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Fellowship Opportunities

Applications accepted beginning September 21, 2015!


The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley is offering thirty open fellowships and up to twenty Editor's Choice fellowships for the 2016 Symposium to professional editorial writers covering wine. Each fellowship covers the registration fee and lodging at Meadowood Napa Valley. Interested wine writers compete for the thirty open fellowships by entering their writing samples for evaluation by a team of independent judges. The deadline to apply for a fellowship is November 1, 2015.

Eligibility Criteria for Open Fellowships

Applicants for open fellowships through the writing competition must register and submit their published works no later than November 1, 2015, for the 2016 Symposium. Like all other Symposium attendees, applicants are limited to professional editorial-oriented writers on wine, wine and food, and wine and travel who can demonstrate at least two paid, published byline articles on these subjects in the 12 months prior to applying.


To maintain the intimate peer-group environment of the Symposium, winery owners, professional winemakers, winery employees, winery communications, sales and marketing people, and full-time wine trade professionals are not eligible to attend.


Previous fellows are invited to apply for 2016. The deadline to apply is November 1, 2015.

Judging Criteria

A panel of experienced wine writers/editors evaluates the submitted writing samples blind. Judges grade each applicant's work on the 100-point scale. Their scores for each person are averaged to determine the fellowship winners.


Fellows will be selected baed on the following criteria:

      Their professional editorial status (40%)

      The quality and originality of their work (40%)

      The influence and reach of their work (20%)


Judges look largely for writing quality, and for accurate wine knowledge. They are not necessarily looking for Masters of Wine treatises, but for writers who can inform, entertain and inspire readers on the subject of wine.


Judges adjust their evaluations somewhat based on the type of pieces submitted. If a writing sample is obviously a magazine piece, judges rate it by the standards of a magazine piece. If it is obviously from a blog, judges hold that piece to the standards of good blogging. If it's a video script then it doesn't have to read like a wine book, etc.


Judges look for something more than the typical wine column of four paragraphs with a list of recommended wines, but if it turns out to be the best four paragraphs and list of recommended wines that they've ever read, then that submission deserves a high score. We want to find the writers with the most talent and/or potential, and help them take their work to a higher level by learning more at the Symposium.


The fellowships are open to any professional editorial wine writer, wine/food writer or wine/travel writer. Each fellowship covers the cost of Symposium registration as well as four nights' lodging at Meadowood Napa Valley. Travel and incidental costs are not covered. Fellowships will be awarded by a panel of independent professional wine writers/editors.


Fellowship applicants who write in languages other than English must submit their two writing samples in the original language and in English translation.


To apply for a 2016 open fellowship, you must register and submit your published works for review no later than November 1, 2015. 

Editor's Choice Fellowships

Up to 20 Editor's Choice fellowships will be awarded for the next Symposium. The fellowship winners are selected from the wine writing community at large by prominent editors in the wine, food and travel publishing business, with the selections confirmed by the Symposium Board of Directors. Editor's Choice fellowships are different from the open fellowships in that you don't have to apply for the fellowship to receive one.

Entry Basics:

1. Each fellowship covers the cost of Symposium registration as well as four nights' lodging at Meadowood Napa Valley. Travel and incidental costs are not included.


2. Applicants must submit the following:

   * Cover letter explaining why you are an ideal candidate for a fellowship

   * Two letters of reference (suggested: editors, publishers, or professional colleagues)

   * Two published writing samples, which will be judged for quality and originality, as noted above

   * A list of all relevant published work from the past 12 months, including information about the reach of the publication in which the work appeared


3. Regarding a book entry, please send a copy of a single chapter.


4. Please submit a maximum of 3,000 words per article submitted, including book chapter.


5. Must register and submit published works by November 1, 2015.


6. Judges' scores will be compiled and averaged, and the director will award fellowships based on the highest average scores.


7. Awardees will be notified by telephone and/or e-mail by December 31, 2015, and their names will be posted on the fellowship page of the Symposium website.


8. Online Symposium registration is expected of all fellowship entrants. Those who are not awarded a fellowship will be notified by e-mail. 


If you have questions on fellowship applications, kindly contact
Julia Allenby at

2015 Fellowship Sponsors


Fifteen Napa Valley wineries and the Symposium itself sponsored fellowships for The 2015 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. The fellowships were awarded to the eleven top-scoring entrants in the writing competition and five more Editor’s Choice fellows from the wine writing community at large. Below are the 2015 fellowship sponsors:

View Fellowship Sponsors

Blackbird Vineyards

In conjunction with the estate vineyard, Blackbird fosters long-term partnerships with premium vineyards throughout Napa Valley where growers are passionate about their approach to farming. The Blackbird Vineyards Fellowship celebrates the relationship between land and craft and will be awarded to an individual who emanates the same ingenuity in their writing. We invite our fellow to join the winemaking team at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley in Yountville for a tasting through the 2013 barrel lots and to enjoy a horizontal sampling from the 2012 vintage. 

Franciscan Estate

Franciscan Estate Winery is pleased to offer a fellowship to an attending writer of the 2015 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. The award is open to published writers with a particular interest in the winemaker's art of blending or the use of wild yeast fermentation. Following the Symposium, director of winemaking Janet Myers invites you to the winery for an exclusive look at Franciscan's small lot winemaking style followed by lunch or dinner.

The Hess Collection

For nearly three decades visitors to Napa Valley have been arriving on Mount Veeder to experience the twin passions that Donald Hess captured under one roof with The Hess Collection Winery & The Hess Art Collection.  The Hess Collection Fellowship celebrates the art of mountain winemaking and is extended to a writer who shares our founder’s boundless curiosity about the subject. We welcome the recipient to join winemaker Dave Guffy before or after the Symposium for a tour of Veeder summit and a tasting and conversation over lunch in our private dining room.


The Hourglass Fellowship is dedicated to the increasingly fading art of compelling storytelling. We will honor someone who can summon the creative muse with a unique point of view. Dirt? Does it really truly matter? Why is the debate about balance so unbalanced? Can different styles of music actually change the aroma and taste of wine? Kick around the caves, have lunch and BS with proprietor Jeff Smith. You will drink red wine and talk Napa dirt, but it may not be about the 150 acknowledged soil series, or whether tasting minerality in wine is scientifically viable.

Nickel & Nickel

The Nickel & Nickel Fellowship embraces in-depth study and discussion of the great wine estates of the Napa Valley and their long-term dedication to cultivating vineyards, winery properties and winemaking talent. At the conclusion of the Symposium, the fellowship recipient is invited to visit Nickel & Nickel for a comparative tasting of our 100 percent varietal, single-vineyard Cabernets, spanning a collection of AVAs within the Napa Valley.


Peju Province Winery, located in the heart of Napa Valley's famed Rutherford appellation, is pleased to offer a fellowship to one wine writer attending the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. Peju's fellowship award celebrates the talents of a published wine writer who is able to marry wine, food, art and travel through meaningful content, excellent clarity and sound knowledge of the wine industry. The recipient will also be invited to join Peju co-founder Herta Peju for a tasting, lunch and tour of the winery's pristine estate.

PlumpJack, CADE and Odette

The PlumpJack, CADE and Odette Estate Winery Fellowship celebrates writers dedicated to covering cutting edge developments in winemaking. Following the conclusion of the Symposium, the fellowship recipient is invited to join PlumpJack's Managing Partner John Conover along with winemakers, Aaron Miller (PlumpJack Estate), Danielle Cyrot (CADE Estate) and Jeff Owens (Odette Estate) for an afternoon of tasting on Howell Mountain at CADE, California's first Gold LEED certified estate winery.


Raymond Vineyards

Raymond Vineyards is proud to offer a fellowship to one writer attending the 2015 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. The fellowship will be awarded to a writer who demonstrates fresh, passionate writing about wine and food and their role in enhancing the Napa Valley lifestyle.

Robert Mondavi Winery

The Robert Mondavi Winery has a long tradition of integrating wine with food and the arts as the embodiment of a gracious, healthy lifestyle. This fellowship will be awarded to a first-time Symposium attendee who is passionate about exploring what wine means in a larger context with the fresh, bountiful foods and culture that Napa Valley offers.

Seavey Vineyards

Seavey Vineyard is steeped in history dating back 150 years. Visitors taste our wines in an 1881 stone barn and meet Seavey family members and winemaker, Jim Duane. They encounter the history of our land, our winemaking traditions and stories about the two industrious families who, a hundred years apart, have farmed grapes and crafted wines with a sense of place. We are pleased to support a fellowship honoring the art and importance of telling layered narratives of land, grapes, winemaking and the family vision underlying the pursuit.

Shafer Vineyards

Shafer Vineyards offers this 2015 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers Fellowship to support and encourage a writer who brings a fresh, passionate voice for California wine and understands its position within the larger world of wine.

Silverado Vineyards

Silverado Vineyards is pleased to award this fellowship to one published wine writer attending the 2015 Symposium. Ideally, the writer will demonstrate the ability to build excitement around established Napa Valley families who are committed to Estate grown, produced and bottled by wines.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars is pleased to offer the CASK 23 Fellowship to an attendee of the 2015 Symposium. We celebrate wine media worldwide and recognize the positive educational role journalism plays in the growing wine culture. Though rich in history and legacy, our winery is firmly focused on the future with our ongoing pursuit of quality and excellence. We invite our CASK 23 Fellow to join winemaker Marcus Notaro for an estate tour (including a visit to our new FAY Outlook & Visitor Center that opened September 2014) and tasting of our iconic FAY, S.L.V. and CASK 23 Estate-Grown Cabernets.

Terlato Family Wines

The Terlato Family is pleased to offer a fellowship to the 2015 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. We salute the dedication and passion that the fellowship candidates bring to their craft and offer our sincere hope that this fellowship will further strengthen the winning candidate's professional development. In addition, we extend an invitation for the recipient to join us for a tasting of wines from our portfolio of Terlato Family owned wineries.


Tres Sabores

Tres Sabores offers a fellowship to one writer with a particular interest in smaller, family-based vineyards, organic grape growing and land stewardship. In addition, should the recipient choose to spend an additional day or two in Napa Valley after the conclusion of the Symposium, the award includes lodging at the winery's Rutherford guest studio. The awarded fellow is also invited to join us and tour some of the area's most unique farms, talk with leaders in the organic growing movement and dine with community members.