An analysis of the 2009 Wine Bloggers’ Conference

by TrevR on July 27, 2009

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For those of you who are unaware, this weekend marked the 2nd Annual North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference.

This year’s event was held in both Napa and Sonoma and was decidedly larger than last year’s inaugural event.

While we were unable to attend (for a variety of reasons), that didn’t stop us from following along with the festivities online. We also conducted a quick analysis of the event, which you can browse through below.

A name change for the 2010 event?
In examining the social media buzz around this year’s event, one thing became readily apparent: the name for next year’s conference has to change–from wine bloggers’ to wine Twitterers’. The reason?

From Thursday (7/23) – Sunday (7/26), there were some 1,281 total social media mentions of key terms associated with the 2009 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. Of the 1,281 total mentions, a whopping 88.7% were found on Twitter (a total of 1,136), with just a little over 8% appearing on blogs (111 total).

WBC 2009 by medium

Clearly, those in attendance have adopted Twitter in a big, big way–and for good reason. Twitter is designed to allow you to publish quick messages to a wide audience vs. having to write long, thoughtful blog posts. From those 1,124 Tweets, a total of 1,539,239 Followers were reached. Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

Hardy Wallace vs. Rick Bakas
Anyone who’s been following the wine industry will know who Hardy Wallace and Rick Bakas are. For those who haven’t, Hardy Wallace (aka goodetobefirst aka Dirty South Wine) is the person who won Murphy-Goode’s ‘A Really Goode Job‘ contest.

Rick Bakas (personal website here) was also a contender for the Really Goode Job, but wound up being hired by Napa Valley’s St. Supery Winery as Director of Social Media Marketing after not making it to the final round of the Murphy-Goode contest.

Clearly, both gentleman should have been quite buzz-worthy at the 2009 Wine Bloggers’ Conference, right?

Hardy Wallace vs Rick Bakas

Surprisingly, according to our findings, Hardy Wallace made just a blip during the event, despite the fact he won a contest that received a ridiculous amount of hype from both the blogosphere and mainstream media.

While Bakas (29 mentions) and St. Supery were busy engaging the attending wine bloggers via scavenger hunts and on-site tastings, Wallace (12 mentions) was hanging out with Murphy-Goode winemaker Dave Ready Jr. doing the talk show circuit.

Certainly illustrates two divergent strategies, doesn’t it? On one hand, a social media director was busy engaging directly with others in the social media world, while another (official title is ‘lifestyle correspondent’) spent his time talking to traditional media.

It’ll be interesting to watch where Bakas and Wallace take their respective employers from here…

Napa Valley vs. Sonoma
This year’s event was hosted by Northern California’s two premiere wine growing regions, the Napa and Sonoma Valley’s. So which of the two received more mentions from those attending the conference?

Napa vs Sonoma

Based on our analysis, the Napa Valley was the more buzz-worthy of the two, receiving a total of 192 mentions to Sonoma’s 151. All told though, it was quite close and both regions clearly benefited from their participation.

Which Napa Valley wineries fared the best?
The 2008 event, which was also in Northern California, saw pretty much zero participation by local Napa Valley businesses/wineries. This was absolutely absurd. In 2009, things were much different, with Napa Valley wineries hosting an entire day (Saurday, 7/25) of the event.

So, which local wineries were able to generate the most buzz?

Napa Valley wineries

All told, here’s how six local wineries stacked-up:

So there you have it, another Wine Bloggers’ Conference in the books and we likely have more questions now than we do answers. Until next year…

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, 2009 Wine Bloggers' Conference, Sonoma, WBC09, #wbc09, Murphy-Goode, A Really Goode Job, Hardy Wallace, Rick Bakas, St. Supery]

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About the Author

has written 726 posts on The Cork Board. He was born and aged in the Napa Valley and has a passion for wine, writing and social media, which led him to co-found this blog in early 2007. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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