POSTED ON October 28, 2008 | IN Activities, Green Winery, Uncategorized | BY Joe Becerra

I’m not sure how the organizers of the Wine Blogging Conference found sponsors or determined what events were to be staged, but clearly Sonoma wineries were at the forefront of this inaugural event. Except for the Culinary Institute of America, which conducted the blind wine tasting event, Napa Valley and its wineries were nowhere to be seen at this conference.

Sonoma wineries went all out for this event. From the opening event, a lunch and tasting of 12 Sonoma wines at Kick Ranch Vineyards, to the final luncheon on Sunday, just about every event featured Sonoma wines. The major sponsors, the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, and Sebastiani Vineyards, provided lunches, dinners, bus transportation, and more wines than we could possibly taste. What a coup for Sonoma wineries.

Dinner at Sebastiani Vineyards

Dinner at Sebastiani Vineyards

The event attracted 175 participants, the majority which were wine bloggers, but several attendees were from various wine-related businesses. They were there to observe and find out just what influence bloggers might have on the wine industry. EG Gallo, Kendall Jackson, Constellation, and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates were among some of the big wine corporations present.

The curious thing to me was that we met many wine bloggers who were from outside of California and just about all of them asked us how far away the Napa Valley was. Just over the mountain, I said, pointing to Spring Mountain. A few of these wine bloggers were staying an extra night to take a drive over Calistoga Road and visit the Napa Valley on Monday. Maybe it would have been a good idea for the Napa Valley Vintners to jump in and sponsor at least one excursion to the area or an event involving Napa Valley wines. I checked the Wine Bloggers Conference Website and there was a sign-up page for sponsorship.

In the case of the wine bloggers conference, Sonoma took the approach of Avis Car Rental, “We Try Harder.” I’ve checked a few wine blogs since returning from the conference, and these bloggers are giving high kudos to the organizers of this event and to Sonoma wines.


  1. larry schaffer says

    I was not able to attend this year (why have a conference like this during harvest, I’ll never quite understand . . .) but it makes sense that the Sonoma area backed this full tilt and Napa was not as present as expected. There were a lot of regions not apparently present as well, including Mendocino, Lake County, the Central Coast, etc. There probably should be a concerted effort by the organizers to reach out to all of these areas through their associations to try to get participation next year . . .

    That said, it seems as if it was a worthwhile time. I’ve read a couple of divergrent views on the event – one person blogged that it seemed that the focus was on trying to figure out how to make money blogging about wine; others said no, it was about trying to understand the community as it now exists and figure out ways to make it more ‘legitimate’ in the eyes of others . . .

    Curious to hear your comments . . .


  2. Mark Koppen says

    It’s disappointing to see your report here – I wanted to attend this year, but due to some potential conflicts I was not able to sign up until about 10 days before the conference, and it was already full. Don’t count out Napa yet!