#MeToo & Women Wine Writers
January 10, 2018To the ever burgeoning list of #MeToo abuses, I’d like to add another: No Females Need Apply. In the world of wine writing, which is where I have tried to eke out a living for the past 35+ years, no publication has been more appalling than The Wine Spectator. Arguably the USA’s leading wine publication, the Spectator is owned by publisher Marvin Shanken, often called Citizen Marvin. From 1985 until 1996 or 97 I wrote freelance pieces on a semi-regular basis for the Spectator. There were no women editors, columnists or full-time reporters. After my first Loire book – which received an ecstatic rave review from the Spectator’s Harvey Steiman – I met up with my habitual editor, Jim Gordon at the 1997 Vinexpo. My book had just won three major awards for Best Wine & Spirits Book of the Year -- James Beard, the Julia Child/IACP, the Veuve Cliquot – and Robert Parker had selected it as his best wine book of the year. Gordon wanted to present me to Shanken (not for the first time). Shanken brushed us away and when Gordon persisted, Shanken said, “Well, maybe she can write recipes.” To the injury, I’ll offer you Shanken’s notorious insult (which I have from a very reliable source but one who shall remain nameless). Whenever a woman’s name would be mentioned at a meeting, Shanken would say, “Does she swallow?”
I originally posted the above on Nov. 29, 2017 on my Facebook Timeline. I thought it would be a good idea to post it on my website as well.