Wine writing is an integral part of the wine industry. And yet, we can acknowledge that the world of wine writing is niche within the field of journalism, shrinking in some ways while also expanding into new media and channels.
The 2021 Virtual Symposium provides a unique opportunity for the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers to engage with new talent, perspectives, and voices, as well as to explore a range of topics and workshops designed to enhance the craft of wine writers.
The challenge in today’s fragmented media landscape is for writers and publications to engage trade and consumers with both a casual and deep interest in wine by understanding the various audiences, embracing trends, drawing parallels with other beverage and consumer industries, and making a personal connection with the reader.
The Symposium seeks to draw upon top wine book authors and editors, wine magazine writers and critics, newspaper wine columnists, bloggers, and other editorial wine content creators to speak, listen, debate, and explore themes prevalent in contemporary wine communications, as well as to provide a community of peers within the industry, creating a unique career enrichment opportunity and ability to shape the future of wine communications.
Q: How and when will I be alerted whether or not I have been accepted?
Applications are being reviewed anonymously on a rolling basis, and applicants will be alerted after the review process weekly. All applicants will have a response by May 7th, so please mark your calendars for the sessions occurring from 10-12 May.
Q: Will the sessions be available online?
For all admitted applicants who are unable to participate live, recordings will be available for a limited period after the event.
Q: How is this year’s Virtual Symposium different from past years?
This year, we can welcome more writers than ever before given the virtual program format. Applications from around the world are welcome.
Q: Who is the intended audience for the Virtual Symposium?
This year's program has been developed with multiple audiences in mind: established writers and active or hopeful writers who would like to further their craft.
Q: If I have not been able to publish a piece in the last year, but I have in the past, am I still able to apply for the Virtual Symposium?
Given the unusual circumstances of 2020, we understand that your publishing schedule may have been interrupted. You may still submit an application by linking to your most recently published work, in addition to submitting a more recent writing sample.
Q: If I have never been published, am I still able to apply for the Virtual Symposium?
If you are not yet a published writer, you may still submit a sample of work for review from the last 12 months, which will be reviewed anonymously. However, not all applications will be accepted for this year’s Symposium.
Q: How will the 2021 applications be reviewed?
All submissions will be reviewed anonymously by committee, with applicants accepted based on the quality of their writing.
Q: Must the writing sample be in English?
Yes, at least one of the writing samples must be in English for review. You may also submit a published piece in another language.
Q: Is registration required to attend the 2021 Virtual Symposium?
Registration is required for participation, and all applicants must submit a work sample from the last twelve months. For this year’s edition, the submission may include an article (digital or print), book excerpt, newsletter, or blog post. A link to or PDF copies of the pieces are required. The writing sample will serve to demonstrate eligibility for registration.
Q: What is the history of The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers?
The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, founded by Meadowood Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Vintners trade association and The Culinary Institute of America, draws top wine book authors and editors, wine magazine writers and critics, newspaper wine columnists, bloggers and other editorial wine content creators to Napa Valley to speak, listen, debate, explore themes prevalent in contemporary wine writing and network with their peers for four days. A combination of lectures, panel discussions, group and individual writing sessions, wine tasting and fine dining make the symposium an unmatched career enrichment opportunity for editorial wine, wine-food, and wine-travel writers.
“It was a pleasure to be at the symposium. I learned a lot about a world that's still rather exotic to me, and can only admire those who participated. Their energy and passion are impressive. I hope I was able to help those I ‘coached’ (they were more like discussions of their work, really); they certainly taught me a lot.”
Author, journalist, wine merchant
San Francisco, California
"I came away from the symposium feeling energized and ready to rock out the year. I made a to-do list on the plane ride home, and am happy to report at the end of the year that the majority of my full-time freelance income came from wine writing. Even more significant on a personal level, the craft discussions and writing workshops helped inspire me to keep the quality of writing high, which in turn leads to its own success."
Writer, Cooking Light, Wine Enthusiast
“Never say I'm not attentive at the symposium seminars! Here's a column that resulted directly from sitting in on Janet Fletcher's seminar back in February.”
Chief wine critic, The New York Times
New York, New York
“Happy to say I've just assigned my first article to an alum of The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley -- Janis Miglavs.”
Editor, Worth magazine
New York, New York
“When I attended the symposium as a fellowship recipient, I was brand new to the world of wine writing. The symposium gave me the confidence I needed to become a real life wine writer. When a year had passed I still made use of the contacts I made at the symposium -- I’ll email other wine writers for advice; touch base with other bloggers to flesh out post ideas; and pitch editors. The followinig year was incredible and the symposium played an important role in this success. So if you’re a wine writer, go to California!”
Founder & editor, Terroirist.com
“The symposium is a great, fun event. In pulling together key opinion formers from across the US wine scene, this is a forum where attendees are getting their finger on the pulse of the major issues being dissected by the wine press, and getting themselves in front of key editorial names. You're also at the heart of the California wine scene for a busy week of events – so from my perspective, it was an extremely useful environment in which to take Napa's temperature, and to pick up some new wine writing talent – I went away with several potential new contributors to the magazine.”
Editor, Decanter magazine
“Guess what? A few weeks after attending the symposium my little column for the Star newspaper is a winner in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists column competition, in the category of humor (naturally) for print publications with circulation under 50,000.”
Attorney, author, freelance writer
St. Helena, California
“Awesome symposium. Very well run and insightful. What I thought most fascinating was how wine attracts people from all backgrounds. I learned something from each person I spoke with.”
Reporter, MarketWatch.com, Wall Street Journal Digital Network
San Francisco, California
“Antonio Galloni and I were both participants at last (February’s) Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. Over the course of the week, I had many opportunities to chat with him and watch him interact with the other writers. He readily accepted my request for an exclusive interview.”
Castro Valley, California
“I found my muse (speaker Karen MacNeil) and some of my first and most consistent outlets (San Francisco Chronicle, Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal) through the people I met at my very first wine writers symposium. The relationships and contacts are a dividend that more than repays the investment of time and money.”
Menlo Park, California