Shedding some light on your favorite wine writers.
After time in the Peace Corps, John Foy’s wine and food world expanded exponentially when he arrived in Brussels, as a tax accountant for what was then called Price Waterhouse. He immersed himself in the rich, exquisite version of French cuisine made famous by Brussels and neighboring Luxembourg chefs.
Foy took a long weekend in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin and it was then that he decided to quit his job, return to NYC and open a restaurant. Two years later, he was offered the position of the day sous-chef and saucier at the renowned “21 Club” in New York City. He worked there for a year and then went on to open his first restaurant The Tarragon Tree, NJ. As his interests and expertise evolved, that was succeeded by Le Delice, and finally Sonoma Grill. All three were acclaimed by local, regional, and national publications and reviewers. Each was recognized for having a significant impact on dining in New Jersey.
A few years later, Foy began writing about wine and food for several New Jersey newspapers, trade publications and wine magazines. He found that it helped put it all into perspective. In 2016, Foy launch The Wine Odyssey newsletter, website, and travel guide.
1. What was your first job as a writer?
The Daily Record, a regional daily newspaper based in Morristown, NJ covering news within central NJ.
2. What led you to becoming a wine writer?
My passion for wine and my restaurant business.
3. What kind of reader do you have in mind when you’re writing?
Anyone with a need for a bottle (or a case) of good wine.
4. Where is the most magical place your wine writing has brought you?
My magical place was not a country, region, or appellation. It was in a simple house in St.Emilion, with dinner in the kitchen cooked by madame and wines from monsieur’s cellar. It was the late 1980s, we started with a tasting of 1982, 1981, 1979, 1978, and 1975. The three of us sat at the kitchen tasting, then madame began serving “what we eat at home.”
As the evening progressed, monsieur used the kitchen steps to the cellar and began bringing up bottles: 1970, 1966, 1962, 1961, and 1955. Soon the kitchen counter became a wine bar. The dinner was delicious; my French and their English flowed unimpeded. The wines were as well-made and savory as the food, the conversation continued long past what any of us planned. When my notebook was closed, a good night was said and I began the drive back to my hotel, I reflected on their warmth and welcome. They were not polished Bordeaux worldly chateau owners entertaining another writer. They were a couple living in an unremarkable home, surrounded by a vineyard, raising a family, who welcomed a stranger into their home, and for a few hours shared their life with me.
5. What was one of your favorite articles to write, and why?
Ca’ La Bionda: Where Elegance Begins on the Hillside. It tells the story of winemaker and grower Alessandro Castellani whose simplicity masks a passion and intelligence to produce wines that rise to the top level of Valpolicella Classico appellation.
Founder of The Wine Odyssey
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6. What is the best advice someone has given you on your writing?
Frank Prial, New York Times Wine writer and NJ resident, dined at my restaurants, and in doing so became a personal friend. “Write as though you are telling the story to one person,” he said.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing about wine?
Thinking about what I need to be drinking from my collection.
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