[The images that follow have absolutely no relevance to the context of this blog, except to say that they’re providing a bird’s eye view of the conference.]

1. There are over 500 wine bloggers, as tracked by Alder Yarrow on Vinography. (There are so many, in fact, that Alder had to create a separate page, because the list has become so long, as stated on his Website.)

2. Everybody, from all walks of life, is blogging about wine. (This is because they have interest, not necessarily academic or experiential learnings… They’re simply journaling, writing their personal opinions. To overhear someone say, “So, there are vineyards, and there are wineries,” told me the basic level some people are at in their journey.)

3. Wine blogs from those who are just learning provides a novice, perhaps even refreshing, insight. (The peril in this process, however, means that there’s going to be some misinformation being disseminated to those who have even less knowledge.)

4. Some of the wine bloggers are taking themselves very seriously, believing that they’ve moved from interest to becoming a professional. (Until one receives compensation for writing about wine, that person is a hobbyist… And, there is nothing wrong with being an enthused hobbyist. Many of these hobbyist are intently keen on learning how they can convert their hobby to a publishing career.)

5. A lot of PR professionals were also at this conference, trying to understand the movement and the importance bloggers are playing in the world of wine. (For larger brands, the three tier system continues to rule, and continues to need the endorsements from the handful of trusted US writers. For smaller wine companies, however, bloggers provide a new, and important medium.)

6. There is a lot of concern about being ethical and not demonstrating conflict of interest. (This is a noble concern within the wine bloggers’ world, and tells me that those who are blogging are striving toward journalistic integrity.)

7. Advertising… to be or not to be, that was clearly the question. (Bloggers are torn about this one, and yet can’t segue from journaling to journalism without compensation coming from somewhere. They’re even trying to figure out how to capture the monetary compensation from a full-page, four-color, glossy wine magazine ad with a $125,000 price tag into their own pockets overnight… without yet understanding the credibility factor that was created over a long career of publishing to get to that point.)

8. Within the wine blogging gene pool, there are future wine writers. (Once offered a job within an established periodical, and having that job offer be taken, you’ll most likely see that blogger’s site become dormant. I’ve already seen it happen with one writer who was offered an editorial position. That blog hasn’t had an entry since the day of accepting the position… many, many months ago.)

9. Bloggers all seem to be talking to each other; not in what they’re writing as the topic; but in the comments section. (Wine bloggers love to read each others blogs, and then try to prove their own points. This is instantaneous feedback, and seems to have replaced the social need for the “alt.food.wine” days.)

10. The voice of the wine blogging world is a social marketing model versus the traditional media voice. (There’s an assumed lack of bias that’s supposed to go with these voices, but there is bias, because it’s subjective, personalized info posted into the blogging world; and, if that changes to complete journalism, the blogs will shatter on the vine and dry up.)