Wine,Wine Writer

Wine Writers of Merit

On this blog, I’ve been writing and interviewing wine writers since August 3, 2007.

I began with Steve Heimoff, because I really wanted to know more about the man behind the pen. This was long before he had started blogging, too. We had had a few conversations on the phone, and I was a huge fan of his articles in Wine Enthusiast magazine. I had attended a book signing at the Sonoma County Wine Library, for his “A Wine Journey along the Russian River.” I stood before him, after purchasing his book, and told him my name. A slight sign of recongnition crossed his face, and he whimsically wrote, “Dear Jo Diaz. The best in The Biz! Steve Heimoff.” Please understand, if he knew me really well, he would never have written my last name, so that was my first glimpse into his side of levity. He was being dear, long before I got to know him well enough to actually think of him as a dear friend. Once I read his first book, and I’ve also read his second, I realized that Steve Heimoff is simply a brilliant writer…

So, throwing a Q&A at him seemed like a logical thing to do, and it would allow me to begin to put onto the Internet what I had already started in my computer… capturing information about wine writers. As a publicist, my clients sometimes live in other worlds (doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs, and new vintners). While it’s my job to know who the players are, these folks keep track of different things. It’s my job to explain who they’ll be talking with, who so-and-so is that just said this-or-that about him/her, and why they need to know about whomever.

Off it went…

When I interviewed Dick Rosano, he wrote to me, “You may be single-handedly creating the parallel to the Wine Institute’s oral histories.” While those oral histories in print are very lengthy (I’ve got the Lou Foppiano one, which I’ve read more than once), this doesn’t come close to the depth that the Wine Institute took to gather and transcribe that information… And those interviews are about vintners. What I’m doing is about wine writers.

Please consider this list below as a resource for anyone needing to share who a certain wine writer might be. Within their answers, there’s much to be gleaned from this amazing group of resources.

Alphabetically, which will be kept current on wine-blog.org’s Wine Writer page:

Alley, Lynn ~ Food books, wine stories, and worked with Dr. Harold Olmo of UC Davis

Apstein, Michael (Dr.) ~ Boston Globe, Wine Review on Line, among others

Berger, Dan ~ Vintage Experiences

Boyd, Gerald D. ~ I first met Gerry when he was the wine editor for the SF Chronicle, Wine Review on Line, among others

Citara, Bill ~ Miami based writer

Finkle, Harvey (Dr.) ~ Writes and lectures internationally on the influences of wine upon health, and is a member of AIM ‘s editorial board

Goldfarb, Alan ~ St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury News, Wine Enthusiast, American Airlines’ American Way, and the Underground Wine Journal, among others

Gregutt, Paul ~ Seattle Times, Wines & Vines, Wine Enthusiast

Heald, Eleanor and Ray ~ Quarterly Review of wines, Practical Winery & Vineyard (PWV, Wine Columnists Gannett’s Observer & Eccentric Newspapers, Regional Correspondents Appellation America, among others

Heeger, Jack ~ Napa Valley Register (Posthumous)

Heimoff, Steve ~ Wine Enthusiast

Hinkle, Richard Paul ~ Quarterly Review of Wines, books on wine, among others

Lukacs, Paul ~ Wine book “American Vintage, the rise and fall of American wine,” wine Review on Line, Washington Times, among others

Mauro, Rich ~ The People’s Palate

May, Meridith ~ The Tasting Panel

Ness, Laura ~ Contra Costa Times, Appellation America

Parker, Robert ~ The Wine Advocate

Passmore, Nick ~ Forbes, Discover, Town & Country, the Robb Report, the Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Sky, BusinessWeek.Com, and Golf Connoisseur, among others

Patterson, Tim ~ wine books, Wines & Vines, among others

Rossman, Marlene ~ Chef magazine, Sommelier Journal, The Tasting Panel, Riviera/Modern Luxury International Sommelier

Shriver, Jerry ~ USA Today

Tinsley, Robyn ~ wineskinny.com

Vaynerchuk, Gary ~ winelibrary.com

Wallace, Kieth ~ The Daily Beast

Weinberg, Ben ~ Sommelier Journal, among others

Whitley, Robert ~ Wine Competition Organizer, Whitley on Line

Wiegand, Ronn ~ Restaurant Wine (MS, MW)

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6 Responses to “Wine Writers of Merit”

  1. Jan Mettler says:

    Dear Jo,

    A good list of dedicated writers, educators. Wine evokes the philosopher in all of us. Heads up: I believe Jack Heeger passed away this past summer. His obit appeared in the PD.

    Your spirited writing puts you among the journalistic champions, Jo. Good work!

  2. Jo says:

    Hi, Jan,

    Yes, sadly Jack did pass away. I wrote his profile as a result of his passing, because I didn’t have the opportunity to interview him before that time.

    I had some really wonderful times with Jack, and he had a final story, which was released after his death. He gave (I believe) three favorite examples of meaningful experiences… One of them was something that I had arranged for him.

    I had a story about a returning American soldier who had been stationed in the Middle East. She only wanted to taste Petite Sirah, so I organized a 10 day trip for her – all gratis of the wine industry. Jack covered a Napa day. Sergeant First Class Cheryl Dupris then invited Jack – as a Korean Vet – to ride in the NY City Veteran’s Day Parade. He took her up on her offer, had breakfast at the Mayor’s mansion, and traveled though New York on a float in the parade.

    His story was worth sharing, because he was so dear in his living hours… As we both know. I just couldn’t bear to leave him off this list.

    Thanks for commenting on this list and my spirited writing. I’m touched.

  3. Felicia says:

    Hi Jo,

    Thanks for including my favorite wine writer, Robert Whitley (full disclosure, he is also my boss and my friend!).

    In addition to being Director of five international wine competitions (Winemaker Challenge, Sommelier Challenge, Critics Challenge, San Diego International and Monterey International) Robert is also publisher of WineReviewOnline.com and a nationally syndicated wine columnist (Creators.com). Jo, I know YOU know this, but wanted the rest of the world to know too.

    Thanks for the great blog. I’ve been following you on Twitter to make sure I don’t miss any of your great writing.


  4. Jo says:

    Felicia, thanks for further details. (I also fixed the link, thanks.)

    Not to worry about full disclosure… I’m constantly bringing in my favorite guy (Jose Diaz). It’s the nature of what we do.. taking care of those with whom we have interdependent relations.

    Robert’s a great guy, and you’ve got an awesome job. Thanks for all the follows!

  5. Vanguy says:

    Good list.
    You missed a couple of greats – hope you can add them:

    John Schreiner


    Natalie MacLean


  6. Jo says:


    Thanks for commenting, and noting John Schreiner and Natalie MacLean.

    Neither have been missed, in my world, though, because this is an on-going process. There are hundreds of people I’ve yet to query, and once the Q&A goes back and forth, they’ll be added to this list. I’ve created a page within the blog, just so that the list will continue to grow and grow.

    Recently, I sent Natalie a query about being on my blog, but I never heard back from her. I believe it’s my fault, because I sent it as a response to her Newsletter. I’m thinking that her Webmaster didn’t pay attention to the incoming mail from the newsletter. (My husband sends out newsletters for our clients, as their Webmaster, so I know how it works.) I’ve been thinking about resending that Email directly to her, and your comment is a good reminder to just get it done.

    John Schreiner is new to me, perhaps because his stories aren’t as much published in the US; although, his Website states “Writer and wine columnist John Schreiner is Canada’s most prolific author of books on wine.” I haven’t come across his writings, yet, which just goes to show how the list is going to be long and filled with exportation as well.

    Again, thanks for your comment and also your revelation.

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