Shedding some light on your favorite wine writers.
Brian Freedman is a wine, spirits, travel, and food writer, restaurant and beverage consultant, wine and spirits educator, and event host and speaker. He writes the “Wines of the Week” column at Forbes.com and also covers spirits there, regularly contributes to Food & Wine digital, has contributed to Travel + Leisure online, Departures online, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast print and online, and more. He also hosted wine and spirit pairing segments on the CNN Airport Network, and in 2020 created the web series “Day Drinking with Brian,” which he still hosts. In 2019, Brian was awarded a fellowship to attend The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa Valley. He consults for restaurants on their beverage programs, regularly hosts virtual and in-person wine and spirits tastings for corporate clients, and has traveled to more than 50 countries and territories around the world, and extensively throughout the United States, to experience the food, drink, and culture for his work.
1. What was your first job as a writer?
My first paying writing job was as a sophomore at Penn State. I convinced a local magazine to let me write a quasi-regular food, drinks, and cigar column. It was great…until they found out that I wasn’t anywhere close to 21 years old, and they fired me immediately.
2. What led you to becoming a wine writer?
I grew up with wine at the table for most dinners, and once I had reached the very old, mature age of 6, I was allowed to taste with my dad before dinner. His routine was to pair the bottle with my mom’s cooking, so I got both an education in wine and how it works with food.
Little did they know they’d created a monster: When I was 10, sitting at the far end of the table for my uncle’s annual Passover seder, I yelled across 25 other guests to my parents asking if there was any Beaujolais, because “this Manischewitz is terrible!”
I didn’t know that wine writing was an actual profession until I was much older. Once I had that realization, however, it’s all I wanted to do.
3. What kind of reader do you have in mind when you’re writing?
That depends on the outlet I’m writing for and the nature of the piece. Sometimes it’s for casual consumers, sometimes for passionate collectors, and sometimes it’s for professionals. That’s one of the things I love about this profession: How on any given day, the nature of my work will change.
4. Where is the most magical place your wine writing has brought you?
I can’t narrow it down! Honestly, being a wine writer has given me so much more than I ever could have imagined, and the opportunity to literally see the world continues to amaze me. South Africa, New Zealand, France, and Italy multiple times a year in the Before Times, Bolivia (for a vodka piece), Japan (for whiskey), Egypt (for food and tourism), Thailand, and so many more places.
My grandfather used to say that his favorite wine was the one in the glass in front of him. For me, my favorite place to travel to is the one I’m in when you ask me the question. I cannot wait to get back out into the wider world again. I truly never thought I’d crave a terrible meal at 40,000 feet, the way I do right now…
Read Brian’s article here:
Wine, Spirits, Travel, and Food Writer Restaurant and Beverage Consultant, Wine and Spirits Educator
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5. What was one of your favorite articles to write, and why?
I have a particular fondness for a piece I wrote for Food & Wine digital a few years ago, about teaching our kids to eat a wide range of foods. It’s not a wine piece, but it deals with the same underlying theme that my parents raised my sister and I with: Taste everything, and remain open to the world.
6. What is the best advice someone has given you on your writing?
Try to write like you speak–no one wants to read overly stylized prose. And when it comes to writing about wine, that’s even more important.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing about wine?
Drinking more wine than I currently do: I spend most of my working life spitting it out!
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