Scholarship Recipiant: Matthew Wieland has his Wagon of Wine loaded!

Matthew Wieland begin his adventures in wine in Minnesota, not exactly a mecca for high quality wine discovery.  Fortunately, his mother had a penchant for Washington and California wine, and planted a seed in Matthew’s vinous core.

Building an appreciation for more complex wines over the years, he lived in Washington, and now lives in Portland – a prefect place to hone in on the idiosyncrasies of Pinot Noir.

In less than a year, he has created a blog and a following that is well respected by the local wine community in Portland and beyond.  He is excited to attend WBC as he seeks to expand his network, and find inspiration for future work.

As a 10th grade English teacher, he is one of our everyday heros.  We look forward to having him in Corning!  This will be Matthew’s first WBC, so let’s seek him out and show him how it’s done!  Stop by and say hello:

Blog:  Wagon Wine

Facebook:  Wagon Wine page

Twitter:  @wagonwineblog

Ethnifacts Blogger Scholarship Recipient: Regine Rousseau of Shall We Wine!

Meet Regine Rousseau, Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship and Ethnifacts Diversity Scholarship Recipient!

With a mission of Learn, Drink and Repeat, Regine Rousseau of Shall We Wine  dedicates her blog dedicated to sharing her passion for wine.  She has shown herself to be a natural fit for the Wine Blogger’s Conference, and we are excited to have her at her first WBC.

Regine is the recipient of the inaugural EthniFacts Diversity in Wine Writing Scholarship, which was designed to encourage ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity in the North American Wine Bloggers Conference attendees.

Her blog is unique because it is so multi-faceted.  Regine’s passion for consumer education motivated her to create Shall We Wine TV where she interviews wine industry professionals. In addition to a traditional wine blog, she also uses her background as a fiction writer to make wine a central character in a fictional series called the Champagne Diaries focusing on the love lives of four friends and the champagne or sparkling centered around each story.

Regine is particularly excited to be joining the Wine Bloggers Conference as she sees writing as a lonely passion, and has her creativity ignited when in the company of other writers.  And that, Regine, is exactly why the Wine Bloggers Conference was founded!  She is particularly eager to better understand the business of blogging and become a better wine blogger.

Regine holds her Level II certification from The International Sommelier Guild, has also written wine columns for two Chicago newspapers and is currently pursuing a Master of Champagne certification from The French Society.  We love an overachiever!

Please stop by and say hello to Regine:

Blog:  Shall We Wine

Facebook:  RegineRousseau | ShallWeWine

Twitter:  ShallWeWineChi




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: 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:



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!



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:






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.




What I learned at Blogger Camp!

Not too long ago I was a solitary wine enthusiast sojourning in the land of the grape.  My personal circle of friends, family, and colleagues were not on the road with me.  I decided to throw my voice out there, into the ether, as it were.

As a complete newbie I started to read the blog written by my blog host, looking for tips and tricks on how to grow audience for my blog, WiningWays. The first light bulb moment was the advice to engage. Engage your intended audience every way you can.

My wine epiphany was no spiffy 1961 Cheval Blanc moment.  After many youthful memories of Boones Farm, Mateus, and Lancer’s from the 70’s I left wine behind until a simple retail shop tasting of a Port wine and chocolates. I became hooked on magical pairings. It led me down a path of self-education.

I devoured all of the most popular books by the acknowledged experts – Jancis Robinson, Oz Clarke, Kevin Zraly, Hugh Johnson, Tom Stevenson, etc., etc. From there I landed a job with an Italian wine importer and was able to learn the business from the wholesale point of view. It was a great opportunity to learn about the incredible number of different varieties grown in Italy. I started conducting tasting for people who knew even less than I did about wine. I would get a lot of the same questions time after time. This led me to start writing a blog.

It was still within my first month of blogging that a fellow blogger (Amanda Maynard, The Wine-ing Woman) I discovered lived near me told me that there was a wine bloggers conference and that there were scholarships available.  The deadline was coming up and I was never known to be on the good side of timing but somehow I managed to snag one of these scholarships.

In preparation for the conference I started reading other bloggers’ content. At first I felt incredibly inadequate.  So many people have so much knowledge and have a much broader experience than I do. Still I was receiving good comments on my blog and began to see that I did have something to contribute. There is such a long spectrum of knowledge along the wine trail that there are always going to be some who know more and some who need to know more. So somewhere along this spectrum there was a place for me. This is what I was telling myself leading up the conference in July.

As the weeks went by I began connecting with the other bloggers who were registered to attend. Some lived near me in the northeast. Others lived quite far away. Many lived in Virginia. Some wrote from within the industry – winemakers, tasting room managers, wholesalers, etc. Many wrote reviews, some from a specific point of view, such as only wines under/over certain price point, only French wines, only local regional wines. Everyone appeared to know their voice and where they belonged in the mix. I was just learning. One of my concerns was that I would go to this conference and it would only be people my daughter’s age, the age that hates its moniker – Millenials. I knew there were a good number of bloggers attending who lived in New England and hoped I would get to meet up with them, and that I wouldn’t be twenty years older than everyone else there.

It was encouraging when, while waiting for a connecting flight to board, a woman came up to me holding my picture up on her iPad asking if that was me. She had been doing the same kind of research, checking out the bloggers registered for the conference and I just happened to be sitting there in the same terminal. We both live in Massachusetts. While I knew she was younger than me I felt good that she was older than my daughter. We shared a cab to the hotel.  This is how I met Marie Payton, who writes the Life of Vines blog. She was the first of many great people I met at the conference. Now I participate in the weekly virtual wine tasting chat on Twitter (#winechat) that she co-hosts every Wednesday night at 9 pm EST. You should check it out too.

As a scholarship recipient, I was sharing a room with someone I had only had the opportunity to meet only virtually just a week before. Chandra Savage turned out to be the best roommate and we became fast friends. Her blog and her life’s motto is Mo’ Wine! I also met a fellow WBC Scholarship recipient, who lives not more than a half hour from me.  Jason Phelps was brimming with enthusiasm that was infectious. He is also an amateur winemaker. Having tasted some of his wines I can say he should go pro. His wines are the best I have tasted from a home winemaker. his blog, Ancient Fire Wine, is award winning.  I was in great company!

Reflecting on the event after the conference, it was a great experience and gave back more than I ever expected. I went there with a few virtual friends and now I can say that I have so many new real friends, and an entire community that shares my interest.  We meet at events, both virtual and real; we continually learn from each other.  I feel now like I really do have something to contribute.  I am in awe of the many who know so much more than I do but I know some things too and I really feel that this community accepts all who wine, no matter the level of experience, or place along the journey.

I enjoyed the meet and greets with the winemakers, the seminars, the Virginia hospitality, and the wonderful opportunity to tour and taste at the local vineyards. For the incredibly small cost of registration few conferences will ever offer as much. Even so, having been out of work at the time the conference came around I would not have been able to attend without the help of the WBC Scholarship, and all of the generous donors and sponsors who made it possible. I left full of enthusiasm to pay it forward.

I came away from the conference with so much more than new friends. I have better defined my writing voice and my intentions. I joined the Society of Wine Educators and began studying for my CSW. I have been able to land a few paid writing assignments. I was inspired by the Virginia bloggers and the New York bloggers to write about the wines from my own region and give them support whenever I can. I had no idea, until Eric Asimov spoke, that there was a separation of meaning between blogging and writing. He told us during his keynote speech that bloggers are writers. I was naïve enough to have thought that all along. I suppose that since most people don’t blog according to the rules of the AP Style Manual some see the conversational tone of some blogging in a lesser light but it is writing. Most of the blogs I read do an excellent job of demonstrating voice. I think that is a key element of writing. Of course even this community has a few naysayers, the disenchanted, the snobs, and those getting off the road for a while but they do not dampen the bright enthusiasm of those of us who write for the pure pleasure of it. Many of us provide significant public relations and marketing, and opinions in our blogs as influences for the wine industry and for little or no reward – and we’re ok with that.

If you are a new blogger, wine enthusiast, or you just learned that wine bloggers actually have a conference I heartily encourage you to attend WBC12 in Oregon next summer. You will meet some great people, in an environment where you encounter very little snobbery, and there is room and acceptance for all. I can’t wait to see you there.

I could not have participated without the generous sponsoshop of the WBC Scholarship.  If you would like to help a blogger attend the WBC12 in Portland, please donate today!  No amount is too small.