Turning the Tables on Christopher Sawyer


By Carl Giavanti, Carl Giavanti Consulting

“Turning the Tables – Interviewing the Interviewers” is a Q&A series profiling Wine Writers. We hope you will find more about the wine writers you know, and learn about a lot of others. The objective of this task is to understand and produce doing work relationships with journalists. They are soon after all, people that

 help convey to our stories, evaluate our wines and possibly offer media coverage. You can do this by finding out their wine and creating backgrounds, tale and individual interests, palate tastes, composing troubles and pet peeves. This is aspect of an ongoing series that will be featured regular monthly by Wine Sector Network.

Christopher Sawyer is an internationally-renowned
sommelier, wine judge, advisor, wine journalist and general public speaker.
Voted Greatest Sommelier of Sonoma County 2019 by Bohemian Magazine for the
sixth consecutive 12 months, he is also a receiver of numerous a lot more prestigious
awards and marketplace honors. To abide by his wine adventures, subscribe to his
Blog  The Sommelier Information & YouTube Channel featuring The Varietal Show!, and observe him on Facebook  and Twitter.

How did you appear to wine, and to wine creating?

My heritage with wine begun just before I was born. 1st, by my grandpa Carl Sawyer, who assisted the Gallo household build their substantial-scale output facility in Modesto and managed 450 employees when he retired 37 yrs later. Next, by way of my parents, when my mother met my shortly-to-be father, though he was the head bartender and she labored in the reward shop at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite in the late 1960s. Later, while expanding up amidst the vineyards in Russian River Valley right up until my early teens, my to start with wine experiences had been accompanying my mom and her friends on tasting space excursions in Sonoma and Napa counties in the 1970s and early 1980s. When watching the wine market mature up close to me, I was the editor-in-main of the Trojan newspaper at Petaluma Significant School and The Oak Leaf at Santa Rosa Junior College. Then, following turning into the tunes critic for The Aggie at University of California Davis, I began producing article content about the planet-class Viticulture & Enology division at UCD, which afterwards spurred my interest to consider courses on the matter at Santa Rosa Junior Faculty. I also commenced honing my expertise in food stuff and wine support by doing the job with a an up-scale catering corporation for leading shoppers in San Francisco and Sonoma County. This all established me up for becoming #2 in command at Wine X Journal and creating regular posts for the SF Chronicle, AAA Journal, Wine Enterprise Month-to-month, Vineyard & Winery Management, and pretty much two many years of doing the job with editor Meridith May well for Patterson’s Beverage Journal, The SOMM Journal, The Tasting Panel and The Intelligent Root. These days, that journey carries on.

What are your primary story pursuits and palate tastes?

I don’t have any preferences on what to compose about, as very long as the subject matter has value to visitors. That suggests every thing from wine, spirits and beer to great delicacies and vacation and all the way to songs and films. A couple of my beloved influence content articles involve one particular I wrote about Styrofoam shippers, which resulted in the use of extra eco-helpful shipping inserts by wineries another I did on the rise in acceptance of Small Batch Bourbon for the SF Chronicle a in-depth investigation of stemware, which I did for Wine Enterprise Month to month with an all-star panel of Masters of Wine, Grasp Sommeliers, and other wine pros and a vast variety of article content I did on Biodynamics again in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which assisted elevate the bar on that excellent motion. 

I comprehend you have commenced an job interview podcast series. Can you share a connection and specifics?

Though I have been highlighted on a lot of podcasts as a result of the decades, my newest job is The Varietal Clearly show with SawyerSomm, which my spouse Simone Haslam and I launched in Spring 2020. The new episodes run on YouTube, Fb, and my SawyerSomm.com web page every week (Premiering each and every Tuesday on You Tube: https://youtube.com/c/ChristopherSawyerSommelier). This principle was the final result of a collection of wonderful are living broadcasts I did with Cellar Pass Tv set and other fantastic wineries right after the pandemic “shelter in place” swept throughout the nation before this year. Far more wonderful demonstrates forward!

Personal Track record

What would people today be stunned to know about you?  

At the top of this record would be the truth that I was the in-residence sommelier for Gordon and Ann Getty for 8 yrs and have completed the very same for John Lasseter (of Pixar-fame) and his spouse Nancy for about two many years. That’s the place my nickname “Sommelier to the Stars” arrived from! I was also the world’s 1st at any time Film Pageant Sommelier, which started out at the Sonoma Global Film Festival in the early 2000s. I also named the Petaluma Gap appellation, practically twenty a long time prior to it was granted as an official AVA of Sonoma County in December of 2017. That’s why Ana Keller and other regional producers contact me the “Godfather of the Gap.” And lastly, since I’m a writer, sommelier, wine educator, wine consultant and qualified wine choose, a large amount of tales have been composed about me in Esquire, Redbook, United states of america Currently, Hollywood Reporter, etcetera. 

What haven’t you finished, that you’d like to do?

I have often preferred to have a wine display on Food items Network. Just after I became the formal Sommelier for Food items Community in Live performance, in Chicago in 2015, we have been in talks with the community about different initiatives via the years. With any luck ,, it will all occur with each other sometime!

If you weren’t writing about wine for a living, what would you be carrying out?     

 As a effectively-regarded sommelier, wine educator, general public speaker, and component-operator of Gravenstein Grill I by now maintain pretty busy earning a living. These sources of profits have allowed me to be picky about the tales I generate. It took about two decades to get to this stage, but it was all really worth it

Creating System

Can you describe your technique to wine composing and/or carrying out wine critiques?

For more than 3 many years, my style has often been based mostly around taking comprehensive notes. For that explanation, I have a comprehensive library of notebooks that appear in helpful even just after I generate the articles or blog posts. This was in particular genuine in the dynamic ten-portion AVA series I wrote for Wine Organization Month-to-month entitled: “The California Appellation Sequence 1983-2013.” This series permitted me to reflect on classes I uncovered due to the fact I broke into the wine market in the mid-1990s by reviewing my notes from prior visits to wineries that performed significant roles in making these particular winegrowing locations what they are today. I nevertheless use this kind of specific observe-having now.  

Do you work on an editorial routine and/or create story strategies as they come up?

I’ve constantly carried out a minor little bit of the two. For Napa Valley Everyday living, my most important editorial column is centered on varietals and the luminary winemakers, vintners and growers that set them on the map to stay. But I also create bigger, sweeping stories like “Breaking The Mildew with Foods & Wine Pairings,” which highlighted insight from Grasp Sommelier Evan Goldstein and other sommeliers from the Bay Location, for the Food items & Wine concern, which arrived out in early summer time 2020. It has been a related story with The SOMM Journal, in which my standard column was concentrated on very hot wine tendencies in Sonoma County, but I also add other attribute stories on wines from all-around the globe. 

How frequently do you compose assigned and paid posts (not your website)? How normally do you website?

To be frank, my wife won’t allow me produce an article except I get paid. The general exception is when a journal, respectable business, or a PR guru send out me a Q&A to fill out. Simply because I compose for paid out assignments on a normal foundation, my SawyerSomm.com site has turn into a fun, interactive mixture of new blog materials for The Sommelier Data files, inbound links to just lately posted articles, and marketing of activities that I will be collaborating in all through the year. 

Do you write-up your articles or blog posts on social media? Why is that crucial? 

Completely! I like to market the article content I produce and the publications I work with on social media. I look at this variety of marketing as a powerful device that enables me to spread the phrase about new wine developments, good achievements by wineries and/or wine locations, and other scorching matters to a broader range of readers, than just individuals that subscribe to the publication. Very same is real with the latest weblogs, assessments and wine judging results—all of which I endorse by means of social media as properly. 

Working Interactions

What are your recommendations to wineries when functioning with journalists?

It begins with knowing the distinction among a journalist, blogger, and influencer. Hence, I would advise wineries to do some exploration on us ahead of sending out generic inquiries that are sent to the masses. Customized notes make any difference, way too. And if they do get terrific mention in article content I compose, thank you notes are surely appreciated. 

What benefits are there in doing work right with vineyard publicists?

There is almost nothing more important than making associations in the wine marketplace. In the scenario of vineyard publicists, it suggests resources are just a connect with, text or email away from currently being associated in an article you are working on. Same is real when they transfer on to a new winery or commence working with a more multi-task communications agency. I’m delighted to say I have hundreds of illustrations of gifted publicists I have worked carefully with through the years—some of whom are now among my dearest buddies on the world! 

Leisure Time

If you just take times off, how do you commit them?  

My days off are normally used with relatives and good friends. That is especially true for the duration of the pandemic, which has designed each minute with close friends who check out my cellar (with masks) or who I satisfy up with in wine country that a lot additional important. But frequently talking, I enjoy new music, touring, climbing, and sports activities (significantly actively playing golfing, basketball with my son, and looking at the NFL). In my cellar, I am also effectively recognised for participating in vinyl albums, which I have gathered at any time due to the fact I began DJ-ing back in the 1980s. 

What is your most memorable wine or wine tasting working experience?

While functioning as the sommelier at a special dinner occasion at Moon Mountain Vineyards (now Repris Winery) in Glen Ellen, I got to invest twenty minutes of a single-on-a person personal time with previous President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev even though sipping on wine and telling him about the beauties of Cabernet Franc as his stability guards drank whiskey on the ground underneath. 

Do you have a preferred wine and food stuff pairing? Favored recipe/pairing?

As a journalist and sommelier, I have so numerous recollections of good foods and wine pairings. Numerous of those people magic times took place when I labored with star chef Janine Falvo at The Lodge at Sonoma from 2004-2014. Other great recollections are joined to when I was the Wine Director at Flavor Napa Valley as well as the tasty pairings I do annually at the Telluride Wine Pageant. Similar is real at our restaurant Gravenstein Grill in Sebastopol, wherever I have won Most effective Sommelier of Sonoma County award from the Bohemian magazine every yr considering the fact that we opened in 2015. But on a particular level, just one of my favorites is salty chips with crème fraiche and caviar, with a refined style of Blanc de Blancs, like the Domaine Carneros Le Reve. In phrases of crafting, my favorite pairings were being the kinds I did with Foster Farms for President Obama before his blessing of the Thanksgiving turkeys in 2015, https://legacy.pressdemocrat.com/way of living/4676926-181/two-turkeys-to-obtain-presidential?sba=AAS.

Go through a lot more stories in the series “Turning the Tables – Interviewing the Interviewers.” 

Carl GiavantiSpecialist Editorial
by Carl Giavanti, Carl Giavanti Consulting

CARL GIAVANTI is a Winery Publicist with a DTC Advertising and marketing qualifications. He’s going on his 10th year of vineyard consulting. Carl has been included in company advertising and marketing and public relations for around 25 several years initially in technological know-how, electronic marketing and advertising and task management, and now as a vineyard media relations consultant. Purchasers are or have been in Napa Valley, Willamette Valley, and the Columbia Gorge. (www.CarlGiavantiConsulting.com/Media).