Why I’m NOT at #WBC18 and Why I’ll be in Hunter Valley New South Wales AUS Oct 10-12 for WBC19!

Wine Predator Gwendolyn Alley on a pre-WBC13 press trip in WA

This week, several hundred of my wine blogging and wine writing and wine industry friends are gathering in Walla Walla WA for this year’s wine, food, travel, and social media educational extravaganza known as the Wine Bloggers Conference.

showing off my zin temporary tattoo at WBC09 in Santa Rosa; photo by John Cocoran

Before missing this year, I’d attended all but two Wine Blogger Conferences — and those two took place on the East Coast, too far and expensive for me to travel to.

That’s right: I attended:

  • the first Wine Blogger’s Conference in 2008 in Santa Rosa,
  • 2009 to Santa Rosa,
  • a press trip to Portugal in 2009 which included the European Wine Bloggers Conference,
  • on a scholarship to go to Walla Walla in 2010,
  • NOT– I skipped 2011 when it was in Virgina and instead visited Idaho and revisited Walla Walla and spent time in Oregon and northern California on a 3 week and 3k mile road trip,
  • and spoke at the 2012 WBC in PDX,
  • on another scholarship in 2013 to attend WBC in Penticton BC,
  • by driving an hour up the 101 to Santa Barbara in 2014,
  • NOT — I skipped 2015 in the Finger Lakes,
  • and spoke in 2016 at WBC in Lodi CA
  • 2017 back in Santa Rosa CA

And this year it’s in Walla Walla, Washington, where it was also held in 2010 at the Whitman Hotel which I loved. I also loved how walkable Walla Walla is — and of course the wine… and the food… and the friends…

So why am I not in Walla Walla? It’s not even on the east coast!

In June I applied for a New Mythos grant from the Opus Archives located at Pacifica Graduate Institute to create a  spoken word piece to be performed alongside other awardees. My proposal was accepted, and in fact my piece will open the show — which is very exciting. Unfortunately, the performance is Saturday night Oct 6, the closing evening of the Wine Blogger’s Conference. Read more about the performance on my Art Predator blog here.

But just last week, on a press trip to Oregon, I saw one of my wine blogging friends, Sam Ockman of the search engine 1000 Corks, and we made a pact to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in Australia — with or without our families in tow!

AUS has been spending a pretty penny on wine tourism this year, as I wrote about earlier this year here and in three posts when I hosted #WinePW’s theme of grilling and AUS wine in June, and again here when I chose an AUS wine for the “Italian grape in a strange land” theme. AUS even sponsored this Super Bowl ad — which came across as a movie trailer — and even had me duped there for a bit!

We’ll see whether I’ll be able to make a trip to Australia for WBC happen. While there have been some amazing and tempting deals for flights recently, it’s still expensive and if I go all the way there, I’d like to see a few wine regions. What I’d love to have happen in late summer and early fall of 2019 is to attend Burning Man and to work harvest n the northern hemisphere then head to AUS. I’d love to visit Tasmania, Margaret River, Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, and, if the rumor is right, then on to Sydney for the 3 hours drive north to the Hunter Valley for WBC19 Oct 10-12. We’ll know for sure when it’s announced in Walla Walla!

While I know that I’ve tasted wine from the Hunter Valley (and possibly even written about it!) I am admittedly much more familiar with the Barossa Valley and the wine region near Adelaide because at one time I was going to work for the Grateful Palate there.

According to online sources, “The Hunter Valley, north of Sydney in New South Wales, is one of Australia’s major wine regions, with a viticultural history dating back to the early 1800s. Known for varietals such as Semillon and Shiraz, it’s home to numerous wineries, including world-renowned brands and family-run boutique operations. Most are located south of the Hunter River and offer cellar door wine tastings and vineyard tours.”

Sounds fabulous doesn’t it! And Australia has so much more to offer! I can’t wait to visit!

This video below really evokes a sense of wonder and awe — key elements we need in our lives that sublime nature like AUS provides…

So are YOU, like me,  tempted to go to AUS for WBC19?

PS Updated with details now that they’ve been officially announced!

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