Donor Profile: Academy of Wine Communications

The Academy of Wine Communications was founded in 1994 with the express goal of supporting food & wine writers and the art of wine writing.  As the methods by which writers have changed to encompass

blogging and social media, new tools and techniques continue to develop and the AWC embraces them whenever possible.  Members of the AWC see the emergence of wine blogs as an exciting new medium and wish to support bloggers in their endeavors.Members of the Academy of Wine Communications are wine and food public relations and marketing professionals.

The AWC has been instrumental in supporting writers of all kinda, and specifically bloggers.  Today, they provide it’s membership a means to network with colleagues; to meet key members of the media; hone and update their media lists; and learn classic and innovative marketing and public relations techniques.  We salute you AWC and appreciate your support!

Our friends Michael Wangbickler (twitter) of Caveman Wines & Balzac Communications, and Lisa Adams Walter (twitter) of Adams Walter Communications serve as Directors and represent the AWC at large.  Please follow the AWC on Twitter, as well as Michael and Lisa.

Donor Profile: Melissa Dobson

Melissa Dobson is a social media mentor, and strategist for wineries and small businesses. Social media is a passion of Melissa’s, and she will talk you through the basics or help you keep your fans engaged with creativee ideas to make your posts and pages dynamic.  Melissa loves to focus on small boutique wineries and businesses to help them develop social media strategies and stand out amongst the crowd!  Some of her clients include the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship sponsors Vin65, and Wark Communications, as well as Haber Family VineyardsFinger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing AssociationFinger Lakes Wine Alliance, and Specialty Wine Retailers Association.

She also writes the blog Family, Love, Wine from her home in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where she enthusiastically writes about local wines and happenings!

Thank you Melissa, for your continuing support – we look forward to seeing you again at the WBC!  You can follow Melissa on twitter at @melissadobson as well.





Donor Profile 2: Hahn Family Wines

Hahn Family Wines has been one of the movers and shakers in social media when it comes to winery involvement.  with Lisa de Bruin (@winedivergirl)  and Philip Woodrow (@hahnwines & @philular) heading the charge, they have becoming a leader in social media interaction.  As Bill Legion, President of Hahn Family Estates said last year,

The blogging community is a vital part of the future of the industry. We are using our vineyards (and the wine) because that’s who we are. I believe that the more the blogging community learns about wine, the better it is for all of us. The internet and Social Media allow you to establish a relationship and an emotional connection to someone that I have never met face to face. It allows me to create connections with multiple people in multiple countries simultaneously and in a very personal way.

Hahn Family Wines is located in the Santa Lucia Highlands, in California’s central coast.  They are inspired to elevate Monterey wines to the highest levels of quality, and make wines that are special and distinct.  One of the things that makes Hahn special is that they create wines at every level, from “Banned in ‘Bama Cycles Gladiator – which has been the subject of quite some controversy due to its rather racy label (well racy if you’re from the Bible Belt and no sense of humor) which is budget friendly and conservative Alabama riot inciting, to the Lucienne single vineyard Pinot Noirs – Hahn wines are there for everyone.

Thank you Hahn for your continuing support for the WBC Scholarship and your contributions to social media, not to mention your love of bloggers!  I am looking forward to my 1 year old Pinot noir vine’s birthday this weekend!

Editor’s Note: Last year, several California bloggers were invited to participate in a unique opportunity to plant our own vines in a special Bloggers Block at the winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands.  This experience allowed the attendees to learn detailed information about the vineyard from the vineyard manager and staff, but also see and taste the local terroir from grape to glass with winemaker Paul Clifton.  Stay tuned for the update soon!

And now, a word about our sponsors…

First of all, we thank all of our generous donors who believe in blogging!  They have come through yet again, and supported our cause for blogging and the Wine Bloggers Conference in style.  Here, we will take a peek at each of our generous supporters and who they are!

Vin65 builds stellar winery websites and e-commerce solutions that work.   They offer solutions for managing winery websites including website design, e-commerce, content management, and customer relationship management, and have clients included Crushpad, Mission Hill (the largest winery in Canada), and stores such as Burgundy and Beyond and Everything Wine. They recently released a smart phone application that allows wineries to take their e-commerce solutions mobile, which makes the buying power of the mobile wineforce that much more powerful.

We sincerely thank Vin65 and the entire team for their continuing support of the WBC Scholarship!

Here a wine there a wine

It’s hard to believe that the Wine Bloggers Conference is coming up in 71 short days.  Currently, the WBC is sold out, and there is a waiting list that grows every day.  We here at the WBC Scholarship Fund are clinging tightly to 10 slots for scholarship reciepiants, but we’re struggling to find funding for those 10 kids.  Times are tough, Walla Walla is expensive to get to, etc etc.

Enter Kaz & randy of the really big shoe, Wine Biz radio.  Last week our illustrious hosts shouted from the treetops how important the Wine Bloggers Confernece is becoming; the week before the interpid Tom Wark discussed hwo wine blogging has developed and channged in the past 5 years, and how it is influencing the wine industry.

To stand behind that belief, Kaz of Kaz Winery has offered a pledge gift of wine.  that’s right kids, those cool chatchis that get you to give money to the public TV stations has gone mainstream – to the WBC!  If you, our kind and dear readers and friends, can scrape up $100 or more from your couch cushions, tip jars, stripper money, bras, or the dust garden behidn the couch, kaz will give you some of his really cool wine in exchange.  All you have to do is tweet, email, text, smoke signal or run up to me and scream “KAZ SENT ME!” drop a cool C Note in my hand (or PayPal Account) and there you go.

If you’re curious what the scholarship has meant to people, check out the Wineing Woman’s post here, or last year’s post by recipiant Grace Hoffman.  If THAT doesn’t warm your cockles, then can I just get you drunk and take yo

See how easy that was?  C’mon!  What do you have to lose!

Am I valuable?

Really, that is the question that many wine bloggers, and for that matter, many traditional print media authors are asking themselves these days.

How does one measure their value, or the value of an inanimate object?  Value is subjective, and it is difficult to measure innately.  That said, as bloggers continue to spread the love about wines and stories they publish, if YOU my reader are paying attention, my blog and that post become valuable.

If you read a blog, or blogs, and you find value in what the writer is saying, then you are contributing to the value of that blog.  Most bloggers write for the pure love of wine (or whatever they happen to be writing about) and are not in to make money or sell a particular wine.  We dont’ get paid, we occasional get wine sent to us (which I might add is not ALWAYS good wine), and we have day  jobs.

The key in understanding wine bloggers is to know they are sharing information that they want you to know.  If a blogger reviews your wine or winery, they are effectively evangelizing your brand to their reading public.  That is the very definition of word of mouth marketing, in a new format.  For you, this is free advertising that gets more traffic to your site, and quite possibly more bodies in to your establishment.  The power of instant access tools such as twitter allow wine drinkers to review the experience as it happens, and spread that to their followers in real time.  For group tasting, or for people that follow twitter streams but may not be personally aware of your brand, that could mean an unscheduled trip in to your tasting room to check out what the buzz is about.

What could be better than that?

If you belive in bloggers, twitter, or social media in general, won’t you consider donating to our effort?  There are many bloggers that are unemployed, or simply cannot afford to make a trip to the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, washington.  OUr Scholarship aims to select bloggers who wish to learn more about blogging, develop their writing style, and network with other bloggers and industry professionals in a  creative fun enbvornemtn for three days.

Hope to see you there!

WBC fills up fast!

Dateline:  Walla Walla

Join wine bloggers, new media innovators, and wine industry leaders on June 25-27 as they converge on Walla Walla, Washington for the 2010 North American Wine Bloggers Conference – the premier conference for new media and the wine industry.  This three day symposium builds on our past successes and brings you a unique opportunity to learn about and discuss the intersection of wine with the world of new media including blogging, social media, and more.

For the first time this year, the WBC is actively pursing Foodies and Food Bloggers to take part in the conference;wouldn’t it be great to have food bloggers at the ready to help us write about pairing the delicious washington treats we are going to have?

But beware!  As of February 3rd, the number of  registered participants has surpassed the total number of participants who attended the conference in the past.  This is amazing news, and it means that the secret is out!  The Wine Bloggers Conference has exploded in its 3rd year, and the buzz is going viral.  There are more people who want to attend than the WBC can accommodate, so if you want to go, please be sure to register early.  Space is going fast, and the host hotel only has 100 rooms for us.  The slow pokes will be stuck down the street and we all know what happens after hours at the WBC hotel.

As we are getting busier and busier, the Scholarship is starting to fall behind demand.  As of today, we have 7 applications, and I fully expect to have a flurry closer to the May 7th deadline.  Many of you have been generous in your donations, both as private citizens and corporate donors.  We thank you for your support!  For the rest of you, if you are a blogger or you value social media, won’t you consider giving up that extra cup of blue Bottle coffee, and donate today?

Thanks for your support!

The Road to WBC!

Wine Blogger's Conference 2010 - Walla Walla, WA
So, as you know, we here at the WBC Scholarship are all about getting a diverse group of bloggers together in Walla Walla to have some great wine, learn a few things, and have a great time.  As you may have read, before & after the official conference, there are excursions to the Yakima Valley and Red Mountain regions.  In addition, several of us are going to Portland for some pre-WBC tasting and fun.

I’d also like to mention that the good folks over at WineCHATr are holding a contest for out of state (non-Washington) bloggers, for a 3 day road trip through wine country.  The WBC-or-Bust campaign is hosting 12 bloggers from Seattle to Walla Walla, and they taste wine, explore the wine regions of Washington, and get to know each other for 2 days before the Wine Bloggers Conference.

The road trip begins on June 23rd in Seattle, where you will be picked up downtown and taken out to Woodinville for an afternoon of wine tasting!  The itinerary is:

  • Food & Wine Pairing at Ste. Michelle
  • Woodinville Grand Tasting at Willows Lodge
  • Lunch at Barking Frog.
  • Palate Refresher at Pike Brewery
  • Ending up at the downtown Renaissance Seattle Hotel
  • A grand Winemaker dinner will close out Day 1

Day 2 you will be carousing through Red Mountain and Yakima, to visit some premier growing areas and wineries.  More information will be available shortly on that day, and you will end up in Walla Walla at the Marcus Whitman for the kick-off to the WBC!

In order to qualify for the “WBC-or-BUST” campaign wine bloggers need only signup on, add a contest badge to their website, and then blog about Washington wine. At the conclusion of the campaign 12 bloggers will win a seat on the all expenses paid road trip headed to Walla Walla and the 2010 WBC.

The contest ends in April 2010 and a total of 12 bloggers will be chosen on the following basis.  Two winners will be chosen for posting the most Washington wine related blog entries (minimum of 150 words required for each post). Six additional winners will be chosen for the best category based posting:

  • Top 2 Best Washington winery posts
  • Top 2 Best Washington wine or tasting note posts
  • Best Washington growing region post
  • Best Washington vineyard post

For all the details on how to enter, head on over to WBC or Bust for the complete rules and instructions.

Special thanks to WineChatr and WBC or Bust for their support of the WBC and the WBC Scholarship!  Creative ideas like this are always welcome, and the unique experience for out of state bloggers is guaranteed to delight.  plus, it’s easier and cheaper to fly to Seattle, so enter and good luck!

Here little birdy!


I would like to thank our host hotel, The Flamingo Hotel & Resort. for putting up a pack of wild wine bloggers for a 2nd year in a row.  Say what you will about the location discussion, The Flamingo did a fantastic job hosting us last year and has also been helpful this year.  Given that the WBC Scholarship Fund is trying to

stretch resources to make sure all bloggers who want to attend the WBC can attend the WBC, The Flamingo has helped us find rooms and work within our budgets.

Additionally, despite an...interesting…stay during Barrel Tasting, when security was apparently called at 11pm because we were talking (grrrr), last summer’s stay and another recent stay for Passport to Dry Creek were very nice experiences indeed.  During Passport, we were warmly greeted with a great sense of humor, and had a great stay.  Thanks to some help from Inside Sonoma, we scored a Deluxe

Double room for a great rate, and had a centrally located hotel, that we knew and were happy with.

The Flamingo has a long history in Sonoma County.  Startin gin 1959, the hotel was known to be the place to go by the Hollywood set, when visiting Northern California.  Movies stars (like Jayne Mansfield below) often lounged by the pool and were seen being seen.

The outFlamingo Signside might appear to be a bit dated, which can either add or take away from its charm depending on the audience, but hte rooms are fully modern and fully comfortable.  The Historical Landmark was orignially designed to be a replica of the Las Vegas

Flamingo icon, dsigned by George Vernon Russell, a well known modernist architech of the 50s.

The Scholarship Committee thanks The Flamingo for thier support!

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