Virginia is for… Wine?

The 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference is set for July 22-24th, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Now, when I think of Virginia, I don’t think about wine.  I think about Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., and hot humid summers.  I was one of the naysyers that thought this would be a folly in to a strange wine region, but I was wrong.  One of the exciting things about the WBC is that you can see well known wine regions in a different way, or discover new regions that you might not have appreciated (remember Walla Walla?  Color me surprised).

Wine has been an industry in Virginia since Jefferson’s time, and you might not know that Virginia’s wines are subtle and elegant, offering a taste that is more similar to European wines than bold California varieties. The number of wineries in Virginia has tripled in the last 15 years to over 140, placing it fifth on the list of US states, and the geography boasts six separate AVAs: Eastern Shore, Monticello Northern Neck, North Fork of Roanoke, Rocky Knob, and Shenandoah Valley. For a good analysis of the Virginia wine scene, see the article in Virginia Business.

To help get citizen bloggers to Virginia next summer, the WBC Scholarship is proud to announce a partnership with Enobytes.

Enobytes (“Eno” – short for Enology: a science that deals with wine and wine making, & bytesA collection of organized bits of information) was founded in 1996 by Marc Hinton and Pamela Heiligenthal, who provided consulting services for the wine and restaurant industry in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2006, Enobytes went online and expanded to educated and share thier passion for wine.

With over half a million hits from 52 countries every month, Enobytes reaches a wide audience!  They pioneered the use of Google Earth based wine region maps, and offer a weekly VinQ twitter wine quiz that educates and humors the wine public.

With their help, the WBC Scholarship is p0leased to announce that we are now accepting donations TAX FREE through Enobytes.  That means that your dollars can go farther, as you will be able to claim them (up to a certain amount, please consult your tax professionals for any specific advice) as a tax deductable charity.  This is great, right?!?!?  So please, dig deep and think about who helped you get to your first WBC.  Wouldn’t you like to do the same?  No amount is too little (or too much).  Every penny helps a blogger who wants to get to Virginia but might not know how to get there.
If you’re wondering why Wine Bloggers are important, how does one measure their value, or the value of an inanimate object?  Value is subjective, and it is difficult to measure innately.  That said, as bloggers continue to spread the love about wines and stories they publish, if YOU my reader are paying attention, my blog and that post become valuable.  If you read a blog, or blogs, and you find value in what the writer is saying, then you are contributing to the value of that blog.  Most bloggers write for the pure love of wine (or whatever they happen to be writing about) and are not in to make money or sell a particular wine.  We dont’ get paid, we occasional get wine sent to us (which I might add is not ALWAYS good wine), and we have day  jobs.

The key in understanding wine bloggers is to know they are sharing information that they want you to know.  If a blogger reviews your wine or winery, they are effectively evangelizing your brand to their reading public.  That is the very definition of word of mouth marketing, in a new format.  For you, this is free advertising that gets more traffic to your site, and quite possibly more bodies in to your establishment.  The power of instant access tools such as twitter allow wine drinkers to review the experience as it happens, and spread that to their followers in real time.  For group tasting, or for people that follow twitter streams but may not be personally aware of your brand, that could mean an unscheduled trip in to your tasting room to check out what the buzz is about.

If you belive in bloggers, twitter, or social media in general, won’t you consider donating to our effort?  There are many bloggers that are unemployed, or simply cannot afford to make a trip to the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, washington.  OUr Scholarship aims to select bloggers who wish to learn more about blogging, develop their writing style, and network with other bloggers and industry professionals in a  creative fun enbvornemtn for three days.

We’re open for business, so click on the little donate button below!  It’s the holidays.  C’mon, be generous!  And remember to file your taxes in April

~The Management

Now, don’t forget THE RULES.  Applicants may submit their applications starting January 1st!


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