I just read that men tend to read what men write, and women tend to read other women. With this blog, I’ve definitely got more interactive men responding to things I’ve written, and a few women who mostly Email me directly with their comments. It’s hard to judge for me who’s really reading my Juicy Tales, but I do know one thing for sure… When I decided that I had had enough of hitting the glass ceiling, and struck out on my own, Meridith May – who was connected with Patterson’s Beverage Journal at the time – reached out and gave me the inspiration I needed to follow my writing dreams. That was such a great woman-to-woman moment in my life… One that I won’t forget.
Because of Meridith, more of my writings have been published and my credentials have become stronger. She’s an asset to the wine business, and one of those quiet, behind the scenes kind of people during most days. When she’s out of the office however, she’s hard to not notice, and is a really social creature… Finding yet more people to put into the spotlight.
Meridith has supported all that I’ve ever done in the wine business, so it’s only fair that I present one of my greatest resources to you… Meridith May of The Tasting Panel.
When I asked Meridith for an image of herself, she sent this one to me, and asked if I could just crop it. Because it’s a picture of her with her husband Bill Brandel, a wine manager for Southern Wine & Spirits, I’m sure she was thinking that I just wanted an image of her by herself. When I saw this image, I thought, “Are you kidding me?” This is such a great shot, and is so revealing for how a man who’s totally secure in what he does supports his equally powerful wife, that I begged her to allow me to use this picture in its entirety. This is a dynamic, supportive partnership, and really proves how Meridith attracts synergy that’s all good. I’ve had the pleasure of dining with Bill (and Meridith), and know that he’s just as charming and accomplished as Meridith.
[Q] Many wine writers and publishers also have another job. If wine isn’t your main vocation, what is and for whom?
[A] This is certainly my full time job, but I also produce and co-host a radio show every Sunday on the CBS network in L.A. (KFWB) with Anthony Dias Blue called “Happy Hour.”
[Q] When did you segue into the wine business?
[A] Well, my career started in radio in 1977 and I had a great expense account – taking the DJs out, the sales reps, the clients. I got to know a lot of L.A. chefs who invited us into the kitchen and turned us on to a lot of wine. From there, I began hosting my own radio shows on food and the wine kept getting into the picture. When I became the restaurant columnist at the Santa Barbara News Press, I just couldn’t help but be immersed in the subject of wine.
[Q] What prompted you to support those writing about wine?
[A] I ran a wine and spirits trade publication (Patterson’s Beverage Journal ) from 2001 to 2007. Couldn’t help but support these writers!
[Q] What aspect(s) of wine do you most enjoy?
[A] Meeting the people behind the labels and discussing the wines with them!!
[Q] How has your vocation changed since you’ve entered the wine business?
[A] I was fortunate enough to find a niche in trade publishing and a fantastic, well-respected partner who’s a star in the business. We grew from 20,000 circ to 65,000 circ in the two years we’ve been publishing THE TASTING PANEL.
[Q] What’s the most memorable wine you’ve ever tasted, or wine event you’ve attended?
[A] I just took a one-week trip to Washington State and Oregon wine country and it was intense and eye-opening. Lange Chardonnay from the Dundee Hills did it for me.
[Q] What’s your favorite variety, if you have one?
[A] Syrah from the Rhone is my first pick.
[Q] Do you believe that there are better quality, lower priced wines today, than in past vintages? Of course – everyone has to work harder, compete stronger.
[A] Hey, it’s that business practice that keeps my publication going strong!
[Q] What aspects of wine stories do you most enjoy?
[A] When the writer uses a personal voice- maybe even some humor – to paint a picture.
[Q] What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
[A] My favorite food is a juicy rib-eye, so if I go for a Cabernet Sauvignon, I like a lush one from the Alexander Valley.
[Q] What’s your favorite innovation in the wine industry over the past few years?
[A] Screw caps.
[Q] What are your interests outside of the wine business?
[A] If I could, I would rescue senior citizen dogs – as many as possible. Right now I have one, but I have had two at a time.
[Q] Who inspires you (wine business or outside of it, doesn’t matter)?
[A] I am inspired by the distributor end of the business. They’re the tail that wags the dog and many of them have big challenges nowadays. It fascinates me to watch them work behind the scenes.