Gratitude, Growth, and Cheers!

This post is brought to you by Jennifer Dahlin, author of Virtual Wine Bar.  Jennifer was one of our wonderful scholarship recipiants, and we’re so happy she joined us in Portland!

So here I am, standing in my hotel room.  Bags packed and I’m putting my name badge on for the last time. I look around the room and take a deep breath.  I realize it’s all over.

In the weeks before my trip, as I prepared to embark on this adventure to the Wine Blogger Conference in Portland, OR I was filled with nerves.  This would be my first official industry event in a room filled with Sommieres, Winemakers, Winery Owners, Distributors and Power Bloggers.  There was a moment in the week before the trip when my worries of failure got the best of me. I actually told my husband I didn’t want to go.  I worried that I would be way out of my league.  I worried that I didn’t have enough education or know all the right people.  After all, I’d only been a “Blogger” since May and who do I think I am to be rubbing elbows with these industry professionals? He just hugged me and encouraged me to go anyway.  He said that if the Wine Blogger Scholarship Committee thought enough of my blog to award me the scholarship then that was all the encouragement I would need.  He was right.  Because of that scholarship I was able to just go and hope for the best.  Reflecting back, this moment of self doubt has shown me that I am only as good as I believe I can be. It was time to believe in myself…time to embrace my passion and pursue a dream.
The conference itself was even more than I dream it would be!  At every turn there were wine tastings, educational seminars and new experiences being presented to me.  The four breakout sessions I went to were, Wine Blogger Workshop, Future Trends in the Wine Industry, Social Media and Monetization.  In each breakout session I had an “Aha!” moment.  We also went on a Winery tour of the Gorge and were literally “Wined and Dined” by the most amazing people who represented 5 wineries.  They werePhelps Creek VineyardsViento WinesThe Pines VineyardCathedral Ridge Winery, and Naked Winery.  Each of these wineries were unbelievably gracious and their wines were absolutely delicious.  The makings of a perfect evening!
Another highlight was tasting wine that is way out of my daily (or even special occasion) price point.  It was one of those opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to experience without attending this conference. Two notable wines were the Opus One 2002 Vintage, and the Beaulieu Vineyard 2002 Private Reserve Georges de Latour Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley at the Napa Valley Vintners reception.  What an amazing experience!  To read more about the specific wines I loved throughout the entire conference check out the August 2012 Wine List.
As an industry rookie, I approached this conference experience as a student and was so grateful to anyone who would teach.  Throughout my career, I have been to many conferences in the Recreation Management industry and this one rivaled any of those.  The enthusiasm and passion at this conference was apparent at every turn.  We blog because we want to, not because we have to, and it showed in every aspect of the conference.
So, as my hotel door closes behind me and I’m walking down the hall approaching the elevator I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  My heart is in my throat as I reflect on all that I have to be grateful for.  Here is a little window into my thoughts as I walk…
I am thankful that I started my blog in May, I am thankful that I stumbled across the conference, I am thankful that I found the Wine Blogger Conference Scholarship, I am thankful that I mustered up the guts to apply, I’m thankful that the committee chose me as a scholarship recipient, I’m thankful for my family’s eternal support and encouragement, I’m thankful for the many friends I found while attending the conference and lastly I’m thankful for my bravery because I went even though I was scared to death of looking foolish.  I felt really proud of myself for trying something new and doing the best I can even though I knew I wouldn’t be the smartest, best or most experienced blogger in the room.  Sometimes the experiences that take us the farthest out of our comfort zone end up being the ones that become the most triumphant.  I say to you as I said to myself on the plane the whole way to Portland, “You can do this, just try your best and it will all be OK!”  It ended up way better than OK!
Randal Graham said it beautifully during his keynote speech, “I blog, therefore I am.”  Yes this is me ~ Cheers!

Blogger Profile: Carolyn Blakeslee

Carolyn Blakeslee is The Frugal Wine Snob.  She is a mom, a food and wine writer, gardening columnist, magazine publisher, book editor and publisher, artist, musician, and wine geek.  Wow!  That was a mouthful!

At The Frugal Wine Snob, Carolyn blogs about wines that cost less than $20, but taste like a whole lot more.

Carolyn’s a-ha moment came a few years ago when she was tasting a  Côtes du Rhône that was brilliant, rich, and – only cost $16.  It was a revelation.

The Frugal Wine Snob is a labor of love and learning. It’s a place to keep track of the wines that she’s especially enjoyed, a place to share her finds, and engage with the wine community.  Carolyn especially likes wines that are way off the beaten path, as well as wines that can be picked up at the grocery store.

This will be her first Wine Bloggers Conference, and we look forward to having her in Portland!

Please steop by and say hello!
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Blogger Profile: nannette eaton

Nannette Eaton IS the Wine Harlot!  The Harlots’ object is to, quite simply, get people to enjoy wine.  While some sites can be dull or unapproachable, Wine Harlots strives to get people out of their comfort zone and join in a global journey of wine, one bottle of a time.

In addition to the website traffic success, the Wine Harlots brand is consistently named one of the wine influences in social media, with 35,000 Twitter followers and a semi professional career in wine globe trotting.

Please stop by and say hi to Nannette at @wineharlots and take a peek at her blog.  You can also find her on Facebook.

 

 

Blogger Profile: Jennifer Dahlin

Jennifer Dahlin is a brand new spanking blogger!  In the short span of a few months, she has developed and launched the Virtual Wine Bar.

Her goal is to bring wine, food and friendship together, in a welcoming and unpretentious environment.  The mission statement of Virtual Wine Bar is to actually provide a place that is like a real wine bar, while offering options like the Front Door, Wine List, Menu, and Daily Nosh.

I am looking forward to seeing you at this year’s conference, and can’t wait to see what the Virtual Wine Bar does next!

Please stop by and say hi to Jennifer:
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Blogger Profile: Shawn Burgert

Shawn Burgert likes to wander as he wines.  His blog, the Wandering Wino, is designed to a helpful and informative place where wine travellers can find information on tasting rooms, but also find out more about the culture of wine.

Shawn is a creative and entertaining writer, and likes to write on topics that stand out from the crowd.  He seeks to create thought provoking content that the rest of the pack isn’t talking about!  that’s fairly difficult given the thousands of wine blogs, but I love the style.  Did I mention he also has mad photography skills?

Growing up working in the restaurant industry, he developed a Champagne taste on a beer budget.  While working his way to a Level 1 Somm certificate, Shawn tries to maintain his grounded identity, and stays in touch with his inner wino, while sticking to a budget (sometimes?).

His wit and sarcasm are appreciated, and he has built a community of readers on both Wandering Wino as well as Mi Wine Barrel.  Narrowly missing out on the festivities in Charlottesville last year, Shawn watched intently as he was benched from engaging with his wine blogger posse.  He is excited to be participating in this years conference so he can learn more about social media, Oregon wine, and the wine blogging community.  He is also looking forward to meeting  the many people that he has connected with online keeps him from going crazy as we count down the days.

We look forward to having you in Oregon!  Please stop by and say hi!  Check out the wandering wino here:
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Blogger profile: Helene Kremer

Helen Kremer, a busy mom and legal professional, is also a freelance writer.  With her own blog A Taste of Grace – l”espirit de vin, she can focus in food & wine.  She has been enjoying wine for years, and now gets to share what she’s learned about wine, and herself with her readers.

Helene is especially looking forward to attending WBC in Portland for the infusion of ideas, inspiration, and education that the other bloggers can give her, and help her improve her craft.

A Taste of Grace hopes to help you get to know yourself, and to drink what you like not what you’re told.  Rules?  What rules!

We look forward to sharing the Wine Bloggers Conference with you Helene!

Please stop by and say hello!

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Blogger Profile: Kellie Stargaard

Kellie Stargaard is an avid wine drinker who looks for wines that can be enjoyed every day at affordable prices; in additional, she enjoys presenting wines in a non intimidating way.

The Wine Chicks Guide to Everyday Wines weaves a story about life and wine experiences, from her home base in the Georgia mountains.  Kellie loves how wine is for sharing, and she enjoys sharing what she’s learned with her readers.

We look forward to seeing you in Portalnd!

Please stop by and say hello to Kellie at:

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Blogger Profile: Becca Yeamans

Becca Yeamans, The Academic Wino, has been blogging for about a year and dedicates her site to understanding and sharing the current research and oenology and viticulture, as well as providing her own personal insights on the current state of wine research.

Wow!  That was a lot in one sentence.  Becca’s goal is to analyze and review at least one article in wine a week, while including her personal journey through wine.  She has a unique perspective as the Academic Wino is one that delves in to the areas that few dare – the science behind the wine and viticulture.  Her technical approach is understandable to both the lay person and the industry insider, and it gives her readers a wealth of information.

While Becca has no formal training in winemaking or wine tasting, she is far from the average bear, and has a pursuit of knowledge that is admirable.   With her BA in Biology, she went on to earn her Master’s in Environmental Sciences in – where else – the rolling hills of Charltottesville, VA.

While living in Virginia, she worked in the local wine industry and her wine education took off.  After completing her studies, she worked in the wine industry and took additional courses in oenology and viticulture.  Quite the underachiever right?

While we missed her at last year’s conference, I am excited that she will be joining us in Portland!  Please stop by and say congrats and welcome to her!  I think you’ll find her blog a fascinating look at a business from a unique angle.

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Blogger Profile: Kim Johnson

Kim Johnson has been blogging only for a short time, but she has developed a loyal fan base for her information on affordable California wines.

She is a wine lover and everyday wine drinker, with a passion for wine!  She loves to read and study the subject, and has lived all over northern California, seeking the wines she enjoys so much.  At D’vine Wine Time, she hopes to share her love of these wines with you.

This will be Kim’s first WBC and she is thrilled to be participating, to learn from the large group of diverse and experienced bloggers in Portland this August.

Please stop by and say hello!

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Blogger Profile: Caroline Henry

Caroline has been passionate about wine for more than a decade, and has worked in wine branding and marketing for several years.  In 2010 she received her Advanced WSET Certificate, and is working on her Diploma.

Writing for her own blog, Missin Wine, as well as several other publications, she has been writing for 3 years about wine marketing, travel and wine itself.  She loves to research her topics in depth, and works to convey her passion and love for wine with an educational twist.  Like myself, she likes to talk about the story behind the wine, and works to discover new regions and unique producers.

This will be Caroline’s first WBC.  While she has atteneded the EWBC (now Digital Wine Communications Confernece), she is excited to attend the American version and share information and wine with her fellow bloggers.

We look forward to meeting you in August!  Please stop by and say hi to her on twitter, facebook, and her blog!

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