This will be my first attendance at the Wine Bloggers Conference, but not my first wine-related conference. I've attended the last two years of the WineMaker Magazine conference (2011 recap & 2010) which is about the same size and has an equally action packed schedule. What I've learned from those trips is applicable to the WBC and is helping me prepare.
Hopefully some of this helps first time and repeat attendees alike.
- Keep it simple.
- Don't over think your planning. Going with the flow when you get there is going to take you in unexpected directions.
- Exercise your cheek muscles before you leave and be ready to smile a lot. It makes you approachable and has you ready for pictures at all times!
- Assume all presentations will be available (during or after the conference) and you need only write down your notes about what is said, and not everything that is said or presented.
- Figure out the most straightforward way to describe yourself and what you do. Practice delivering it quickly. You'll do this a lot.
- Pack for the weather. Outdoor events are great, but not if you aren't comfortable.
- Plan on spitting out a lot more wine than you swallow. Intoxication is no good to keep yourself lively to taste more wine, be fun to be around or handle the fast paced schedule of the event.
- If you use business cards, and many people still do, bring them. Even in the massively online world of wine blogging reconnecting with a deluge of new people via cards works.
- If you can't bring wine from home to share, pick some up when you arrive. Nothing makes a great first impression as a wine conference like wine!
- Try not to get twisted about missing stuff. There is going to be so much going on that you will miss something. Try to really enjoy what you do participate in. Those memories will go farther.
- Depending on your normal regimen, pick a cut-off time for yourself and get some sleep. A little less than normal, if it doesn't hurt, might be a reasonable accommodation!
- And don't forget to eat reasonable meals. Too much and you might not feel well when wine tasting comes around. Too little and you might fall down if you tip a few back.
- And finally, plan on having fun!