Keeper Collection #SommChat Guest Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman

10/18 Wine Writer Zachary Sussman


KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Welcome to #SommChat everyone! Tell your friends to join us to learn about #wine from #Wine #Writer Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: We're about ready to dive in w/questions, so shout out to Zachary to say hello & so he knows you're here! #WineWednesday #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Don't forget that EVERY tweet during this chat should include the #SommChat hashtag in order for everyone to see it!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: As we ask @ZacharySussman our Qs, you can ask your Qs as well! He'll do his best to answer all Qs in the order they come #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: It's such a pleasure to be here. I'm excited to receive everyone's questions! #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Let's start talking #wine with #Wine #Writer @ZacharySussman ! #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @ZacharySussman When did you first become interested in #wine? #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: I don't have a specific "aha' moment with wine. But working as a waiter in grad school at a BYO restaurant, I fell in love... #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm have U had other jobs in #wine world than writing? Have you seen the industry change since you began @ZacharySussman

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: I have never worked with wine in any other capacity. I have a background in writing, so it just made sense to write aobut wine #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: As for changes in the industry: I think we're now focusing more on the rare and obscure. There are so many more wines out there! #SommChat

WineCompass @winecompass: I agree completely #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Thanks! It's amazing: we've seen the rise of so many "under the radar" regions, from Jura to Sicily to Eastern Europe. #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat peep do you only write about #wine if not what else @ZacharySussman & What does a normal day on the job look like for you?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I actually have an MFA in poetry, believe it or not! And I work full time at NYU's creative writing program... #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: ... So the wine writing is actually my second career path. There's no "average" day. Mostly, it is a lot of sitting at my desk #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Thanks @ENOontheMagMile thanks for #SommChat support #WW

@ENOontheMagMile: You are so welcome!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @ZacharySussman Congrats on Louis Roederer International Wine Writers' Award 4 Emerging Wine Writer of the Year, share thoughts? #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: It was an honor to be named Emerging Writer of the Year in London. I submitted a few pieces, and couldn't believe they chose me! #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @ZacharySussman Remember what the first piece of #wine #writing you ever got published was? How do U choose topics?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat My first was about a pet-nat (Calek's "Blonde"), before I had ever even heard the term "pet nat." I just thought it was cool.

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat ... As for "wish lists," I've never made it to #Sicily, but would love to go! And I am dying to go back to Jerez for more #sherry

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Sometimes a topic is assigned to me. Sometimes I just get really absorbed in a region or a style, and want to dig deeper. Depends!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm do you get to travel much to write abt #wine - if so any fav places u have been 2 @ZacharySussman any on wish list?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I'm so lucky to travel a lot. Portugal is a country I adore, with an amazing wine culture. Always a new discovery there...

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat peep: @ZacharySussman am aspiring writer-seems paid gigs are getting harder to find- thoughts on blogs? How did U make name?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Truth is that wine writing doesn't ever pay much, but it's a great way to engage with wine's endless complexity.

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat There are so many blogs that I love, like @GargantuanWine and others. But it's more of a passion project...

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I just got lucky! I found one outlet that took a story, and kept on trying. Just keep sending pitches to the outlets you love.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm what do you drink most in #wine world - some fav regions? When not wine what else do you like @ZacharySussman

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I am recently in love with northern Italy (esp Val D'Aoste). Also German Riesling, Loire, Burgundy. Sherry. There are too many!

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Recent obsessions are #sake and #shochu from Japan: a whole world of complexity. Also discovering the diverse world of rum.

WineCompass @winecompass: @ZacharySussman Talk to @RichardPF for #sake #shochu advice #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat peep - what publications do U write for on #Wine ? Do you ever turn down a gig and if so for what reason @ZacharySussman

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I am a columnist for @punch_drink. Have written for Food & Wine, World of Fine Wine, Wall St Journal Magazine, and many others.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @ZacharySussman U always loved to write and if so what age did you start writing? How does writing poetry differ fr #wine writing #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I have turned down gigs when they don't compensate fairly. Wine writing requires a lot of knowledge and hard work.

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I could write an essay about that! Loved to write since a kid. I think my poetry background has helped with the wine stuff...

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Poetry taught me about economy of language. And about accurate description. Both of which come into play when describing wine.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @ZacharySussman How would you describe your #writing style? Do u ever write abt #wine Personalities or only abt wines?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I have definitely covered sommeliers or winemakers. If someone is doing something interesting, I always want to know.

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I hope my writing style is engaging. Maybe even a bit literary? I hope I qualify as a "writer," not only a "wine writer."

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm have you ever done #wiine blind tasting to enhance UR descriptors or do you avoid that in your writing @ZacharySussman

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I use a lot of description in my writing, but have no formal training. I often try to invent my own language to describe wine.

Douglas Trapasso @demilove: @ZacharySussman - @KeeperColl - #SommChat - Do you ever feel spoiled, living in NYCabd knowing you can find almost any wine?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat We are spoiled rotten here! NYC is truly one of the world's greatest wine markets, w/ everything under the sun. I'm SO lucky.

Douglas Trapasso @demilove: @KeeperColl - Who are some of your favorite importers and stores? NYC has so many! - #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Importers: @SelectionMassal is great. Also, classics like Dressner, Rosenthal, @KermitLynchWine. And so many more.

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat As for stores: All-time favorite is @chambersstwines. Also a fan of @leonandsonwine, my local. @astorwines too.

Douglas Trapasso @demilove: I should shop w/you next time I visit family! - #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Welcome back to #SommChat @demilove has been a while - thanks for the questions

Douglas Trapasso @demilove: @KeeperColl - Aside from #Sideways , there hasn’t been much memorable wine fiction - do you think you have a novel inside you? - #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I wish! Don't have that particular gift. But I am actually working on a bit of a wine-related memoir.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat peep @ZacharySussman Where do U find inspiration 4 #wine topics to write about? What % of articles r your pitch vs mag idea?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I would say the ratio is maybe fifty-fifty? And it depends on the publication.@punch_drink gives me a lot of freedom, thankfully

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Travel to wine regions is always a great way to discover a new angle. Also, conversations with industry friends over a fun bottle

WineCompass @winecompass: Have you traveled to Eastern European wine regions? #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Not yet, but would love to. Furthest east I've gotten is Styria, in Austria, on the Slovenian border. But doesn't count!

WineCompass @winecompass: Q. @ZacharySussman What are topics you have covered in your writing? #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Specific topics vary, but I like to approach wine as an expression of culture: a window onto a place, its traditions, history, etc

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat peep some of UR fav #Authors and #books @ZacharySussman? do U like 2 read as well as write - do U prefer hard copy R online?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Too many! I'm an avid reader. Lately, have been reading a lot of James Baldwin, who feels timely. Always prefer hard copy!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm do you see any trends in #wine from writing about it? What would U like to C Chg in #writing world @ZacharySussman

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat A big trend is the discovery of smaller unknown regions. The more obscure the better, it seems! But we now often neglect classics.

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat We've never had better wine writing than today. But I wish writers would go into more depth. Need more focused long-form stories.

Douglas Trapasso @demilove: @KeeperColl - Are you working on any stories about the CA fires? Do you have friends who had to evacuate? #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Not currently. I expect @Esther_mobley, one my fav writers, will cover extensively and better than I could.

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Yes, I know many who have had to evacuate. It's been a deeply challenging time for the wine community. My heart goes out.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm if hired 4 a #UK publication do U write art. Differently than if 4 #US i.e. diff approach 4 diff area? @ZacharySussman

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat The wine world is really interconnected, no matter where we are. The good news is that it's an international language.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat peep @ZacharySussman What advice would you give someone wanting to enter the #wine #writing industry?

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Do it because you love it, not for fame, glory, or riches! And write about what truly excites you. Try to tell those stories.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm if you were not writing, what would be your dream job @ZacharySussman

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Do I have to have a job? I'd love to be independently wealthy. JK. My parents are therapists, and I could see myself doing that.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how do you decide where to go out to eat - cuisine vs #wine list - what is more important or both @ZacharySussman

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat I always choose based on the wine list! A good wine list almost always means good food.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Time to wrap up! Hope you enjoyed this hour of #wine talk w/ #Wine #Writer @ZacharySussman! #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Thanks so much, to everyone, for these great questions. This was a blast!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: It was great to have @ZacharySussman join us today for #SommChat. We hope everyone learned as much as we did!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Please join us in thanking @ZacharySussman for his time #SommChat

Zachary Sussman @ZacharySussman: #SommChat Thanks so much, to everyone, for these great questions. This was a blast!