Shedding some light on your favorite wine writers.
L.M. Archer is an award-winning professional writer for consumer, B2B, and B2C platforms.
An Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year 2020 award winner, she’s also a Meadowood Professional Wine Writer Symposium Fellowship recipient. Her work appears in numerous publications, including Wine Enthusiast, The Vintner Project, The Buyer, Meininger’s Wine Business International, Wine Business Monthly, and Oregon Wine Press. Designations include Bourgogne Master Level, Champagne Master Level, and French Wine Scholar from the Wine Scholar Guild. Moreover, she’s a member of the Circle of Wine Writers, Academy of Media Tastemakers – TASTE, and Society of American Journalists and Authors.
When not writing, she’s dreaming about writing.
1. What was your first job as a writer?
Hah. I knew I wanted to be a writer at age eight. However, I’m a pragmatist. After graduating with a ‘useless’ liberal arts degree, I landed a mind-numbing corporate job at a Fortune 500 company, and convinced them to let me write the monthly internal department newsletter.
I continued this trend of writing on the side for equally mind-numbing corporate in-house and trade publications, until I took a leap-of-faith into full-time wine writing in 2012.
2. What led you to becoming a wine writer?
In 2007, I took a creative writing workshop, hoping to ‘inspire’ my writing beyond its corporate confines. For the final project, our instructor allowed us to choose any topic. I chose wine, probably because I had helped organize a wine tasting some years earlier for a professional organization to which I belonged, and never forgot the feeling of warmth and congeniality surrounding the experience. As someone who suffered from chronic shyness at the time, I suppose I thirsted for that warmth in my writing.
After submitting that wine story, I felt something shift inside. The final day of the workshop, I returned home and told my husband, “I think I want to write about wine.” (In 2017, when I received a fellowship to Meadowood Professional Wine Writers Symposium, that same workshop instructor proved the first person I wrote to thank for their inspiration years earlier.)
However, ever the pragmatist, it took me over four years—and much prodding by my unconditionally supportive husband—to take that leap of faith.
After leaping, I worked hard to earn designations in areas of interest (French Wine, Bourgogne, Champagne) in order to establish credibility as a professional.
Additionally, despite my shyness, I forced myself to work in tasting rooms to learn the business of wine (family-owned, boutique, corporate, prestige). Sadly, my chronic shyness proved an impediment in an industry driven by those with superior social skills. In 2015, I realized I just needed to do was I was put on this earth to do—write. Ironically, once I stopped ‘trying’ to be something I wasn’t, and focus on what I am (a writer), my shyness disappeared.
3. What kind of reader do you have in mind when you’re writing?
First and foremost, I write with winemakers and vineyard owners in mind. I consider them true heroes, engaged in what Joseph Campbell calls the ‘hero’s journey.’
These artists take leaps of faith, overcome obstacles, fight battles (often in a cave), ultimately returning home to their community with boon from that battle, in this case, wine. I consider it an honor and a privilege to share their stories with the world.
I also write for those ‘thirsty’ for well-written stories that move, touch, and inspire them beyond their everyday lives. I understand both audiences well. I, too, took a leap of faith from what I thought I ‘had’ to do, to what I meant to do. I
understand that journey. I also understand that hunger for stories that not only stimulate the mind, but feed the soul.
Award-winning Professional Writer
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4. Where is the most magical place your wine writing has brought you?
I’ve yet to visit a wine region that isn’t magical!
However, I’d have to say that last year’s March 2020 media tour to Bourgogne (Burgundy) stands out for a number of reasons, most notably because the final day marked the start of the pandemic’s first wave of lockdowns. My colleagues and I weren’t sure we’d make it home, but the tour organizers proved utterly unflappable, and we all made it back to our respective countries with minimal drama.
In addition, with regularly scheduled tours and tastings for Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne cancelled due to COVID, our small group of four journalists enjoyed intimate, one-on-one tastings, tours and meals hosted by the BIVB throughout Burgundy, from Chablis to the Mâcon. The graciousness of so many amazing producers and industry professionals throughout Burgundy added to the magic, as did the sunny skies.
5. What was one of your favorite articles to write, and why?
Tough question—it’s a bit like asking to choose your favorite child.
I never tire of writing about Bourgogne (Burgundy). For me, it’s a touchstone – the first stone thrown into the well of wine, from which all others radiate out.
Perhaps my coverage of Pouilly-Fuissé’s long journey towards premier classification upgrade for The Buyer. During my Bourgogne media tour last March, I was lucky enough to attend a tasting of all 22 climats comprising the new designation in Mâcon. I understood immediately that this event marked something historic.
At that time, the wine region boasted no premier cru classifications – despite a long tradition of producing excellent, high-quality wines. Designating Pouilly-Fuissé as premier cru in 2020 finally acknowledges this wine region’s rightful place among Bourgogne grands vins.
I was so grateful to help give voice to Pouilly-Fuissé’s struggle towards recognition of greatness.
6. What is the best advice someone has given you on your writing?
Less is more.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing about wine?
I write, therefore I am. Writing about my other passions—food, travel, lifestyle.
I’ve also tried my hand at fiction—a historical novel set in WWII occupied Burgundy. However, while I love my characters, I enjoy writing non-fiction best.
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