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European Wine Blogger Conference 2008


Last year, we chatted about the idea of having a wine blogger conference in the Wine Blogger Facebook group. Ideas we’re thrown about and plans tentatively put into place. The consensus at the time, as far as I could tell, is that we need to have a conference, and that we can’t wait to participate. But from the looks of it, not much else was decided.

Fast forward to today. Robert McIntosh of the blog The Wine Conversation who also works to promote Rioja wines in the UK, and I have talked on and off for a few months trying to figure out how we can arrange to meet up. Due to the holidays, and many other inconveniences, we haven’t yet shaken hands, but we have brainstormed and come to the conclusion that we should try to put together the first European wine blogger conference here in Spain. We figure that this will not be the first, nor the last, nor will it be the slickest, shiniest one, but it will be a start and a place to begin the conversation among, in this case, European based wine bloggers. I do hope that at least one or two non-European bloggers might be able to join us as well. So without saying too much, we’d like to open the doors to suggestions and ideas. So far, here is a run down of what we hope to do, and what we have to work with:

Dates: Last weekend of August 29-31st – Thoughts are that the vineyards will be beautiful, and most Europeans will still have some holiday left. We think 3 days would be enough and not cause to much of a burden on the pocket books of wine bloggers! I promise that if anyone comes from anywhere that is more than a 2hr plane ride, I will personally help you to fill a week with activities if you are interested. (Maybe a roof top tasting!)

Location: Rioja. Not exactly sure where, but we would probably use Longrono as a central point to move out from. Robert works with Dinastia Vivanco who has offered us the use of their conference center to host talks by wine bloggers and other industry types. Plus, the harvest in Rioja is later than in many other regions in Spain, so we may be able to pry a few wine makers away from their bodegas for a session.

Activities: 3 days, 2 working days. We are thinking of hosting 2 main events. One day a wine tasting of wines from Rioja, and maybe other regions in Spain. Another idea if we can get some participation outside of Europe, it would be fun to taste Iberian varietals from abroad, against their local counterparts. We can either have wineries present their wines, or we can maybe do some theme tastings, blind, or otherwise. The main point is one night/day of drinking, tough I know, but someone has to do it!

On Saturday, we would set up 1 room in order for some leading bloggers, and wine maker, to give talks. We hope to invite a blogger or an online marketer from the UK and possibly the US to speak and share their thoughts on wine blogging. We might do a rotation so that we can have opportunities to listen to various speakers, or one or two guided tastings during this time.

Finally, on Sunday, we can potentially visit a winery or two and/or take off for home. This is a VERY rough sketch of what we hope to do, suggestions and thoughts are welcome.

Costs: We hope to find sponsors for most of the event. Travel and lodging would most likely be your own responsibility, though we may be able to find some group rates so that we can all be in the same hotels. Additional costs might include a fee for a meal that we all share one night. Thoughts?

Sponsorship: If you have a business or company that might want to help make this event a reality, please contact us, and we’ll talk. We are looking for people to help defer the costs of sending over some non-European bloggers, and for general planning and organization. Hotels, restaurants, or transportation costs are all in need of sponsorship

The Objective: Wine bloggers from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Britain all making the trip to hang out with us, lots of wine tasting, the chance for vineyard visits, and an open and honest dialog about blogging.

Also we’re thinking of creating a website for the conference to host some of the content: write-ups, podcasts and possibly even video. I think we’ll set something up at subdomain of WineBlogger.info, something like: www.EWBC2008.wineblogger.info

In the end, we still have a ways to go. We will do this, even if it is just Gabriella, Robert and I sitting in a Rioja cafe, drinking sample bottles of random wines from Iberia and beyond. Also, as a prelude to this event, I’m proposing a wine bloggers dinner in March . Here in Barcelona Alimentaria, one of the biggest wine and food shows in Europe, will be going on March 10th-14th. Any bloggers who decide to attend, or local BCN wine bloggers, are welcome to email us about attending a wine blogging dinner. I believe we’ll have a winery helping to sponsor the dinner, and if there is anyone out there who needs a place to stay while in town, we have one futon that is open to the first request. The futon comes with some rooftop grilling sessions! So it’s quite the deal! 馃槈 Much more on this at a later date!

Robert I’m sure will chime in and share his thoughts, and I ask all other bloggers out there to join us in the discussion. Here’s a list of Iberian Wine Bloggers who I think need to join us, but please don’t be offended if you’re not on the list. Just send us a link and we’ll fix it.

Adictos a la LujuriaCopo de 3De Vinis CibisqveEl BarandaEls Vins de Pilar i JoseEncantad铆simoEstintobasicoLa Casa de AntocianoLa Guarda de NavarraLa Otra BotellaNotas de CatarsisOs VinhosPingas no CopoPisto y No PistoPoLaKiaQVinhoRoco & WinesVadebacusVino PerdidoSobre VinoBlogAbaceria del Sug Blog

If you know of others, please list them in the comments. Finally, if you would like to attend, email us at here. English, Spanish or Portuguese is fine. Just know that I only respond fluently in English, and so-so in Spanish! 馃槈 Robert also can handle the Italian and French if anyone wants to chime in from our neighbors to the east!

There you have it, now let us know what you think!

Ryan Opaz

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