A year ago, the first "The bloggers are coming!"column appeared, after Penticton was tentatively announced as the location of the 2013 North American Wine Bloggers Conference.

Twelve months, multiple Skype calls with the conference organizers (Colorado-based Zephyr Adventures) Twitter chats, and – a few days after writing this column – a promotional blitz at the 2012 conference in Portland, Oregon, it's official: the bloggers, up to 400 of them, are coming to the South Okanagan.

Penticton will be the centre of the action from June 6-8, 2013, with the Penticton LakesideResort and Casino as conference headquarters. Bloggers will head out to BC wine country on various excursions, take in receptions, seminars, live wine blogging and more. And there's been a request to incorporate Penticton's famous River Channel into some sort of "tubing and wine" activity.

Hosting the WBC has been an economic and tourism boon for previous hosts. The economic impact is massive, with more than 1000 hotel nights booked during the three-day conference, plus dollars dropped at restaurants and shops, and based on previous conferences, a potential increase in BC wine sales of 10%. And the social media impact? About 50 million Twitter impressions and earned media in the thousands of dollars, as bloggers often write multiple posts before, during and after the conference. In other words, huge not just for wine, but to grow tourist traffic.

How can you take advantage? Start getting into the chatter now, whether or not you're awinery. On Twitter, follow the Okanagan conference @wbcokanagan, use the hashtags #wbc13 and #bcwine liberally, and interact with your fellow wine lovers. Also check out the Facebook page at facebook.com/wbcokanagan.Follow the conference blog at www.winebloggersconference.org/america/ and register early, as all prior WBC's have sold out months in advance.

The conference content is largely planned by Zephyr Adventures, in conjunction with the local organizers, in this case yours truly and Penticton & Wine Country Tourism, and the wine focus will definitely be BC. Breakout sessions may include talks on better blogging, terrior, social media, geology; local wine regions, restaurants and chefs will be called uponto create and host wine country excursions so we can show the participants our best vintage, so to speak.

Have a suggestion or question? Connect with the conference on social media, or email me at ask@allshewrote.ca.

– Allison Markin

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