Thursday, August 23, 2012

What I Learned at WBC#12: Be Myself

Oh sure, many of us come for the non-stop glasses of wine from the time we pick up our name tags at the Wine Bloggers Conference registration desk until we bid farewell. Not a bad thing, especially if you are a wine blogger. However, speaking for myself, sooner or later my palate tells me to "Put the glass of wine down. It no longer tastes good."  Now this can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on one's mood.

So, what did I learn from WBC#12?  I learned a lot about the future of wine sales and trends. Or actually, the info just confirmed what I already knew. I learned a lot about the vintages of Oregon wines and their Pinot Noir clones. I learned that I need to move faster on my novella and get it printed. I learned, or more like confirmed, the importance of branding myself.  But most of all - - I learned to just be myself. 

What is "myself?"  Well first of all it is important to understand I am a Gemini, being born under the sign of the twins, I suppose I am a little bi-polar. My favorite poem goes: "Roses are red, Violets are blue. I am schizophrenic and so am I!" 

But this is me folks, take it or leave it. After spending years trying to please everyone else: being a good daughter, good wife, good active stepmother and role model, good friend ... I had to stop, take a look back, but most of all take a look ahead. Since 1998, I have been learning how to be myself. It's been the toughest journey I have ever had. These past years have brought me immense loss, overwhelming grief and painful changes that I may not show or share,  but it has also given me rewards. It's a journey that I would never change. 

In the mean time there are assholes out in the wine blogging world who want to diminish what I love to do or even diminish and make fun of wine bloggers or wine blogging as a whole. It must suck to be them. 

This year at the WBC, I received a nomination for "Best Writing" for the Wine Blogging Awards. I was overwhelmed with the nomination and also humbled when looking at some of the other finalists in the category - such as Alder Yarrow of Vineography (already a two time winner of this category - now make that a three-time winner as of last week ...) and Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon, who was also our WBC#12 keynote speaker. I knew I didn't stand a chance so I didn't even bother with any kind of an "acceptance" speech.  As soon as they announced Yarrow as the winner, a rush of relief came over to me. It was finally over and didn't have to get up and speak ... 

Later that evening as I went up to my room to change and drop some things off before I headed to the many post-dinner wine receptions. I walked out of the elevator and there were three young women waiting to get on. However, they took note of my WBC name badge and wanted to get my opinions about wine instead of getting on the elevator.  They asked me about some of my Walla Walla favorites, how I felt about Oregon Pinot Noir, - - and all of a sudden, one of the women glanced at my name badge again and said, "Wait - you're the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman. Are you thee Walla Walla Wine Woman? You know, the one that Pemco did an ad about? If so, according to Pemco, 'You're one of us ...'  I read your blog!"

"Yes, I am the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman - the Pemco parody," I said. "I have a wine blog and a little wine shop. I was here before the Pemco campaign. In fact Pemco sent me lots of t-shirts and trading cards and even the mp3 of that ad when the campaign first came out."  

The elevator door came back to the ninth floor and the door opened. My three new acquaintances said goodbye and stepped on the elevator going down. As I said goodbye and turned my back, just before the elevator door closed, I heard one of them scream and in a high pitched voice say, "Oh my gawd! I can't believe it! We just met the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman! (more collective screaming ... )"  

That incident on the ninth floor in front of the elevator meant just as much to me than any award - - and all I was doing was being myself. 

4 comments:

Amy @ VineSleuth Uncorked said...

LOVE this!!!
And I was just as thrilled to meet you myself... I just didn't have a posse to gush with. :)

Amy @ VineSleuth Uncorked said...

LOVE this!
And I'm so glad I got to meet you as well. I just didn't have a posse to gush with. :)

WineyWomen said...

Awesome article! I can relate to the whole being yourself thing. I find that people are more than interested in what it is I do and then blogging about wine just puts them over the edge.. Most want to quit their day job.. Then I get some that for obvious reasons don't know how to blog or use social media for that matter and make it sound like I have no skill and they wouldn't be caught blogging for anything. This I have come to the conclusion is that they don't want to learn anything new in ways of communicating.. So be it. I love that those girls were so excited to meet you.. I was also excited to meet you!

Catie said...

Thanks everyone!
C~