Dick Rosano lives in the Washington DC area, and like so many other wine writers – and now wine bloggers – Dick Rosano has a day job. I quickly learned with my first printed article that, as much as I loved writing, it would be very difficult to make a living at it. I’ve also heard it said that we all do (for work) what we’re second best at; i.e., that what we’re first best at is a passion and becomes an avocation. It seems to be like that with most things in life with the people I know.
Wine writing for many is a passion. Dick not only writes for a number of national publications about wine and food, including The Washington Post, the Wine News, and the American Wine Society Journal., but he also has columns in travel magazines like Washington Flyer and Mid-Atlantic Country, and wine columns in Country Inns magazine.
Dick Rosano is an Italian-American winemaker, as well as a wine writer… and you’ll be surprised to know, he also has a day job (one unlike any other day job you’ve heard about on this wine blog before).
Thanks to his experiences and connections within the wine industry, Dick Rosano has written an in-depth account of one of the marvels of American wine: Wine Heritage: The Story of Italian-American Vintners
We’ve been communicating back-and-forth for a long time, and Dick’s always been a true gentleman and a scholar, and has time for being an instructor at L’Academie de Cuisine.
[Q] Many wine writers also have a day job. If wine isn’t your job, what is and for whom?
[A] I have worked in counter-terrorism since 1977.
[Q] When did you start writing about wine?
[A] My first article appeared in a small, local magazine in 1993. From there, I began a column on home winemaking for the American Wine Society Journal, then joined the wine column at The Washington Post. I have written for many other magazines since then.
[Q] What prompted you to start writing about wine?
[A] “Write what you know,” I’ve always been told. I have dreamed of being a writer since I was 3 years old. As I grew up and learned more about wine, it seemed like the perfect subject for me.
[Q] What aspect(s) of wine do you most enjoy covering?
[A] Winemaking, especially since I have been a home winemaker myself for 30 years. I even turned the passion into a feature article for Wine News, after working the harvest at Stags Leap Wine Cellars.
[Q] How has your job changed since you’ve started?
[A] The biggest change was that I used to have to sell each article, one by one. It was harder than researching and writing the piece. For many years now I have tended to write only columns, so that regular appearances in the same magazine allowed me to get in a flow.
[Q] What’s the most memorable wine you’ve ever tasted?
[A] My own.
[Q] What’s your favorite variety?
[A] Can’t answer that. Need to maintain my objectivity.
[Q] Do you believe that there are better quality, lower priced wines today than in past vintages?
[A] There are certainly more alternatives for wine lovers today, especially in the affordable bracket. Winemaking has been globalized, and so have the best and brightest methods, so even wineries tucked into obscure corners of the world can learn from other’s mistakes, rather than having to live through their own.
[Q] What’s your favorite innovation in the wine industry over the past few years?
[A] Good question, and hard to answer. At the production end, the self-emptying / cleaning fermentation vats are a great idea. I once shoveled 7 tons of skins, stems, and seeds from a fermenter, so it’s obvious I would like this innovation. At the consumption end, I would have to say the variety of preservation systems. To learn about wine, people should always open more than one bottle at a time, and things like Private Preserve, Cruvinet, etc., probably encourage more people to follow that advice.
[Q] What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
[A] I once had a bottle of 1979 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild with pizza. It was one of my favorite meals of all time. Just proves that a great bottle can make any meal a feast.
[Q] What are your interests outside of the wine business?
[A] You mean there are things outside the wine business?
[Q] Who inspires you (wine business or outside of it, doesn’t matter)?
[A] My friends, who always want to learn more about wine and count on me to provide the spark. My wife, who puts up with all the bottles and time spent tasting wine. My daughter, who still – after all these years – thinks her dad is cool.