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Donor/Committe Member Profile Megan Kenney

That’s me. Writing about myself again. Still think it’s bizarre and awkward. I’m Megan. Better known in wine blogging land as Sonadora or the Wannabe Wino. I’ve been blogging for nearly 8 years. I’m about to attend my 6th WBC. I love wine.

I’m also a long-time donor to and co-founder and committee member of the wine blogger scholarship. That’s why I get to write about myself.

I’ll see you all at the conference tomorrow!


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Donor Profile Craig Camp

I feel like I’ve experienced this before. Writing a profile for Craig Camp of Cornerstone Cellars. Quite alright though, I’m a huge fan of Craig, so I certainly don’t mind singing his praises every year! Craig was one of the first wine bloggers I “met” via the wine internet world. He got me press passes to an event nearly 8 years ago when no one had really heard of wine bloggers and certainly didn’t consider them press!

Craig has been a long time and fervent supporter of wine bloggers and the Wine Blogger Scholarship. We appreciate his enthusiasm for what we do and his continued support of our scholarship.

As always, looking forward to seeing Craig at the conference!

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Donor Profile Craig Camp

I feel like I’ve experienced this before. Writing a profile for Craig Camp of Cornerstone Cellars. Quite alright though, I’m a huge fan of Craig, so I certainly don’t mind singing his praises every year! Craig was one of the first wine bloggers I “met” via the wine internet world. He got me press passes to an event nearly 8 years ago when no one had really heard of wine bloggers and certainly didn’t consider them press!

Craig has been a long time and fervent supporter of wine bloggers and the Wine Blogger Scholarship. We appreciate his enthusiasm for what we do and his continued support of our scholarship.

As always, looking forward to seeing Craig at the conference!

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Scholarship Recipient Amy Corron Power

Why do I love Amy Corron Power? Let me count the ways. One, she’s a fellow wine blogging attorney. Two, she’s super smart. Three, she’s damn funny. Four, she is one half a really awesome wine blog, Another Wine Blog. Five, she and her husband Joe make me completely jealous on Twitter tastings with their amazing food pairings. I’m sure I could keep going for quite some time, but that would become nauseating.

Amy is the recipient of a WBC Scholarship this year, after many years as a staunch supporter of and donor to the fund. We’re delighted that she was chosen and look forward to her always fabulous insights into the conference.

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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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What is this social media and why do I want to sponsor a blogger?

No, blogging is not the end all be all when it comes to marketing and media relations.  It is, however, a powerful tool that enhances word of mouth marketing efforts.

Did you know that word of mouth marketing is the number 1 way that many products are sold to day?  Tell a friend you like something and they will tell 10 friends.  Those 10 friends will tell 10 more, and so on.  Tell someone you DISlike something, and the effect is multiplied tenfold.

How does blogging tie in to this?  Blogging is, effectively, word of mouth marketing to an audience of your friends, only they are readers.  Blog browsers are looking for more information, and many are coming across blogs via search engines and other seemingly unrelated terms.  Many readers to my blog for example, come there via search engines regarding a particular wine brand, and they stay to read the article to learn more.

The reason I mention this is that we, as wine bloggers, are in need of support to help send those who can’t quite find the extra pennies, to Walla Walla.  I am asking you to consider a donation to the scholarship fund because it will help a wine or food blogger attend the show of the century, where we share, learn and educate the wine community on what a blogger is.  And there are many kinds!

In return, we will spot light your company on this blog as well as our individual blogs, and we ask each scholarship recipient to write a biography of themselves as well, and encourage them to reach out to thank the sponsors.

This year, we are travelling to a new wine region in Walla Walla, WA.  Give your brand a chance to shine!

If you would like more information on how you can donate, or anything else, please don’t hestitate to email us at wbcscholarship at gmail dot com.

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Here we go again…down another road!

Hello and welcome! The purpose for the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Fund is to sponsor selected recipients with funding to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference next June in Walla Walla, Washington.

Through a committee selection process, applicants are asked to describe their blog, their financial needs pertaining to the Wine Bloggers Conference, and why they are deserving on sponsorship.

The selection committee consists of the following individuals:
Thea Dwelle @winebratsf – wine blogger and social media champion

The 2010 WBC Scholarship Committee is still being formed.

All of the committee members have paid for thier own fees associated with the Wine Bloggers Confernece and are participating in this panel in order to encourage the sense of community among wine bloggers, and allow more attendees to participate in this years confernece who might otherwise not be able to.

Funds are generated by donations from participating wineries, PR agencies, wine business industry members, and individuals. If you wish to donate to this fund, please contact us! We accept donations from all wine industry companies, as well as individuals.

Skip that morning latte and donate to a needy blogger! No amount is too small, and every effort is appreciated, though we do request that if you can, a minimum $95 donation which will register a citizen blogger.

Funds are awarded based on the committee selection process, and are pooled. No one donation will be given to a specific individual.

So, you’re a winery or a wine industry business, and you want to send a needy blogger to summer camp, but you’re not really sure how you can justify the cost expenditure, or why you should.

The wine industry is rapidly becoming involved in this new media of blogging and social media, which is slowly, if not entirely replacing the traditional print medium as the information source of choice.

With events like the Wine Bloggers Conference, Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS), and Web 2.o increasing in popularity, blogging is here to to stay. The Wine Bloggers Conference offers an extraordinary opportunity for bloggers and industry reps to learn about the industry, about wine, and gain further understand of each other. As most bloggers are blogging for love and not for dollars, in can be extra challenging, to go the extra distance, and find the extra dollars, to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference. Likewise, the blogging community also suffers without the contribution of valuable members who can’t afford to get there. It seems totally reasonable to offer support to this fledgling collective…without a quid pro quo, to support its growth. Wine Blogging is here to stay. With even the b ig players in the industry starting to take note, for better or for worse, online social connections are enhancing traditional media.
As Bill Legion, President of Hahn Family Estates recently said:
I believe that the blogging community is a vital part of the future of the industry. In the many debates of what is or isn’t ethical in regards to the winery/wine blogger relationship what seems clear to me is that the best, most ethical thing we as a winery can do is provide the blogging community with quality products, quality information and quality wine experiences regardless of race, sex, color, creed or brand of wine. We are using our vineyards because that’s who we are. I believe that the more the blogging community learns about wine, the better it is for all of us.

It is a vital connection; just like the winery/wine writer connection; the winery/wine buyer connection; and of course the winery/consumer connection. It does us no good to create great wines if no one knows about it. I just can’t drink that much. The wine business is a relationship business. We must create an emotional connection to our consumers. We do that through many means and I believe Social Media is a major part of creating that connection.

The wine business is one of relationships. You sell wine to people, one bottle at a time. No matter how big or how small the order might grow to be, it’s a connection that sells the wine. As Bill said:

The internet and Social Media allow you to … establish a relationship and an emotional connection to someone in Germany that I have never met face to face. It allows me to create connections with multiple people in multiple countries simultaneously and in a very personal way.

I couldn’t have put it better myself! From our perspective, donating to the fund provides valuable exposure not only here on this blog, but also to the bloggers who are the recipients of those funds. While there is not a 1 to 1 relationship from sponsor to blogger, they will be aware of who the general pool of funds was created by, and who is helping them achieve their WBC goal.

To further expound on this point, I’d like to quote Joe Roberts from 1WineDude. Joe ,who was recently back from TasteCamp East on Long Island, a similar event to the WBC.

Joe describes wine bloggers and the online wine community in general as vibrant group, with an increasing relevance that grows every day as the next generation of wine consumers (and those older generations that are increasingly influenced by them) demand new, more immediate ways of learning and interacting with wine. New wine drinkers care less and less about wine credentials and diplomas and experiences as they are shown on paper. This fresh crop of wineux care about transparency and that we are consistant and reliable. They care the we know what we are talking about and that we are passionate about our subject, and want to help them improve and enjoy by giving solid advice.

If these consumers are looking to us for advice and inspiration, wineries and wine industry professionals would be wise to take note. Generation X, Y and those pesky millennials are nipping at the heels of Facebook, Twitter and blogging, seeking information. The death of the traditional newspaper should be a wake up call for all. The SF Chronicle recently lost it’ dedicated wine section. Why? Because we can get this information online. With both paid and unpaid publication simultaneously growing on the internet, consumers are looking for wine buying advice in alternative locations. Wine Bloggers Conference, where bloggers, professional writers, and wine industry professionals network and learn together, allows us to bridge any perceived gaps while supporting each other and discussing our mutual benefit.

Wine bloggers like wine. We write about wine. We write about the industry. Contributing to this fund, which will in turn encourage more bloggers to attend this groundbreaking event, is a valuable idea for anyone who can see the long term future of the industry and has a forward looking glance.

Those individuals or companies that donate will have their businesses spotlighted on this blog, and we will make every effort to encourage the winning scholarship recipients to blog about you as well.

-Special thanks to Lisa de Bruin for contributing to this op-ed piece!

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