In this second episode of our third season we had the honor of speaking with Dorothy Gaiter! Dorothy and her husband John have been studying and tasting wine for 45 years!!! In our conversation we talked about:
- Writing about Race and Race Relations throughout her career in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s
- How wine became a respite
- The first bottle of wine that she shared with her love, John, on their first date
- Napa and Sonoma, how they have changed
- Champagne and Train Travel
- One of the many books she and John wrote, Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes From a Marriage
- So much more!
Dorothy J. Gaiter conceived and wrote The Wall Street Journal’s wine column, “Tastings,” from 1998 to 2010 with her husband, John Brecher. She has been tasting and studying wine since 1973. She has had a distinguished career in journalism as a reporter, editor, columnist and editorial writer at The Miami Herald and The New York Times as well as at The Journal. Dottie and John are well-known from their many television appearances, especially on Martha Stewart’s show, and as the creators of the annual “Open That Bottle Night” celebration of wine and friendship, the last Saturday in February. The first bottle they shared was André Cold Duck.
We were wine lovers and students of wine for 25 years before we wrote a single word about our very private passion. So it’s still amazing to us to read something like this about ourselves, from George M. Taber’s book, “To Cork or Not to Cork”: “Wine retailers say that they have the greatest impact of any wine critics. After they recommend a wine, it’s hard to keep it in stock.” Or this, from Randall Rothenberg in Advertising Age: “These wine writers have managed to accomplish something most journalists — hell, most businesspeople — can only dream of: creating a bond with their audience.”
We certainly couldn’t have imagined being a question on “Jeopardy.” Or having a top-selling wine book. Or Charles Osgood, who called us “the first couple of wine,” interviewing us in our sub-freezing home and getting our electricity restored.
Dorothy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism in 1973 from the University of Missouri School of Journalism for which she gave the commencement address in its centennial year. With her husband, she wrote four books, including “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine: New and Improved,” “Wine for Every Day and Every Occasion: Red, White and Bubbly to Celebrate the Joy of Living,” and “Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes From a Marriage.” The Journal nominated Tastings for a Pulitzer Prize. Dorothy and her husband have two daughters who have Bachelor’s degrees.
While a student at the University of Missouri, Gaiter served as one of the founding editors of Blackout, a newspaper published by the University of Missouri’s African-American students. Following graduation, Gaiter worked as a reporter at the Miami Herald and an editor at the Miami News before joining The New York Times as a reporter for the week in review section, the metro desk and the style section.
In 1984, Gaiter returned to the Miami Herald, where she became the paper’s first African-American female editorial writer and regular Op-Ed columnist.
In 1990, Gaiter became a reporter for The Wall Street Journal in Manhattan and by 1996 she had become the Journal’s national news editor in charge of race and urban affairs coverage. Her writing on race was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and she won awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York and the National Association of Black Journalists.
In 1998, when the Journal launched its Weekend Edition, Gaiter and Brecher, the Journal’s Page One Editor, added the wine column to their regular duties. They became full-time wine columnists in 2000.
The Last Five Sips:
- If money were no object, what bottle of wine would you splurge on and why? Would experience something she has never tasted before in a Nebuchadnezzar (a single bottle that holds 20 bottles of wine)
- Who would you love to share a bottle with, living or deceased? Her Parents
- What are some of the things you do or read to keep up to speed on what is happening in the wine industry? Taste, Taste, Taste, The Grape Collective (link below), Seven Fifty (link below), Wall Street Journal
- What advice would you give you your 22 year old self? Spend time developing and maintaining friendships
- When you finish your day and sit down with your favorite glass of wine, what is on your music playlist? Zoe Brecher, Miles Davis, Bill Evans
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