“Turning the Tables – Interviewing the Interviewers” is a Q&A series profiling Wine Writers. We hope you’ll discover more about the wine writers you know, and learn about many others. The objective of this project is to understand and develop working relationships with journalists. After all, they are the ones that help tell our stories, review our wines, and potentially provide media coverage. You can do this by learning their wine and writing backgrounds, story and personal interests, palate preferences, writing challenges, and pet peeves. This is part of an ongoing series that will be featured monthly by Wine Industry Advisor.
Martin Redmond is a retired financial professional (C.P.A.) who serves as the treasurer on the board of directors for the Glancy Wine Education Foundation. The foundation provides scholarships to BIPOC and other underrepresented communities to further their wine education; the goal is to raise their earning power and increase diversity in the wine industry. Redmond is currently a part-time financial services consultant and a seeker of balance in wine and in life. When not working or volunteering, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, writing about wine at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog, traveling with his wife, cycling and hiking.
How did you come to wine and to wine writing?
I didn’t come from a wine-drinking family, nor did I have any wine drinking friends. Initially, my primary motive for drinking wine was health-related, inspired by the “French Paradox” theory that moderate amounts of red wine could be good for you. Over the course of a few years, I realized the more wine I tasted, the more I enjoyed it — and the more I wanted to know about it.
My thirst for knowledge about wine led me to Karen MacNeil’s first edition of The Wine Bible, which I read from cover to cover. Sometime after I read the book, I attended a family reunion, and I was able to impress a few family members with my newfound knowledge of wine. At around the same time, my wife and I established a community-based wine tasting club. Inspired by my desire to share my knowledge with family and friends, I launched my ENOFYLZ Wine Blog in 2010.
Tell us about your affiliations and accolades — wine sites, social media and contributions.
As a paid contributor to the American Winery Guide and the Visit Lodi Blog, I’ve had the pleasure of writing reviews and creating content about California wineries and their unique wine tasting experiences. My passion for wine led me to obtain WSET level 2 certification with distinction and earn the Wine Scholar Guild/House of Lustau certified sherry wine specialist post nominal with highest honors.
My favorite aspect of wine is wine and food pairings. I believe that the right pairing can elevate both the wine and the dish, creating a truly memorable experience. This passion has led me to enter several online wine and food pairing contests; I’m honored to have won three of them so far. I’m a proud member of the Wine Century Club International, which means I’ve tasted more than 100 (and counting) grape varieties. This has expanded my palate and introduced me to new wine from wine regions around the world. I’m currently considering which wine post nominal to pursue next.
There’s been much attention to diversity and equity in the wine world. What’s your perspective?
Diversity and equity in the wine world is more important than ever, because it allows for a broader range of perspectives, experiences and ideas, which can lead to innovation and growth. And growth is sorely needed, because wine is currently losing market share across the board — except for baby boomers. Taking meaningful action to address systemic issues such as discrimination, bias and unequal access to resources is not only the right thing to do, but also, I believe, it’s a key driver for increasing market share by attracting younger consumers who may feel excluded or underrepresented. For example, it’s been gratifying to see recent discussions about changing the lexicon on wine to make it more inclusive. The heavy lifting to address these issues has started, but all too often I’ve seen good intentions stall. That’s part of the reason I joined the board of the Glancy Wine Education Foundation: to do my small part to facilitate sorely needed change.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I practice yoga daily, and I intend to master shrimp and grits this year!
What haven’t you done, that you’d like to do?
Complete a 100-mile ride and walk the Camino de Santiago.
What is one thing you’d like your readers to learn from your writing about wine?
My hope is that my writing demystifies wine and inspires readers to expand their palates and explore new-to-them wines and wine regions.
What’s your favorite story you’ve written?
My favorite story I’ve written is The Singular Beauty of California Field Blends
Can you describe your approach to wine reviews?
In terms of the media samples I receive, I generally use the first-in-first-out approach for deciding which wines I’m going to write about. I make exceptions for opportunities to use wines for wine and food pairings, or if an expectation about a particular deadline has been communicated to me. For example, I often participate in four themed wine and food blogging groups that focus on wine and food pairings and/or wines from a particular region.
Describe your tasting process.
I evaluate wines based on color, aromas, structure (body, acidity, tannins), taste and finish. I want to make my reviews more approachable for my readers by not using over technical wine jargon. I use Cellar Tracker as a repository for my tasting notes. My username is Martin Redmond and I’m approaching 3,000 tasting notes.
What are your recommendations to wineries when interacting with journalists?
It’s great when soft copies of the history of the winery, its sustainability practices and tech sheet for the wines are provided by the winery or its PR firm/publicist.
What advantages are there in working directly with winery publicists?
Working with winery publicists is great, because it provides easier access to the appropriate winery resources for follow up and/or clarifying questions. I find that publicists are more invested in getting the facts right, too.
Which wine personalities would you most like to meet and taste with (living or dead)?
I met Paul Draper at a Krug tasting many years ago. I would love to have a glass of wine with him.
What is your most memorable wine or wine tasting experience?
Champagne is my spirit animal! I had the privilege of visiting Champagne for my first press trip. It was a dream come true! Our visit started with an amazing, guided tour of the Reims Cathedral, which provided valuable historical and cultural insights into the region. Thereafter, it was five days visiting a mind-blowing array of Champagne producers — from large houses to cooperatives and small growers. I learned so much about the region and its remarkable people. We also visited the stunningly beautiful and bucolic Côte des Bar region in the Aube. And did I mention the exquisite champagne pairing lunches and dinners?
What’s your cure for a wine hangover?
I can honestly say I’ve never had a wine hangover. The key is to stay hydrated!
CARL GIAVANTI is a Winery Publicist with a DTC Marketing background, going on his 15th year of winery consulting. Carl has been involved in business marketing and public relations for over 25 years – originally in technology, digital marketing and project management, and now as a winery media relations consultant. Clients are or have been in Napa Valley, Willamette Valley, and the Columbia Gorge. (www.CarlGiavantiConsulting.com/Media).