live wine blogging: 6 tips for wineries

Speed tasting. It’s like speed dating, but with wine. (I know, right? score!)

For anyone who has attended a speed-wine-tasting event, you know the drill: hundreds of tasters seated at dozens of banquet tables scattered around a room, getting introduced to a new wine and winery every five (5!) minutes. That’s right – every five minutes. For an hour. Spittoon, please.

There’s a method to help with the pouring madness. After observing and participating in a few tastings of this sort, I have a few handy tips for wineries to help you out at the 2013 Wine Blogger’s Conference or any other crazy speed-tasting.

WBC12 speed tasting
Live Wine Blogging at WBC12 in Portland, OR

1. Don’t go alone. If at all possible, have one person pour and another introduce the wine while handing out tech or information sheets. The bloggers appreciate the info when reviewing their notes after a 12 hour day. (I did)

2. Give it up. Yes, we’re all aware of our carbon footprint. But handouts are stellar: tech sheets, with logos and all the juicy tidbits (including social media channels). We’ll plant a few trees later.

3. Be social. On the media, that is. Have Twitter handles at the ready. In fact, plaster them all over you – not only will you get the message out, it’ll make for great photo-ops.

WBC12 speed tasting 3
Kathleen of Between the Vines gets a taste of Oregon.

4. Smile for the camera. Be ready to have your photo taken – often. Pour with the label facing the blogger so s/he can snap a great pic. Better yet, have an extra (empty) to pass around the table. (just remember to take it with you)

5. Take questions. You’ll be repeating the same words 12 times that hour. Maybe you can add one new piece of info at each table – from answering just one question. Way to bond.

WBC12 speed tasting 1
Bradley Cooper (Okanagan version) gets info from a happy Oregon winery rep.

6. …and take it outside. Have a business card at the ready – no rushing to answer longer questions, it spreads the blogger love around, and it shows you really want to engage with them. You do, right?

Above all, have fun! This is a room full of people absolutely stoked to be here. They chose to come – and that’s really cool.

See you in the <hiccup> tasting room.

~ Jeannette

photo essay 1: Oregon

There’s this killer conference all about wine. It takes place in a different region each year (voted on by attendees), and shines a light on that area. By light I mean spotlight with serious social media influence.

The Wine Bloggers Conference (North American version) just finished its 4th annual shindig, this year in Portland, OR. With more than 350 attendees, and I-have-no-idea-how-many wines, the scope of this invasion has yet to be tallied, measured, and converted into advertising dollars equivalent. One thing is certain: the event was a trendsetter on social media channels, including Twitter, where it reached worldwide trend status – it even eclipsed the The Biebs. True story.

Although I’m writing about this event for EAT magazine and won’t dish the full dirt here, I thought I’d give you a visual sample of the four day extravaganza. I managed to take a few photos – when I remembered to a) bring my camera, and b) actually use it.

Outstanding work by the conference organizers, Oregon Wine Country, Zephyr Adventures, The Doubletree Hotel in Portland (who might spend weeks locating glasses throughout the hotel, sorry), and all of the sponsors, speakers, and participating wineries. We felt the love.

Oh, and one other thing. This conference that provides millions (and I mean millions) of dollars in “free” advertising while it’s in town and for years after? It’s heading to PENTICTON, British Columbia. Mark your calendars June 6-8 2013. And be there. Or hear about it at every opportunity by those who went, and be jealous. Very jealous.

Wind machines dot the landscape as soon as you enter Oregon. Huge, erie, and almost alien – but wicked cool and super environmentally responsible. Good on you, Oregon.
Who wouldn’t want an excuse to eat grilled bananas in the morning? Breakfast at the host hotel, before a day of wine drinking – er, tasting.
This is how I started my Friday. Before noon. And it was worth every tannin.
Saturday breakfast: Voodoos Donuts, courtesy of Languedoc Wines.
Dinner sponsored by King Estate wines. Pinot Noir to the left of me, Cabernet Sauvignon to the right. Not pictured: the other 3 wines. Happy me.
The story here: after party in room 204 (one of dozens, actually), this one hosted by Columbia Gorge wineries. There was talk of kayaking the pool, and yes – that’s a keg.
Final day of the conference, and it’s confirmed: WBC13 coming to Penticton, British Columbia. (crowd goes wild!)
Day four, heading home. Car full of tired bones. But we returned with our tax-free purchases (thank you, Oregon!) and more than a few bottles of wine. And spirits. And maybe some beer…