I was born in Jackson, TN, and was blessed with two built-in best friends for life in the form of an older and a younger sister. My junior high to college years were spent in Mississippi, where I became an art, pop-culture, and music-obsessed teen with a dream to become an art director for one of the British music magazines (NME, Q, Melody Maker, Mojo, etc). But after spending my junior year of college living in Liverpool, I decided that England was way too misty and gray and far away from my family. So instead, I got a job as the Art Director for The Oxford American—a magazine celebrating the art, music, and literature of the American South, conveniently located in warm and sunny Oxford, MS. After a few years at the OA, I moved to NYC where I worked as an art director at Wine Spectator magazine, which is where my love affair with wine began. During my 12+ years there, I also worked freelance on the marketing side of the wine biz with Catherine (Cat) Miles, who worked in wine importing. This eventually transitioned into a full-time creative director gig at Broadbent Selections, where Cat and I worked together for another 7+ years. And now our magical wine-marketing duo is back together again at the Sorting Table! We’re basically the Batman and Robin of wine marketing. Or maybe it’s more like Laverne & Shirley? Abbi and Ilana? Tina and Amy? … You get the idea.
Where have you lived?
Jackson, Oxford, and Taylor, MS
NYC (Manhattan, Queens, and Bklyn)
New Orleans, LA
A well-used, hand-me-down, navy blue 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300 Turbo Diesel. It was a beast of a car, nicknamed JAWS (which is also one of my favorite movies). The radio was broken, so if you were riding shotgun, you were also DJ of the Jambox that you had to hold in your lap.
How did you start in the wine business?
When I was 24, I moved to NYC with a dream to work in magazines. I had (very near) zero dollars, zero connections, and no clue how to get my foot in the door, so I sent my portfolio to every head-hunter I could find. One of these head hunters had written his thesis on William Faulkner, and lucky for me, I had included one of my designs from the Oxford American in my portfolio, which was a screenplay about vampires, written by Faulkner. The head hunter thought that this was a sign we should work together and he took me on as a client. The first and only interview that he got for me was at Wine Spectator. I knew nothing about wine when I got the job (except that I enjoyed drinking it), but WS was a very nurturing environment. If you were curious about wine, they went above and beyond to support your wine education.
Best concerts of your life
Ooooof. This is gonna be such a difficult task to narrow my list down, but I’ll give it a shot… OK I’m back after literally over 4 hours of contemplation. I made an epic list of every concert I can remember attending, and I had it narrowed down to 40 when I decided to give up. There were arrows, footnotes, venn diagrams… This has turned out to be too difficult a question for me to answer. I’m having an existential crisis.
After tasting wine all day I want to drink a…
A full glass of the best wine I tasted that day.
After staring at a computer all day I want to drink a…
Well, if I have been reading/editing/designing wine tech sheets all day (which happens often), I want to taste what I’ve been reading about. But if I’m not drinking wine, my go-to is a boozy, rum-based cocktail of the tiki/tropical variety. The Navy Grog is my favorite.
What puts the biggest smiles on your face?
Spending time with my sisters, preferably on a beach. Spoiling my nephews. Eating good food and drinking good wine with my friends. Mardi Gras.
Fantastic wine experience
Any time I was tasting Chateau Musar with Serge Hochar. Listening to him talk about wine was such an ethereal experience. I am one of the lucky few who have gotten to do this multiple times in my life, and I’m forever grateful to have had the opportunity. (Thanks, Cat Miles!)
Last bottle of wine of wine you ever want to drink
White Burg or a Blanc de Blanc.
While on the wine route I love to…
My wine route looks a little different than the sales reps, so I’ll just say that my favorite thing about being in the wine industry is tasting wines with the people who make them. Having a personal connection to the wine really elevates the experience.
Favorite vacation spot
OH boy. Another really difficult question for me to answer! Portugal, Italy, Spain, and the Caribbean are some of my favorites. But I consider it a great vacation any time I get to go to a new place and have new experiences with the people I love.
I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like. Anything from crumbly, aged Mimolette to gooey Burrata. I tried to go Paleo once and ended up having to say “I’m Paleo plus Parm” because it was impossible for me to quit cheese. Some things in life are essential. Cheese is one of them.
Great food & wine pairing
A perfectly composed bite of a Zapps potato chip (regular flavor), topped with crème fraiche and a dollop of caviar, paired with a blanc de blanc.
If you won the lottery…
It’s a really big lottery check, right? First, I’d pay off all of my friends n family’s debts and set up some trust funds for my nephews. Then, I’d travel the word while simultaneously filling the wine cellar at my new home in the French Quarter that (obviously) has a pool in the courtyard.