More than 400 wine bloggers from across North America will descend upon Penticton and the Okanagan in 2013 for the sixth annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference.
The three-day event will show off the region to thousands of wine lovers via blogs, Twitter, Facebook and more.
Previous conferences have been held in California and Virginia, with the summer 2013 event taking place in Penticton, B.C., the first-ever Canadian location.
“Last year the conference was held in Walla Walla, Washington, and we know it had a tremendous impact on the local economy with more than 1,000 room nights booked in just one weekend, not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars in free publicity,” said Jessie Campbell, tourism marketing manager at Penticton and Wine Country Tourism.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to position B.C. wine country as one of the top food and wine destinations in North America.”
Prepared by local social media marketing firm, All She Wrote Consulting, and Penticton and Wine Country Tourism, a formal bid was submitted by Zephyr Adventures, the organizers of the Wine Bloggers Conference.
Among the bids, which are chosen based on the location, the local public support and the private vote of bloggers, Penticton made the shortlist to host the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference but received the 2013 spot, beat out by Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Conference organizers said they normally don’t announce the location of a conference two years in advance but they elected to do so for two reasons: “First, because Penticton will be a bit harder to reach for some of (the bloggers) than destinations such as Sonoma or Portland.
“Second, because the wine region is not huge and this will give local area supporters extra time to prepare for our invasion, such as making transportation easier for our attendees and making imports of wine possible for our sponsors.”
A number of wine associations from across the Okanagan have already fortified their participation in the conference including the Penticton Lakeside Resort, the BC Wine Institute, Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and Valley First Credit Union.
Alison Markin, social media expert for All She Wrote, was a big part of the collaboration of the bid and setting up the Twitter account and Facebook page, which helped generate the buzz Penticton needed to make it as host for 2013.
“I got involved in the WBC bid after attending the conference last year in Walla Walla with Tracy Reis from Tourism Penticton and we talked to the organizers about possibly looking at Penticton for a future conference.
“It’s a unique opportunity to learn about and discuss the intersection of wine with the world of new media,” Markin said.
The anticipated date for the conference is June 7 to 9, 2013. For more information visit www.winebloggersconference.org/america.