Monday, January 21, 2013

The 2013 Lodi Professional Wine Writers' Symposium

Welcome to the 2013 Lodi Professional Wine Writers’ Symposium. We hope you’ll enjoy your stay at the Lodi Bed or Breakfast Suites—you choose! Sorry, no free WiFi, but there is an Etch-a-Sketch in every room.

Our Symposium is dedicated to providing three days of nonstop immersion in the worlds of wine and wine writing. You bring us your dreams, your ideas, your talents, and we do you the favor of crushing them like hundred-dollar-a-ton Zinfandel—quickly and carelessly. We’ve invited some of the most famous names in professional wine writing, all of whom were busy. Instead, we have a lineup of second and third tier writers who you may have heard of if you carefully read the magazines left in your Bed or Breakfast suite. Many have been published in some of our most prestigious wine magazines, but more likely Wine and Spirits, Mutineer and Juggs.  They may not be the cream of the current wine writing crop, but they’re certainly the Reddi-Whip.

There are many exciting seminars, workshops, tastings and road trips for you to participate in. Look over the lists carefully and make your decisions. We guarantee that by the end of the 2013 Lodi Professional Wine Writers’ Symposium you’ll have a much clearer vision of your lack of talent.


Tuesday  The Great Wineries of Lodi
To be honest, we came up with the name of the road trip before we really thought about it. We had to visit all 80 Lodi wineries. So Tuesday is a free day!

Wednesday  You Know, There are Some Damn Nice Wines in Lodi
Join Tim Fish, Mister of Wine (it’s Master of Wine Lite) as he takes you to his favorite Lodi wineries. Learn how to tell the difference between Lodi Zinfandel and Hershey’s syrup, not that easy since both come in squeeze bottles. (Hint: the syrup flows faster.) And, as a bonus, Tim will demonstrate how to taste with a helmet on.

Thursday  Lodi Cult Wine Producers
Again, we just brainstormed ideas and this came up. We probably should have done some research first. We meant to, but we were busy. We had all these applications to read from wannabe wine writers. Jesus, they’re just awful. So Thursday is a free day! 


Tuesday  “Writing Effective Wine Reviews”
Ever wonder how today’s finest wine critics write such fascinating descriptions? We do too! So we’ll have a few other critics taking some pretty good guesses. A few of them actually know those famous wine critics! Join moderator Jay Miller, disgraced former critic for The Wine Advocate, Natalie MacLean, Canada’s Distinguished Wine Scholar and James Beard Award Winner for Cut and Paste, and Gary Vaynerchuk, in a rare appearance, but we promised he could wear a Nat Fright Wig, as they discuss how to make your wine reviews memorable. Special emphasis will be placed on meaningless words that can be placed in reviews when you have no idea what you’re smelling and tasting—Asian spices, brambly, unctuous and terroir among them.

Wednesday  “Make Shit Up”
Want to get published in today’s best wine journals, like Saveur, Food and Wine, and Juggs? You need to have an unusual angle, you need to tell the editor something he doesn’t know, you need to do what every successful wine writer and blogger does these days—Make Shit Up. Yes, plagiarism is easier, though you didn’t hear that here first. But making shit up is the future of wine writing. It’s called blogging.

Thursday  “No One Cares if You Have Talent”
A fascinating seminar on how you don’t need talent to be a wine writer, you just need to be pious. Not about wine, but about wine writing. Irreverence and wit are the enemy of wine writing, and our esteemed panelists will prove they have little of either. Join Mother Superior Alice Feiring, Jamie Goode, Greatest Living Wine Blogger Other Than Alder Yarrow, and Alder Yarrow, Greatest Living Wine Blogger Other Than Alder Yarrow, in a spirited, if lifeless, discussion of the power of piety and self-absorption. Remember, it’s not journalism, it’s wine writing. Only say nice things. You catch more flies with honey than with Authentic Wine.


Tuesday   “Blind Tasting the Way the Pros Do It”
There are many ways of tasting blind, and we’ll explore them all at this tasting. Taste wines “double blind,” “single blind,” and then the way professional wine critics usually taste, “kinda blind.” It’s what they call “Ray and Roy.” People think you’re tasting blind like Ray Charles, but you’re actually pretending to be blind like Roy Orbison.

Wednesday  “Kinda Blind Tasting of Varieties”
Practice identifying many different varieties of grapes using your new kinda blind technique. Once you know it’s Cabernet Franc, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can identify it kinda blind! Once you’re an expert, you can do like all the pros do and refuse to try and replicate your results. And why not refuse?! They’re bogus in the first place.

Thursday  “Stuff That Was Donated Tasting”
Local wineries want to get their wines in front of the future wine writers of America, but they’ve settled for you.

Thank you for participating in the 2013 Lodi Professional Wine Writers’ Symposium. Somebody’s making money in the wine writing profession thanks to hopeless folks like you!


Fabio said...

wow, first!

Unknown said...

making shit up is the future of wine writing. It’s called blogging.

just frickin' genius

do you know whether the Goode blog is real and authentic, or whether it is interventionist and therefore full of witchcraft?

Charlie Olken said...

I have attended the Lodi Wine Symposium. Among the topics I enjoyed most were:

--The annual count of twisted old vines
--The "how deep is the soil in Lodi" contest
--Be the first to name either the six sub-AVAs in Lodi or the twelve days of Christmas
--The white wine seminar entitlted "We call it Chablis because that is as close as it is going to get to acidity"
--The optional activities on the free days: skiing in the Shenandoah Valley (no snow but those folks love to entertain); remnants of the Jumping Frog contest (sauteed with garlic and butter); and "Cooking with high-viscosity Zinfandel" demonstration in which six writers vie to be the one who does not set himself or herself on fire when the wine goes in the pan.


Anonymous said...

HoseMaster continues to set the gold standard for lampooning an industry in desperate need of it. You don't see the same level of pompous behavior or writing in beer or spirits writing. It's a shame we have to endure it in the wine biz. As a winemaker I live for the for the day we can just enjoy wines without all the hype and attitude, probably won't happen in my lifetime.

Thomas said...

A few real laugher-lines, but this one got me good: "...a spirited, if lifeless, discussion of the power of piety and self-absorption."

Don't ask me why--it's too personal.

voice of reason said...


Funny as always!

Please promise to keep writing?

Rogue Wino said...

Those tasting days sound brutal, what with the 16.9% alcohol levels. They also seem to carry the risk of permanent damage: "I went to the Lodi Wine Conference and all I got was this purple tongue"

Joanna Breslin said...

Thanks for the very entertaining post! However, I do think Wine & Spirits is a pretty good mag.

Charles, what wine was served with the no-longer-jumping frogs?

Dean Tudor said...

Ron, you failed to mention the Expectoration Contest bewteen winemakers and wine bloggers....

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Tyrone Brett,
The Goode blog is certainly filtered, though I don't read it. Well, I open it, take a whiff, and usually discard it--just like wine judging.

Captcha done excaped. Good riddance.

I won't ask what you were doing at a Lodi Wine Writers' Symposium. I applied, but, somehow, I was rejected. I, will, however, hide my name tag at ZAP when I come across a Lodi producer. I'm guessing there might be a bounty on my pinhead, even though what I really wanted to lampoon was wine writer symposia in general.

Jeff C,
Not many of us doing the lampooning when it comes to the wine biz. If I set the gold standard, well, it's definitely Fool's Gold. But thank you, that's very kind. Please come back and chime in as a winemaker--most of them hide from HoseMaster. Or, more truly, never heard of me.

Glad you liked that. I do my best to save my scorn for the most pious and self-absorbed among the wine trade, which doesn't narrow it down much. I pity folks that sit through writing seminars when I look at the list of panelists. If writing is about inspiration, find it in a bottle of wine, or a vineyard, not in pious talking heads.

No promises. I hate writing, which is why I pursue it. It satisfies my sense of self-loathing. I promise I'll be back Thursday--after that, who knows? There's always Blinky.

Rogue Wino,
Any wine judge will tell you that the hardest wines to judge are things like Late Harvest Zin and Petite Sirah. If I know I'm judging them, I warm up with a nice flight of shoe polish mixed with lighter fluid.

And thank you for becoming a regular here, Beautiful. Much appreciated.

Wine and Spirits is OK, but the nude photo shoots are awful. But I like that they're now using the Juggs Double D rating system. Makes a lot more sense than the 100 Point Scale.

Don't know what tastings you're attending, but in this country, bloggers don't spit.

Anonymous said...

Blinky always provides some entertainment. Last weeks post titles were "I let a winemaker talk to me" and "Bad tasting note of the week" which I believe is what the LPWWS chairman uses to find panelists.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I like to think Blinky hates me--call me a romantic. He loves to be playground monitor of the blog world, which always kills me.

The LPWWS uses the Wine Blog Award winners for panelists. Poodles work cheap, and poop outside. Real wine writers, not so much.

Marcia Macomber said...

"Mother Superior Alice..." oh, my! The chuckles... Kinda Blind Tasting -what a great event! One eye closed, one glaring?

Charlie Olken said...

I wish I was in the land of captcha
Old times there are not excapedya

Anonymous said...

Dyslexia's a bitch, had to reread Tuesday's Workshops and Seminars. First time through I saw Upchuck wearing a Frat Night Wig, but then again would there be a difference?

First place in the Response category to Sir Charles for "remnants of the Jumping Frog contest (sauteed with garlic and butter)"

South of Lodi Dave

Ron Washam, HMW said...

You don't have dyslexia, you have a bad case of Spoonerism. The best cure is to drink a daily glass of what the astronauts drink, Spoon Tang. I love Spoon Tang.

Thomas said...


"Spoon Tang" is a pine fun, roonerspism...whatever, it's great.

Quizicat said...

I was unaware that Juggs had a wine column. I will have to study it more carefully in the future.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Look in the pages that aren't stuck together in your copy.