Back to top

2015 Symposium Schedule

February 17-20, 2015

Back to Events



 “Find Your Voice and Your Value”

February 17-20, 2015




Tuesday, February 17, Meadowood Napa Valley


9 AM to 5 PM

Check-In, Meadowood Reception Lodge


10 AM to NOON

Coaching Sessions*


Noon - 1 PM Woodside Room

Rookie-Only Orientation and Lunch*

Featuring Rare and Unique Napa Valley Wine Varieties

(Lunch will be provided for first-time attendees and first-time speakers, RSVP*)


1:15 to 4 PM Meadowood Reception Lodge/Various Napa Valley wineries

Down & Dirty Winery Experiences*

Small-group, hands-on visits to one of our fellowship-sponsoring wineries


4:15 to 6:15 PM Madrone Room

Coaching Sessions*


6:30 PM Woodside Room

Welcome Reception

Featuring Wines from the Cool Side of Napa Valley – Los Carneros Chardonnay and Pinot Noir


7:15 PM Vintners Room

Welcome Dinner

Dinner and introductions, featuring Wines from the Cool Side of Napa Valley – Los Carneros Chardonnay and Pinot Noir


9 to 11 PM Woodside Room

After-party featuring a Tasting of Napa Valley Library Wines from 2002-2005




Wednesday, February 18, 2015, Meadowood Napa Valley


7:30 AM Vintners Room



8:15 AM Vintners Room


Linda Reiff, president Napa Valley Vintners

Jim Gordon, symposium executive director


8:30 - 9:30 AM

Creative Keynote - There Stands the Glass: Description and Story

Billy Collins, United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003


9:30 - 10:30 AM

Using Voice & Narrative in Wine Writing

Louise Kiernan, associate professor, Medill School of Journalism; Betsy Andrews, wine columnist,


10:30 - 10:45 AM



10:45 AM - Noon

Get Your Writing Noticed via Research and Originality

Moderator, Will Lyons, Wall Street Journal; John Gillespie, Wine Opinions; S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times; Dave McIntyre, Washington Post


Noon – 1 PM Woodside Room

Lunch Featuring Wines from Some of Napa Valley’s Multi-Generation Families


1 – 1:15 PM Break


1:15 – 2: 15 PM Vintners Room

What Digital Editors Want

Betsy Andrews,, moderator; Joe Czerwinski, managing editor, Wine Enthusiast; Davina Baum, director of digital content,; Kristin Tice Studeman, contributing editor,


2:15 – 2:30 PM Break


2:30 – 3:45 PM Breakout Sessions*

Breakout A, Madrone Room*

Author! Author! Get Your Book Idea Published

Evan Goldstein, Master Sommelier and author; Blake Edgar, senior sponsoring editor, University of California Press


Breakout B, Woodside Room*

All in the Family: A Conversation, Tasting and Writing Exercise With Some of Napa Valley’s Multi-Generation Winery Owners

Led by Karen MacNeil, The Wine Bible; Dave McIntyre, Washington Post


4:30 – 5:30 PM

Coaching Sessions*


3:45 – 5 PM Meadowood Reception Lodge

Grab and go wines from Napa Green Certified producers available for Dine Around


5:30 - 6:30 PM  Woodside Room

Billy Collins Poetry Reading and Q & A, optional for symposium attendees and open to the Meadowood community  *Requires RSVP 



Dine Around

Evening free to enjoy Napa Valley dining. Sign ups for informal groups will be available on Tuesday and Wednesday during the Symposium. Free corkage offered at select Restaurants (see list in Resources secion).




Thursday, February 19, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone


7:15 & 7:45 AM Meadowood Reception Lodge

Two shuttles depart for CIA Greystone

(Parking is not available at the CIA)


7:30 – 8:15 AM

Breakfast in CIA Greystone Wine Spectator Restaurant

(Attendees must wear their name badges for entry, )


8:30 AM Vintners Hall of Fame

Welcome, Tom Bensel, managing director, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone


A Morning With Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine, wine writer and publisher of, one of the most successful subscription wine websites


8: 40 – 9:10 AM

Wine Industry Keynote: What Wine Writers Need to Know Now

Jancis Robinson


9:15 – 10:30 AM

Unplugged Session: The Importance of Branding Yourself

Moderated by Evan Goldstein, Master Sommelier, with personal insights from:

- Andrea Immer Robinson, Master Sommelier, author, television personality

- Karen MacNeil, author, The New Wine Bible, educator, consultant

- Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine, wine writer and publisher of

(This is a digital-free, Twitter-free, recording-free session)


10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Break


10:45 – Noon EcoLab Theatre

From Barrel to Bottle to Cellar: Exploring Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at Different Ages and Stages

Led by Jancis Robinson


Noon – 12:15 Break


12:15 Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant

Lunch, with the wine theme of Meet the Parents (of Cabernet Sauvignon): Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc


1:15 – 2:30 PM EcoLab Theatre

30 Wine Business Story Ideas for 2015

Meridith May, owner, The SOMM Journal, co-founder, The Tasting Panel; Jim Gordon, editor, Wines & Vines; Gary Fisch, owner, Gary’s Wine & Marketplace; Steve Gross, state relations director, Wine Institute; Courtney Humiston, writer, and wine director, Dry Creek Kitchen.


2:30 – 2:45 PM Break


2:45 – 4:15 PM Breakout Sessions*


Breakout C, EcoLab Theatre Upper Level*

Story Pitching, Speed-Dating Style

Learn to compose better story pitches, then pitch your own article/book ideas to editors Jancis Robinson,; Davina Baum, director of digital content,; Neil Beckett, editor, World of Fine Wine; Richard Bradley, editor, Worth; Blake Edgar, senior sponsoring editor, University of California Press; Meridith May, The Tasting Panel and SOMM Journal; Kristin Tice Studeman, contributing editor,


Breakout D, Rudd Center*

An Exploration of Napa Valley’s Other Sauvignon (Blanc)

Led by Will Lyons, The Wall Street Journal, and Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast, with writing exercise on Different Notes for Different Folks


4:30 and 5 PM Greystone Main Entrance

Two shuttles depart for Meadowood


6 PM Meadowood Woodside Room

Reception featuring Napa Valley Sparkling Wines


7 PM Vintners Room

Fellowship Dinner

An elegant dinner honoring fellowship winners, with Wines from Our 15 Napa Valley Vintners Fellowship Sponsors


9 PM Woodside Room

After Party featuring Dessert, Fortified and Heritage Wines from the Napa Valley




Friday, February 20, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone


7:45 - 8:45 AM

Checkout, coffee and pastries   Meadowood Reception Lodge

(Bags may be checked here for pickup mid-day.)


8:15 & 8:45 AM

Two shuttles depart for CIA Greystone from Meadowood Reception Lodge

(Parking not available at CIA Greystone)


9 – 10:45 AM

Vintage Perspective and Retrospective Tasting  Rudd Center

Symposium attendees participate in a walk-around blind tasting for media and trade of 10 vintages of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003-2012

Part of Premiere Napa Valley activities


11 AM – NOON

Send-Off Session and Toast: Ventura Center

Don't miss the symposium’s grand finale! US poet Laureate Billy Collins will introduce the attendees with the most-outstanding entries in the writing challenge he presented on Wednesday, and they will read their works. Editors on the faculty will share the best writer pitches they heard, the assignments they plan to give to attendees, and why.


12:15 & 12:45 PM Greystone Main Entrance

Two shuttles depart for Meadowood



*Requires advance signup: Contact Julie Sigourney at after January 15, 2015.