So I know that the fabulous Ms. Thea from Luscious Lushes has posted her guide for enjoying WBC 14 (along with some sage advice from a veteran), but I figured I’d add to the advice.
This is my 3rd WBC and I’m feeling like it’s time for me to share some advice.
Damn. Has it been that long since I was a virgin up for sacrifice…errr…a rookie in my own backyard of Portland? Wow. It seems *so* long ago.
Don’t worry, though. If you’re a WBC Virgin, we don’t bite. Hard. ;) Believe me, before you know it, the virgin fog will clear and you will be in your element. Seriously. The minute you hit your element, you’ll know.
- To repeat what Thea said, wear comfy clothes & shoes. Shoes are crucial. You don’t want to wear your cute little kitten heels and be screwed while out on a vineyard walk or having to hike out to the location where the next food station is. Seriously. And clothes…well, while we are professionals per se, we’re going to be in Wine Country! What do you wear wine tasting? For me, it’s usually nice jeans and a presentable top. Seriously. Don’t fret over your wardrobe. This isn’t a fashion show. Look at the weather forecast for the time we’re in Santa Barbara and dress accordingly. I survived Portland’s lovely decision to grace the weekend of WBC12 with 100+ degree weather in maxi dresses, but Penticton’s “normal” summer temps in the 70’s/80’s in jeans & presentable tops. Planning ahead is crucial.
- HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE! No matter what the temps, remember that even when spitting, alcohol f***s with your system. Drink plenty of water in between and during sessions. Seriously. You’ll save yourself the trouble.
- Food. Seriously. If you know you need to eat, do it. No one is going to judge you if you skip out on a session or are late to a session to nourish yourself. Me? I’ll most likely be carrying some standby’s of mine (mainly Nature Valley Granola Bars from the green box and Kellogg’s NutriGrain Cereal Bars…disclaimer, no I’m not being paid to say that. I happen to *like* them and have a supply of them at my house) because I know my body. I know I need to eat small snacks in between meals, especially when I’m drinking.
- Spitting. OMG. This is key during the speed tastings. Yeah, we all slip and swallow some of the amazing wines we’re experiencing, but in all honesty, if you want to survive the Live Wine Blogging sessions and be able to coherently provide your thoughts during them…SPIT, DAMMIT! You are a trusted professional in this after all. Plus, you *HAVE* to remember that you are usually tasting 12 wines in an hour during the Live Sessions.
- Technology. If you’re like me, you’re tied to your phone and/or tablet device. Make sure you carry your charger(s) with you. I’m not kidding. We have a half hour between the Live Sessions & the Wine Country Excursions. You will *NOT* have time to run to your room to charge your device. Take advantage of the time (and the powerstrips…this is my official plea to the WBC organizers to make sure these are available at *EVERY* table again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) during the Live Sessions to charge your technology. You will be grateful.
- On the tech note, load a multi-function Social Media platform to your device beforehand. The ability to tweet/facebook from ONE app is going to save you a ton of time.
- Another piece on the tech note…have your camera of choice at the ready. My Canon T2i and iPhone work themselves into overtime at WBC.
- After parties. Don’t worry about getting invites before WBC. Seriously. Some of the best parties I found in Portland were advertised via word of mouth (*ahem* Columbia Gorge Wine Growers THANK YOU for the pizza party in Portland!!!!! Pizza hit all the right spots that night!). Also, there *will* be tastings in various people’s & wineries suites/rooms, so just keep an ear to the ground and don’t be afraid to ask about anything you might hear about. This goes back to the whole we don’t bite hard bit I mentioned earlier in this post.
- Scholarship. If you’ve donated to or are a recipient of the scholarship, come say hi! There will be a booth at the Expo on Thursday and, speaking as a scholarship committee member and donor, I’d love to meet y’all (and yes, you may get to experience my screwy PNW/New England/Southern/Farm Girl accent…dialect…whatever you want to call it if you come say hi). I will be at the booth on Thursday night and I’ll be around until the Monday after the conference if anyone wants to meet up/chat/etc.
- Take a break. Seriously. If the schedule is too much for you, take time to walk around…nap in your room (if you’re lucky enough to be booked at the conference hotel, that is)…take time to yourself. My best times in Penticton were when I said “SCREW IT” and went back to my room to hang with my Mom & Grandma, who had gone along with me on the our epic road trip. As a rookie in P-town, I wanted to drink in every available minute I had and I honestly regretted it…well, except for the early morning breakfast that was bought for me by a dear friend who chose to utilize the extra bed I ended up with thanks to an unexpected upgrade vs. commuting to his home a half hour south of Portland after a long day at his job. ;)
- Business Cards. I know. It sounds old school, but it’s a good networking tool. You will not remember *EVERY* winery’s social media profile without them. Plus, the wineries won’t know how to contact *you* for sample offers if you’re relatively new to blogging or new to them.
- Excursions. If you haven’t already signed up for one, do it! I’m going to the Bridlewood excursion post-conference, as I have the additional time to dedicate. If you can’t attend an excursion, consider adding extra time into your trip! I know I’m already researching where I can stop between LAX (where I’m flying in & out of) and Santa Barbara. I’m sure that Daniel, my proper British companion…errr…I mean GPS will be working overtime on this trip. :)
- Medications. I can’t stress this enough. I’m sure that everyone is enough of an adult to remember any necessary medications, but just in case…make sure you bring them and make sure you have enough time for them to be effective. I know that my allergy medications take a certain amount of time before they’re effective, so I usually try to make sure I take them well before the time frame where I have to be alert and on my game. That being said, this is *NOT* the time to try new medications. Stick by your old faithfuls. Seriously. No one wants to have the paramedics called (and possibly miss out on the fun) because they have a bad reaction to a new medication.
- Speaking of Paramedics…don’t be that person who gets so drunk that we all wonder if we *NEED* to call 911 because you’re at that point. Remember, we are representing our blogs to some of the biggest names in the wine industry. No wine blogger wants the reputation of being a drunken, hot mess.
- Most of all: ENJOY! WBC is about making connections and having fun.