When a friend asks for help, I do everything in my power to assist them.
So, when David Baeza asked me to be part of a new conference he was organizing I wanted to make it work. When I saw that he had asked several of our closest friends for the same favor and they had already said yes, I tried even harder to make it happen.
WTFconf stands for Wine, Technology and Food and David assembled a diverse group of speakers to enlighten and inspire the sold out audience.
The Santa Ynez Valley is a beautiful slice of California full of creative and smart people, but there was not yet a true community pulling them all together. David had seen all of the amazing things happening in Fargo, North Dakota and wondered if he could start something similar in his corner of the world. Something that would keep people in the area and encourage kids to stay put after graduation.
I've traveled to Napa and Sonoma in the past, but had never found myself here and I'll tell you now that I can't wait to go back.
The conference was top notch and held at the Sedgwick Reserve. It was the perfect mix of nature and beauty while we learned about technology.
Seeing drones fly around as we ate lunch and checked out vintage hot rods made for a fun contrast of worlds that David wants to bring together as one.
We drank wine, ate great food and laughed a ton. Three keys to a good time in my book.
Thank you to Paul and Firestone Vineyards for taking us on a barrel tasting. I had never done one before and it was a great start to the weekend. Plus, when it is THE person who is in charge of making the wine, you certainly learn a lot about the squished grapes in your glass.
There is something magical about wiping sleep seeds out of your eyes as the sun rises over a windmill in the middle of town. The young redhead serving me coffee seemed equally half asleep as me and we shared several laughs over breakfast.
Thank you to the Hotel Corque for the warm hospitality and hot coffee in the morning. I'll take a great boutique hotel over a major chain every single time. The workers are always more helpful and the atmosphere more relaxed.
David, thank you for inviting me to be part of this special event (and for making your famous tri-tip sandwiches). Spending time with you and our friends was priceless and needed for my soul. The bottle of bourbon that AJ and I opened and finished probably wasn't needed, but I'm smiling as I type these words.
Next time your thinking about taking a trip to "wine country" give this area of California a look. It is a beautiful 30 minute drive from Santa Barbara airport and I can't wait to return with Laura some day so we can take even more of it in.
Keep an eye out for WTFconf 2016 when it is announced. I'm sure it'll sell out again.
Until then, you can flip through my photo album from the weekend.
Special Note: All of my photos were processed using the new Amazing Presets from Tammy Lee Bradley. Not only is she a great photographer, but her Lightroom presets are affordable and useful!