There are a lot of facets in the PR work day. Besides writing, calling, and E-mailing, an important aspect of this job is to educate clients about who’s who in the wine writing community. That can only be done when we first educate ourselves about the wine writing community, too.

As a service to my clients and the industry, I’m going to begin to store wine writer profiles on this blog. It’ll help me from repeating myself with clients, and it’ll give anyone else searching on a wine writer’s name a quick snapshot of that person’s personality, as reflected directly from that person.

I wrote an earlier blog entitled “The Wine Industry’s Unsung Heroes: Independent Writers … A One-Man or Woman Band” because I appreciate all that writers have to do; and for them, it’s mostly a thankless job. When was the last time someone wrote about you, and you took time to write that person a thank you? Hum…

All wine companies depend on wine writers to get jazzed about their stories, bridging those bits of unique information between brands and consumers. Each winery owner waits for the day when “his or her” special tale is told… The better you know them, the closer they’ll be to knowing you.

I’m beginning with one of my favorite people: Steve Heimoff, of Wine Enthusiast. He’s top of mind, because we’ve had recent communications.

Steve’s agreed to answer the following for the beginning of a category called, “Wine Writers.”

  1. When did you start, and what prompted you to start writing about wine?

    I began writing about wine for Wine Spectator in 1989. In 1992, I started writing for Wine Enthusiast. I had fallen in love with wine in the late 1970s, and that grew into a driving, almost obsessive passion. As someone who always liked writing and history, the idea of writing about wine appealed to me very much.

  2. What aspect(s) of wine do you most enjoy covering?

    There are two aspects I most enjoy: tasting great wine (and talking/writing about it) and hanging out with winemakers. You didn’t ask, but my least favorite is long meals at big events.

  3. How has your job changed since you’ve started?

    Hmm. I think the most significant change is that everything has become more professional, with an emphasis on quality. If you write about wine these days, you really have to know what you’re talking about. Other than that, the computer and rise of the Internet have been huge drivers of change.

  4. What’s the most memorable wine you’ve ever tasted?

    People always ask me this. There have been many. Here are a few: 1961 Krug Champage [tasted at 30+ years], 1967 Stony Hill Chard [tasted at 26 years of age and enjoyed with wild boar], various older vintages of Beaulieu Private Reserve dating back to the ’40s, and too many old Bordeaux, Barolos and Burgundies to mention.

  5. What’s your favorite variety?

    Pinot Noir

  6. Do you believe that there are better quality, lower priced wines today, than in past vintages?

    There have always been good quality, value-priced wines and there still are today. Consumers have been very blessed in that respect.

  7. What’s your favorite innovation in the past few years?

    If you mean technological innovations, things like my I-Book and cell phone enable me to be productive when I’m away from home. If you mean innovation in the sense of wine breakthroughs in California [which is my area of coverage], it would be the viticultural and enological improvements in the making of great Pinot Noir.

As a footnote to this blog, reading Steve’s book is also very insightful. A Wine Journey along the Russian River (©2005, University of California Press | Berkeley). I wrote about it some time ago, and you can link to it here. It’s at the very bottom of this page. A Wine Journey along the Russian River

I’m really looking forward to Steve’s next book, which is due out this November. New Classic Winemakers of California Conversations with Steve Heimoff, Foreword by H. William Harlan. Here’s the link: U.C. Press.

THE INTERVIEWEES: John Alban, Mark Aubert, Heidi Peterson Barrett, Andy Beckstoffer, Greg Brewer, Merry Edwards, Elias Fernandez, Gina Gallo, Rolando Herrera, Genevieve Janssens, Kathy Joseph, Greg La Follette, Adam and Dianna Lee, Dan Morgan Lee, Bob Levy, Rick Longoria, Javier Tapia Meza, Gary, Jeff, and Mark Pisoni, Kent Rosenblum, Ted Seghesio, Doug Shafer, Justin Smith, Tony Soter, Brian Talley, Michael Terrien, Randy Ullom, Margo van Staaveren, and Bill Wathan.