I’m a writer, editor, and communication strategist helping organizations connect with their constituents in clear and compelling ways.
Most recently I headed consumer marketing for a mid-sized California winery, and now advise a range of businesses and nonprofits. I also lecture frequently on writing, communications design, integrated marketing, social media, and analytics.
My freelance and creative writing focuses on traditional foodways, including artisanal food and wine production, sustainable agriculture, and the human connection to landscape. A Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators, I also lead tastings and teach classes about wine, wine pairing, and sensory evaluation.
My writing has appeared in many print and digital publications, including Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Edible Communities, Beverage Media, and Palate Press, where I’m a regular columnist. My articles have garnered mention by Eric Asimov/New York Times, Andrew Sullivan/Daily Beast, Brain Pickings, Wine Business Monthly, Wine Industry Insight, Organic Wine Journal, TheKitchn, The Browser, and other publications.
I earned a Bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in Visual Studies and a Master’s degree in Liberal Studies, both from Dartmouth College. My Master’s concentration was creative writing, particularly narrative nonfiction and personal essay. My thesis, “Making It Home,” was a account of the effort to find, fix, remake, and remake again the home I share with my husband in rural New Hampshire. The manuscript received the 2011 Nicholas Byam Shaw Thesis Excellence Award for creative writing.
Find my essays about communications, social information, and writing here on megmaker.com. Find my essays about food, wine, and the pleasures of the table on makerstable.com. Find my full résumé on LinkedIn and follow me on Twitter @megmaker.
Lingering Flavors, Lingering Questions: Tasting Grüner Veltliner With Aldo Sohm
Palate Press – May 2013
A tasting led by Master Sommelier Aldo Sohm demonstrates Grüner Veltliner’s expressive range and raises questions about the taste of terroir.
Cited by Terroirist.
Wine With Salad: Pairing Tricks from the Pros
Palate Press – May 2013
You can’t pair wine with salad, can you? Yes, you can, and here are a dozen tricks that show you how.
No Tomatoes: A Fundraising Parable
Megmaker.com – May 2013
Unrestricted donations let organizations support programs that need it most, right now. Here, an imagined conversation—that’s not so hard to imagine.
Social Media for a Social Business
Beverage Media Group – Print edition May 2013; online edition April 2013
If any industry is tailored for social media, it’s wine.
Cited by Wine Business Daily, Wine Industry Insight, and Terroirist.
The Story, Unseen
Megmaker.com – March 2013
There is drama all around us, in the woods, by the woods, under a curl of leaf. We can look at the evidence and divine each true story.
Stepping Stone by Cornerstone
Maker’s Table – March 2013
An interview with Cornerstone Cellars winemaker Jeff Keene, with tasting notes on the new Rocks! blends and Napa Valley Cabernet.
Learning About Writing About Wine: A Shifting Target
Palate Press – March 2013
Wine writers love to talk about wine writing, but they seldom express what they’re doing to get better at writing about wine. Here’s what I’m doing now.
Cited by Wine Business Daily and Wine Industry Insight.
Deirdre Heekin: Vermont Garagista with a European Sensibility
Edible Green Mountains – Print edition Winter 2013; online edition February 2013
A profile of winemaker, sommelier, and restaurateur Deirdre Heekin, who’s making stunning cold-climate wines in central Vermont.
Wine Writing: No Laughing Matter
Palate Press – February 2013
Wine writing, wine jokes—what’s the difference, exactly?
Cited by Eric Asimov in the New York Times’s “What We’re Reading,” Wine Business Daily, Wine Industry Insight, and Terroirist.
Maker’s Table – January 2013
Two Shepherds Vineyards may be new, but winemaker William Allen is producing Rhône-style wines with finesse and gravity. Here, an interview with tasting notes.
Cited by Wine Business Daily and Terroirist.
Five Bottles: A New Old Way to Evaluate Wine
Palate Press – January 2013
Wine evaluation often rests on a mere sip, but wine writing would become far more vital if writers tasted the way people do—as part of real life.
Cited by Wine Industry Insight and Terroirist.
Drinking Stars: Sparkling Wines for Holiday Celebrations
Palate Press – December 2012
Champagnes, Crémants, and traditional method sparkling wines—from the grand to the greatly affordable—special enough for holiday parties.
Choosing Thanksgiving Wines
Maker’s Table – November 2012
No single wine pairs perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner. This article covers a range of wine styles beautifully suited to the meal—echoing the theme of abundance and giving diners options.
Best Wines for Comfort Food
Palate Press – November 2012
Tips on choosing affordable wines to pair with comfort food—from mac and cheese to meatloaf, beef stew to bacon, mashed potatoes to roast chicken to ragù.
Five Reasons to Love Austrian Red Wines
Palate Press – October 2012
Austrian red wines are refreshing, food-friendly, and reasonably priced. Fans of cool-climate red wines should take note.
Cited by Eric Asimov in the New York Times’s “What We’re Reading” and in Wine Business Daily.
Old World, New World, New Words
Maker’s Table – October 2012
The Old World/New World dialectic in wine writing is outdated, and writers need new ways to describe what they truly experience.
Cited by Eric Asimov, Wine Business Daily, and Wine Industry Insight.
Writing About Wine
Maker’s Table – September 2012
Wine is visceral, sensual, sensorial. When you begin a story about wine, you must switch on your reader.
Cited by Wine Industry Insight.
Best White Wines for Fall
Palate Press – September 2012
You don’t have to abandon white wines when summer ends. Here are some whites that pair perfectly with autumn cuisine.
Cited by Wine Business Daily.
Maker’s Table – August 2012
A spiced wine reduction—made from dregs or unremarkable bottles—offers a good flavor base for gelato.
Cited by TheKitchn/Apartment Therapy.
Top Ten Wine Accessories: Gizmos That Earn Their Keep
Palate Press – August 2012
The top ten wine accessories great for novice and experienced wine drinkers, from corkscrews to decanters to wine glasses. All make great gifts.
Wine Labels, Wine Ingredients
Maker’s Table – August 2012
Should a wine label display the ingredients used in winemaking? A seasoned wine writer and marketer—and avid wine consumer—considers the issues.
Cited by Eric Asimov in the New York Times’s “What We’re Reading,” Wine Business Daily, and Organic Wine Journal.
Wine Expert, So-Called: Or, How I Survived My Twenty-fifth Reunion
Palate Press – July 2012
If you’re the resident wine expert, so-called, here are a few recommendations to guide you the next time your best friend, family member, or boss looks at you hopefully and asks, “Will you do the wine?”
Heroes, Goals, and Readers
Megmaker.com – July 2012
Every good story, fictive or true, has a hero. This hero has a goal, and his actions battling obstacles toward that goal are the stuff of high drama.
Maker’s Table – June 2012
Albariño and salt share an affinity, and an origin. Reflections on both New and Old World styles.
Try Zweigelt This Summer
Palate Press – June 2012
Zweigelt: Austria’s most-planted red, its acreage has increased in the last 15 years. So although you may have never tasted one—and may have never even heard of it—its fortunes may be turning.
Tasting Wine, Broadly Speaking
Palate Press – May 2012
“Tasting” wine, so-called, isn’t only about taste, about the wine’s flavors. It’s also about its color, aromas, temperature, and texture across our palate. Tasting wine requires us to tune into a mix of signals entering our sensorium, then make sense of the mess.
Cited by The Browser, Andrew Sullivan/Daily Beast, and Brain Pickings.
Maker’s Table – April 2012
A clockwise virtual tasting tour of the boot of Italy, from Friuli down to Apulia, from Campania up to Piemonte, demonstrates the prodigious diversity of Italy’s wine styles.
You Just Opened A What? Cooking Tips to Make Food More Wine-Friendly
Palate Press – April 2012
A prior article covered pairing from the vantage point of trying to select the best wine to pair with any given food. But here the situation is reversed: you’ve got a wine picked out and now need some tricks to prepare the food so it’s more friendly with that wine.
Finalist for “Best Blog Post” in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards.
Wine Sample Request Etiquette—for Bloggers and Others
Palate Press – March 2012
Recommendations for writers on the etiquette of wine sample requests.
Riesling Goes With Everything, And Sixteen Other Rules for Pairing Wine with Food
Palate Press – February 2012
A short list of pairing rules I’ve derived over the years, lessons learned both by reading and by studying what’s in the glass, and on the plate, before me.
Cited by The Browser and Terroirist; nominated for a Louis Roederer Wine Writers’ Award 2013.
Maker’s Table – January 2012
Gracious restaurant service gets noticed. Regrettably, so does ungracious service.
Maker’s Table – January 2012
“One should always try something new on one’s birthday, I thought aloud.” Creative nonfiction.
Megmaker.com – January 2012
Creative nonfiction, mostly about this: “Hell Brook Trail. Classification DDD – Extremely Difficult. The trail climbs steeply to the ridge, frequently on precipitous ledges. Descending the trail is not recommended.”
Megmaker.com – January 2012
“Finally he said, isn’t it interesting who you meet when you travel?” Creative nonfiction.
Gouda, Plus Wine
Maker’s Table – December 2011
“The older the cheese, the smaller the bite.” Wine pairing suggestions for aged Gouda.
Advice to Young Professionals
Megmaker.com – August 2011
At a mid-career, I look back on my tenure in various organizations with a mixture of triumph and regret. Triumph because I’ve achieved reasonable success, and regret because I lost a lot of time learning how to function in a workplace. Here are a few tidbits of wisdom I wish someone had shared with me when I was first starting out.
Tea and Wine
Alimentum: The Literature of Food (print) – January 2011
The Best of the Press, Volume 1
Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine – December 2010
E-book. A collection of the best stories from the first year of Palate Press, covering wine, wine and food pairing, winemaking, wine writing, and travel. Featured authors include Dan Berger, Rémy Charest, Mary Ewing-Mulligan, W. Blake Gray, Meg Houston Maker, W. R. Tish, and others from the US, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Greece, Croatia, and beyond.
Being Cameron Hughes
Palate Press – November 2010
Cameron Hughes has figured out how to sell wine. He is co-founder, with wife Jessica Kogan, of Cameron Hughes Wine, a privately held négociant business headquartered San Francisco. Here, an interview.
Dottie and John Share Their Thoughts About ‘Open That Bottle Night’
Palate Press – February 2010
Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, former columnists for the Wall Street Journal’s “Tastings” column, share their thoughts on Open That Bottle Night’s history and success.
A Trip to the Rhône, Part I & II
Palate Press – January 2010
A whirlwind travelogue tour of the Northern Rhône.
Cited by Howard G. Goldberg in the New York Times.
The Upside of Doon
Palate Press – September 2009
Randall Grahm, celebrated winemaker of Bonny Doon Vineyard, is betting the farm on one big, beautiful idea: terroir. In his new book, Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology, he shares his witty, irreverent, and thoroughly refreshing take on the making of truly great wine. (Book Review)
Feature story that launched the inaugural edition of Palate Press.
I’m available for freelance writing assignments, particularly those covering wine, food, travel, lifestyle, and communications. I also welcome inquiries for consulting, speaking, and teaching engagements. Please contact me at email@example.com.
Meg Houston Maker, MA, CSW