Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club today!

The first shipment will contain some fabulous small production wines, so get yours while you can!


Donor Profile: Rodney Strong Vineyards

rodney-strong-logo-white-background-hi-res (1)For the ninth straight year, Rodney Strong Vineyards continues its support of the wine blogging community via the Wine Bloggers Scholarship Fund.  Specifically, Rodney Strong sponsors the Rodney Strong Wine Blogger Scholarship, which assists up-and-coming bloggers that display quality, quantity, consistency, and a community spirit in their work.

This year, Rodney Strong has gone above and beyond, in supporting the Rodney Strong Scholarship but also by supporting #winelovers against cancer and providing a supplemental scholarship grant via their sponsorship of 100% natural recycled cotton canvas swag bags.  Cancer is close to Chris’ heart, and we are thrilled to have his support this year.

Be sure to stop by the Scholarship booth at Friday’s Expo Lunch and pick up bag, complete with Rodney Strong swag!  If you want to augment your experience, a donation to the scholarship will also provide you with a loaded bag full of fun WBC goodies you are sure to enjoy for years to come.  Stay tuned for more fun from Rodney Strong at #wbc16!13709760_10153849632148434_6689562739989999957_n

Amanda Barnes, of Around the World in 80 Harvests, is the recipient of the 2016 Rodney Strong Wine Blogger Scholarship.  Last year, Matt McGinnis was the inaugural recipient of this very special grant.

Founded over 50 years ago, Rodney Strong Vineyards is a family owned winery that grows and produces wines exclusively from Sonoma County grapes. The winery was the 13th bonded winery in the country, and it aspires to conserve and protect the environment through sustainable practices, solar power, and fish friendly farming.

This year, Chris O’Gorman, newly appointment Director of Communications for Rodney Strong, will be representing the winery in Lodi. Be sure to say hello to Chris and the Rodney Strong team!

“I’m super excited to attend my first WBC, meet new and established digital influencers, and attend the fun excursions and seminars,” says Gorman.  “I’m sure this will be the first of many!”

We are excited to have your continued support, and look forward to seeing you in Lodi!

Connect with Rodney Strong Vineyards:




Scholarship Recipient: Amanda Barnes – Around the World in 80 Harvests

Meet Amanda Barnes, creator and editor of Around the World in 80 Harvests, a wine blog chronicling her travels visiting 80 wine regions around the world. The name of her blog is a nod to the adventure novel by Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days.

This year, Amanda is the recipient of the Rodney Strong Wine Blogger Scholarship, specifically awarded to a digital writer who exhibits quality, quantity, consistency, and a community spirit.   This is the 2nd Annual Rodney Strong award, and we are excited to have this strong relationship!  The first recipient was Matt Mcginnis (2015) from Texas, and we look forward to our continued relationship.  Stay tuned for more in the Rodney Strong Scholarship!

An award winning freelance writer, Amanda moved to South America in 2009 to follow her curiosity and passion for wine. “What I love about wine is that its origin and impact has so much reach: nature, science, art, culture, history, and travel,” says Amanda. “The list of potential subjects is almost endless, which gives you a lot to write about – much more than just the bottle in your hand!”

In 2012 and 2013, Amanda was the runner up for UK Young Wine Writer of the Year Award, and runner up for the Great Wine Capitals Blogger of the Year award. She is also a member of the UK-based Circle of Wine Writers.

Today Amanda focuses on sharing the stories of the wines, winemakers and wineries of Chile and Argentina. This includes providing content for Oz Clarke’s Pocket Wine Guide and Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book among other publications.

“It’s my first time attending a Wine Bloggers Conference and I can’t wait to meet other bloggers and learn about what is exciting in their wine markets right now. Wine blogging is a niche and it is inspiring to meet other like-minded bloggers in this growing community.”

Connect with Amanda online at her BLOG and on TWITTER.


Editor’s Note:
We are so excited to welcome our international bloggers this year, Julien and Amanda!  We can’t wait to meet you and show you all about WBC!

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