Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing renowned wine writer and author, Joelle Thomson.
Wine writer, author and tutor at the NZ School of Food & Wine, Auckland (have written 14 books now and a 15th coming; working slowly on a 16th – I keep saying ‘never again’ to writing a book and losing my social life).
It’s a tough job but you know what they say.
Number of years in the wine industry:
Arts journo at Capital Times in Wellington where I began a wine column in 1994…. well, actually, that was the first job I want to mention (I was a flambe waitress in the Shetland Islands and also worked as a copywriter in TV and as a journo in Dunedin, prior to all that.)
If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
Most people who know me might expect me to say a German Riesling, but I’d like to be a great Barolo.
What would you do if you weren’t a wine writer?
I would like to be able to be a musician; a singer, songwriter and guitar player. Failing that, then I’d love to garden – or grow vines – for a living.
Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
It sort of happened when I realised it wasn’t going to work just dabbling in wine writing as a hobby; it was far far far too interesting and far too much to learn, so I slipped deeper into the fermentation tank of wine writing, reading, tasting and all that jazz…
Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
A great cheese with a great red; ultimate would be Parmagiano-Reggiano with Barolo… but then again, a gorgeous dry Rheingau Riesling with fresh salmon is incredibly hard to beat; so is pizza with Sangiovese.
Share a fact about you that only a few know:
That would be telling. The first serious partner I had wooed me with Pescovino.
Hidden gems and favourite spots in your region:
Humbug Cafe in New Lynn; reminds me of Wellington, which I miss every day that I live in Auckland.
Things you still want to do:
Own a hot tub, live in Italy for a stint, write more diversely, run half a marathon and maybe even make some sort of vino one day…. that’s a good start.
Last book read:
Still reading it: The Oxford Companion to Wine. Am mired in wine study (WSET Diploma; that’s code for a degree course, and yes, it feels like a degree – on top of working full time…. ouch!).
Advice on buying wine:
Find someone who understands your palate and spend time with them so that you can learn how to discover great wines for yourself; we all need at least one mentor in all of our hobbies. I have several. They never let me down. It can be humbling but it’s so rewarding tasting wine with people who know more or have tried more than you have; can only think of one or two other things that are as fascinating…
Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
Joelle Thomson’s website: www.joellethomson.com
(Read my site; it’s growing, changing, adapting and it doesn’t espouse rules about wine; rules are made to be….)