Shedding some light on your favorite wine writers.
Kathleen Willcox lives and works in Saratoga Springs, New York, and travels as frequently as she can to learn more from wine growers and makers. As a freelance journalist, her work covers wine, beer, food, and culture. Her writing has appeared in Wine-Searcher, SevenFifty Daily, VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, and other publications.
1. What was your first job as a writer?
I worked as a general reporter for a tiny community newspaper in Westchester called the Lewisboro Ledger.
2. What led you to becoming a wine writer?
Passion. I have always loved writing and learning about art, history, travel, environmental issues, economics, culture, delicious things. Wine is the one subject that brings all of this together. I spent many years as a general reporter and writing about pensions and investments (don’t be jealous) for Thomson Reuters, so I understood how to weave boring data into a tale that shows the people and story behind the numbers. The problem was actually getting into wine and food writing. I spent many years sending out cold pitches at night while working day jobs writing about things that didn’t deeply interest me.
3. What kind of reader do you have in mind when you’re writing?
I write for different audiences, both members of the trade and the public. What I hope many of my readers have in common in both the trade and the general public is a desire to learn what is truly happening in the fields and cellars behind the beautiful labels. Recently, I have been particularly focused on issues of sustainability and social equality. I know I’m not alone; that is one of my favorite things about the wine community. No one is shy about telling you what motivates and obsesses them.
4. Where is the most magical place your wine writing has brought you?
I fell in love with the Lake Garda region in Italy. The landscape is jaw-droppingly beautiful, with a blend of cypress and lemon trees, the Alps in the background, the ice-blue lake. I was thrilled to see how committed many winemakers are to quality organic winemaking.
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5. What was one of your favorite articles to write, and why?
I loved writing Uncertain Futures for Smaller Wineries Post-Covid. It was not an upbeat subject, but I felt like it drew attention to the very real struggle that indie brands are going through without the hand-sells at restaurants that drive so many of their sales, not to mention the complete absence of wine tourism.
6. What is the best advice someone has given you on your writing?
Always try to put in a really juicy quote high up, and save another for near the end.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing about wine?
Nominate someone for Sunday Spotlight: