The Grapevine will feature two pros: Maggie Savarino, who brings her knowledge of the food-and-beverage world to our table, and Andy Perdue, whose expertise runs from field to glass.
Next week you’ll be seeing a new column in these pages. It’s called The Grapevine, and some introductions are in order.
But first, a bit of backstory. As veteran Seattle Times wine adviser Paul Gregutt moved on into the wine business himself, we took some time to think about where to go from here. We recognized that, as an ever-bigger player in our region’s economic life, as well as its lifestyle, wine is attracting more and more attention. It seemed obvious, then, that wine should be getting more of our attention. Why not branch out, re-imagine? And that is exactly what we did.
Of course, as in the past, we want to help you find wines that suit your needs, your taste, your budget. But we also want to take away the fear factor for those of you who sometimes feel put off by what can be the intimidating lingo of the cognoscenti. Rather, let us entertain you — open the door to the fun stuff that goes on all over this wine-happy region. In doing so, we’ll connect you to the people and the places making all of this a scene you can be part of. We’ll introduce you to that special person, or inventive approach, or most excellent bottle that encourages you to try something new, appreciate something more.
Looking at all the possibilities, we struggled over how to point one person in so many directions. Soon, the solution emerged: Take on two people; double the pleasure, the range of experience, the expertise.
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So, about those introductions: Meet Maggie Savarino and Andy Perdue.
Most recently you may have seen Maggie’s work at the Seattle Weekly, where she wrote a savvy beverage column for four years, starting with spirits and eventually moving into beer and wine as well. She’s also written a book, “The Seasonal Cocktail Companion,” a reference for DIY and arts and crafts with booze. Beyond that, she’s worked in the food-and-beverage industry for more than 20 years, running the gamut from cook to bartender and sommelier. She was that person at DeLaurenti in the Pike Place Market who helped you find the right bottle of wine to go with the hunk of cheese you chose. Maggie has also recently consulted for restaurants, including as opening general manager and beverage-program designer for the Madison Park Conservatory.
And while she says she’d put her palate up against “the snottiest somm,” what she really loves is helping people discover what they like through good conversation. Because, she says, “enthusiasm is infectious, but jargon, not so much.”
As for Andy, he’s been a writer and editor in these parts for nearly 30 years. A third-generation Northwest newspaperman, Andy left his job at the Tri-City Herald this past December to devote himself full time to wine journalism. A freelance writer for such publications as Wine Press Northwest magazine, which he launched at the Herald in 1998, he is now also co-owner, writer and editor of GreatNorthwestWine.com, covering the news and newsmakers throughout this region’s booming industry.
Andy’s first book, “The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer’s Handbook,” was published in 2003. He’s also contributed to several other books, including “Swirl, Sip & Savor” and “North American Wine Routes” (both in 2010).
Andy’s reputation for fairness and good taste has earned him a seat at many a judging table, too, from Los Angeles and San Francisco to the Oregon State Fair Wine Competition and Seattle Wine Awards.
Andy says he’s “open to all kinds of possibilities” in this new gig, and is eager to profile not only new wineries and wines but the personalities behind them. He’s also full of tips on everything from navigating a tasting to touring in wine country, where he lives.
So next week we begin with Maggie, who’ll take us to Lake Chelan and show us how to enjoy the wine scene while traveling with kids.
Going forward, we hope that if you’re telling a friend you found something fun to do or drink, you’ll be able to say you heard it through The Grapevine.
— the editors, Pacific NW magazine