Q: What kind of research did you do for these book?
A: Sometimes I had to go shopping for my characters on line, so I could dress them for a particular scene. If I was writing about a mega yacht, a 10 carat diamond ring, designer clothing, a 5 star hotel, a high end restaurant or a rare wine, etc., I would do research. I looked at tons of photos, so I could visualize as I was writing. I wanted the reader to have details and descriptions about these items and places, so they could get a feel for them. When you are writing about luxury, there are a lot of objects and venues to cover. You have to be at least a little knowledgeable.
Q: You had to research wine? Isn’t that your area of expertise?
A: Wine is very humbling. The more you know, the more you realize how much there is to know. Things change all of the time when it comes to wine. Different vintages have different characteristics. Different terroirs (soil, climate, etc.) give wines different personalities. I think that different winemakers can have the same effect. You find the person in the wine. It’s a fascinating thing, though. If you are a curious person and if you are interested in wine, it can be a very rewarding hobby or career. You do need to be somewhat passionate about wine to get something out of it though.
Sometimes you simply forget certain things. You have to refresh your memory, and you pick up some new knowledge along the way. This is the case even if you are a wine professional. So no one should be intimidated. And by the way, there’s always someone who knows more than you, even if you work in the industry. Sometimes it’s a client.
Q: It sounds like a pretty glamorous career – wine agent?
A: It can be. Truthfully, I am very fortunate. I have worked closely with people I once only read about in Wine Spectator. There was a time I could never have imagined something like that. Suddenly these icons of the wine world were in my car or we were having dinner … relating on a very human level. I still find it surreal.
Over the years I have been invited to some very exclusive events and had the opportunity to taste some very rare wines … Definitely a high point.
But, it’s also a business. As an agent, you can’t rest on your laurels. Wine is being produced continuously and it has to be sold over and over. There is a lot of strategic planning involved, promotional activities and a lot of administration type of work. And sometimes you have to rely on the good will of others and good timing. And, there are deadlines …
For me the payoff for the hard work was obtaining results for the producers and my agency, but I cannot deny that I always really liked the glamorous stuff the most. I am after all a luxury wine hedonist myself.