Day 2 Highlights: 2020 Wine Media Virtual Summit #WMC20

from our Velenosi Virtual Verdicchio tasting

When the 2020 Wine Media Conference in Eugene was postponed due to COVID, a Virtual Summit sprung up in its place. From Thurs. August 20 through Saturday August 22, 2020, participants from all over the world joined sessions on a range of topics starting as early as 7am Pacific and continuing every other hour until 4pm with wine tastings at 4:30pm for fifteen people registered for the now- postponed  2021 conference. 

As mentioned in my post on Day 1, I attended most of all of the sessions, and took as many notes as I could considering my left wrist is broken in two places and with two fingers injured on my right hand — and that there was a lively discussion going on at all times in the comment section!  

Here’s a few highlights and an overview of Day 2; next I’ll post Day 3 and finish up with thoughts about the Velenosi virtual tasting pictured above. I’ve asked fellow attendees for their highlights or takeaways, or beverages but haven’t got too much to work with yet. NOTE:. Session images provided by Zephyr conferences; wine images by me. Stay tuned! Subscribe! 

Missed the conference or want to revisit a session?

  • Buy individual sessions or an all access pass.
  • Check out the agenda.
  • Check out attendee videos.

Sessions I attended on Day 2:

  • SWIRL SUITE: real talk with black media
  • SEO: write for humans, optimize for search
  • about newsletters
  • photography tips
  • social media tips

and coming up next, thoughts on Day 3 (now published)

  • writing about the business of wine
  • wine travel
  • more wine travel
  • wrap up

Friday, August 21

7 AM Real Talk with Black Wine Media

Join us as we have a candid conversation with four black wine writers. Our panelists will discuss their personal experiences in the wine industry, their views on the current discussions on racism in our industry, and their thoughts on the systemic racial injustice in the United States and across the globe as well as the protests against it. Our panelists are the four ladies from Swirl Suite, including moderator Sarita Cheaves from Vine Me Up, Tanisha Townsend from Girl Meets Glass, Glynis Hill from Vino Noire, and Leslie Frelow from Vino 301, all of whom are Wine Media Conference alumni.

I met panelist Glynis in 2013 when we were roommates at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton, BC. We didn’t know each other at all before, but we had a great time, and we shared invites to parties we each heard about– as well as talking about having unusually names that start with G! I really enjoyed this session, and participated in the comment thread but it was a bit early to take reliable notes…

Take aways:

  • SAY HI!
  • Reach out!
  • Check out Swirl Suite!

And move the dance party to the lobby! That way everyone can find you and no one gets in trouble for being too loud!! Or hey Zephyr, find/create a space where folks can socialize and share wine and stories and dance together!

9 AM Enhance the Value of Your Wine Writing With SEO Strategies

Whether you focus on wine reviews or prefer to write about wineries, winemakers, grape varietals, or industry trends, you already know your writing has to be an interesting telling of the story. But another step wine writers often forget is to make sure their writing reaches the widest possible audience. You can do this by using Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing strategies. As a wine industry writer, you can add more value to the content you create by incorporating SEO strategies that will bring your writing to more readers. And of course, more readers benefits you too in terms of increased writing opportunities or pay.  Join us for wine writing SEO strategies with Scott Fish.


Take aways:

  • check google trends
  • create pages/categories based on types or regions of wines
  • ask for links back from wineries on posts that feature them
  • considering hiding dates in timeless content
  • check out Occam’s Razor (free dashboard)
  • check out Beaver Builder

Hate to say it, but it seems like I’ve been to plenty of SEO sessions over the years and I’m still terrible at it! There really needs to be a session on SEO for beginners — hands on? Before the conference? and one that’s more advanced. This all went by so fast…

11 AM The Importance of Authentic Newsletters

 The snake-oil days of email spam are long gone, 2020 is all about creating sincere, authentic connections via email while directing your readership through a personalized sales funnel. In this session, A.J. Weinzettel will start with the foundation of creating a genuine voice while telling a story to build trust. Storytelling is only the first dimension, though. I will take a deep dive into the importance of creating multiple landing pages and little tips and tricks to automate the personalization of content while never breaking the ever-important foundation of trust.

I’m not convinced yet that I need a newsletter when I write a blog, so maybe this session was geared more toward wineries. Give me a lot to think about however.

Take aways:

  • create a sense of community that feels seen, heard, valued
  • be real
  • add a landing page with contrasting colors
  • add a thank you page
  • give them an offer they can’t refuse if they sign up
  • let <wineries> know who sent them!


1 PM Easy Wine Photography – Tips To Getting Great Wine Shots Every Time brought to you by Brooks Winery:

Wine photography is not easy photography. Photos of bottles themselves, staged on your kitchen table, can be boring and appear amateurish, which is not what you want on your website. In this session, Christina Peters, will show you several easy tips to getting great wine photos – no fancy camera needed. She’ll also discuss how to work with the glassware and bottles to clean up all those pesky reflections that get in your way of making a fabulous wine shot.

Good info BUT do I need to do all this for my blog?

Take aways:

  • dust is the devil
  • microfiber towels, cotton gloves are your friend
  • use one source for lighting so only one reflection
  • say yes to DIFFUSED light (buy a 5 in 1 panel?)
  • for a clean pour use a funnel
  • get/make a “soft box”
  • more


3 PM Use Your Social Media Like a Professional

Almost all wine writers engage in social media. Some might be doing so just for social reasons, while others participate to engage with a community, to learn from others, to enhance one’s credibility, or to share one’s writings. All these uses of social media are valid but as a wine writer you can get more out of your time invested by treating it like a professional does: establish a campaign, pick the appropriate platforms, coordinate postings across platforms, and track results. Whether you want to promote an article you wrote, advertise an event you are coordinating, or anything else, learn how to use social media professionally to get more results. Our speaker is Kelly Wagner from Purple Giraffe in Adelaide, Australia.

This was a well organized and easy to follow ands take notes presentation.

Take aways:

  • set goals
  • who is your audience and where are they?
  • figure out your competitor using social listening
  • conduct an audit so you can do less, do better, prioritize
  • provide clear content that’s original, high quality, planned, scheduled
  • balance organic and paid
  • don’t take away from platform (links to blogs etc)
  • encourage– if you like make see first!
  • evaluate and adjust

4:30 PM DOC delle Venezie At-Home Tasting: Laura Donadoni does Pinot Grigios from the Delle Venezie DOC.  I heard the sparkling is great! We were each only allowed to join one of the four tastings, and I did the one the previous night about Velenosi. Stay tuned and subscribe for the details!

Velenosi virtual tasting included this bad boy: subscribe and stay tuned for details!


2 thoughts on “Day 2 Highlights: 2020 Wine Media Virtual Summit #WMC20

    • Hi Lynn! and yes! If you write about a winery, you’ll likely link to them, so it’s likely if you ask they will reciprocate. Make sure they know about your article, and ask them if they will link to it on their website. Hopefully they will also promote it on social media.


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