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Food & Wine,Wine,Wine Writer

Joe Pollack of St. Louis, Missouri ~ Wine Writer

Yes, one time I got to use the song title, “Meet me in St. Louis (Louie), Louis (Louie),” while on a Blue Tooth Tour. I was able to say it to Louie Foppiano as we pulled out of Fort Worth Texas… He on the train, I was flying from Fort Worth to St. Louis.

I love St. Louis… It’s a vibrant, metropolitan city, and was one of the early ones that I traveled to in my wine sales and marketing/PR career. I’ve been very lucky to have had the opportunity to explore over 40 of our 50 states. What I primarily learned, early on, is that regardless of which city and state you’re in, they each have a fabulous culture uniquely their own. Each is worth exploring for its history, people, cultural nuances, and foods as they relate to the US being established.

In St. Louis there exists a wine writer and his wife, Joe and Ann Lemons Pollack. Ann has become equally famous in her own right as his partner in wining, dining, and pen…

Joe’s been my main man in St. Louis, ever since I began my own wine PR career, and he’s part of the fabric in his own home city. If you read about food and wine in St. Louis, you know Joe Pollack.

I couldn’t resist getting him into my wine writer list, because Joe’s a legend and a friend.

Today, like all wine writers, he’s now also publishing on his own wine blog ~ St. Louis Eats and Drinks With Joe and Ann Pollack

On their blog:

Joe and Ann Pollack, St. Louis’ most experienced food writers, lead a tour of restaurants, wines, shops and other interesting places. When we travel, you will travel with us. When we eat, drink, cook, entertain or read, when we go to the movies or theater, we’ll share our knowledge and opinions. Come along for the ride!! Copyright 2010 Joe Pollack and Ann Lemons Pollack

What’s amazing to me is that we’ve only had one dining experience in Santa Rosa, California many years ago, and their memories of that night (and mine) remain warm and friendly. Considering that wining and dining is their life’s vocation, I can’t believe that I’m not a distant memory. This speaks to their integrity. It’s not only about the foods and wines, it’s about the people behind them… and they have lovely elephant memories.

And so, from a recent press release, Joe and I reconnect. I’ll be sending him samples, meanwhile I asked him to play along with my wine writer profile. He did. He also apologized for being occasionally snarky. As a journalist, he knows better than most the effects the internet has had on his career. That said, his cream rose to the top a long time ago, and has nowhere else to go.

For a journalist, you’re going to see in this interview he’s a man of few words, but some of those words are very powerful and revealing in their brevity.

[Q]  Many wine writers also have a day job. If wine isn’t your job, what is and for whom?

[Joe]  I’ve been writing for money since 1945, when I was in high school. Retired after 30+ years in newspapers, 10 in p.r., lots of radio and tv, now run a blog, write regularly for St. Louis Magazine and the St. Louis Journalism Review, and for intelligent editors who commission stories.

[Q]  When did you start writing about wine?

[Joe]  1972

[Q]  What prompted you to start writing about wine?

[Joe]  Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the Post-Dispatch, told me that as long as I was writing about food, I ought to write about wine, too.

[Q]  What aspect(s) of wine do you most enjoy covering?

[Joe]  Drinking it, talking to winemakers.

[Q]  How has your job changed since you’ve started?

[Joe]  Writing on line instead of for a daily paper, but writing about the same things in the same way.

[Q]  What’s the most memorable wine you’ve ever tasted?

[Joe]  Any first-growth Burgundy or Bordeaux at its winery.

[Q]  What’s your favorite variety?

[Joe]  Bordeaux

[Q]  Do you believe that there are better quality, lower priced wines today, than in past vintages?

[Joe]  Yes

[Q]  What’s your favorite innovation in the wine industry over the past few years?

[Joe]  Screw caps

[Q]  What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?

[Joe]  As I tell people, “Give me a great meal and a great wine, and I’ll make them go together.” More seriously, oysters and Champagne.

[Q]  What are your interests outside of the wine business?

[Joe]  Theater, movies, politics, sports

[Q]  Who inspires you (wine business or outside of it, doesn’t matter)?

[Joe]  A. J. Liebling, a writer on war, food, politics and boxing from the 1940s-60s for the New Yorker and in books. He said, “Freedom of the press belongs to him who owns one,” and my words to live by, “I can write faster than anyone who can write better, and I can write better than anyone who can write faster.”

[Q]  For what would you like to be remembered?

[Joe]  As an honest man who wrote with passion.

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6 Responses to “Joe Pollack of St. Louis, Missouri ~ Wine Writer”

  1. Hi Ann and Joe – I’m looking all over for a way to contact you -I’d like to tell you something I know you’ll enjoy that we are doing at TFOL, but I can’t seem to find a way to get in touch with you -can you email me please? Thanks and happy holidays!!! Joy

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Joy,

    I’ll contact them for you.

  3. Whitney says:

    We love St. Louis too! Come in sometime and try our wines at Sunset 44! http://www.sunset44.com. We would love to have you! Happy Holidays!

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    I’m headed to Rhineland MO in February… Anywhere close? (I’m speaking at the Midwest Grape & Wine Conference.)

  5. Gena Feldmann says:

    Joe, I am the Social Media Manager for Major Brands, a premium wine, spirits and beer wholesaler based in St. Louis. I recently interviewed the winemaker at Montelle Winery out in Augusta and put together a brief fireside video. With the seasonality of Montelle St. Wenceslaus wine, I thought it might be a good piece to share this time of year.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wl8xr6JlRE&context=C38fe133ADOEgsToPDskI9BaSYl4_nJm8Iv8SWNHsS

    Thanks and happy holidays,
    Gena Feldmann

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks for sharing, Gena. Happy holidays to you, too.

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