I’ll Drink to That: Karen MacNeil

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Episode 315 of I’ll Drink to That! has been released and it features author and wine educator Karen MacNeil.

Pretty much everyone in the wine world is at the very least aware of The Wine Bible, a book that has sold over 750,000 copies at this point. But who is Karen MacNeil, the author of that book, and how did it come about that she wrote it? In fact the whole backstory is pretty interesting, and some of the description of events really sets a tone for what the wine scene was like in the 1980s. It also gets personal, as Karen opens up about being poor and alone in New York and on food stamps before the book was written. She realized that writing about food might provide her with some free opportunities to taste food, and with her own hunger in mind she pursued food pieces. Pretty soon afterwards the whole magazine world expands with more niche interest and lifestyle titles and guess what: food writing becomes her regular thing. The wine world, however, was a harder gig to break into, and she sits in on several years of tastings with high powered male wine writers, with the understanding that she was not to ask any questions. There is a heartening turn when Karen admits that it was those questions that she had had which served as the basis for her popular book and its approach to wine. Now that several years have passed since the book’s first publication and a new edition has been released, Karen compares the wine environment of before with what she encounters today. What is different for wine and wine books now? Karen has some thoughts on these matters. This interview is a good chance to hear her perspective.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out in iTunes.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine