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 from 2009. 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 in 2016.
Among current activities, I am founding editor of the new Waitrose Drinks magazine, a sister magazine to Waitrose Food, and write for the likes of The World of Fine Wine and Decanter. I also do a fair bit of competition judging, including chocolate awards (I was global head judge of The Great British Savoury Chocolate Challenge 2016 @GBSCC2016); 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 as you can see on my Instagram); the Louis Roederer International Wine Writer Awards for a second time (it reminds me just how good some wine writers are); and this year the Deutz Trophy at the Festival Culinaire Bernard Loiseau.
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. You name it, really.
Some personal stuff: I live in London, 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.