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2016 Symposium Schedule

February 16-19, 2016

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“Taste Locally, Publish Globally”


February 16-19, 2016



Tuesday, February 16, Meadowood Napa Valley


9 AM to 5 PM

Check-In, Meadowood Reception Lodge


10 AM to NOON

Coaching Sessions* (optional)


Noon - 1 PM  Woodside Room

Orientation and Lunch* (optional)

First Blush - featuring Napa Valley rosé from the 2015 vintage


1:15 PM – 4:00 PM

Down & Dirty Winery Experiences* (optional)   

Napa Valley Vintners offer intimate, unique, hands-on experiences in their vineyards and wineries – this will not be your average winery visit. Limited to a maximum three attendees per winery


4 – 5:30 PM

Coaching Sessions* (optional)


6 – 9 PM  Woodside & Vintners Rooms

Welcome Party

A moveable feast in the Woodside Room featuring current release Napa Valley wines and hosted by former fellowship sponsor wineries, followed by a fireside chat in the Vintners Room with The Hosemaster of Wine, Ron Washam, on his Most Questionable Wine Stories of 2015


9 PM Woodside Room

After Party

Featuring Napa Valley wines carefully selected from their cellars by your winery hosts


*Requires advance signup: Contact Julia Allenby at after January 15, 2016.



Wednesday, February 17, Meadowood Napa Valley


7:30 – 8:15 AM Vintners Room

Breakfast Buffet


8:15 AM  Vintners Room

Welcome and Introductions

Linda Reiff, president and CEO, Napa Valley Vintners

Karen MacNeil, Wednesday Master of Ceremonies


8:30 - 9:30 AM

Creative Keynote – Jay McInerney in First Person

The best-selling novelist and wine columnist for Town & Country conducts a master class in writing


9:30 – 9:45 AM



9:45 – 10:45 AM

How to Make a Small Fortune Writing About the Wine Business

Mike Veseth, professor, author, and editor of The Wine Economist


10:45 AM – Noon

Critics’ Challenges: Originality, Objectivity, Integrity

Karen MacNeil, moderator; Eric Asimov, chief wine critic, The New York Times; Virginie Boone, contributing editor, Wine Enthusiast; Ray Isle, executive wine editor, Food & Wine


Noon – 1 PM


The World of Napa Valley - featuring local wines made from traditional grape varieties of Spain, Southern France, Northern Italy and South America. Served with complementary cuisine from those regions


1 – 2:15 PM

Publish Your Book, With or Without a Publisher

Moderator-commentator Karen MacNeil, author, The Wine Bible; Tilar Mazzeo, educator and author, The Widow Clicquot; Steven Rothfeld, photographer and author, Israel Eats; Alder Yarrow, publisher, and author, The Essence of Wine


2:15 – 2:30 PM



2:30 – 3:45 PM

Tasting With Ray & Jay

Jay McInerney of Town & Country and Ray Isle of Food & Wine lead a tasting and writing exercise to demonstrate how they use wines as touchstones for deeper stories


3:45 PM



4 – 6:30 PM

Coaching Sessions* (optional)


5 – 5:45 PM  Madrone Room

Grab & Go Selections Available - Featuring wines made from heritage varieties of Napa Valley, such as Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Chenin Blanc



Dine Around

Evening free to enjoy Napa Valley dining at restaurants that have waived corkage fees for Symposium attendees. Sign ups available for informal groups


*Requires advance signup: Contact Julia Allenby at after January 15, 2016.



Thursday, February 18, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone


7:30 and 8 AM Meadowood Reception Lodge

Two shuttles depart for CIA Greystone (parking not available at the CIA)


7:45 – 8:30 AM  CIA Greystone Bakery Cafe



8:45 – 9:45 AM  EcoLab Theatre


Andrea Robinson, Thursday Master of Ceremonies

Tom Bensel, managing director, CIA California


Industry Keynote: Hugh Johnson, OBE, The First Fifty Years

The author of The World Atlas of Wine, the Pocket Wine Book, Wine, Hugh Johnson's Wine Companion, Hugh Johnson's Modern Encyclopedia of Wine, The Story of Wine, The Art and Science of Wine, Wine a Life Uncorked, The World of Trees, The Principles of Gardening and more, reflects on five decades as a wine writer.


9:45 – 10 AM



10 – 11 AM  EcoLab Theatre

Minerality: Tasting With the Masters

Masters of Wine from Hong Kong, Napa Valley and Kansas City lead a technical tasting to explore what minerality is and is not. With Doug Frost, author and educator;  Jeannie Cho Lee, publisher, Asian Palate, South China Morning Post; Lisa Perotti-Brown, editor-in-chief, Wine Advocate.


11 AM – NOON

Become a Wine Communicator to Make More $$ and Have More :-)

Moderator-commentator Andrea Robinson, Master Sommelier, author, television presenter; Jamie Goode, author, founder of the Wine Anorak, wine columnist, The Sunday Express;  Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine, founder of Asian Palate, author, educator, television presenter


NOON – 1 PM  Herb Terrace (weather permitting)


Petite Producers – Featuring wines from limited-production wineries of Napa Valley


1 – 2:15 PM

Taste Locally, Publish Globally

How to build expertise and credibility as a wine writer by specializing, with Virginie Boone of Wine Enthusiast, author and educator Doug Frost, and author and journalist Jamie Goode


2:15 - 2:30 PM



2:30 – 3:45 PM

Breakout Sessions*


Breakout A: EcoLab Theatre

Telling the Story from Pitch to Publication

A workshop and writing exercise with Tilar Mazzeo, author, associate professor of English, Colby College; and Esther Mobley, wine, beer and spirits writer, San Francisco Chronicle.


Breakout B: DeBaun Theatre

Raise Your Photos to the Next Level

A short course in improving your wine, food and travel photography with Steven Rothfeld, photographer for Bringing Tuscany Home, French Dreams and many more books and articles.


3:45 – 4:30 PM  CIA Spice Islands Marketplace

Book Signing

Books by symposium speakers and mentors will be available for purchase and the authors will be on hand to sign them


4:15 and 4:45 PM

Shuttles depart for Meadowood


6 PM  Meadowood Woodside Room

Reception featuring Napa Valley sparkling wines


7 PM  Vintners Room

Perfect Pairings Dinner

Master Sommeliers will choose three different Napa Valley wine pairings for each of four courses during the gala dinner and explain why they believe their choices are perfect


9 PM  Woodside Room

After Party  

Big Bottles & Sweet Dreams – featuring Napa Valley wines from 2005 or earlier poured from magnums, along with a selection of late-harvest, dessert and fortified wines


*Requires advance signup: Contact Julia Allenby at after January 15, 2016.



Friday, February 19, CIA Greystone


7:45 – 8:30 AM Meadowood Reception Lodge

Checkout. Bags can be checked here for pickup mid-day


8:30 AM  Meadowood Reception Lodge

Shuttle bus departs for Charles Krug Winery


8:45 AM Charles Krug Winery

Coffee and pastries available upon arrival.


9 – 10:20 AM Carriage House at Charles Krug Winery   

Vintage Perspective & Wine Alchemy Tastings

Gain your own perspective on Napa Valley wines from the 2013, 2012, 2011, 2006, 2001 and 1996 vintages, along with a sampling of winemaking trials from recent vintages. This event is a co-function with Premiere Napa Valley.

Optional writing contest on the suggested theme of "What a Difference 10 Years Make," or pick your own theme. Deadline May 1 for entries; winning entry to be professionally published.

10:25 AM Bus departs for CIA Greystone                                                

10:30 – 10:45 AM  CIA Greystone Ventura Center

Cheese and charcuterie break


10:45 – NOON  CIA Greystone Ventura Center

The Wine List, Friend or Foe: Where is restaurant wine service going and how can you serve your readers better on this front? Eric Asimov of The New York Times will lead the discussion. Panelists include:  S. Irene Virbila, recently retired restaurant critic of The Los Angeles Times; Andrea Robinson, Master Sommelier, author and educator; Kelli White, sommelier at Press, author, writer for Vinous; Eduardo Dingler, corporate beverage director, Morimoto Restaurants. Joint session with Sommelier Napa Valley attendees


NOON – 1:30 PM  CIA Greystone - Herb Terrace (weather permitting)

Farewell Luncheon and Pinning Ceremony

New to Napa Valley – Featuring wines from producers established since 2012


1:45 PM

Bus departs for Meadowood


*Requires advance signup: Contact Julia Allenby at after January 15, 2016.