Shedding some light on your favorite wine writers.
Kelly Magyarics, DWS
Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits, travel, food, and lifestyle journalist in the Washington, D.C. area. She holds the Diploma of Wine Studies from the renowned Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and is also BarSmarts certified. Kelly documents her travels for Lonely Planet, AFAR, TripSavvy, and Global Traveler and regularly covers wine, spirits, cocktails, and food for publications including Wine Enthusiast, Liquor.com, Chowhound, Alcohol Professor, The Gourmet Insider, The Tasting Panel, and The SOMM Journal. She’s always up for sipping a crispy, salty white wine or 50/50 Martini and is perpetually in search of the perfect tropical beach.
1. What was your first job as a writer?
In my former life I did some technical writing, but segueing to wine, spirits, food, and travel has been much more fun! I landed my first assignment years ago after I cold-pitched Wine Enthusiast with an idea about pairing wine with junk food that they picked up for a print issue. That was the catalyst for my freelancing career; I feel so fortunate to have contributed since then to so many amazing print and digital publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, AFAR, Global Traveler, TripSavvy, Food Network, Chowhound, Alcohol Professor, The Gourmet Insider, The Tasting Panel, The SOMM Journal, Modern Luxury, Northern Virginia Magazine, and lots of others.
2. What led you to becoming a wine writer?
All my life I had been interested in cooking and dining out; I hosted my first dinner party at age 15. As an adult I realized that wine was a natural extension to the culinary world; the right bottle at the right time can sublimely elevate any dish—from lump crab to fried chicken. I really became interested in wine when I was working in New York years ago and enrolled in Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Wine School in the spring of 2001. It was an extra special experience as my two-month course was one of his last sessions held at the top of the World Trade Center. His passion for wine was so infectious yet his approach was so accessible. I was hooked and decided I was going to make the switch from the tech field to something in the wine and spirits world, though at the time I wasn’t sure what. Eventually I started teaching interactive wine tastings for private and corporate events, then began writing about wine and eventually spirits, cocktails, food and travel. I have been lucky enough to catch up with Kevin several times over the years, interviewing him for publications including Wine Enthusiast. He really was the singular influence on my wine career.
3. What kind of reader do you have in mind when you’re writing?
It really depends on the publication for which I’m writing. But in general I try to strike a friendly service-y tone that’s neither esoteric nor simplistic. I want the reader—no matter their experience in or knowledge of the topic—to leave the article having learned something new or feeling inspired. I relish the chance to share the stories, creativity, and ideas of winemakers, sommeliers, bartenders, distillers, and chefs and love taking the reader around the world via my travel adventures.
4. Where is the most magical place your wine writing has brought you?
There are so many! I loved exploring the volcanic ash vineyards on the Greek island of Santorini, especially since Assyrtiko is one of my favorite wines. Sipping Méthode Cap Classique—South Africa’s answer to Champagne—on top of Cape Town’s Table Mountain at sunset was pretty magical. And it was so fun to have the chance to tread grapes with my feet during harvest in Portugal’s Douro Valley while singing and dancing in the vat with the local workers.
Wine, Spirits, Travel, Food and Lifestyle Journalist
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5. What was one of your favorite articles to write, and why?
In the travel space, I really liked sharing how cultural ambassadors are improving Hawaiian hotels in this piece for AFAR, and was inspired by the epic trips these recent retirees recounted to me in Condé Nast Traveler. It was interesting to learn about the different paths these people took to get to their roles as vineyard managers for this article in Wine Enthusiast, and cover how the pandemic is affecting the 2020 vintage for Liquor.com.
6. What is the best advice someone has given you on your writing?
I have read over the years that the best way to be a better writer is to be a better reader, and I have definitely found that to be true. So I try to keep up with fellow writers’ work and social media.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing about wine?
Well, since I cover other topics besides wine, I would hopefully still be writing about something. I’m always happiest when I have a new assignment to tackle. I equate being a writer to the feeling of perpetually having a term paper due. Fortunately I liked term papers!
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