Be warned: Â This is one of the few non-scientific posts I’ll ever write
According to my cousin, I should have been in China as a result of the numbers of flights I took to get to the Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton, British Columbia! I started off getting up at 4am EDT last Thursday and taking one of the first flights out of Charlottesville to Washington, D.C. Then, I hopped on a transcontinental flight to San Francisco. After that, I got on a third plane to Vancouver, BC, where I finally had enough of a layover to sit and relax for a bit before heading off on my fourth and final flight to Penticton, BC. Phewâ€”that made me tired just reliving the experience via text! Overall, all four of my flights were completely perfect and I had no problems with delays, bad weather, big bumps, or lost bags. I could not have asked for better flights.
While a lot of people who take four planes someplace end up in China or some exotic land, I ended up in gorgeous Penticton, BC for the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference. I have to say, this part of the world is certainly one of the most spectacular Iâ€™ve ever seen in terms of geology and overall landscape. I could not stop starring at the colossal mountains and beauteous lakes. I was born and raised in Vermont, so Iâ€™ve seen my share of mountains, however, they pale in
comparison to the mountains in the west. I took hundreds (seriously) of photos from the airplane (no clouds nearly the whole time!) and hundreds still during my time in Penticton. My only regret is that I didnâ€™t take my fiancĂ© with me, as he would have loved the scenery as much as I. Perhaps I need to convince him to move out west? (Shameless plug for my fiancĂ©â€™s blog: click here! My Personal Finance Journey).
Anyway, enough about the stunning scenery: letâ€™s get to the conference already!
I have to admit, I did a lot more internal information absorption and reflection rather than note-taking for some of the events, so I donâ€™t have too many specific items to report. I apologize for that, however, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™d be a little out of your mind after travelling for 14 hours and shifting that many time zones!
The keynote speaker was writer Jim Conway, and I have to say I was thoroughly entertained by his talk. I was in awe by his prose, and was certainly inspired by a lot of what he had to say. He is certainly a sort-of idol for me, as it is my dream to become a full time writer and achieve similar successes as Jim has had (in my own little way, I suppose). Side note: want to hire me? Letâ€™s talk (click here). After his talk, I went out and bought his new novel Nose, and am looking forward to reading and reviewing that as soon as Iâ€™m done reading the other books on my to-read list.
After the keynote speech came the results of the State of Wine Blogging Report. In 2012, a survey went out to wine bloggers in order to get an idea of how wine blogging has evolved. In lieu of me regurgitating all the results here, please feel free to check out all the results of this report here: 2013 State of Wine Blogging Report.
For the first breakout session, I attended the session that was aimed to help teach one all about Google+: what it offers, and how one can use it to improve their readersâ€™ overall experience. I was really impressed with this presentation,
technical problems aside, and I am looking forward to incorporating Google+ into my social media presence. I currently have a Google+ account, however, up until now I havenâ€™t really done much with it other than share my blog posts, but hopefully in the near future Iâ€™ll start using it more! If youâ€™d like to follow me on Google+, you may do so by clicking here.
For the second breakout session (i.e. the next day), I attended the Podcasting, Video, and Photography session. This was an absolutely fantastic session (video by Wine Oh TV and podcasting by Wine Country BC) and I learned so much! Iâ€™m really excited about incorporating some multimedia in my blog, and have several ideas forming in my little brain in terms of what exactly Iâ€™ll do with it. Iâ€™m thinking video and product reviews or maybe little experiments, but I still need to work out the details.
The final activity I wanted to mention in this summary post of the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference was the Vineyards and Geology tour that I attended. I have to say, the tour was a lot of fun, but seeing as how my knowledge of science and geology is a little more advanced than most attendees (no offenseâ€”itâ€™s part of my degree!), I found the actual geology lesson a little too short. However, the information that was given to us was really fascinating and Iâ€™m so glad I had the opportunity to go on the tour. I plan to write a follow-up post to this one at some point primarily focusing on the geology of the area, so for now, youâ€™ll have to wait with bated breath before I give you all the dirty details (get it: dirty? Dirt? Geology? Har har harâ€¦.).
I just wanted to say a final â€śThank Youâ€ť for all those who donated to the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship fund (click to donate for next year!) and to those judges who selected me as a recipient of one of those scholarships, as without every single one of you, I would have not been able to experience this excellent event and to learn all about the budding wine region of British Columbia! I suppose I should actually mention what I thought of the wines before I signed off: overall, what we were served were pretty damn good I have to say. In general, the acidity in BC wines (particularly in the SimilkameenÂ Valley) are higher than other places, which makes for some great wines (but not as great for others). BC wines are incredibly hard to come by in the US, but for those in Canada or those who stumble across a BC wine someplace, certainly pick it up and give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised!