ABOUT

WAITROSE&PARTNERS_JOANNASIMON_BY_CAT_GAR

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. I write regularly for the The World of Fine Wine, including a monthly series called At The Table, and I write each month as the wine expert on Platinum magazine. 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. 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.

 

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.