Ever wanted to know what it takes to write? I mean, really write? You could write a book, hope to find a publisher, and find out the hard way. Or, if your favored subject matter is wine, you could enroll in the 2013 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. It might not be the easy way, but it certainly is the coddled way.
Taking place at the uber-luxe Meadowood resort, The Symposium is a down-to-earth gathering of accomplished and aspiring wine, food, and travel writers in a setting only accomplished captains of industry can normally afford. What's special about this conference (besides the copious quantities of Napa's best wines flowing at every incredible meal and the four star accommodations) is the congenial atmosphere. It's a small affair where the super-approachable faculty and attendees more than just rub elbows - there's a real spirit of helping one another here. Budding friendships and lasting contacts are nourished over postprandial library wines. And by the end of the week you'll have had enough wine to turn you into a beer drinker for the following month.
The registration fee of $575 not only gets you in for all the sessions and a one-on-one coaching session with a seasoned editor, but covers most of the food and wine, too! To boot, there are fellowship opportunities that cover the registration fee and lodging! But don't hesitate as they are due at the end of the week.
I wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone with even an inkling of a desire to explore this business. If that's not enough encouragement, check out what I wrote after attending the Symposium in 2010:
Which is also exactly how and when I began to plot my return visit.
jams and sharp elbows in route 29 tasting rooms are an
unfortunate price of fame in Napa. The crowds and chaos pile tension
and distraction on to what, for most, is supposed to be a relaxing
vacation. But safe harbor is not far from the chauffeur-driven pursuit of gastronomic hedonism.
the discrete guard shack, the heavily forested driveway meanders
towards the resort compound, sunlight percolating through tall conifers
in a soft, polite filter. Broad leafed deciduous trees with muscular,
moss-stained branches and arthritic roots buckle the driveways. Ivies,
deep green and thick, curtain tennis court fences. Flowering vines
casually canopy entryways and the narrow passages that thread between
buildings. Nature hasn’t quite taken over as much as accepted the resort as its guest.
the wildlife seems to be working hard to complete the peaceful scene;
the wild turkey are only ever heard faintly in the distance and the deer
keep an appropriate distance. After a while you wonder if the animals
haven’t attended staff etiquette training. Sure, there is a civility here that is too perfect not to be deliberate,
yet it is so naturally draped over the geography that it's felt, more
than seen, as a welling calm. Nothing at all feels contrived in this
setting which feels closer to Yellowstone than Greystone. There's
something abstract about this place that you can't pay for at other
resorts; a sense of well being.