The reach and influence of wine bloggers and wine social media mavens have exploded over the last couple of years, particularly in the last 12 months. Major wine critics have have noticed and responded, wineries and all three tiers of the wine business oligarchy have also taken notice and begun to capitalize on that influence (or are already playing catchup). The recent exhaustive and outstanding industry whitepaper by VinTank, Wine & Social Media is the first to encapsulate and quantify this influence and serves as a very important reference for these interactions between wine business, their consumers and the key social media mediators (human and software/websites) of these connections. It is a groundbreaking accomplishment and a signpost of the rapid, continuing maturity of the wine social media sphere.
Some of those (human) key social mediators are your favorite wine bloggers that tirelessly catalog their personal wine explorations for all of you, their readers, in a straightforward, accessible (and free!) style. Virtually all them (99.9%) do all of this on the side and as a result of their own unstoppable passion for artisanal products that result from the equally unstoppable passion of the winemakers and winegrowers working in the wine regions of the world.
Last October, an earlier signpost in on the path of wine social media maturity was constructed with the highly successful and influential inaugural Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) in both Europe and the US. The support for the conference from both the local (Sonoma) and foreign (eg. New Zealand) wine industry was immense and delightfully surprising in its fervor…they “get it!” While the expenses for the conference were kept almost unreasonably low compared to the activities that were offered, they remain quite significant for people who do not get paid for their efforts and need to take time out of work in order to attend. These costs rise dramatically if you are not local to NorCal, the location of both the last WBC and this year’s WBC09, scheduled for the end of July.
Keeping these costs in mind, a group of wine bloggers who are already registered and have paid for their conference stay (my own has be partially subsidized by WineLog) have joined together to drive a Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Fund, led by the inimitable Luscious Lush and Vinquire ambassador, Thea Dwelle (Twitter, Twitter2). Anyone and any business may donate and all funds go into a pool that are then distributed to those needy wine bloggers who have applied for scholarship consideration. Any blogger may also apply for consideration, including those whom may be your own favorite wine bloggers!
We have already received kind donations from a number of individuals and wine businesses from across the industry spectrum and the globe. These donors include: VinTank, Cruvee, Vin65, HelloVino, Travessia, Caveman Wines, Wine Lovers Journal and Come For the Wine. The resort and conference center that is again the site of this year’s WBC09, The Flamingo in Santa Rosa, has also generously allocated a highly discounted block of rooms for our future scholarship grantees. Those who donate will undoubtedly receive considerable mentions and thank yous on a number of wine blogs and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Open Wine Consortium, WineTwo, Cruvee, Must Love Wine, TasteLive, etc) and have the comforting thought that they will have helped to exponentially increase the wine knowledge and sphere of influence for a needy wine blogger, as we saw with the great success of last year’s conference. Further details and specifics can be found at our blog and website, Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship.
So please, consider donating a little or a lot or whatever you can spare to our fund and become a part of the wine blogosphere! All of us will appreciate your kind act: