Guest Author - Jim Fortune
If you had a chance to ask a winemaker any question, what would it be? Looking at the questions asked in the Wine Site Forums recently was one from Nancy and she asked, “Are there any red wines out there that aren't strongly tannic?” I thought that was a pretty good question and I thought that if I had the chance to interview a winemaker sometime, that’s a question I would ask.
What questions would you ask a winemaker? The more I thought about asking questions, the better I liked the idea of interviewing a winemaker. So, why not start calling and interviewing wine professionals over the phone? Beginning in April, I will be starting a telephone interview series. Initially I will be calling wine industry professionals on the phone and asking questions that I either see being asked in the forum or ones that I personally would like to know the answers to. For example, after doing the reviews of the Fetzer Vineyard whites, I was able to make contact with Dennis Martin the winemaker at Fetzer and I will be interviewing him in April. One of the questions I have sent him was: “If someone wants to get away from tannin in red wine, what Fetzer wine or varietal would you recommend?” That question was inspired by Nancy in the wine forum. So I will get a professional opinion from Dennis as to what varietal or Fetzer wine he would recommend to get away from tannin.
Another telephone interview I am conducting is with Teri Cirillo, Director of Human Resources at Brown-Forman Wines. We will be exploring careers for women in the wine industry. I thought with the economy like it is, maybe some readers would like to know where career opportunities exist in the wine industry and how women can take advantage of them. The interview with Teri will be in two parts. The first part will be a static interview with Teri and me discussing a list of questions that I have prepared about women and any careers in the wine industry. In the second interview I will ask your questions. Of course you have to submit the questions to me so I can ask them.
That means that you will need to submit a question you would like answered to me in the Submit a Comment - Suggestion - Request to this Editor section at the bottom of my bio page About the Bella Online Wine Editor. I will compile a list of questions to ask Teri at the second interview. Would you like to ask your question in person? A limited number of telephone lines will be available if you would like to call in at your expense. If time permits on the call, I will open the lines up for questions from the listening audience.
I will post the telephone number to call and the access code on the newsletter mailing list. If you are not on the newsletter mailing list, and want to take part in the call, this might be a good time to get on the mailing list so you get the Conference Call phone number and access code. After the interview, I will be doing a brief synopsis of the interview and will be posting the interview online so you can listen to the interview when you want. The call is copyrighted and you will not be able to download the MP3 file, but it will be on the web for you to listen to when you want to.
Later in April I will be interviewing Cara Morrison, the assistant winemaker for Sonoma-Cutrer. I will be asking Cara what it’s like to be a woman winemaker, what sorts of things does she do as the assistant winemaker that she would not be doing when she becomes “the” winemaker and other questions. In the mid nineties when Cara graduated from college, about 25% of the students at University of California Davis’ winemaking program were women. Today almost half of the students are women. It will be an interesting interview that you will want to listen to or even call in to participate. If you have a question for Cara you can submit the questions as outlined above.
The third woman in the telephone series that I will be interviewing is Dawn King. Dawn is a wine representative. You might think that is a career that you would be interested in after hearing Teri Cirillo from Brown-Forman Wines. If so you will want to hear what Dawn has to say about her job. The upsides and the downsides will all be covered. Dawn just had twins recently and I was surprised when I asked her if she was going back to work when she said, “Yes, I have already started back!”
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Oh - have you signed up for our Wine Newsletter? The telephone conference call number to dial and the access code will be sent to subscribers to the newsletter. You can subscribe in the box at the bottom of this page. Just enter your e-mail address. We do not sell your e-mail address and we do not send SPAM.
Jim Fortune - Bella Online Wine Guy