It seemed so surreal watching video of the Hilton Sonoma burn down to the ground. I’d almost booked a stay there for the upcoming 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC17) in Santa Rosa, California that starts on November 9. Then more and more images of wineries, vineyards, and stories of lives lost in Sonoma and Napa came across the social media feeds and news broadcasts. With such widespread devastation would #WBC17 even happen?
The messaging from conference organizers is clear. The Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine County, the host hotel, hasn’t been affected by the wildfires. The conference is still on, and our attendance will contribute to the recovery of the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County. Many Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries are open for business. So, let’s go!
I’m delighted to be representing the Washington State Beer and Wine blog in California at #WBC17 this year. Our blog’s founder, Bean Fairbanks, was one of the early scholarship recipients when she attended the 2009 conference (#WBC9). Our entire crew was fortunate to head to Walla Walla, Washington for #WBC10. I last attended the Wine Bloggers Conference in 2012 when #WBC12 was in Portland, Oregon.
This year in California wine country I’ll be whisked away by the kind people of Lodi Wine Country for a pre-conference excursion. Dinner at Martin Ray Vineyards and Winery, Mark Beringer’s Private Reserve wine education session, a tour of Kendall Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens, and an excursion to Livermore Valley Wine Country are all experiences I anticipate at #WBC17 with great excitement. Many thanks to the kind sponsors for making the opportunity possible. It gives me a chance to explore the wider world of wine and how it compares to what’s happening with Washington State wine and wine tourism. Plus I’ll be able to report back on recovery efforts following the fires.
One of the exciting highlights of these conferences is connecting in real life with many of the great wine bloggers and industry folks I’ve met on social media. If you don’t currently have plans to head to Santa Rosa,maybe you should change that. If you are attending, I hope you’ll seek me out. I’d love to meet you!