Monday, March 26, 2007

An Interview with a Foodie and Wine Writer

Today, I'm interviewing Thomas Pellechia, a food and wine writer and author of the new book, "WINE: the 8,000 Year-old Story of the Wine Trade:"
Please tell us a little about yourself:
I've Been writing since 12 years old. Been published since 18. Been wine and food writing since 1988. In July, I will rack up half a century of writing.
Tell us about your book:
My most recent book traces the wine trade from its beginning, 8,000 years ago, to the Internet. I show how wine has been not only a cultural and spiritual force, but a major economic and political force throughout human has even been implicated in some of the major historical wars, plus it has influenced some of the dominant historical men and women.
The book includes sidebar factoids, quotes, and wonderful maps and graphics.
How did you develop an expertise in writing about wine?
First, I have a passion for the product, a passion for history, and a passion for good food and drink. I took my passion to the top degree--I took winemaking courses, bought a vineyard in 1984 and I started up a small winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I produced wine for eight years and then I worked for a wine distributor, followed by opening a wine retail shop in New York City. In addition, I have traveled extensively throughout parts of the world where wine is produced. I also maintain my education through seminars.
To write about wine with accuracy and passion, I wanted to know every aspect of the wine world. To be frank, I get annoyed with wine critics, not because of what they writer about wine, although I do not engage in critique writing, but because so many of them have never had technical wine training. They are merely spouting their opinions, which is not the same as reporting facts.
How is writing about wine/food different than other sorts of writing?
For one thing, it is mainly nonfiction. For another, writing about wine and food is writing about all of marries history, politics, agriculture, family, community, and even religion into one cohesive understanding of humanity.
Also, writing about wine and food takes me into all kinds of periodicals, from trade journals to consumer magazines, to newspapers and on the Internet.
Plus, it has gotten me into teaching wine classes, which I truly enjoy.
Do you have an agent, if so, how did you find them?
Yes, I have a literary agent now. I found him the Old-fashioned way. I sent out queries and a book proposal. For my first book I sent out proposals direct to publishers. I certainly found a publisher for that book (Garlic, Wine and Olive Oil) but I did not find as good a contract as my agent has.
How did you find your publisher?
The agent found my present publisher.
Tell us about the book proposal writing process. How do you approach it?
Writing a book proposal is like writing a business plan. First comes the story (the business), then comes the method (your mission), and then comes identifying the style of the book and the market (location and customer base).
But submitting a proposal is quite a specific matter...unfortunately, it hinges on the whims of the recipients. That is why I have established a submission style that emulates a long, personal letter rather than a formatted book proposal. Gets attention and clearly passes along my "voice."
When is your best writing time?
Where is your favorite place to write?
In my personal office space, right by the fireplace and my grand piano.
Where can we find your book and when is it available?
My book is on the market in hardcover right now; a paperback edition is being released in April 2007. It is listed in all major bookstores, which of course includes that small online company called Amazon...
To learn more about Thomas, visit his websites:


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