At The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers

This afternoon I again had the honor of joining some of the best wine writers in the world for the beginning of a three day discussion of the craft of wine writing. This is my third year as a speaker and moderator at this event, which features some of the true luminaries of the wine world. This year I, and the other sixty-or-so folks who are attending, will have a chance to share a glass of wine and some thoughts with Eric Asimov of the New York symposium.jpgTimes, Elin McCoy of Bloomberg, Corie Brown (most recently) of the LA Times, author and educator, Karen MacNeil, Frank Prial (most recently) of the New York Times, author and critic Hugh Johnson, Matt and Ted Lee of Martha Stewart Living, Tyler Coleman of Dr. Vino, and more.

At this year’s conference, I will participate (actually I just did about an hour ago) on a panel called “The Alumni Corner” where a number of us who had attended the conference in the past shared our experiences and some guidance of how to get the most out of the conference. Tomorrow I’ll be co-leading a session on the process and value of blind tasting with Frank Prial, and on Thursday I’m moderating a panel on the future of wine writing, which may take on a bit of a sobering note in the face of so many layoffs in the journalism world.

I’ll be posting a bit here and there from the conference, but if you really are interested in what’s going on, I suggest you check out my Twitter feed, which is where I’ll be posting little tidbits about the conference as it unfolds. Those of you who are serious Twitter users may appreciate the hash mark #spww where several of us are tweeting about the event.

Today I also managed to sneak a little microphone time to conduct an informal survey that someone has managed to do every year of the five years of the Symposium. It consists of two simple questions:

1. How many of you have heard of blogs?
2. How many of you have a blog?

Five years ago the answer to #1 was purportedly (I wasn’t there) about 3 or 4 people out of the 60 writers in attendance. By last year everyone had heard of blogs. This year almost 50% of the people attending have blogs.

Someone suggested a follow up question which was “how many of you get paid to blog” and only about 8 people kept their hand up — most of which were journalists that were asked to blog in addition to their existing writing.

Off to drink with the writers. More to come.