Write and Write Well!
If I could choose to get paid to write professionally about any topic I don’t it would be wine. It would either be a career writing about playing pitcher for the San Francisco Giants or about spending time on sandy beaches.
The fact is, if I did write professionally about wine, it’s likely I wouldn’t be able to spend much time even casually researching the intensity of sunshine on sandy beaches. It’s just too damn hard to make a good living writing about wine.
That’s why the folks who will be presenting, talking and working with attendees at the 3rd Symposium for Professional Wine Writers are so impressive. They actually make a good living writing about wine.
Here’s a secret to life. If you want to be good at something, spend time around other people who are good at it. The is the single best reason to try to attend this Symposium happening February 19 to 22 in Napa Valley. Among those who are very good at wine writing and who make a living at it and who will be on hand to work with no more than sixty or so attendees are:
Antonia Allegra, Brett Anderson, Bill Daley, Jack Hart, Bob Hosmon, Bill LeBlond, Karen MacNeil, Linda Murphy, David Rosengarten, Lettie Teague and Alder Yarrow.
The cost to attend is $475. On top of that you’ll need a place to stay. Meadowood, a sponsor of the symposium, is offering a rate of $250 per night for attendees. However, there are 15 fellowships available, each sponsored by a Napa Valley winery. The fellowship pays for registration and lodging at Meadowood. Frankly, I don’t think you could get as much out of this symposium if you did not stay "on campus", as it were with Meadowood.
I’ve not been the past two years, but not for thinking the event too trivial. Rather, I’ve simply not been able to muster the $1600 and the time. However that did not stop me from applying for the Fellowship both years and had I been chosen for one I would have found the time.
Which brings me to my advice: If you are serious about pursuing wine writing, be it in blog or print, you really should go to this event, either by paying or applying for a fellowship. We are not just talking about the high caliber speakers mentioned about. We are talking about four days with others who are very serious about their wine writing careers. Walking away from this kind of intensive immersion into the craft of wine writing without having improved your craft could only mean you are much better suited to be a reader rather than a writer.
Finally, I’d like to note that one of the sessions scheduled this year is entitled, "Media Convergence: Writing for the Internet, Blogs, Pod Casting and Video Casting—Basics, wine searches and Opening Fields for Wine Writers. The session will be headed up by Alder Yarrow of Vinography along with other professionals.
Derrick at Obsession With Food relates in the comment section that the deadline to apply for the Fellowships is up. What a shame.