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.


Posted In: Events, Wine Media


9 Responses

  1. Derrick Schneider - December 21, 2007

    The symposium is great, but your readers should know that the deadline for fellowship application was December 1.
    I’ve gone all three years, and I’ve learned something valuable each year, though I will say that I might have skipped last year if I hadn’t gotten a fellowship. (Thanks to Saintsbury, in fact.) Jack Hart, the writing coach that’s speaking, has probably done as much to spur my writing self-education as my editor at The Art of Eating.

  2. Ken - December 22, 2007

    Hi Tom,
    You are always a wealth of Very Good information. I will put this event on the radar for 2009. Sounds like something I would enjoy & benefit from attending. Happy Holidays.

  3. Paul Gregutt - December 22, 2007

    Tom, You are absolutely right about the value of this symposium. I was fortunate enough to win a scholarship last year. Writing for a living can make one rather anti-social – let’s face it, staring at a computer for hours a day is a rather lonely occupation. But the warmth, fellowship and collegiality of this four-day event quickly blew through any reservations I may have had about forced conviviality. It was (and is) extremely helpful and inspiring to writers and would-be writers. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

  4. Marisa D'Vari - December 28, 2007

    I went to the symposium last year and will attend this year as well. Great meeting fellow writers and a lot of fun. Thanks for posting this.

  5. Matthew Apsokardu - December 28, 2007

    Thank you for relaying this event to us! Like some of the other readers, it is too late for me to attend this year, but I will certainly keep it in mind for the future. It sounds like a really great cast of instructors and I think would prove beneficial for novices and veterans alike.
    I have been to a few writing conferences, but never one focused on a singular topic like this. I bet it would really let the attendees dig down into the details.
    Thanks again for the review!
    http://www.classicwines.com – Online Guide to Wine Ratings, Wine Prices, and Wine Reviews

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    I’m new to this site, and I was just reading about this new topic

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