To fund her late-night vinous habits, Natalie MacLean holds down day jobs as a wine writer, speaker and judge. An accredited sommelier, she is a member of the National Capital Sommelier Guild, the Wine Writers Circle and several French wine societies with complicated and impressive names. Funny, brainy and unapologetically
tipsy, her goal in life is to intimidate those crusty wine stewards at fine restaurants with her staggering knowledge.
At the World Food Media Awards in Australia, Natalie was named the World's Best Wine Writer. The competition received more than 1,000 entries. An international and independent panel of 47 food and wine experts selected her from a short-list of 14 nominees from the U.S., Canada, U.K., New Zealand and Australia.
Natalie studied the Romantic Poets at Oxford University with Jonathan Wordsworth. She graduated with honours from the Master's of Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario.
Natalie's second book, Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines is packed with character sketches of obsessive personalities, travel to gorgeous vineyards, mouth-watering descriptions of food and wine,
"hidden" wine education and neurotic humour. She whisks you to the mountainside vineyards of Germany, the baked red earth of Australia, and the shady verandahs of Niagara -- as well as to scenic, offbeat locations in southern Italy, the Mediterranean, Argentina, Chile and South Africa -- all in search of the best value bottles the world has to offer.
Unquenchable was selected as one of Amazon's Best Books of 2011 and judges for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards awarded it the
Best Drinks Book.
Natalie's first book Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass was chosen the Best Wine Literature Book in the English language at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. The competition receives more than 6,000 books from 60 countries each year. The awards were created at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany ten years ago to reward those who "cook and drink with words." The book also won the Culinary Literary Book Award in the Cordon d'Or international culinary arts competition and was nominated for the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction at the Atlantic Book Awards.
Red, White and Drunk All Over chronicles her last three years sipping, spitting and slogging her way through the international wine world to visit some its most evocative places and to meet some of its most charismatic, obsessive and innovative characters. The book has been described as A Year in Provence meets Kitchen Confidential then goes Sideways.
Natalie has also won four James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards. She is the only person to have won both the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award from the James Beard Foundation and the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames d'Escoffier International. Both awards are in memory of one of America's finest food writers, best known for her classic gastronomic tome The Art of Eating.
Natalie has also won six Bert Greene Awards, presented by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, six awards from the American Association of Food Journalists, four from the North American Travel Writers Association and three honorable mentions at the National Magazine Awards.
In the United Kingdom, she has been nominated twice for Communicator of the Year award, hosted by the International Wine & Spirit Competition. She was also just named the Louis Roederer Online International Wine Writer of the Year with fellow nominees that included the web sites of Jancis Robinson, Kate Thal and Robert Parker.
Her articles have appeared in more than sixty newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Conde Nast Traveler, Time Out New York, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Chatelaine, Saturday Night, The Age (Australia), Sydney Morning Herald, Wine Enthusiast, Wine International, Ritz-Carlton Magazine, Canadian House & Home, Worth, Canadian Business Magazine, Food & Drink, Ottawa Magazine, Grand, Upscale Living, Coastal Living, Ottawa Citizen, MD Canada, MD News, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, St Louis Post-Dispatch, Saltscapes, Halifax Herald, Pure Canada, Tasters Guild International, Vines, Wine Selectors, Wine Access, Wine Tidings, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, IE Money Magazine and President's Choice Magazine.
Natalie is the drinks blogger for Epicurious, the web site for both Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines. More than five million food and wine lovers visit the site every month.
Other than wine, her interests include highland dancing, which she taught for ten years, after placing fifth in the world championships in Scotland. A Rhodes Scholarship finalist, she studied nineteenth-century English literature at Oxford University, England; earned an honors Bachelor of Public Relations (MSVU, Halifax) and took an MBA with distinction (UWO, London). However, all of this training is irrelevant to her current preoccupation. Instead, she credits the long line of hard drinkers from whom she descends for her ability to drink like a fish—and for the motivation to write about it, in a transparent attempt to make it look respectable. (But if you really want to know how she got started, click here for an article or here for a radio interview.)
Natalie offers a free e-mail newsletter that will help you make choices from restaurant wine lists, match wine with food, get good value when you buy wine (including those from the monthly LCBO Vintages releases) and chuckle over the lighter side of wine. While she tackles each topic to learn something new, she never takes wine — or herself — too seriously.
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