"Order my book on the Roussillon wine region (colour paperback) DIRECT FROM ME SAVING £4/€4 (UK & EU only), or Kindle eBook on Amazon UK. Available in the USA from Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback or eBook; or Amazon.com. For other countries, tap here." Richard Mark James

01 January 2000


Edited in 2012, sort of re-edited in 2021 although still out of date...

What on earth is a 'wine writer' or 'wine blogger' anyway, or indeed why, you might well ask? Oh, with a hint of sumptuous wine travel and eating thrown in too… 'writing' that is. Funny thing to do I suppose but somebody's got to do it, especially as there are more and more of you 'wine enthusiasts' out there... Previously, I lived in deepest south of France, and Spain for eight years followed by the north of Ireland, as you do. The time I spent in wild Mediterranean country was largely devoted to slowly exploring the diverse wine regions of Roussillon, Languedoc, Provence and Catalonia (with occasional stints on the beach of course). Hence the in-depth bulk of material you'll find here focusing on wine people and other stuff in those areas.

Apart from thinking up, composing, publishing and trying to make WineWriting.com suitably famous, a stimulating although time-consuming and very unprofitable (potential advertisers please see blurb on the righthand column) venture originally kick-started in 2002, with a few facelifts along the way in 2005, 2009 and more recently, I used to write freelance for a variety of publications and media (among others):

www.winetravelguides.com, Decanter, Time Out South of France guide (2004-2009 editions), www.winetourisminfrance.com, Off Licence News (UK drinks retailing fortnightly 1998-2007), Harpers (wine business and on-trade title 2002-2007), Wine Business Monthly (USA 2006), Redhot (in-flight magazine Virgin Express 2005), French Property News (2004), City Life Manchester (1998-2003), Wine magazine (UK 2002-04), Refresh magazine (2003), Class magazine (2002), Restaurant magazine and sister website therestaurantgame.com (2000-01), Virgin.net (2000-01), everywine.co.uk (2001), ICE magazine (2001), Home magazine (1999-00), Attitude magazine (1999) and Wine & Spirit International (1998-99).

I was a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and the Society of Authors for a while. I did also venture 'sideways' some years ago into fiction, 'RED' which went out of print but a 'new' e-book and paperback later miraculously resurfaced on Amazon. Perhaps a European-set, Hollywood-esque wine film noir style story with surreal twists may be on the cards in the near future too... And in 2020, I finally self-published a book on the Roussillon region, 'French Catalonia wild wine country', available as an e-book, paperback and hardcover.

Wearing my Wine Education Service hat when I lived in Manchester (England), I ran popular wine courses from 1998-2002 and have been doing (or rather did) the same in Belfast in more recent times, pre-Covid pandemic at least. Before this, I worked as a specialist translator (mostly wine, tourism and food, French to English); and years before that, used to do tutored tastings, consumer shows and market research for generic bodies such as Wines of South Africa and German Wines as well. Delving further into the past before becoming self-employed, I worked for a wine importer and producer for ten years latterly as marketing manager.

As concerns 'professional' qualifications, I bagged the WSET Diploma back in the mists of time in 1990. I also passed the Master of Wine exams, tasting & theory papers only, between 2002-2004; but lost interest in doing yet another boring formulaic dissertation about 'methodology' (long story, high emotion etc. but probably something to do with sour grapes and lack of funds)! What else might be vaguely of interest: I spent a few eventful years at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and escaped with a Master of Arts in French and German, a long time ago now. The rest is, as they say, history and probably a touch dull. Oh, I seem to work part-time in a library nowadays too...

Thought for the moment: with good wine, less is more. Might be nice to be able to afford it...

Richard Mark James

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.