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.
Q. How many people attend the Symposium?
At the 2016 Symposium, attendance was limited to 30 fellowship winners, one Editor's Choice attendee, and faculty members.
Q: How do I get to Meadowood Napa Valley?
A: Please visit www.meadowood.com/contact/ for directions to Meadowood from a number of different starting points.
Q: What are my transportation options once I arrive in California (SFO, Oakland, Sacramento airports)?
A: If you prefer not to rent a car, our preferred transportation vendor is Napa Valley Tours and Transportation as they have very knowledgeable drivers and phenomenal service: (707) 251-9463. The Evans bus is an alternative option of transportation from all three airports. It makes infrequent stops to Yountville; it most frequently stops in Napa. For a complete rate and schedule listing you may VISIT THEIR WEBSITE or call (707) 255-1559. From the city of Napa you will still need to arrange for a taxi to take you to Meadowood. An additional transportation vendor to assist in this process is Saint Helena Wine Tours. Their telephone number is (707) 963-9644.
Q: What is the weather like in the Napa Valley during the month of February?
A: February temperatures in Napa Valley usually run between 40 and 60 degrees during the daytime and we could experience rainy days, sunny days or a combination of both. In February 2016, we were delighted to experience a day that reached 86 degrees. Please check the National Weather Service prior to arrival. Evening temperatures may drop to the mid-30s.
Q: Will there be time to explore Meadowood and use The Health Spa during the Symposium?
A: We encourage you to take full advantage of your fellowship and arrive at Meadowood on Monday, February 20. On Monday and Tuesday morning, you can relax and take advantage of the many amenities at Meadowood, including tennis, golf, swimming, hiking, and croquet - not to mention the newly remodeled spa. During the Symposium, most of the time will be spent in workshops, panel discussions and coaching sessions. You will, however, find yourself with a bit of spare time over the course of several days.
Please contact our Health Spa directly at (707) 967-1275 for information regarding hours of operation, fitness classes, hiking trail maps, spa treatments, etc.
Q: What is the appropriate attire for the Symposium?
A: Casual attire is appropriate during the Symposium, however, we would request that your choice of attire not be so relaxed as to include sporting or workout garments. Tuesday dinner attire is “wine country casual” with jackets for men optional. This may be translated as a slightly more polished version of traditional casual wear. Dark, well maintained denim paired with a nice sweater or crisp blouse and blazer; short knit skirt with a sweater, tights (in winter) and flats; khakis with a polo shirt and fleece/sweater vest. Thursday dinner is more formal with jackets suggested for men and “wine country elegant” attire for women. This may be translated as a casual version of traditional cocktail attire. Consider an outfit you’d typically choose for a cocktail party or dinner at a nice restaurant, then dress it down just a little, perhaps by skipping the stockings, stilettos and dangling earrings. The look is still elegant but comfortable.
Q. Who sponsors the Symposium?
The Symposium was founded by Napa Valley Vintners, a non-profit organization representing more than 525 wineries, and by Meadowood Napa Valley. Meadowood, which is also the annual home to Auction Napa Valley, continues its 36-year tradition of service to the Napa Valley winegrowing community by providing a venue for the conference. The Culinary Institute of America also provides a venue for key seminars, tastings and demonstrations within the program.
For 2016, the NVV and Meadowood underwrote fellowships for 30 qualified wine writers to attend the program, and one additional Editor's Choice attendee was sponsored by her related publication. The Symposium is building an endowment to grow and expand the fellowship program for the future. For information about contributing to the endowment, contact Julia Allenby, Executive Director.
Q. What would make me ineligible for participation in the Symposium?
In order to maintain the editorial caliber and collegial atmosphere of this conference, the Symposium registration is not open to winery personnel or wine marketing and communications professionals. Attending writers and editors must be professionals who can demonstrate their active working status. Details are posted on the Register page.
Q: Will I need my laptop during the Symposium?
A: We strongly encourage you to bring your laptop, though some writers appreciate the opportunity to disconnect for a couple of days and write in longhand.
There are also computers available in the Business Center at Meadowood Napa Valley, conveniently located next to several Symposium event rooms.
Q: How do I sign up for the one-on-one coaching sessions??
A: Information regarding coaching sessions will be provided upon registration.
Q: How do I sign up to attend the breakout sessions?
A: Information regarding breakout sessions will be provided upon registration.
Q: Since I am on my own on Wednesday evening, are there any restaurants you can recommend?
A: Please visit the NVV website for a list of more than 70 outstanding local restaurants that also prominently feature Napa Valley wine.
Q: Is there a way I can arrange for transportation to dinner Wednesday and perhaps share with other attendees?
A: You may pre-arrange this with Napa Valley Cab by calling (707) 257-6444.
Q: I am departing on Friday. When is the best time to check out of my room?
A: Please check out by 7:30 a.m. on Friday before boarding the bus to CIA for the remainder of Friday’s program. If you would like, a Meadowood staff member will be pleased to arrange for the safe storage of your luggage until you return from the CIA.
“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