Q: Why did you go into so much detail with the wines?
A: Well the sub-theme is luxury wine. To have skimmed over it, would have done a disservice to the subject. Also, Ela Zalewski dissects the wines the way I do. I take them apart and put them back together – to get the technical part out of the way, and then I get down to the business of enjoying them.
Q: It sounds like you’re plugging certain wines.
A: I am. I’m plugging wines that I think are well made and that I really like personally. When wine is your passion, you’re always trying to share that passion. I’m always bending somebody’s ear. When you feel that you have discovered a wonderful wine, you just want to let everyone in on it. And, of course you want to tell them why you think it’s such a wonderful wine.
Q: The same question needs to be asked about the hotels, restaurants, dress labels … and other luxury items that you included in the book.
A: Am I plugging them? Well, not in the same way. The experiences, venues and objects that I describe in the book are based partly in reality and partly in fantasy. Some of the characters in these books live a very extravagant lifestyle and have discerning tastes. I had to create an environment that would be familiar to them. I fully realize that sometimes though it has been a case of conspicuous consumption, and leaving behind a not so small carbon footprint; but I tried to put a positive spin on some of it wherever I could … without taking away from the enjoyment for the characters or the readers.
Q: Have you tasted all of the wines you have written about?
A: Almost all of them.
Q: Some of the wines are hundreds of dollars a bottle and some can run to well over a thousand. Are these the wines you drink regularly?
A: It has been a privilege and a pleasure when I have, but no. There are many wines of exceptional quality at different price points out there. It’s the kind of information that authors of wine guides and wine writers are very good at communicating. Store personnel are also a good source of information like that. Consumers can even look to web sites and blogs to get recommendations. Once a consumer has an idea of what they like, they can try other wines with the same profile and expand from there. Tasting is the best part of the research, though. Even though I’m a wine agent, I am also a consumer.