Six Important Seminars for the Wine Writers Symposium

winepenpaperiAs I write, the Wine Writers Symposium is underway in Napa Valley at Meadowood Resort. For the wine publicist, this gathering of well established wine writers, simply established wine writers and others who identify themselves as “wine writers” would be nirvana. Imagine, all these wine writers with digital ink to spare all gathered in one place just dying to hear about my clients.

However, I am not allowed within a mile of the place, even if I paid to go. This is true despite my more than a decade of blogging about the culture, business, marketing and politics of wine. I’m not allowed precisely because I’m also (and primarily) a wine publicist and the organizers of the Wine Writers Symposium properly prefer the event to be about the writers in attendance and writing…not about my clients.

All that said, working with many wine writers in my line of work, I do have some ideas about what kind of seminars I might deliver up if I were organizing the Wine Writers Symposium. Some would say this is a list of “My Problems With Wine Writers” but it’s not. Rather, it’s a list of “What It Takes to Be A Great Wine Writer.”

So, what would my seminar look like?

Seminar #1
How To Fact Check
Believe it or not it’s not unusual to see my clients placed in regions they’ve never been in and find their tasting rooms open hours after they close. We would assign Eric Asimov of The New York Times to administer this seminar.

Seminar #2
How to be a Wine Drinker’s Advocate
Despite the absurdly numerous and ancient anti-consumer laws on the books in nearly every state, you rarely see a writer address these laws by calling on consumers and lawmakers to change them. If this isn’t the job of the wine media, then I don’t know whose job it is. I would assign Jerry Mead the task of overseeing this seminar. Only a small hitch with that plan: Mr. Mead has left the building.

Seminar #3
How to Make Your Readers Laugh & Cringe—Simultaneously
Satire and straight talk and a little bit of wit is a rare commodity in the wine writer biz. But when it’s done well everyone comes out of it with more than they went into it with. This kind of writing keeps folks coming back for more. For this seminar, Chris Kassel would be tapped.

Seminar #4
How To Make Money Writing a Wine Blog
The elusive desire! The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And the question that countless would-be self-publishers have pondered for near a decade now. As yet, we have not determined who would moderate this seminar nor who the panelists would be.

Seminar #5
The Art of Tasting and Reviewing 200 Wines in a Day
If you are going to dispense information every wine lover wants, then you need to get to reviewing. But four of five wine reviews a week just won’t do the trick. That just the thirsty reader wanting more. Thousands of reviews. That what you need. And there is obviously a trick to getting that many wines reviewed for your readers. Whether it’s advice on how not to ruin your keyboard to how to undergo a palate replacement with minimal hassle. Of course, Robert Parker Jr. would chair this panel with Antonio Galloni as his second.

Seminar #6
How to Be Nice to a Wine Publicist
Hey, we just want the chance to pitch a story; maybe just get our client’s wine in front of you. There are a number of easy tips available that will show you how to be nice to the folks who just want to give you the best story idea of your life. Any young wine blogger seeking free wine samples could oversee this seminar.

One thought on “Six Important Seminars for the Wine Writers Symposium

  1. Great post and glad to see this get picked up by WineBusiness.com. The wine trade and wine writing industry have changed so much over the last few years and wine writing continues to evolve rapidly. As the lines of virtual and conventional media are blurred in this new era, it often seems that the old guard becomes more entrenched in its sense of entitlement. I wonder how many establishment writers would show up for the last seminar on your list! Great post…

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