In 1997, I met with Tara Q. Thomas at a coffee shop on Witherspoon Street in Princeton. She was working as a research assistant for Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue and was interested in diving more deeply into the intersection of food and wine. Tara agreed to commute to Princeton and I agreed that, within a year, we would move the office to NYC. It was the sort of accommodation the two of us have been willing to make to work together for 25 years.
Tara immediately brought her infatuation with the wines of Greece to the magazine, organizing annual tastings long before Greek wine was of any interest to the trade…and I encouraged her, given my own infatuation with the wines of Portugal and the equally foolish errand of interesting others at the time.
Since then, Tara and I have worked with a series of talented editors on the team at Wine & Spirits, starting with David Lynch, then with Ray Isle and later with Luke Sykora, all of us building the editorial perspective and approach to tasting that has come to define Wine & Spirits.
Two years ago, Tara approached me about her new project, working as an editor on an update of the Oxford Companion to Wine. I was excited for her opportunity, and a bit wistful, that the editor I had worked with for so long had found an important new gig. For there really isn’t anyone else in the wine world like her. She and I share a fascination with history and with talented people exploring their place in the world. And we share a different sense of terroir expression than many people in this field, believing that expression is not limited to the classic sites, or trendy up-and-comers, but can come from anywhere that the land and the climate allow.
In fact, after 25 years of working together, we have built a team that is committed to discovery in wine. Tara has led that team in mining discoveries, and our editors and critics continue to seek them out.
Tara turns in her book on August 1 and then is going to take a little time for R&R, while she figures out what she wants to do with the next phase of her life. Whatever that may be, I know it will make an impact. As she settles into a new direction, I have asked her to serve on Wine & Spirits’ advisory board and, of course, will welcome writing contributions from her as she finds a story she wants to tell.
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