Nine years ago, if you had told me that there would one day be conferences for wine bloggers, I would have laughed in your face. But, of course, nine years is an eternity on the Internet, and a lot has changed. Now not only do hundreds of bloggers descend on such a conference each year in a different North American city, a European conference has also sprung up, and is now in its fifth year. This year’s conference, which has actually lost the word “blogger” from its official title, is being held in Izmir, Turkey, and I’m headed there to check it out in November (9th through 11th).
Before I go any further, I want to forestall anyone busting me for geographic fraud. Yes, I know Izmir is nowhere near the Bosphorus strait, but Wine Bloggers on the Western Aegean didn’t quite have the same consonance, even with those two lovely “w”s. Give a guy a little poetic license.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me say that you should consider checking out this conference. I’m personally quite interested to see how the conference differs from the American version (with which there is no longer any official connection, despite shared use of the logo that speaks of their former relationship), as well as to get a sense for how European wine bloggers see the world and their craft, if you can call it that.
The speakers for the conference include a keynote by the irrepressible Randall Grahm, as well as some heavy hitters from Europe such as wine writer Andrew Jefford, grape geneticist Dr. José Vouillamoz, fellow blogger and author Dr. Jamie Goode, a boatload of European Masters of Wine, and more. Even me. I’m sitting on a panel about the future of the wine trade with wine merchant Tony Laithwaite, Mr. Grahm and MW Sarah Abbott, as well as co-leading a tasting of some Turkish wines with Master Sommelier Isa Bal of England’s The Fat Duck.
While it might seem a little more daunting to attend a wine blogger conference across the Atlantic, and it certainly will cost more, that hasn’t kept a number of U.S. wine bloggers from attending. Apparently there are more than 20 U.S. bloggers signed up, along with scores of their colleagues from Europe. Last year’s conference remarkably included participants from 34 different countries.
So think about it. Come sip some Kalecik Karasi with some fellow bloggers and watch the sun go down over the Aegean. Besides, we’re all going to need a break after this fall’s election season.
Everything you need to know about the conference, including the way to register and hook yourself up with discount airfares, etc. can be found on the conference web site. But don’t delay. There are only about seats left at the conference, and airfares aren’t getting any cheaper.