I've been reading through the various reactions to the recent Amerian Wine Bloggers Conference held in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I have to say holding the conference in Portland, Oregon next year will certainly be a boon for the conference organizers.
First and foremost, the wine industry in and around Portland is obviously more mature than in Virginia. And it's on the West Coast right next door to California and Washington, again, huge wine producing regions. That means easy access to more great wines, wineries and wine peeps than it might appear the Virginia edition of the conference provided.
But what makes this a slam dunk is what I like to call the Portlandia-effect. My current hometown is suddenly one of the hippest places to be despite its long history of being otherwise (seriously, ask anyone who was born here and is older than 12).
It took a great many years, but it's finally all coming together for Portland in the popularity department. We are now known for: beer, wine (natch), the Silicon Forest, urban (sometimes naked) biking, the indie music scene, hundreds of food carts, hard core outdoor recreation, our long list of farm to fork restaurants, grocery stores and farmers markets and ... we "put a bird on it".
This Portland popularity streak should bring quite an eclectic crowd (even for wine folk) to the conference next year AND make it easy for the organizers to add variety and intrigue to the conference agenda.