A few years ago, a wine writer of great fame was coming into my area to participate in a book signing and story telling from the publishing of his latest tome. His publisher hadn’t even given him a stipend for his travels and time, which is a very common practice, I’ve learned.

I recently had a niece tell me it’s time to write a book. What I’ve learned about the publishing process has me not wanting to get into being published, because the support doesn’t come. Unless your a J.K. Rowling, who is in such high demand that a publisher is willing to do anything to get your time, I don’t see where it’s worth it.

Having this insider’s bird’s eye view, I decided to invite the author and his wife to stay overnight in our home, and the invite was accepted. The following morning, he came to breakfast and said to me, “You know, I don’t have any room in my life for new people, but my wife and I would love to have you and Jose visit us sometime. We took him up on his offer, as he’s a great mentor, and it was well worth our time, too.

We had a really lovely visit, and haven’t pursued him further, because we, too, are so crazy busy… But, Jose and I both know that this was a highlight of our wine career lives.

On the flip side of that, I adore great, new talent. It’s on my generation to foster the next one, so that our standards of quality are met for the future. To that end, I’ve always got my eyes open for whom is a good fit for sharing my energy… and like my friend above, I dole it out sparingly.

Monique Soltani is one of those people worth my (and your) time.

I nominated Monique for the 2012 Wine Blog Awards Winner Best Original Video, and she won. That did my heart some good… Her Website is called Wine Oh TV. (I voted for her, too, of course.) Monique also posts stories on her Website, which makes her a great resource for the wine industry.

I sent her some questions, and the following are her answers. Enjoy!

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

[MONIQUE] Founder/Host of Wine Oh TV is my full time job!

[Q] When did you start writing about wine?

[MONIQUE] I created Wine Oh TV as a weekly segment when I worked as a Host/Producer at KSEE 24 in Fresno, CA.

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

[MONIQUE] I’ve worked in television for most of my life, I double majored in Broadcast Journalism and American Studies, and got my first job as a TV Anchor/Reporter in 1999. I really didn’t know anything about wine until I moved to New York City and it’s there where I fell in love with it. I pursued my passion by studying with the Court of Master Sommeliers and combined my love for wine and passion for reporting by creating www.wineoh.tv.  My goal with Wine Oh TV is to educate, entertain and enlighten everyone to the wonderful world of wine. I believe wine drinking should be less fussy and more fun! I try to reflect that in my reporting style, I hope it’s working!

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

[MONIQUE] I love telling the story behind the bottle. Each wine/winery has its own unique story and I really enjoy uncovering that story and sharing it on Wine Oh TV. For me wine is personal and it’s really about the people, it’s a belly to belly business.

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

[MONIQUE] When I covered Wine Oh TV for traditional media outlets I had help with the production side of the business. Now I shoot the video, edit the video, host the videos and write all the stories myself. It’s a bit of a one-woman show!

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

[MONIQUE] 2007 Château Haut-Brion and 2008 Château Margaux, because I tasted them after touring the Châteaux while I was on my Honeymoon in Bordeaux this past summer. It doesn’t get more memorable than that!

[Q] What’s your favorite variety?

[MONIQUE] So many wines so little time! I’m normally a red wine, Wine Oh but right now I’m finding myself a little obsessed with dry German Rieslings, Grüner Veltliner and Sancerre.

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

[MONIQUE] I believe that competition breeds quality, right now there is an unbelievable amount of competition in the wine industry. Therefore there are a lot more quality wines at reasonable prices. That and because after 2008 a lot of wineries were forced to drop their prices in order to stay competitive in the struggling economy. Bad for the wineries, great for the consumers!

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

[MONIQUE] The resurgence of keg wine/tap wine. I love the fact that it’s green, fresh and a great value. There is nothing worse than going to a restaurant and shelling out 15 bucks on a glass of wine that’s been open for three days! YIKES!

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

[MONIQUE] I’m a bit of a creature of habit and I have had an unhealthy obsession with pairing wine with pita chips and Facebook for the past 5 years. Ha! I do have a weak spot for Sauternes paired with blue cheese! YUM!

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

[MONIQUE] I love to stay active so I’m really interested in hiking and yoga. I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel a lot more the past few years, which I really enjoy! I love exploring new places and uncovering hidden treasures that make each city unique. I am also interested in giving back, so I try and get involved with as many charities as I can manage. I also like to bake.

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

[MONIQUE] My husband inspires me on a daily basis. I look at him and want to be more like him. Oh boy I’m a newlywed so the sappiness tends to creep in. I am and have always been inspired by Oprah. I’m inspired by the way she has so successfully overcome obstacles and uses her power and her voice to make a difference in the world.

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

[MONIQUE] I would like to be remembered for being a good person and for making a positive impact on society.


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