Turning The Tables IX

Interviewing the Interviewers: Tamara Belgard Turner

How did you come to wine, and to wine writing?

TBT: My journey to wine has been a long and somewhat winding road. I began my wine career working for a prominent Oregon winery as their Marketing Communications Manager. The quixotic setting (with an office overlooking acres of vineyards), combined with being around the wine process, was completely intoxicating and I became entirely entranced by the industry. From watching the seasonal development of the grapes on the vines, and learning about viticulture (rootstock, clones, brix…), to the harvest season and blending process in the cellar, I was hooked. I ultimately began finetuning my palate to better understand the different grape varieties and growing regions. When I left that position to care for a newborn child (14 years ago), I felt like I’d left a piece of myself behind. I began writing about wine more creatively and lightheartedly on my wine blog, taking a great deal of liberty in that process. That was about the time I pitched my first story to Oregon Wine Press about keg wine and I moved from recreational wine blogger to professional wine journalist, where I felt I’d found my true calling.

What are your primary story interests?

TBT: I enjoy generating excitement about wines from the Pacific Northwest. Whether that’s stories about new grapes being planted, lesser-known wine regions, or more unusual techniques being applied, I relish the opportunity to either educate people or make people excited about what is going on in this region.

Are you a staff columnist or freelance? What are the advantages of both?

TBT: I have certainly dreamed of being a staff columnist, with consistency and dependability of work. But I find that the overall advantage to working freelance is that I get to write the stories I want to write. It’s not all writing, however. Much of my free time is spent pursuing ideas for stories. Editors receive queries from so many writers that it is a challenge to stand out and get assignments.

Is it possible to make a living as a wine writer today? If so, how have you succeeded? If not,why not? What are the primary challenges and hurdles you face?

TBT: Of course it must be possible, right?  Read the complete interview here on Oregon Wine Press.

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