Thea Dwelle is the creator and editor of Luscious Lushes, a wine blog created 5 years ago in order to share information on wine, travel, wine business and technology, while focusing on the story behind the wine. Thea also founded the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship, which strives to assist digital writers attend the annual conference through charitable works. In addition to blogging, she is a well known expert on technology, and blends her day job in CRM with her passion for wine.
Thea will be presenting with Liza Swift but we’ve interviewed them individually about their talk. Thea is focused on the emerging wine region within Okanagan, Canada.
What was it that first attracted you to the wine in Okanagan?
I chose the Okanagan Valley particularly, for several reasons. Primarily, after two years of hard campaigning, the North American Wine Bloggers Conference will be held there in June. I was intrigued by the region and wanted to learn more about this hidden gem of British Columbia. Additionally, after meeting several area locals at various other wine events, I have tasted some wonderful wines and I wanted to learn more. I was able to visit the area last May, and learn about what makes Okanagan so special. This inspired me to share my experiences with other bloggers, as well as my readers. The region is unique and it’s special. Hidden between the ski resort of Whistler and the big city of Vancouver, this is a well kept secret for British Columbians that deserves to be shared!
Are there any tour operators or wineries in Okanagan who are doing a great job attracting visitors and can be used as an example?
Thompson Okanagan Tourism does an excellent job of spreading the message about the Okanagan as a destination. Not only for wine, but also winter sports, and summer lakeside resort living.
On your blog, you wrote about IWINETC and your upcoming trip to Croatia, stating that “As a wine tourist myself, I am often overwhelmed by the sheer number of offerings in a small wine region. Selecting which establishments will benefit from my business is always a taxing exercise.”
Is there a process you follow when selecting your destinations? What websites you go to first, for example?
Choosing wineries is often a shot in the dark. However, with the use of social media tools, I am able to make connections with people in a particular area, and get recommendations. The clever use of Facebook brand pages (based on location) as well as Twitter hashtags bring a wealth of information to your fingertips.
I also use the websites of the regional tourism boards to see what wineries or activities are nearby. I prefer to go on personal tips, and forge my own path, but with the backup of a travel guide or website. With wifi and cellular coverage being widely available, my iPad has been my best friend in places like Okanagan, Spain, and Portugal. Travel Forums like Rick Steeves, FlyerTalk and TripAdvisor often a community where you can build friendships and seek advice.
Croatia is an emerging wine region with lots of lesser-known wineries. Have you sorted out any additional destinations within Croatia for your visit?
I am especially excited to be visiting Croatia for the first time, as I have only had a handful of Croatian wines. I look forward to touring Istria before the conference, and exploring the wine culture there.
Thea Dwelle and Liza Swift will be presenting their talk on Saturday, March 16th, in the Emerald Ballroom titled Undiscovered to Discovered: Bring Your Wine Region into Focus