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Keynote Addresses Come Up Short

The Wine Bloggers Conference is one of the few conferences we attend that have two keynote addresses. Some of the conferences we attend do not have keynote addresses. In my opinion, the keynote address should motivate attendees, and/or present them with ideas that they can pursue. Given that objective, WBC12 keynote addresses did not measure up.

Randall Grahm came the closest in his address to motivating and giving attendees take-aways. Randall noted that few wine bloggers can make money. Bloggers should search for some meaningful thing about wine. Words describing an aroma or taste become meaningless. Bloggers should look beyond the wine to its essence. How does a wine present itself to us? Are bloggers writing about wine or themselves? What can the experience of a wine teach about being human? Randall suggests a more philosophical analysis of a wine. Mention the magic the wine works on us. Can a wine be powerful enough to move us to poetry? Some concrete examples of philosophical notions would have been helpful.

Unfortunately Rex Pickett’s keynote address failed to motivate or provide any take-aways. It is nice to have a celebrity. Rex’s ramblings and raves brought many laughs. However, I was greatly disappointment in his message. He provide me with no motivation nor any ideas how to improve my craft or things to consider while writing. Rex was totally self absorbed and unskilled in talking to a group. If he was gauging success with laughter for what he uttered, then he was successful. If success is measured with substance, then he failed to deliver.

Last year’s conference keynote addresses were delivered by Jancis Robinson and Eric Asimov. Both keynote addresses were somewhat motivating and gave attendees something to take home and think about.

If I want to be entertained, I can turn on the television set in my hotel room, although there is no time to do that at a Wine Bloggers Conference. I’m looking for keynote addresses that make me want to go home and write.


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