Shedding some light on your favorite wine writers.
David Ransom writes and co-hosts the national radio shows and podcasts, The Connected Table Live and The Connected Table Sips, featuring conversations with global thought leaders in wine, food, spirits, and hospitality. The Connected Table LIVE is ranked #4 in Feedspot’s Top Food & Drink podcasts for 2021 and a Finalist for Best Radio Show (International Association of Culinary Professionals Awards-2020). He’s also on the editorial team of The Tasting Panel Magazine and Somm Journal, where he pens columns and articles on wine and spirits.
When not writing and speaking on wine, David proudly serves as Chair of the prestigious Wine Media Guild, a U.S. based membership of wine writers and wine educators.
Outside of journalism, David has been involved in the education, promotion, and marketing of wines and spirits across the country for over 30 years, primarily as a wine and spirits consultant for various hospitality-related companies, competition judge, and managing wine event production. He also served as the Wine Director for the James Beard Foundation Awards.
1. What was your first job as a writer?
My first writing assignment was to cover the region of D.O. Vinos de Madrid for the January 2009 issue of The Tasting Panel Magazine. It came about almost by accident. I was charged with escorting a small group of journalists, who I now consider my peers, on a press trip organized by my wife’s PR firm. She pitched a story on the D.O. to the magazine and they bit. While a good writer, I had never entertained the thought of writing professionally prior to the assignment, so I was a bit nervous. But they loved the story and it was the start of a relationship that is still going twelve years later.
The entry into radio broadcasting was also by chance. A friend in radio, the award-winning broadcaster Jennifer English, invited me on her show to speak, and a bit later as a guest host. This led to us creating two of our own shows: one in Las Vegas, another in Phoenix. When my wife Melanie sat in as guest host one show, we hit it off so well “on air” that we decided to start our own. Our weekly broadcast, The Connected Table LIVE!, was started in 2014. Now in our seventh year, we’ve interviewed over 600 guests from all over the world and are featured on 35 podcast channels.
2. What led you to becoming a wine writer?
I came to wine from the production and hospitality side. My family owned Rivendell Winery in New York’s Hudson Valley for 25 years. Rivendell was one of the key players in bringing New York State wines to national attention back in the 1980s and 1990s, earning the first-ever Best Buy for a NY wine in Wine Spectator and the first Double Gold Medal for a NY wine in San Francisco, among many other accolades. Rivendell remained New York State’s Top award-winning winery for ten years. As a result, I’ve always championed my home state’s exceptional wines in my journalism when possible.
I also managed and ran the wine programs at various New York restaurants after we left the winery. So my interest in wine runs deep and I consider myself a member of that small group of media that can speak to wine from all angles: that of a producer, hospitality veteran and buyer, and journalist. A trait that becomes quite beneficial when engaging guests on our national radio show.
3. What kind of reader do you have in mind when you’re writing?
It very much depends on the outlet I’m writing for. With The Tasting Panel, I’m writing for the people who purchase wine and spirits at the wholesale level: stores, restaurants, etc. It’s a more technical, sales-driven content that addresses why I think a particular product, trend, or region should be on the readers’ radar at the time of publication.
With The Connected Table, my partner Melanie Young and I like to tell the stories behind the product—that of the people with the dream or legacy. We speak and write for both trade and consumer audiences. And while the bulk of our content is wine driven, we wouldn’t be honoring the name of our platform – The Connected Table – if we didn’t include a well-rounded teaspoon of chefs & hospitality luminaries, cookbook authors, and other contributors to the culinary fabric in our recipe.
4. Where is the most magical place your wine writing has brought you?
Spending three nights at Michele Chiarlo’s albergo, the Palás Cerequio, which is nestled in the middle of Barolo’s most historic and coveted hill of vines, was pretty special. Let’s just say it was truffle season and an imprint of my nose is now enshrined in the Chiarlo Family’s Wine Writer’s Olfactory Hall of Fame.
But must there be only one? The world of wine is filled with beautiful and inspiring landscapes, people, and stories to cover. Every new experience is just another starting point in the never-ending story of wine.
Co-Host to The Connected Table Live and The Connected Table Sips National Radio Show and Wine Columnist for The Tasting Panel and Somm Journal
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5. What was one of your favorite articles to write, and why?
One of the highest honors in writing for a magazine is getting the nod to write a cover story. I’ve had four of them, but the first will always rank highest on my list. Ironically, for a wine writer writing for a wine magazine, it was on bottled water! Oh well, the other three made up for the auspicious start.
That said, the article I am most proud of was an article on Brunello di Montalcino in The Tasting Panel. Montalcino is my most visited placed in Tuscany and I have known its producers intimately for almost 20 years. Many are personal friends. The article came together perfectly through interviews, research, and writing. Whenever I need inspiration, I go back and read it.
6. What is the best advice someone has given you on your writing?
Keep your sentences short.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing about wine?
Nominate someone for Sunday Spotlight: