1. You may have the opportunity to let another blogger who cannot attend live the experience through your eyes. Otherwise known as the what you say can and will be used against you adage Vintage Texas
2. Under any circumstances possible, schedule your birthday to coincide with #wbc11. Trust me on this. From the presents of bottles of birthday wine to a fun surprise birthday party to being poured non-stop Velvet Glove wine from the Molly Dooker folks months before its US debut (thanks Brian Pasch), it was an amazing time and every one is really nice to you on your birthday. I prefer to refer to #wbc as #mbc (“Melanie’s Birthday Conference”).
3. Get to know your local distributors, wine representatives and others in the industry. Thanks to Greg Kassanoff, CEO from Pioneer Wine Company, I was invited to several special events and had the chance to spend some time with Justin Wylie from J Piano, whose wine club I immediately joined after the tasting.
4. Share a room. As a married person for almost 16 years, I was planning to have my own room until a mutual friend asked if I’d mind sharing with another female blogger who needed accommodations. I ended up with the most fun roommate in Liza and she became my running buddy at all events.
5. Attend the unconference events. In the midst of one of our sessions, a note was sent out on Twitter that an unofficial wine tasting was in process on the back patio. As I slipped out in between the sessions, I found the bottle of Turley that I brought from home paled in comparison with the vintage Bordeaux’s, high end champagne and other cellar selections from other bloggers.
6. Bring your list of Twitter handles included in the #wbc handbook. It was so much fun to put faces and names with personalities that I’ve come to know and love over the past year and a half.
7. Spit. Thankfully this is a lesson that I didn’t need to learn. If you were to ingest all the wine that is offered to you especially during speed tasting, you would end up curled up in a ball in a corner somewhere. You already need a bionic liver to hold your own here anyway.
8. Open your mind and try to put aside preconceived notions. While I can’t say I left the conference with a differing opinion on rosé, I did try it and know that there is one person on a mission to convince me to change my mind. Mary, I’m happy to continue trying….
9. Partner with the local experts. I had the opportunity to spend three days with one of Washington’s top wine bloggers Write for Wine and her husband, Dave. They taught me so much about the region, introduced me to some amazing wines and truly rolled out the red carpet.
10. Exercise daily. Just trust me on this. It clears your head, jump starts your metabolism (you desperately need this based on the 6,000 calories that you consume daily with food and wine) and there is not a better way to see your surroundings. The reactions of your fellow bloggers as they pass you in the exercise room on the way to the conference are priceless.
11. My bonus tip is to buy flair. The ribbons are sassy, fun and help define your personality. Find Thea and know that your money will go to the scholarship fund to send a deserving blogger to #wbc11.