In a nutshell
I write and talk about wine and food for a living – wine especially, and matching wine and food as a bit of a speciality.
A bit more
I’ve been sniffing, sipping, spitting, eating and drinking for a living since the 1980s, and I love it. I sometimes make out that standing around in a freezing cold cellar tasting tooth-scarringly tannic red wines, or blind-tasting 100+ wines a day, is hard work. Well, it is. A little. Sometimes. But an undiluted diet of the world’s finest wines drunk with Michelin-starred meals would be dull. And indigestible.
How I got here
I did a 22-year stint as wine critic of The Sunday Times, picking up various awards for magazine and newspaper articles as well as for my books, and for five of those years I was also one of The Sunday Times team of cookery writers (see my recipes). I'm a co-founder of The Wine Gang and was wine & food editor of House & Garden for six years. Commissioning great food writers and photographers was very stimulating, but in the end it didn't give me as much time for writing and travelling as I wanted, so I handed back the reins.
Among current activities, I am founding editor of Waitrose & Partners Drinks magazine, a sister magazine to Waitrose Food and I write regularly for the The World of Fine Wine, including a monthly series called At The Table. I also write for Decanter and from time to time for The Daily Mail. I do a fair bit of competition judging, including the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA); the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year (as it happens, I’m the daughter of a photographer and have become quite a keen snapper myself in recent years – see my Instagram); the Louis Roederer International Wine Writer Awards 2018 and 2019 (which reminded me just how good some wine writers are); the Deutz Trophy at the Festival Culinaire Bernard Loiseau 2019; and chocolate awards (Academy of Chocolate and global head judge of The Great British Savoury Chocolate Challenge 2016).
Along the way, I presented the BBC Radio 4 series The Bottle Uncorked and television appearances have included tasting and explaining first-growth Bordeaux from great vintages of the 20th century, demonstrating how to open a bottle of Champagne while sitting on an impossibly low, squashy sofa, tasting masses of vodkas (whatever possessed me?) and a few tamer stunts. Many moons ago I was editor of Wine magazine and before that of Wine & Spirit (both now defunct – no reflection on me, I hope). I host tastings, dinners, masterclasses, workshops, one-to-ones, large corporate and small private events, and wine tours. You name it, really. And I have written some best selling books.
Some personal stuff: I live in Kent, but escape to a treasured spot in remote, rural southwest France whenever I can. I love Italian cities out of season. I find a new desert-island wine at least once a month and can never bear to discard any. Mine will be a huge island.
My agent is better than I am about keeping track of what I’ve been up to, so here’s a link to my page on her website. A few things escape even her eagle eye. One is that I taste and write for The World of Fine Wine magazine. I have also contributed to Jamie magazine and Conde Nast Traveller.