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THE SYMPOSIUM AS NEWS: Here's what a few of our past Symposium participants and speakers have gone on to write about the Symposium!

2018 Fellowship Announcement

Listing of this year's attendees

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2018 Application Period Now Open

Steven Spurrier to give keynote address; 30 fully-funded fellowships available 

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A Wallflower's Perspective

2016 Fellow Wendy Van Diver's work was selected to run in the May 2016 issue of Wines & Vines.

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Bring on the Supermodels

May 4, 2016

WWS 2016 attendee Christina Julian goes for the simile.

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Keep Writing Simple, Stupid

March 4, 2016

Guy Woodward was a Coach & Mentor at WWS 16, here writing in

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The HoseMaster of Wine™ at the Napa Valley Professional Wine Writers Symposium

March 3, 2016

"Well, I spoke..."

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Press Release: Thirty Fellows Named

January 6, 2016

Thirty fully-funded fellowships have been awarded to selected applicants...

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Press Release: Legend Delivers Keynote

September 21, 2015


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Press release: Exciting Changes for 2016

September 10, 2015

SYMPOSIUM FOR PROFESSIONAL WINE WRITERS TRANSITIONS TO FULLY-FUNDED FELLOWSHIP MODEL. Nonprofit organization hires new executive director to lead administrative changes for 2016 program and beyond.



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Do You Aspire to Write About Wine?

March 24, 2015

Dunne on Wine, Sacramento Bee

So you want to be a wine writer. Why?

"It marries a lot of passions for me - travel, food, wine, narrative writing and intrigue," says Julie Case, a Seattle freelance writer. "I'm curious, and wine lets me go deep into something. I want to help people understand it. Wine is for everyone, but it can be confusing and difficult."

Read more here.


8 Books for Wine Communicators (That Are Not About Wine)

February 20, 2015

Sometimes it helps to think - and read! - outside the box, especially when it comes to communicating about wine. 

That was a primary take-away for me from this year's Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, which wraps up today at Meadowood Napa Valley: to be a better wine writer, read widely and especially outside the category of wine.

It sounds counter-intuitive at first. Shouldn't wine writers focus most of all on wine?

But in fact the reverse is true. 

Posted on Forbes by Cathy Huyghe

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The Billy Collins Writing Challenge: Wine Writers Taking Themselves Seriously (And Making Fun)

February 24, 2015

Writing as Writers

Last week wine writers and editors from around the world flew to Napa Valley for the Napa Valley Wine Writer Symposium to learn together how to better our work as writers.

We were urged by Dave McIntyre, wine writer of the Washington Post, to remember that wine is the adjective that modifies the noun writer. Our first job is to write well.

Will Lyons of the Wall Street Journal urged, "If you want to keep your writing fresh, you need to read widely." Then, continuing, he chided lightly, "keep your writing fresh, enthusiastic, and bright, but that will only get you so far. You also have to research."

Posted to Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews by Elaine Chukan Brown

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Symposium for Professional Wine Writers 2014 - Review and Limerick

February 28, 2014

I just returned from the 2014 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers held in Napa Valley last week. Robert Parker was our keynote speaker. This conference is sponsored each year by the Culimany Institute of America, The Napa Valley Vintners, and Meadowood Resort.

Attendees included editors from Wine Enthusiast, New York Times, Sunset Magazine, Food & Wine, Worth Magazine, Wines & Vines and wine writers from Wall Street Jounal, San Francisco Chronicle, and Huffington Post among others.

Posted on GrapeStone Concepts by Tricia Conover

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Robert Parker goes toe-to-toe with his critics

February 27, 2014

Nobody threw rotten tomatoes -- until after Robert Parker's speech at the 10th annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa Valley last week, when the twittersphere erupted in snarky comments. One person encouraged him to go away forever. Another acused him of having a wooden "palette" and closed with "#RIP Wine Advocate."

The once-most influential critic in the world, who has held the wine world in his thrall and subject to his 100-point rating system almost since he started in 1978, agreed to give the keynote speech at the conference in Napa Valley, his first such ever. Already, though, those assembled had divided into camps. Some had never met the guy. Others were convinced he was the enemy.

Posted to LA Times by S. Irene Virbila

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Robert Parker Faces His Toughest Critics: Wine Writers

February 24, 2014

Famed wine critic Robert Parker recently alighted in Napa Valley to give the keynote address at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. Rather than a kick-off message it was more like a State of the Union address. Much like the President, he arrived to a room populated with adversaries and supporters. His poll numbers flagging, Parker cam to make the case for camaraderie among wine writers and, oddly, Chinese videos (more on that later). Parker has ruffled more than a few feathers in the wine world of late, recently writing a curmudgeonly manifesto that disparages certain wine styles. Despite the drama, his singular influence on wine continues to generate more debate than a budget bill on Capitol Hill.

Posted to Forbes by Katie Kelly Bell

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Hang Out with America's Top Wine Writers. For Free.

October 18, 2013

One of the great perks of having been at this wine writing thing for some time involves my association with the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, for which I am now a member of its board of advisors (just by way of a disclaimer in advance of the plug which follows). And one of the great pleasures of this association is getting to spend a few days every year attending the convocation that occurs under this association's banner, nestled into the luxurious surroundings of Meadowood Resort in the Napa Valley.

I've been to all of these Symposiums in the last nine years, save one, and I can tell you that for anyone who writes about wine, or dreams of it -- or anything in between -- the conference represents an unparalleled opportunity. An opportunity to learn, to practice, and just as importantly, to celebrate wine writing and the people who are passionate about it.

Posted on by Alder Yarrow

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Lessons Learned at a Wine-Soaked Writers Symposium

March 20, 2012

I’m usually too busy drinking and writing about wine to really hone my craft. But last month, I received a fellowship from Terlato Family Vineyards to attend the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, where I had four days and four nights in the Napa Valley to do some serious navel-gazing. I normally wouldn’t subject you all to such self-indulgence (or overindulgence), but with books on our mind this week, I thought I’d share some of the more universal highlights of the week and what I learned about wine writing.

Posted on C-ville Weekly by Megan Headley

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No Boundaries: Reflections on The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers

March 15, 2012

Two weeks ago I returned home from The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, held at Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena the week prior to Premiere Napa Valley. I’m kicking myself for not accepting the invitation to stay for Premiere – the Napa Valley Vintner’s annual “bake sale,” as NVV Executive Director (and all-around delightful person) Linda Reiff  puts it – but that has to be my only complaint about the week. That and the fact that the snow falling rather violently outside my window when I returned was an unwelcome shock after near 80-degree weather in St. Helena.

Posted on Palate Press by Erika Szymanski

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Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate Taste-Maker?

March 1, 2012

At the recent Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, I had the opportunity to talk quite a bit with Antonio Galloni of The Wine Advocate. He also agreed to a lengthy interview. He said on numerous occasions and in different ways that it is not his goal to be a taste-maker nor an agent of change for wine styles. Of course, being a wine reviewer with enormous readership, his writings may have that effect nonetheless.

Posted on San Francisco Wine School by Fred Swan

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What I Learned at The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers

March 11, 2011

During the last week of February, I attended the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. I was lucky enough to win a fellowship to this incredible gathering, thanks to another winner who had to cancel at the last minute. It all happened rather suddenly, but now that it’s behind me, and before too much time goes by, I want to share a little of what I learned.

Posted by Jill Silverman Hough

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How To Make Money Writing About Wine (A Glimpse Into the 2010 Wine Writers Symposium)

March 5, 2010

In summary, there have probably never been so many challenges combined with so many potential opportunities when it comes to writing about wine and making any money while doing it.

The challenge is that, as we said in the panel discussion, “the genie is out of the bag” when it comes to free content and wine: people expect to be able to get high quality content about wine on the Internet, and pay nothing for it.  This is putting severe downward pressure on wine writing payment in general.

Posted on by Joe Roberts

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Wine Writers and Social Media: The Panel Video

March 2, 2010

As some of you know, I spent the week before last at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa. I published a recap of some of the highlights last week, but as some attendees pointed out, there was a glaring omission: the panel that I moderated that dealt with wine writing and social media. 

Posted on by Alder Yarrow

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Symposium for Professional Wine Writers: the good and the bad

Feb. 25, 2010

The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers is three and a half days of full immersion in wine and writing for better or worse. It’s not a baptism exactly, but it can change your outlook in the same way that an oyster’s irritation can make a pearl.

Posted on by Claudia Perry

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The Argument for Boxed Wine

February 24, 2010

The issue of alternative packaging came up repeatedly at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, which I attended in Napa Valley last week. While opinion was mixed on whether this would be an important issue to follow over the coming year, the moaning was collective when the subject of boxed wines came up.

Posted on the New York Times wine and spirits blog, The Pour, by Eric Asimov

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Final thoughts — I promise! – on the Wine Writers Symposium

February 23, 2010

I returned home in a euphoric state of mind. (My therapist had to explain the difference to me between “manic” and “euphoric.”) All this stuff about monetization and ethics and “blogs into books” may be boring inside-the-beltway fare for 99.9% of the wine-drinking public, but it’s the meat-and-potatoes of the writer’s life, and it was so educational and pleasant to be able to explore these issues with our own kind.

Posted on by Steve Heimoff

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Highlights From the 2010 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers

February 20, 2010

I spent most of the week playing hooky from my day job and pretending that the only thing that mattered to me was writing about wine. It was a lot of fun. Every one of the five years that I've attended the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers has been uniquely interesting, largely due to the group of attendees that joins us every time.

In past years I've been able to blog a bit more in the course of the event, but this year I found myself using spare time to catch up on other things, so here are some of the highlights from this year's event.

Posted on by Alder Yarrow

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Piero Antinori Interview: Tuscan Tradition and Napa Innovation

February 20, 2010

Just a short one today, this time from the Silverado wine trail. It has been one heck of a week, meeting Frances Mayes, seeing Margrit Mondavi again after all these years and being around all these great wine writers at the Napa Symposium. Today I caught up with my old friend Piero Antinori, who was in town (St. Helena, CA) for Premiere Napa Valley. Piero and his family have the Antica wine estate in Napa Valley.

Posted on On the Wine Trail in Italy by Alfonso Cevola

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The 2010 Wine Writers Symposium in 10 Easily Digestible & Tasty Morsels

Feb. 19, 2010

Alternative title: “What I Learned (So Far) At the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium in Napa”

Symposium Chairperson and Wines & Vines editor Jim Gordon, may, in fact, be the sweetest and most patient person on the planet (there remains one more day of symposium activities in which to properly test this theory).

Posted on by Joe Roberts

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The tipping point for wine blog advertising is NOT EVEN CLOSE

February 19, 2010

The people who participated in the 2 panels were a diverse lot. They consisted of famous bloggers, authors, editors, publishers, web wizards, technology experts, social media entrepreneurs, winemakers, chefs, academics and others interested in social media and who are ardent believers in its future (including me).

Posted on by Steve Heimoff

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At the Wine Writers Symposium

February 18, 2010

I came out to give the keynote welcome to the Wine Writers’ Symposium, organized by Jim Gordon, the team at Meadowood, the Napa Vintners and Culinary Institute of America.  En route, more shock. The wild bright yellow mustard is blooming in the vineyards and rains have turned all the hills green, green, green.  Some vineyards are carpeted with golden poppies.  This forms a menace because people slam on brakes at a particularly gorgeous scene and someone leaps out of the car to take a picture. I, too, snap one from the car window but my phone camera is not up to capturing such glory.

Posted on by Frances Mayes

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Day 2 at the Wine Writers Symposium

February 18, 2010

Eric Asimov and Karen MacNeil had a panel on “Sensory Analysis vs. Wine Reviews” in which Eric reprised an earlier topic about “the tyranny of the tasting note.” He calls tasting notes “pernicious” because it makes wine seem “unambiguous,” which it isn’t, and “rips the heart of out its mystery.” Well, yes…and no. Yes, because it’s awfully hard to summarize the experience of a wine in words. No, because if you’re reviewing a wine, you have to say something, so all you can do is your best. That is, after all, what writing is all about: doing your best.

Posted on by Steve Heimoff

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What Wine Writers Talk About

Feb. 17, 2010

Tomorrow I lead a panel discussion featuring Steve Heimoff, Patrick Comiskey, Doug Cook, and Joe Roberts about the role of New Media in wine writing. But for the past two days I've been experiencing the symposium as a participant, which means hanging out with a lot of people who are actually good enough at writing about wine to get paid for it.

Posted on by Alder Yarrow

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So You Wanna Be a Wine Writer?

December 10, 2009

Posted on by Alder Yarrow

"The wine world is made of dreams. Some people dream about drinking wine. Some people dream about making wine. And others dream of writing about it. For all those that have ever toyed with the idea of writing about wine, and for those who have dabbled in it, I have a small anecdote to share from my college days...."

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