I love writers. I didn’t realize I was one until I started my own wine blog. Yes, I had been writing for other since the early 1980s, but it was for on-air productions (which I was also recording and producing). Then it was for winery marketing departments, for their brochures and trade materials. And, most importantly, I was writing press releases. Somewhere between then, starting my own blog, and now, I realized that not only am I a writer, but I also have to be a writer’s writer. What I mean by that, in the most humble of ways, is that in order to get a writer’s attention, I have to write something that will inspire the writer to want to take it a step further and write about my clients.

I had one of my writer friends say to me once, “Jo, some things just stay on the top of the pile.” That made me realize that I had done a good job for my client. This person also did get to my client’s story.

This is what I bring to my clients, more than the writing, even… It’s the friendly relationships that have been built over the years, and it’s what all new PR people are in the process of building ~ the bridges.

One of the people on an important bridge for me is Rich Mauro of Denver, Colorado. In reading Rich’s answers to me, I just realized that we started with wine about the same time. This is why it feels like he’s always just “been there” for me.

Rich writes for the following publications:

  • Colorado Springs Gazette – the daily paper for this city of 450,000 located about an hour south of Denver. I write a twice-monthly column in the Wednesday Food section.
  • Beverage Analyst – a trade publication for retailers, wholesalers and restaurants. I write a monthly column that is published in the Colorado, Nevada and Arizona editions.
  • gabbygourmet.com – the website for the Gabby Gourmet Show (a popular restaurant show on KHOW, Denver on Saturday afternoons). I write a monthly column presented under the “Columns and Contributors” heading.
  • Out Front Colorado – a bi-weekly paper for the gay and lesbian community in Colorado. I write a column every two months.

Rich Mauro is a great guy who exudes kindness, which you can easily gather from what he’s written on his own blog PeoplesPalate.com:

“I first became interested in wine while I worked in numerous liquor stores during college in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. In the years following college, I researched, tasted, traveled to vineyards in California and Europe, participated in countless tastings. I began writing about wine in 1995 with a column in Out Front Colorado. For me, wine is more than a drink. It is food. It is a connection to the earth. It is culture. There is just something amazing, even magical, about the transformation of grapes into wine. It is also remarkable how drinking wine with food enhances the taste and enjoyment of both. Appreciation of wine has become an integral part of my approach to life, which emphasizes balance, respect for nature, physical and emotional health, and an appreciation of our nature as social beings. In 2006, I was awarded a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers.”

Enjoy the following Q&A, which is also more revealing about a wine writer whom I enjoy as a colleague and wine friend.

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

[RICH] When I’m not reading and writing about and drinking wine, I work as the “Senior Legislative and Policy Analyst” for the Denver Regional Council of Governments.

[Q] When did you start writing about wine?

[RICH] My first opportunity to write about wine was for Out Front Colorado in 1995.

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

[RICH] I had become interested about wine when I was in college and worked for several liquor stores. Many years later, I had an opportunity to write a column for Out Front Colorado about a Guenoc wine promotion for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The rest is …

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

[RICH] Although my editors generally prefer columns about specific wine recommendations, I usually prefer to write about “issues” in wine.

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

[RICH] Of course, there is more on line presence, both with my outlets and my own website (Peoples Palate) and Facebook and Twitter. Still, I being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

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

[RICH] Tough one. The first memorable wine was a 1966 Cheval Blanc enjoyed with a couple of friends from Liquor Mart in Boulder where I worked for a time in Graduate School. But it would be hard to top the 1990 Dom Perignon enjoyed throughout a special Kaisecke dinner at the Chateau in 1998. Still, I often fondly recall the simple, rustic but just delicious red (I don’t even remember what is was!) drunk with my wife and a really dear friend (who later died of AIDS) in 1990 in Nizza Monferrato in the only open café we could find for lunch.

[Q] What’s your favorite variety?

[RICH] Zinfandel, hands down (sorry Petite Sirah).

[Jo] No apology necessary, Rich, and I do appreciate your sensitivity. (Smiling)

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

[RICH] In general, yes. I have been impressed especially with the improved quality of boxed wines.

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

[RICH] I’m not sure it qualifies as an “innovation” but I strongly support the “Back to the Future” movement for local, organic, sustainable, biodynamic, green, triple bottom line, etc.

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

[RICH] Food with wine

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

[RICH] Politics, public policy, baseball, golf, food, music

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

[RICH] “Common” people who accomplish uncommon things in the face of great odds

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

[RICH] I’ll let others determine that.


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