Author Archives: winebratsf

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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Donor Profile: Hudson Valley Wine Goddess

Debbie Lessner-Gioquindo is the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess!  Growing up in the Hudson Valley, she became interest in wine in the late 90s.  Through the years, she has learned a lot about wine, and meandered much of the world’s wine country.  through her blog, Debbie shares her knowledge, and focuses on the oldest wine region in the US – the Hudson Valley. Debbie loves to spotlight this region to bring attention to an overlooked area.  Last year, she brought some of the areas wines to Sonoma, so us west coasters could taste the history and unique wines of the region.

Debbie is a great supporter of social media, and while we will miss her greatly at the WBC this year (something about a kid graduating from high school), she will be following along on twitter and our blogs.

Please say hi on TWITTER and visit her blog to learn about the Hudson Valley!

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Blogger Profile: Passionate Foodie

Richard Auffrey is a Passionate Foodie, wino, and sake lover!  He currently writes for his blog, as well as local newspaper, while also teaching wine education classes.  Being a certified Spanish wine educator, Richard will be a great resource for us!  Richard is a prolific blogger, with over 2000 posts to date, which range from cider to sake, and are always interesting.

This will be Richard’s first WBC, and he is looking forward to the opportunity to meet in real life, many bloggers that he has built relationships with online.  He is also looking forward to trying the wine s of the Walla Walla area, and learning more about Washington wine country.  He will bring another East Coast body to the conference, as well as a foodie perspective, which will highlight the wine and food pairing we will be participating in.

Please take a moment to say hi to Richard on TWITTER and check out his blog, Passionate Foodie!

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Donor Profile: Valeri the Wine Lass

Valeri Smith is becoming an institution around twitter, with her wonderful updates and tastes of wine in 140 characters or less.  She describes herself as a SuperRecruiter (currently for the health care industry) and a wine lover, and can be seen around the twitterverse tasting wines and enjoying travels in wine country.  Valeri has the dubious distinction of being the very first donor for the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship, and we thank her for her support!

While we won’t see her at the WBC this year, I hope that she will soon start her own blog and join us on the dark side community wine channel soon.

Please take a moment to give Val a shout on TWITTER!

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Blogger Profile: Notes from the Cellar

In Steve’s own words:

In the seemingly-limitless journey that is a life enjoying wine,
sometimes roadsigns are roadblocks, and other times we need wayfinding
markers along the way, illuminating our path like the
nigh-indestructible lights that line airport runways. In the
time-honored tradition of the blind leading the blind, I do my best to
keep from steering people off cliffs as we travel–together–along the
vine-lined pathways of existence. So, yeah, in other words, I review

His blog, Notes from the Cellar, Notes From The Cellar is Steve’s personal journal of tasting notes and wine reviews, where he explores his passion.  Like many of us wine bloggers, he is a tech geek software developer, and spends his time and resources seeking out wines that inspire him.  His latest project, which pairs wines with TV shows of the 80s is sure to have you in stitches, particularly if you are of Generation X who grew up with these shows.

Steve’s motto is to taste a lot of wine, good bad and downright scary, and post the ugly truth on his blog as often as possible.  In a world where there have been questionable ethics, Steve pushes for honesty and detailed critiques, making his blog one of the go to resources for information for many wine lovers.

Steve started blogging about in 2009, an d wasn’t able to attend the previous Wine Bloggers Conference.  As he supports his wife’s path through graduate schoool, and (like most of us) does not get paid for his blogging efforts, he was unable to attend the WBC this year without your support.  Please stop by and visit Notes from the Cellar, and follow Steve on TWITTER.  This will be Steve’s first Wine Bloggers Conference, and he is very excited to share information and techniques with bloggers with some time under their belt, professional writers, and wine lovers of all persuasions.

See you in Walla Walla Steve!

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Donor Profile: Cleavage Creek Winery

Cleavage Creek Cellars is a unique business that was founded on the philosophy that with enough money, energy,a dn passion, we can find a cure for breast cancer.  Budge Brown was a successful businessman and farmer, when he lost his wife Arlene to the disease.  From this tragedy, budge took action.

In 2007, the first Cleavage Creek wine was released, to national and international acclaim.  With bottles that feature images of breast cancer survivors, each bottle tells a story.  Ten percent of the gross profits are donated to the cause, which has been over $70,000 to date which has gone to establish an oncology research center, assist in medical bills, and capital equipment purchases.  It doesn’t hurt that the wine is pretty damn good too.

The team at cleavage Creek works tirelessly to spread the message about breast cancer,b ut they have also been very active in social media, which has been a powerful tool in sharing their mission.  They are engaging, active, and funny – which allows them a seat in the inner circle of wine bloggers and wine community members in social media.

We salute you and your efforts to wipe out a disease that should never be a death sentence!  Kind readers, please consider purchasing some of these eight different wines to support their cause.  Please follow them on TWITTER and read more about Budge Brown and Cleavage Creek on their website!  Thanks for your support!


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Blogger Profile: Southern Oregon Wine Blog

Chris Jiron is our last student blogger, who will be completing his Enology degree this summer from the Northwest Viticulture Center in Salem, Oregon.  Chris currently writes about his experiences in Southern Oregon for Southern Oregon Wine blog, and also sharing his journey of starting his own wine label on his second wine blog, Wineopreneurs.

It is Chris’ mission to educate wine enthusiasts about the undiscovered areas of southern Oregon, which is the lesser known step sister to Willamette and an up and coming area in its own right.  As a Millenial, Chris is fully integrated with social media, and looks forward tot he WBC to add to his current toolbox and learn new ideas from us Gen Xers, as well as traditional wine writers and industry pros.

We look forward to hearing Chris’ perspective as a newly educated wino, and how his new project is coming!

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Donor Profile: Lisa de Bruin – Wine Diver Girl

Lisa de Bruin is Wine Diver Girl, a blogger and wine sales professional for Hahn Family Wines.  An influential voice for new media and social media participation from the winery, she has been a cheerleader for wine bloggers in the industry.  Lisa loves diving, running, travelling, wine, and life in the Napa Valley.

She represents the best of the industry, where social media and the power of community can be used to not only sell wine but propel and individual in to new career paths.  We miss her blogging and tweeting, but wish Lisa every success in her wine sales career!

Thanks for your support, and keep up the great work!  please follow Lisa on twitter, and check out her blog.  Maybe we can get her back online soon!

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Blogger Profile: Art Predator / Wine Predator

Gwendolyn Alley is our most prolific blogger applicant.  With four active blogs that cover a wide range of topics from wine to bicycle culture, she puts pen to paper to talk about her adventures in California. As a college writing teacher, she teaches about how to write your experiences down in meaningful ways.  Writing about her adventures in wine on Wine Predator, she tells us what she is drinking and learning through her stories and video posts about the people that produce the wine, the land they come from and the wine itself.

As a WBC veteran, Gwendolyn will be a great asset to the new attendees to find out what she learned at the last 2 American WBCs as well as the European WBC.  How can we transition what she’s learned in to action items?  She is an established blogger who is excited about bringing the WBC to those who will not be in attendance, and write about the event from a literary angle.  We look forward to having you!

Please check out Gwendolyn’s blogs and follow her on TWITTER:

Art Predator

Wine Predator

The Write Alley


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Donor Profile: Mounts Family Winery

Mounts Family Winery has been growing premium wine grapes for over 50 years, tucked away in a quiet corner of Dry Creek Valley.  From the vineyard to the bottle, quality through sacrifice is thier mission in creating delicious zinfandel, syrah, viognier, petite sirah and grenache!  There are many more wines worthy of discovery here on thier hillstop estate waiting to be tasted.

They have been welcoming to those of us in the blogging community and are active in social media and see how these new tools can help spread the word about thier wines.  I’ve been going to the winery since before I became a blogger, and fellow writers like Sonadora have been touting the merits of this hidden gem as well.  Mounts is known for their great events, including Passport to Dry Creek, and the wonderful themes they create.  Be careful, you might be asked to belly dance!

We appreciate your support and look forward to enjoying more of your juice!  If you’re in Dry Creek, please take a moment to stop by and say hi to Lana & Dave on Vine Creek Road.  You won’t be sorry!  Check them out on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest news too.

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