What Do YOU Wanna Talk About? (2010 Americas Wine Bloggers Conference)

Vinted on June 15, 2010 binned in wine bloggers conference, wine blogging, wine industry events

The 2010 Americas Wine Bloggers Conference is nigh upon us (June 25-27 in Walla Walla, WA), and I’m getting excited to attend (despite the major pain in the ass it is going to be for me to even get to Walla Walla from Philly in the first place).

There’s a great deal to be excited about in this case – the sponsors and participating wineries will allow us wine bloggin’ types to get a deeper dive into the WA wine scene; the lovable madness of the live wine blogging “speed tasting” sessions is back (in an expanded format); friend of the Dude and Wine Enthusiast West Coast editor Steve Heimoff will be delivering the keynote; last, but most importantly, there’s the opportunity to meet with friends, old and new.

This year’s conference will be a bit more involved for me than in the past (in other words, I have to be sober on Friday) as I’ve been asked to sit (with Jeff Lefevere of Good Grape and RJ Hilgers of RJ’s Wine Blog) on the “About Wine Blogging” Breakout Session panel, specifically for the “Advanced Bloggers” session.

Which is kind of odd for me, because otherwise that was the session that I’d planned on attending.

I’m totally cool with this – and in fact I’d told the WBC organizers to feel free to consider me to help out or sit in on a panel (though I’d imagined then that it would have been the “Novice Bloggers” track or something similar) because I really wanted to try to give something back to WBC and to other bloggers this year, if I could.

I know that a lot of other wine bloggers read 1WineDude.com, and I’m stoked to go to Walla Walla to meet / catch-up with you, and if there was any chance that I could help make the experience cooler for you (outside of spending my hard-earned cash on you, of course) then I really wanted to be a part of that somehow.  I also had a great time sitting on the Social Media / Monetization panel at the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium, and so I thought I would potentially be bringing some legitimate and useful panel experience to the mix.

But now… the pressure’s on, and I’m hoping that YOU can help ME

According to the WBC10 website, here’s the brief skinny (skinny skinny?) on the Advanced Bloggers session:

Advanced Bloggers will discuss high-level topics such as dealing with burnout, measuring your visitor statistics, interviewing subjects, and more.

It’s the “and more” part that I want to discuss.  I’d like to know what YOU want to discuss if you’re a wine blogger who will be at WBC 2010 and are planning on attending the Advanced Bloggers session.

I’ve got NO interest whatsoever in talking about topics that you potentially don’t give a crap about, so tell me what you do give a crap about so we can discuss those topics instead.  Assuming they’re related to wine blogging, that is (if you’ve got an obsession with the changing size of Pamela Anderson’s boobs, well that’s great and we can talk about that over a bottle or two, but I’d rather not go there during the panel).

I’ve got some ideas, of course, and I’ve already seen a lot of interest in the topic of avoiding burnout, but let’s make sure the stuff is as useful as possible for you.

So let’s hear it – whaddya wanna talk about?






  • @suburbanwino

    Joe, would love to hear more about scheduling posts, creating a calendar, maintaining consistency in both message and frequency of posts. I shoot from the hip all the time, and I have no schedule I keep on when I post. Maybe you don't either, but I think that's probably a relevant discussion to both "novice" and "advanced" bloggers, whatever those terms mean. Organization- already the bane of my existence- has become more critical with the newborn. Any advice on this stuff would be helpful.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Suburban – I'm pretty sure Jeff is tackling a bit of that in the opening slide deck.

      As for me, I do schedule posts usually 1-2 weeks in advance, keeping a slot open for opportunistic events (like an interview opportunity or big news that I want to comment on, etc.).

  • ryan opaz


    • 1WineDude

      GREAT point, Ryan. I get questions about this one from Spirit bloggers and others, usually along the lines of "Why are you wine blogging people so competitive?" In the Spirits world, those folks work together all of the time…

  • PaulG

    Joe, the travel time to Wallyworld is immaterial; you will love it. As for what to talk about, how about the integration of old media and new media. Tear down that wall! Mr. Dude…

    Hope to see you Sunday at my tasting of vintage WA wines….

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Paul! Current plan is that I *will* be there on Sunday.

      I'm not 100% certain, but I am reasonably sure that your fellow WE editor Steve Heimoff is covering the old / new media topic in his keynote. Having said that, I suspect we'll touch on that if we discuss interviews.


  • 1WineDude

    Another one in from twitter:

    @1WineDude Joe, good topic >> RT @clivity: in light of recent info, ethics of blogging and compensation should be discussed


  • RandyHall

    I'm mostly interested in hearing gasbags like you talk about yourselves as if you're IMPORTANT or something! :-D Seriously, I'm getting more excited by the millisecond as Walla Walla approaches, and I'm personally looking forward to raising a glass with you and catching up face-to-face.

    Mutual Admiration Society notwithstanding, I would hope that the advanced blogging panel touches, however briefly, on conducting deeper research (something like, "you've written your first 100/500/1000 blog posts and have seemingly run out of topics. Now what?"). Alternately, talking about the "investigative journalism" side of wine blogging would be cool (but might require someone like Lew Perdue sitting on the panel).

    Otherwise, Pamela Anderson's bra size works for me. See you soon, brother!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, bro – "burnout" as a general topic is on the list, which I think is what you're touching on there. Looking forward to drinking stupid with ya!

  • Kathy

    I won't be there so take this with a grain of salt (preferably in close proximity to a Margarita).
    It seems to be a blog strategy/behind-the-scenes session so…were I there, I'd be curious:
    1) Whether bloggers have/should have editors (paid or not)
    2) Impact of blog awards (inside and outside wine)
    3) How to respond when you get into a brouhaha with another blogger or via comments (is turmoil a benefit?)
    4) Insurance (libel, copyright etc.)
    As RandyHall notes, content/investigation is a different session. I have plenty to say about that but not now.
    Have a great time. Those of us nine time zones away will be following y'all.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Kathy!

      Love the ideas. In terms of legal/insurance, that was covered in WBC09 by David Honig and we're no legal experts :).

  • 1WineDude

    Sorry to those who have been trying to leave comments on this post & getting time-out messages. Maybe the debate got too intense for Intense Debate again. :-(

  • rickbakas

    Open up a recent edition of Spectator or Enthusiast and look at the list of people who worked together on that edition. Count all the editors, writers, assistants, photographers, etc… It's anywhere from 30-70 people who all work together on that one issue.
    Imagine if we had that many wine bloggers all working together on one thing at the same time.

    The one thing I hope happens is that wine bloggers realize they do a shitty job of supporting each other. You rarely see wine bloggers collaborating on anything, but when they do powerful things happen. If Ed is doing a #PinotNoir tasting online, why aren't there 30-70 wine bloggers supporting him in that?
    If Joe does an interview with someone like Robert Parker, there's 300 wine bloggers who should all be supporting him. When RJ does a review, it should be reposted and retweeted all over the place.

    Wine bloggers tend to just do their own thing which is why this industry is splintered and don't have influence collectively. Ultimately that's why consumers don't *trust* wine bloggers whereas they do trust publications. What I'd like to talk about is to have every wine blogger leave Walla Walla asking other wine bloggers, "what can I do to support you?" After that, we can talk about Pamela Anderson depending on how many bottles have been opened at that point.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Rick!

  • Brian Cheeseborough

    Here's a broad question with many possible debates, but let's focus on just three tiers. What is the preferred base wine (greatest percentage) for blends that don't meet the 75% minimum required to label as varietal. These responses should be limited to new world wines from the US, obviously Argentina would argue for Malbec & Uruguay might suggest Tannat. Is there a difference between California & Washington in the responses, what about Long Island or Virginia? Is it terroir or the public perception?
    a) the Bordeaux-style blend…Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
    b) the Rhone-style blend…Syrah or Grenache
    c) the cellar/field blend with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah or perhaps even Sangiovese

    • 1WineDude

      Hey Brian – sounds like a great blog topic, but the breakout session is about wine blogging itself.

  • David Honig

    I want to talk about how the hell we're supposed to talk about anything substantive with just forty minutes, 3 panel members, and an audience we expect to participate.

    • 1WineDude

      Good point, David – quickly? :)

  • Kathy

    CA Bordeaux-style blend is Cab heavy; Bordeaux blend is Merlot heavy (taking in all of Bordeaux, not just Left Bank classifieds, and almost no Malbec though it shows up regularly in CA blends). Rhone itself is much more Grenache. Sangiovese AOP (Chianti etc.) is min 80% Sangiovese. The rest of the question is whether a review should note New World style relative to the "homeland" style and alcohol. Otherwise (or in any case?) it's marketing.

    Rick, print/broadcast writers don't play well together without an editor, honestly. Collaboration requires editors to cut and rewrite and reject and ask for more (on deadline) with abandon…and usually requires alcohol (hey, we're 50% there!).

    One more question, 1WineDude: What are the TTB experiences? Given that the website and press office are pathetic re public and press info sans FOIA compared to USPTO, SEC, USDA etc., this is the kind of internal issue that might benefit from Rick's collaboration proposal.

    • 1WineDude

      Hi Kathy – excuse my ignorance but the only acronyms I know from your lists are SEC and USDA…

      Good point about the editors… and need I remind everyone that the few times that wine bloggers have tried to produce collective / organized content around a topic with an editor, they were raked over the coals (Rockaway, anyone?)…

    • rickbakas

      My point wasn't about editors but rather wine bloggers need to help each other out. There are 300 wine bloggers attending this conference. Collectively, we can all have influence if we work together and support one another.

  • Kathy

    Yikes! Too much coffee and I went off topic (no editor). Sorry.

    • 1WineDude

      NO worries, Kathy! :)

  • 1WineDude

    Right back at ya, Lisa!

  • Cybercellar

    South African wine please!!! It's becoming more and more popular in the States these days and we're hoping after the World Cup it will do even better, plus we're launching there in a few weeks so I for one would like to hear American thoughts on South African wine :) Also Philanthropy and wine… are Americans more likely to purchase wine that is linked to a philanthropic cause than one that is not?

    [email protected]

    • 1WineDude

      Something tells me I'm not clearly gettin' through to some of you… ;-)

  • Amanda Maynard

    Maybe: How to deal with comments that have little to do with your actual posts and might, in fact, be spam. ;-)

    Anyway, I think others have brought up good topics. Can't wait to sit in on the discussion.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Amanda ;-) – please consider this an invitation to heckle me!

  • Matt Mauldin

    I feel your pain about getting to Walla Walla. I live in Atlanta and could fly out pretty easily. Instead I'm driving my kids 6 hours to stay with the grandparents, then flying out of Panama City, FL to Portland… I'm taking the long way there for sure.

    • 1WineDude

      Most certainly it will be worth the trip, Matt! That first glass of wine will probably taste especially good after that jaunt. :-)

  • @WineWonkette

    When It's No Longer Just a Hobby: Catching Up with the Big Boys in the World of Wine Writing

    • 1WineDude

      Wow – catching up with the big boys… GREAT topic; I suspect we could discuss that for an entire DAY of the conference… :)

      • @WineWonkette

        I think it's interesting that we're still debating the future of wine writing, when bloggers are getting huge followings. I think the Internet has given the "common man" who doesn't have fortunes to publish a magazine the ability to educate the masses on wine.

        And it's funny, didn't Robert Parker start out with a newsletter? Yet somehow bloggers represent the Barbarians at the Gate.

        Bloggers can take the mystique out of the "wine tasting experience" and there is a wine blog for practically everyone. But how do we "keep it real" while still earning a living? THAT's what I want you to talk about ;)

  • _WineWannaKnow

    Now I am blogging about wine – how do I quit my day job.

  • Nate

    Would like to see more discussion on how trends in local stores are impacting internet sales. I think there is a potentially direct connection between what someone sees or finds in a store and then ultimately buys online for various reasons. Giving the wine makers insight into this dynamic would be helpful

  • rjswineblog

    so much great stuff here i think i'm still going to be reviewing all the input by the time we chat on friday. should be a great conversation and i can't think of two guys i'd rather be on a panel with than you and jeff. see you soon. rj

  • rjswineblog

    so much great stuff here i think i'm still going to be reviewing all the input by the time we chat on friday. should be a great conversation and i can't think of two guys i'd rather be on a panel with than you and jeff. see you soon. rj

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