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This past year I began blogging for the first time ever. I chose a subject that was near and dear to my heart – WINE – and more specifically BC Wine and the wonderful wineries that we have here in the Okanagan Valley and beyond. I had a lot of fun touring the various wine regions within central BC and writing about my experiences. But I feel that I’ve really only scratched the surface with blogging (as with wine) and am keen to learn more, so this year I have signed up to my first ever Blog Conference. I am very fortunate that this year’s Wine Bloggers’ Conference is being held in the heart of Okanagan wine country – Penticton,DSC_2018 incidentally the first time it has ever been held outside of the United States! Allison M Markin of All She Wrote Consulting was a huge driving force in getting the WBC to be held in Penticton. I have heard many great stories of Wine Bloggers’ Conferences-past from friends and acquaintances in the local wine industry and look forward to experiencing this for myself. For anybody reading this who is not familiar with the Wine Bloggers’ Conference, this will be the sixth year that it has been held. Previous locations have included Sonoma California, Napa & Sonoma California, Walla Walla Washington, Charlottesville Virginia, and Portland Oregon. Up to 400 bloggers will be attending this year in Penticton, June 6th-8th, traveling from all over North America and ranging from Citizen Bloggers like myself (no affiliation with any winery) through to Professional Bloggers or Social Media Specialists. Various excursions, seminars, tastings, speakers and dinners have been organized during the 3-day event.

Because many people are traveling great distances to get to the Conference, some at considerable expense, there is a WBC Scholarship Fund set up so that participants can apply for some funding to help offset some of the costs. The actual registration fee for the event is quite reasonable, especially for us Citizen Bloggers – only $95 for three days of programming – a bargain, considering the great amount of information that will be garnered! In addition to the WBC Scholarship Fund, TheWinedUp.Net and MyWineConcierge.com have partnered up to give away, to one lucky conference participant, two free nights’ accommodation at the host hotel – the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Casino.

One of the things that I’m most looking forward to at the conference is meeting all the participants, networking and gaining information from people that have been doing this either longer than I have, or who are at the next level with their blogs. Through Twitter I have begun following many of WBC’s participants and have had some great conversations already, as well as checking out many of the blogs that they write. I think that this conference will be a great place to foster business relationships and potential friendships between many like-minded people.

I’ve reviewed the agenda that has been posted on the Wine Bloggers’ Conference website and I am hoping to learn how to more effectively grow my audience (Google+ Workshop and ‘Positioning Your Blog’), ensure that I have the best possible information on my blog (‘Creating Compelling Content’) and, as a little bit of a sideline, I’d love to learn how to get involved with wine judging (‘Wine Judge Training & Seminar’) – so much fun!!

I am counting down the days until the conference (76 days from today) and cannot wait to meet many interesting people and learn so much about Wine Blogging. And I get to do all this while eating great food and drinking fabulous BC Wine! What could be better?!