MaryAnn Worobiec of Wine Spectator has been a colleague that I’ve admired and respected since she took her place at the Spectator. I appreciate that she brings a female voice and perspective to this wine magazine’s list of talented writers.
She’s also just a lovely woman, and I also appreciate her candor, fairness, and great style that I’ve experienced over the years, as we’ve interacted.
On a personal note, MaryAnn’s open to things that have to do with Petite Sirah, which I’m constantly tracking, making her a great resource for the variety. Most writers are, by the way… open to what’s new about it.
I’ve also noticed that she seems to get the “list” assignments, along with her other story features, which I really appreciate. Her attention to detail is probably what made her the perfect candidate for these assignment. I’m a keeper of numbers, too, so I get that passion and that seemingly easy writing style that happens within all of her stories.
I’m pleased to share MaryAnn Worobiec with you, because she’s another great wine writer and resource within the wine business.
[Q] Many wine writers also have a day job. If wine isn’t your job, what is and for whom?
[MaryAnn] In addition to my writing and tasting responsibilities at Wine Spectator, I am the tasting coordinator for our Napa office, where we review wines from California, Washington, Oregon, Australia and New Zealand. As tasting coordinator, I oversee our process of receiving wines, entering them into our database, setting up blind tastings according to our protocol and transmitting that information to our New York office.
[Q] When did you start writing about wine?
[MaryAnn] I started working for Wine Spectator in July 1996, and my first writing assignment was just six months later, when I helped cover the annual ZAP tasting in January 1997.
[Q] What prompted you to start writing about wine?
[MaryAnn] I had a writing slant (and a dabble of journalism) in my life before Wine Spectator. It’s very satisfying to combine my interest in wine with my interest in writing.
[Q] What aspect(s) of wine do you most enjoy covering?
[MaryAnn] One of my favorite things about the wine industry is that it’s full of people that are very passionate about what they are doing, and I enjoy telling their stories.
[Q] How has your job changed since you’ve started?
[MaryAnn] Because of my perspective as tasting coordinator, I’m amazed at the proliferation of new wines and new labels from all over the world. The growth has been exponential, with no end in sight.
[Q] What’s the most memorable wine you’ve ever tasted?
[MaryAnn] I’ve been fortunate enough to try many, many great wines. But the one wine that stands out in my memory is the Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1941, which I tasted in the barrel room at Rubicon on a rainy afternoon several years ago. It elicited the biggest emotional response I’ve ever had from a wine. As I was writing my tasting notes, I was flooded with memories and emotions. In my notes I described it as smelling like every single thing I’ve ever enjoyed smelling, all put together.
[Q] What’s your favorite variety?
[MaryAnn] I don’t have a favorite, but I find myself drinking mostly Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs and Syrah-based wines outside of the office.
[Q] Do you believe that there are better quality, lower priced wines today, than in past vintages?
[MaryAnn] Yes, but that’s hinged in the fact that there are just more wines, period. I could easily make a case there are also more average quality, high-priced wines, too.
[Q] What’s your favorite innovation in the wine industry over the past few years?
[MaryAnn] Screwcaps come to mind immediately. But I’m also very impressed with the emerging anti-counterfeiting technology.
[Q] What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
[MaryAnn] White truffles and Barolo, but mostly because it would mean I’m enjoying truffles and Barolo! For more everyday pairings, I love how sparkling wines go with anything the least bit salty, and how Sauvignon Blanc can brighten most dishes I cook.
[Q] What are your interests outside of the wine business?
[MaryAnn] Rooting for the White Sox, growing heirloom tomatoes from seeds, cooking comfort foods, hiking and reading–everything from vampire love stories to technical journals.
[Q] Who inspires you (wine business or outside of it, doesn’t matter)?
[MaryAnn] There are artists, thinkers and writers that have inspired me along the way, but I also draw inspiration from my friends, family and co-workers.