Six Reasons Why I am Going to the Annual Conference (and you should consider coming, too…)

We asked for more workshops. IFWTWA gave us more than any conference in recent years. Here are 6 reasons for going to the 2019 International Food Wine & Travel Writers Conference and the first is: 

Hotel conference room with guests seated for workshop presentation

1. Lots of Workshops & Learning to Help Me Work Smarter—When was the last time you did something for you? Something to hone your craft? Make your work more efficient and flow better? And even though some of the Workshop sessions will be running concurrently, they are going to videotape all of the Workshops so that Attendees of the Conference can view them all! 

Workshops will include:

  • Take & Edit Fabulous Photos and iPhone Tricks and Apps
    The Santa Fe Workshops’ Noreen O’Brien will be doing a presentation on the creative possibilities of iPhone photography and how to turn your photos into works of art. The Santa Fe Workshops, established in 1990, offer state-of-the-art photographic education that supports participants of all levels. With world-renowned instructors, cutting-edge technology, and dedicated staff, this is a not to be missed session.
  • Wine Cuisine Travel Journalism
    Presented by renowned photojournalist, and Publisher of Wine Country Intl. Magazine, meet Christopher John Davies. According to Christopher, group press trips may come and go, but building a custom itinerary with the assistance of wine and tourism boards can help you expand your coverage many times over. Christopher will share his experiences, photographs, and wine insights.

  • Creative Possibilities Using an Android Too!
    David Nershi, a Certified Specialist of Wine and award-winning photographer as well as publisher of Vino-Sphere blog. He will focus on helping us make our photos as delicious as the wine and food we are sampling. He will also focus on the potential of the Android phone camera.
  • Targeting Your Pitch
    And who does not need this? Seriously…. presented by Lian Dolan whom we are very fortunate to have joining us. She will make you think… What makes a great pitch? Is it a unique angle? The right tone? A personal touch? Yes to all three! Then, throw in doing the homework so that you create a pitch that fills just the right need for the magazine, website, podcast or whatever your target may be. Pitching is an art form, but it can be learned.

    Lian Dolan is a writer and producer and has been on both sides of "the pitch." As a writer, she sold regular columns and articles to O, The Oprah Magazine, Working Mother Magazine and Pasadena Magazine. We are so pleased Lian joined IFWTWA in 2019. She is the author of two collections of essays and several novels, including The Sweeney Sisters, a book she sold on pitch to Harper Collins that will be published in Spring 2020. She is the creator and host of the long-running podcast Satellite Sisters. She's been on the receiving end of a zillion pitches, most of them awful but some of them brilliant. She is happy to share her insights on crafting pitches that get bought across a variety of platforms.

  • Social Media Trends
    I have seen her present before and, my goodness, Mary Farah is such an accomplished Wizard at making all the Social Media mumbo-jumbo sound SO approachable. “It’s really quite easy…” she will say with confidence and then show the rest of us how it’s really done. From Facebook, to Twitter, Instagram, and tagging, posting, following, she will have you singing along and doing it before you know it! Mary is a Los Angeles native who has been writing on her popular travel and lifestyle blog, Along Comes Mary, since 2012. In addition to Along Comes Mary, she also contributes to a variety of online magazines including Locale and Food Wine Travel and is our resident Social Media Guru.

    In addition to Mary Farah, Chris Cutler, our IFWTWA FWT Magazine publisher, will talk about content creation, social media management tools and the difference between writing and photographing for social media, blogs, and magazines. Chris has a Masters in creative writing, and have studied photography and can be found teaching both.
  • Video Editing or Shooting 
    Wow! Do I need this one! As video becomes the king of PR, Elaine Masters will teach us video storytelling as well as shortcuts and tools. Elaine has been producing videos over the past five years and sprinkles them throughout her channels from YouTube and beyond. She will talk about app applications, how to edit in your phone, and a whole lot more. She blends several past careers into her stories and in over 100 YouTube videos, incorporating award-winning audio skills as well as voice over and graphic design into her story-telling (she produced the Indie Excellence Audiobook - Drivetime Yoga and won a Woman in Radio and TV Commendation for the short radio play, The Postcard). In her spare time, she is an international scuba diver and seafood fanatic.

2. Did Someone Say Wine?

  • Our Welcome Reception will be featuring New Mexico Wine 
    Gruet Winery, a member of New Mexico Wine, will be hosting, pouring & describing New Mexico wines. New Mexico Wine (New Mexico Wine & Grape Growers Association) is a 501c6 non-profit organization that was created in 1991 as the trade association for the winery and vineyards of New Mexico. For 28 years, the staff and members have worked together to build a robust industry of family-owned wineries throughout the state. At New Mexico Wine, their mission is to “Promote, Protect and Educate."


3. Did Someone Mention Fine Cuisine?

  • Chefs’ Culinary Panel
    The Chefs’ Panel will be moderated by Andrew Harris who is executive producer and co-host of a weekly radio show “The SoCal Restaurant Show” heard on Saturday mornings in SoCal on AM 830. He is bringing local chefs together to discuss and answer questions about "The Foods of New Mexico.” And listen up because it is a lot more diverse than green chiles!!

    Chef Katharine Kagel of Café Pasqual’s, a restaurant celebrating its 40th year. Chef Pasqual’s received the James Beard Foundation award for America’s Regional Classics Award. Also, on the panel is the young chef, Sllin Cruz, Executive Chef at Geronimo housed in an historic 1756 adobe. Geronimo’s restaurant is one of the highest rated restaurants in Santa Fe. After almost two years running the Geronimo kitchen as chef de cuisine and being awarded OpenTable’s Top 100 Restaurants in America through his culinary talent. He presents an exquisite ‘Global Eclectic with a French base’ - inspired menu focusing on comfort delicacies from all over the world.

  • A Taste of Santa Fe Luncheon
    We are invited to the Santa Fe Community Convention Center where Santa Fe chefs show off their signature dishes and most popular restaurant items with tasting menu portions. Also included will be local wines, local beers, local spirits, and a chocolatier. How can one go wrong with that line-up?
  • Dinner & Cooking Demo at the Santa Fe School of Cooking
    Attendees will learn to master the bold flavors of New Mexico and intricacies of using ingredients like local green and red chiles at the Southwest’s original recreational culinary institution. The evening will include a presentation from one of Santa Fe’s best chefs offering a mix of local history, culture and culinary knowledge. This is a “not to be missed” dinner!

4. Immerse Myself In The History, Museums & Walking Tours

  • Walking Tour of Santa Fe’s Historic Plaza area will be with a knowledgeable guide where the group will tour Santa Fe’s historic Plaza area, telling the stories of the city along the way. Points of interest on the tour will include the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe Indian Market, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
  • Georgia O’Keeffe Museum tour will be docent guided through the single largest repository of O’Keeffe’s work in the world, made up of 3,000 works, including 140 oil paintings, nearly 700 drawings, and hundreds of additional works dating from 1901 to 1984. This museum was the first major museum devoted solely to a female artist.
    • Attendees can explore Canyon Road with 80 art galleries and shops along a half mile
    • Consider a self-guided walking tour ~ Map & attractions guides are available!
    • Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return-A Mystery House

  • Meow Wolf Art Collective
    Created by the Meow Wolf art collective, the House of Eternal Return is an astonishing new art experience featuring a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, and surreal maximalist art installations designed to transport visitors of all ages into fantastic realms of story and modern art exploration. Each visitor is invited to choose their own path through the 20,000 square foot exhibition of unexpected environments.

  • Museum Hill, Docent Tour of Museum of International Folk Art and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
    Head to the hub of Santa Fe’s cultural institutions on Museum Hill to explore the four museums and botanical garden perched high in the foothills east of historic downtown. Guided tour will be available at the two major museums located on the hill.

5. Networking with My Friends, Meeting New Members & Esteemed Exhibitors/Sponsors/DMO’s

  • Tourism Marketplace
    One-on-one “speed-dating” meetings between media professionals and tourism marketplace Exhibitors who have paid to be here and meet all of you! Please take the time to say hello and meet them. See if their destination may be of interest to you for future stories and ask lots of questions. They will want to know more about you too, so please bring your business cards for heaven’s sake! 

  • Hanging Out With My Fellow Writers
    We have a small group that make it a point to get together but that is not too many. When we all descend on a specific destination what fun it is to reconnect. And I have to say, I always learn new things from my fellow writers. What we do is a somewhat solitary endeavor, and I am social, so I like to lift my head up from the computer now and again and say hello, catch up, see who is traveling where, and what the latest gadget is that I don’t even know I need!

6. Santa Fe Is Pretty Darn Cool

Santa Fe, “The City Different,” and the jewel of the American Southwest, embodies a rich history, melding Hispanic, Anglo and Native American cultures whose influences are apparent in everything from the architecture, the food, the art and culture. Founded by Spanish settlers in 1610, the winding streets, adobe architecture and traditional Spanish and Native American artwork at every turn surround the visitor with Santa Fe’s heritage. Attendees will find more than 250 art galleries as well as more than 300 restaurants, 70 jewelry stores, 13 museums and a world-renowned outdoor opera. Santa Fe is set against a backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at 7,000 feet. It is a stunning and unforgettable traveler’s delight. 

So, take a look at the agenda and think long and hard about this opportunity. I hope to see you there, and if you are new to IFWTWA, you really need to be there and meet everyone—it's not often many travel writers are in the same spot at the same time! 

Deirdre Michalski AvatarDeirdre Michalski resides in Southern California. She is a travel and culinary writer covering topics near and far. You can read more about her adventures, bucket list trips and the oldest restaurants and taverns in various cities around the globe on her web site


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