Diary of a wine writer 1: the germ of an idea

A month ago I had the news that I had not passed my Master of Wine tasting exam. As a result, I am leaving the programme. Theoretically, I could return in two years but we will see if that is going to happen. So, for the first time in what is nearly a decade, I am no longer a wine student. What would I like to do with my ‘free time’, over and above my full-time role with the WSET as a researcher and writer?  

One of my very few regrets about MW study is that it meant that I had to keep abreast of the whole world of wine. The casualty was my focus on Italy and France. My new status means that I can return to the countries and regions that I particularly love. And I can concentrate on the things that I have a gift for – researching and writing.  

In these last few years the much-loved series, Classic Wine Library, has been revived by Infinite Ideas and its editor Richard Burton. Recently there have been many additions to the ‘library’: these include books on New Zealand, Rosé, Faugères and even Great BritainThe format is 300 pages or so of well-researched and accessibly written paperbacks, with some colour photos, on a country, a region or a theme in wine. They are intended for all-comers – wine lovers, professionals and wine students. I briefly met Richard some years ago so the idea has been simmering away. The publishing house also appeals to me as it is based in Oxford where I was a student for two periods many years ago.  

I had little idea how to get published but one thing I learnt as an MW student was that you might as well have a go at something. I won a lot of essay prizes as a student because I had a go; I visited many prestigious wineries because I had the temerity to ask. The worst that can happen is that your email is ignored or they say no.  

But then the question became: what am I going to write about, what is the topic I am going to propose?  

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