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Website © 2019 Joanna Simon

Header photo © Waitrose & Partners Drinks / Cat Garcia


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.


Other cred­its

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.