There is a common myth that it takes 21 days to establish a new habit. Scientific observation and research indicate it takes quite a bit longer -- an average of 66 days. But how long does it take to break a habit? For some of us, it could take as long as 10 years.
In 2008, Joe and I traveled to Sonoma, California to attend the first ever "Wine Bloggers' Conference." We have attended all but one since. Three days of wine tasting, seminars, winery and vineyard visits brought us knowledge, broadened our palates, and allowed us to visit places we might not have otherwise. We tasted wine with writers and bloggers from all over North America, and it opened doors for us to taste wine all over the world. From conferences devoted to wines from California, Oregon and Washington, we also tasted in the lesser-known regions of the Finger Lakes and Virginia. They in turn led to media trips to wine regions in Greece, France, Spain, Italy and the Okanagan Valley of Canada with side trips to the Sierra Foothills, Amador County, Paso Robles, Dry Creek Valley and Mendocino in California, and Niagara in Canada.
The Conference itself is geared toward beginning writers and bloggers -- bright-eyed and hopeful that their little hobby will lead to a career in the wine industry directly, or as a writer for an entity that pays. For the very few lucky and talented, it has. For the rest of us, it is something that takes so much time and work in addition to our lifestyle-sustaining careers, we find it often becomes a chore. After all, one can only drink so much wine. There are only so many words one can use to describe grapes that have been fermented, bottled and readied for sale. And there are only so many samples one can store, uncork, and review.
So why do we continue to spend thousands of dollars to attend conferences that no longer provide any real return on investment? It is the people.
Over the past nine years we have met some incredible folks we now call friends. They come from all walks of life. They are of diverse backgrounds and political persuasions. They work in viticulture and viniculture, technology and hospitality, arts and sciences, public service and the law, and everything in between. There are so many great people that we don't began to name some on the chance we won't be able to list them all. But suffice it to say, it's been a fabulous nine years.
This weekend we return to the state where it began and an area with a diversity of grape growing and wine making. Lodi, California, may be synonymous with Zinfandel, but offers wines for nearly every palate -- from Spanish varietals at Bokisch Vineyards, to German and Austrian grapes from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards, to Rhône blends from Acquiesce Winery, and the tried and true from producers like Michael David Winery and LangeTwins. In Lodi, there is something for everyone. And there is an authenticity worth visiting again and again.
In my last visit there, I could not understand why John Fogerty complained, in 1969, "Oh Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi, again!" But I bet for a few thousand dollars he would be happy to tell us.
For us, the Wine Bloggers' Conference is about the people, and it is them we go to see. We look forward to drinking with them this 9th WBC Conference in Lodi!
For just some recaps and thoughts on previous Wine Blogger Conferences please read...
- Not your Grandfather's Wine Blog (July 26, 2014)
- Top 10 Things I Learned at WBC 2014 (July 18, 2014)
- Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarships: From Donor to Recipient (June 25, 2014)
- Wine Bloggers' 5-Year Reunion: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Redux (September 14, 2012)
- Big John Bates and the Punk-a-billy Strippers (July 11, 2010)
- Leaving Walla Walla and my liver hurts! (June 27, 2010)
- Answering My Own Question (July 25, 2009)
- Looking Back and Looking Ahead: WBC '09 (July 8, 2009)
- Commentary: Credentialing for Wine Bloggers (January 13, 2009)
- Wine Industry & Blogger Interaction: What Crosses the Line? (November 7, 2008)
- October Surprise - Michel-Schlumberger Vineyard Walk (October 28, 2008)
- Final Days of the Wine Blogger Conference (October 27, 2008)