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European Wine Bloggers conference in Izmir, Turkey. Are you as confused as I?

My personal overview of the schedule and program for the EWBC conference, pre-, and post-trips in November

Have you signed up for the European Wine Bloggers Conference in Izmir in Turkey in November? I have.

I started to look at the planning for the event (prompted by the ominous message that registration for the add-on events would start at a certain date at 1900 hours GMT sharp; sounded like either military planning or as if they are expecting an avalanche of inscriptions).

Perhaps you too have started to look at how you should plan your trip. There are pre-trips, post-trips, seminars, conference programs (well, actually, there is no conference program at all published), dinners etc etc. I found it quite a challenge to get a good overview of how it is all planned. It almost feels as if the information is designed so as not to give you any concise information of what the whole event looks like. So I decided to do one for myself.

And as a public service I thought my overview might be useful also for other people, if anyone else is as totally confused as I am.

Once you have figured out what you want to do, then you have also to figure out how to get there.

Update: Personally, when I go on this kind of thing I want to make it as productive and useful as I can. It takes a lot of time so getting as much out of it is important. So my choice for the EWBC is:

  • Pre-trip to Canakkale & Tekirdag
  • There’s a rumour of a dinner in Istanbul on Nov 7 too that I’m likely to go to
  • The conference
  • Sunday full day trip to Ephesus
  • Post-trip 3 to Cappadocia
  • Perhaps something in Istanbul after that, but since the details of the end of the post trip is uncertain I am not sure

Overall planning of the EWBC

Pre-trips

See further down.

Thursday, November 8

  • BYOB Dinner, Bring Your Own Bottle Dinner, Izmir, starting 19.00

Friday, November 9

  • Conference (program still unknown as of time of writing )

There will be some guest speakers (speaking themes unknown), a wine exhibition, wine workshops, tastings, “technology” workshops, seminars, food. But what, when and how is not yet known.

Saturday, November 10

  • Conference (program still unknown as of time of writing)

Sunday, November 11

Sunday wine trips:

  • Sunday Vineyard Trip to Izmir, half day
  • Sunday Vineyard Trip to Ephesus, full day
  • unknown location – unknown duration
  • perhaps more

Alternatively:

  • ROI on Social Media workshop

Sunday November 11 or Monday November 12

Selection of post-trips. See below.

EWBC Map

European Wine Bloggers Conference Map, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license from WorldofMaps.net. You are free to use and change it but it requires to remain under the same or similar license.

Pre-Trips

Pre trip #0 (?)

Istanbul: “A half day city walk and dinner will be announced in the future.” Not clear if this will be on the Wednesday or the Thursday.

No information available on this at the time of writing (June)

Pre-Trip: Çanakkale & Tekirdag, November 6-7

South-west of Istanbul

Tuesday, November 6

  • Drive from Istanbul to  Çanakkale-Suvla Vineyard
  • Barbecue lunch at the vineyard
  • War memorials from the Gallipoli war

Wednesday, November 7

  • Gulor Winery (owned by Güler Sabanci) (~135 km from Tekirdag)
  • Lunch in Tekirdag (135 km from Istanbul)
  • Doluca Winery
  • Drive back to Istanbul

Post-Trips

Post Trip #1: Manisa & Denizli, November 11-13

East of Izmir.

Important: this starts on the Sunday!

Sunday, November 11

  • Bus to Selendi
  • Cistern Vineyard
  • Selendi Winery Akhisar
  • hot springs and its ancient Lydia ancestry
  • “a fabulously delicious dinner” at the hotel

Monday, November 12

  • Acropolis, Temple of Artemis, Gymnasium-Bathhouse, Synagogue
  • Kavaklidere Winery for a tour and lunch
  • winery visit to Pamukkale Vineyard

Tuesday, November 13

  • Hierapolis near Denizli, The “Holy City” (Apollon Temple, Middle Age (Selcuklu) Fortress, Greek Theater, Necropolis…
  • Lunch in a local restaurant
  • Drive to Izmir

EWBC 2012 Post Trip #2: Elazig, November 11-12

Eastern Turkey.

Important: this starts on the Sunday!

Sunday, November 11

  • Plane to Elazig and transfer by bus to Harput
  • Ulu Mosque, the Castle of Harput, the Cave of Buzluk and Assyrian churches.
  • city center of Elazig, traditional Bazaar

Monday, November 12

  • Kayra Elazig Vineyard
  • Lunch
  • To the Elazig Airport, where you will catch a plane to Ankara

EWBC 2012 Post Trip #3 – Cappadocia, November 12-14

Central Turkey, Central Anatolia

Monday, November 12, 2012

  • flight to Nevsehir (Cappadocia Airport)
  • Goreme National Park
  • Lunch in the Pigeon Valley
  • Zelve valley (abandoned ruin valley)
  • Kavaklidere Cotes D’Avanos Winery

Tuesday, November 13

  • Kocabag Cappadocian Wines is a family owned wine producer
  • guided visit of the Pigeon Valley
  • Goreme Open Air Museum

Wednesday, November 14

  • Optional add-on very early balloon flight
  • morning flight will head to Istanbul

EWBC 2012 Post Trip #4: Georgia, November 12-16

Monday November 12

  • Flights will leave from Izmir

Tuesday November 13

  • ??

Wednesday November 14

  • ??

Thursday November 15

  • ??

Friday November 16

  • Flight return to Istanbul

And here’s some feedback from a previous #EWBC: “European Wine Bloggers Conference. How was it for you? – BKWine TV”

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20 Responses to European Wine Bloggers conference in Izmir, Turkey. Are you as confused as I?

  1. Wink Lorch June 2, 2012 at 23:18 #

    Per, I think that your breakdown of events may well be helpful for some people. Brett and quite enjoyed figuring it out in advance of the registration opening for the Pre/Post trips as it allowed us to check out the map of Turkey, and inform ourselves as to what might be the best choice for us.

    However, I find your post to come over a little negative about the whole event (so I wonder why are you signed up?). And I wonder if perhaps you are not entering into the ‘spirit’ of ‘community’ that has built up around EWBC over the years. By embracing the EWBC community, through following the EWBC blog, FB page and indeed following other people in the community on Twitter, FB etc. really the whole thing becomes less confusing and is partly what the conference is all about – the process starts long before the actual conference and continues long afterwards, through ongoing communications – it is after all a communications conference even if perhaps the communications from the organisers are not always crystal clear as they might be for a high-cost professional event.

    Yes, it would be easy to pick holes in the organisation if I wanted to. But, I bear in mind the fact that the whole thing is organised by 3 people, who are busy doing other things too to earn a living. I bear in mind that this is a highly subsidized event. I bear in mind that the conference will be for around 200 people, yet the Pre and Post trips can only accommodate a much smaller number and inevitably there is more hype around certain trips, meaning that everyone wants to go on the same one. And I bear in mind that the main sponsors – Turkey in this case – can only do so much in terms of how much they support us financially – and money is time too. And instead of picking holes, I feel a really positive attitude towards the event. I hope that underneath it all, you do too.

    See you in a few months – maybe in Istanbul and certainly in Izmir, Turkey!

    • Per June 3, 2012 at 00:05 #

      Wink,

      I am obviously not negative to the EWBC. This is the third one that I participate in. And I spent a good few moments working out this post too!

      If you find it negative, perhaps you are a bit over sensitive? I’m not brown-nosing for sure. But negative?

      But yes, I do have some criticism. But who wouldn’t? Do you really want friends, or a community, that just laps up everything you do and has no constructive criticism or comments?

      So here are two concrete criticisms:

      1. The program. What program?:

      This is no longer just a “community event”. It is a conference run as a business. This is, as far as I understand, one part of how Gabriella, Ryan and Robert make a living. They earn their outcome from this. At least partly. And for a professional conference organiser I find it odd to ask people to sign up to the event at the end of January without even a thread of a conference program. And still, almost six months later, not any real conference program either. Shreds of info, yes. The price is €350 euros to participate (travel and accommodation not included). That’s a business and not just a community event. In my humble opinion. It was indeed different previously when it was more friends and friends-of-friends (and less expensive), but now it is a professional way to make a living. That makes it different.

      2. Effective communication online:

      The EWBC site is a site created by someone who is also making a business of consulting with people to help them and tell them how to communicate more effectively online. But I find the site *rather* difficult to navigate. It is really hard to make any sense of the information that is there and to find any logic in the schedule, the program and the planning. For example, it took a few back and forths to find out that there was actually 4 post trips and not three, as it looked like if you came in through one of the “doors”. And that’s just one of the information challenges on the site…

      You can tell me if you want that “you sign up to it because you believe in the EWBC way” but that is really not much different than saying that you buy certain wines because they have 92+ Parker points. Brand image. I would expect more from the EWBC.

      So, yes, I look forward to the EWBC. And no, if you can’t take criticism then you should avoid communicating online and in particular with social media. And I think a business has the responsibility the be professional towards its clients.

      By trying to explain clearly and concisely what the conference is about, how the planning looks, and what the timing is, I think I have done a fair bit of contributing to making sense of this conference. Quite a few people like substance and facts and not just hype. You may not agree of course.

      And I do indeed look forward to meeting you, and everyone else in Izmir. (In whatever way we’re going to get there, which is yet another story!)

    • Arnold Waldstein June 3, 2012 at 22:52 #

      Hi Wink…

      I’ll leave the nits to you and Per;)

      What is interesting to me in your comment is where does community live. This is the topic of course I work in each and every day.

      I have really great friends who I met and reconnect with them at EWBC and other places.

      EWBC as a networking event is excellent. That plus post trips is why I attend.

      But where does community as superset live? Events almost never have the chutzpah to host the community. I don’t think it is true in this case. They don’t have community blogs or pages that I’m aware of and off season, they are quiet. Working to plan the next event.

      I would state that the community supports the event which is great for them. They are good people and I’m glad to support as long as value is returned.

      Community though doesn’t live there. It exists across a bunch of networks, across blogs, across friendships.

      Academic maybe but I think this is correct to my view.

      • Caroline June 3, 2012 at 23:23 #

        Very well put Arnold! I too believe that a community lives above and beyond events – as it is made up by like minded people wanting to share their experiences and learn from others. Through the sharing friendships are developed and nurtured, there are some unspoken rules which basically are along the lines of being nice and courteous, but I feel very strongly about community members being allowed and even stimulated to develop their individual thinking within the community. Yes we will be influenced by each other and stimulated to check specific things out just because of a recommendation of a friend, but we are still entitled to an opinion and to voice criticism – or at least I believe so.

        Events are indeed crucial in the bonding part – to bring the community together – especially in the early stages. After that we will find ways to see the people we click with the most at other times – exactly in the same way friendships are formed at school and developed outside of the play ground:-)

        However the thing to remember is that we are all at events such as the EWBC out of our own free will – not because we have to attend. This means that the organisers need to make the event as attractive as possible so we still WANT to attend. And a big part of this is communication on a regular basis – eg mingle with the community. And I think a little more mingling by the organisers would not do the EWBC any harm…#justsaying:-)

        • Arnold Waldstein June 3, 2012 at 23:28 #

          Yup…you are most correct.

          You can either be a leader of a community or a part of it. If you are neither, then the community will move on.

          My firm belief is that we need more events honestly. I would love to do one or two a year, maybe a Paris crawl, a Slovinian long weekend. There are many places in Europe and eastern Europe with amazing depth of wine that I’d love to visit with a small group.

          Event organizers should be listening here 😉

        • Arnold Waldstein June 3, 2012 at 23:30 #

          And to add to below Caroline, I’ve recently approached the buyer at my fave shops and suggested just that.

          Let me go to Etna, Beaujolais, Jura, Riberia Sacra with you on a buying trip. They haven’t said no!

          • Caroline June 3, 2012 at 23:35 #

            Sounds amazing – I keep my fingers crossed for you!! I agree with smaller trips and opportunities to get together more regular – like maybe the Vinocamps here in France are for the French speaking community:-)
            I think we should try and organise more trips – with less people these trips can be focussed. I know Per knows all about this as he organises trips (among other things) for a living:-)

  2. Caroline June 3, 2012 at 21:12 #

    Hi Per,

    I really like the breakdown of the program and events and indeed think it could be very useful for people still trying to decide to sign up. I think a lot of people are not that familiar with Turkey’s geography so adding the map is really helpful too!!

    Yes the EWBC – or the Digital Wine Communication Conference as it is called today – has grown and is kinda run as a business and this is reflected in the entry fee – which went up by 33% compared to last year. This is quite a steep increase for any product or service and I think in return people may expect more information or at least more transparency and clarity so they can organise their travel and time off. And I think this is where your post comes in extremely handy as it has all dates, airports and events (including post and pre events) so it makes it easier to organise travel:-)

    I think that maybe more posts like this one are needed for the EWBC to define itself either as a business or a forum for a community. In case of the former, more info and communication is indeed needed. In case of the latter I feel the prices need to come back down – more in line with the WBC (American Wine Bloggers Conference) where the price is still at $95 – the same it was when they started 4 years ago. Either way I feel this is constructive criticism as this post contains a clear message.
    Well done!!

    • Per June 3, 2012 at 21:30 #

      Thanks Caroline! 🙂 Really look forward to meeting you in Turkey!
      -P

      • Caroline June 3, 2012 at 22:05 #

        Hmmm I think I will have to bring some lipstick and meet you in Paris as I am not going to Turkey 🙂

        • Per June 4, 2012 at 09:18 #

          Ah, well, Champagne isn’t that far away!

  3. Arnold Waldstein June 3, 2012 at 21:36 #

    Useful information and thanks Per.

    Map especially.

    There is something to your point that I can find out here what I should be able to find out there.

    I’ll see you in Izmir if not sooner in Paris. I remember us having coffee together in the hotel in Vienna the day I was heading home.

    • Per June 3, 2012 at 21:44 #

      Was breakfast, so I was probably not to my advantage. Before putting on lipstick =:-O

      • Arnold Waldstein June 3, 2012 at 21:49 #

        Funny…but we’ve stayed connected over the last few years so yeah, friendships start from these little bits.

        Looking forward to connecting.

        What Sunday and post trip are you doing?

        Bunch of us are in Istanbul 24 hours prior on Wednesday to walkabout if you are there.

  4. Per June 4, 2012 at 09:24 #

    Arnold (& others):

    My choice in the end was:
    – Sunday full day outing to Ephesus (curious to see what the 3rd Sunday outing will be though)
    – Post trip to Cappadocia

    I am not sure what I will do before.

    It proves to be not quite so simple to get to Izmir, not even from Paris, So it is quite possible that I will (have to) be in Istanbul for at least a stop-over one day before (=Wednesday).

    Flight booking procedures has not been announced yet so I’ll see how it pans out when it is.

    Do you know where you will be staying in Istanbul?

    • Arnold Waldstein June 4, 2012 at 12:16 #

      See you there and on the Sunday trip Per.

      For me from NYC, best routing is NYC->Heathrow->Istanbul so makes sense to take a walkabout around the city pre and just after Georgia.

      Good set of comments.

  5. Mariëlla June 7, 2012 at 10:20 #

    Thanks Per, for this post, and thanks everyone else for their contributions. Like Wink, I was inclined to think you meant it in a negative way, but after having read Arnold en Caroline’s comments, I see the point you are making.

    Adding to that: like from Paris is not that easy to book flights from Amsterdam to Izmir, or from the post trip locations elsewhere in Turkey back home. As I am someone who likes to arrange things in time, more and timely information on the program and schedules would have been much appreciated.

    Especially if the community wants to reach out to more and new wine communicator, who do not have experience with the previous four gatherings. The ‘community’ that is already there is already enthousiastic, knows each other and believes everything will be alright in the end. But that is not true for people who have not joined EWBC before!

    Havind said that, I am looking forward immensely to my trip to Turkey. And from reliable sources I have heard that information on the Pegasus deals will be announced this week!

    • Per June 7, 2012 at 10:46 #

      Mariella,

      Good points that rhyme well with Wink’s actually.

      If you are an “old timer” (i.e. have participated in one or more #EWBC previoiusly) as you and I are, or if you belong to the group of “insiders” in the UK EWBC wine blogger grouping (as Wink does) (was going to say clique but didn’t dare), then perhaps you don’t need to be so concerned. You know it will sort itself out, and you’re there mainly to meet the people anyway.

      But if you are not an “alumni” or an insider, say you are not part of the UK wine blogging crowd but you are in Belgium, Holland, France, Norway, Germany or some other country then I think it must be quite hard to figure it out.

      Perhaps one of the questions that the organisers need to ponder is if the event is focussed mainly on “already converted” acolytes of the EWBC or if they really have the ambition to reach out to new participants, to a wider crowd of online wine communicators also in other countries and of different backgrounds? And if the latter, then how?

      Thanks for making that point clearer!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Will you also come to Turkey to taste wine in November? | BKWine Magazine - September 10, 2012

    […] The conference is two days but you have the opportunity to also participate in pre- and post discovery trips (sponsored!) to various Turkish wine and culture regions. But I found it quite hard to get a grip on how best to plan my participation since I found the info around the conference, well, not very clear. So I made a more straight forward (I think) overview to help me, and to help you (!) if you are coming: European Wine Bloggers Conference in Izmir, Turkey. Are you as confused as I? […]

  2. Kommer du med till Turkiet och provar vin i november? | BKWine Magazine - September 10, 2012

    […] informationen var rörig (tyckte jag) så jag gjorde en översikt för att underlätta det hela: European Wine Bloggers Conference in Izmir, Turkey. Are you as confused as I? Kanske kan vi hoppas på många svenska […]

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