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Wine Writer Collections

Storytellers who shine a light on the people and places in wine

Wine writers have made a tremendous impact on both the wine industry and public appreciation of wine. They are the storytellers who shine a light on the people and places in the wine world — moving beyond regions, types of wines and ratings to influence the very aesthetic and legacy of the industry. They offer unique insights into what made the wine industry what it is today. Not only does their writing help shape what wines consumers choose, it can influence which new technologies, techniques and trends take root in the winemaking world.

We are building the world’s greatest collection on wine writers because their voices are a key ingredient in the complex story of wine — and part of what makes the UC Davis Library the greatest wine library in the world

Inside the Collections

Leon David Adams

Leon Adams was considered to be the seminal wine historian in the United States in the 20th century by wine aficionados and the wine industry. He was a founder of the Wine Institute, the trade organization that represents California’s wine industry, and is most widely known for his book The Wines of America (1973).

Gerald Asher

Over the course of his long and varied career, Gerald Asher wrote prolifically about wine for Gourmet, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Asher started his life in wine as a merchant, and gained an understanding of the international wine market that had a lasting impact on his writing. He is one of the world’s most respected wine writers and one of the earliest champions of wines made in California.

Headshot of Gerald Asher

Anthony Dias Blue

Anthony Dias Blue is an internationally renowned expert in the worlds of food, wine, spirits, and travel. His work can be found in the New York Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the International Herald TribuneGQHouse & GardenAmerican WayDecanterThe Robb ReportTravel and LeisureElleForbesCigar AficionadoVirtuoso Life and Celebrated Living, among others. He is co-owner of The Tasting Panel magazine and also runs a food and wine event company in Los Angeles that hosts seminars, tastings, and competitions, including the largest international wine competition in the United States, the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Blue is the founding director of its sister event, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Sukari and Shomari Bowman

Atlanta-based sister and brother duo Sukari and Shomari Bowman launched The Color of Wine podcast in 2017. Frustrated by the lack of representation in popular wine media, Ms. Bowman conceived of a series dedicated to providing a platform for people of color in the wine industry. As The Color of Wine took shape, Ms. Bowman conducted the interviews and Mr. Bowman, a chef and music producer, put his technical expertise toward recording and editing them. To date their endeavor has produced more than 80 interview recordings.

Headshot of Sukari and Shomari Bowman

Roy Brady

Brady was a wine writer, educator and wine judge at the Los Angeles County Fair wine competition. He wrote regularly for magazines such as SaveurGourmetWine Spectator and the Journal of the International Wine and Food Society.

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher conceived and wrote The Wall Street Journal’s weekly wine column, “Tastings,” from 1998 to 2010. They are currently senior editors at Grape Collective ( They are also the authors of four books on wine and appeared regularly on TV (from “Martha Stewart” to “Today”) and radio, including “Fresh Air.” They invented the international celebration of wine, love and friendship called “Open That Bottle Night.”

Headshot of Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher

Katie Ballou Calhoun

Calhoun is the president of Calhoun & Company Communications, a public relations and marketing communications agency with a focus on the fine wine and premium spirits industries. Calhoun has worked in wine public relations for more than 30 years. She has judged at the Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Monterey County Wine Competition, and San Francisco World Spirits Competition; she also served as a regular taster at Wine & Spirits Magazine for over a decade. Her wine industry affiliations include membership with Women for WineSense, Family Winemakers of California, Society of Wine Educators, Association of African American Vintners, Bâttonage and Women of the Vine & Spirits.

Headshot of Katie Calhoun

Ruth Ellen Church

Born in Humboldt, Iowa, in 1909, Church graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in home economics journalism in 1933. In 1936, she began working for the Chicago Tribune as the paper’s food columnist, writing under the column’s regular byline, Mary Meade. She remained in this position, writing, shaping the development of The Tribune’s test kitchen and directing all food photography, until she was promoted to a position as the paper’s first wine columnist in 1962. Church visited vineyards all over the world and wrote about established as well as up-and-coming wine regions. She and others like her, writing newspaper food and wine columns in the decades immediately following the repeal of Prohibition, became the guides for a drinking public largely ignorant about wine.

Black and white image of Ruth Ellen Church surrounded by children behind a table with cooking ingredients

James Conaway

Conaway is the author of ten books of non-fiction, including the Napa trilogy Napa: The Story of an American Eden, The Far Side of Eden: Old Land, New Money and the Battle for Napa Valley, and Napa at Last Light: America’s Eden in an Age of Calamity.

Headshot of James Conaway

John Winthrop Haeger

Haeger has written about wine since 1986. His articles have appeared in Connoisseur, Wine & Spirits, Sunset and Saveur, in the San Francisco Chronicle, in Singapore-based Appetite, and in Japan’s Wine Kingdom. He is the author of North American Pinot Noir (2004), which was named Louis Roederer International Wine Book of the Year for 2005, Pacific Pinot Noir: A Comprehensive Winery Guide for Consumers and Connoisseurs (2008), and Riesling Rediscovered: Bold, Bright, and Dry (2016).

Steve Heimoff

Heimoff began publishing articles about wine in 1989, when he became a stringer for Wine Spectator. In 1990, he began a 4-year stint as writer of The Collecting Page, the final page in Wine Spectator, which focused on issues of special interest to collectors. During this period, he also wrote industry-oriented articles for Market Watch magazine. After leaving Wine Spectator in 1994, Heimoff became West Coast Editor of Wine Enthusiast magazine. In 2014, he moved on from magazine journalism to become Director of Wine Education at Jackson Family Wines. He is the author of two books, A Wine Journey Along the Russian River and New Classic Winemakers of California: Conversations with Steve Heimoff.

Hugh Johnson

Johnson is a British author and expert on wine, and is considered the world’s best-selling wine writer. Johnson has been writing about wine since 1960. Early on, he wrote for Condé Nast Publications, Vogue, and House & Garden, and in 1962 he became the editor of Wine & Food and wine correspondent of The Sunday Times. Johnson has published many books, starting with Wine, in 1966. The World Atlas of Wine (1971) was considered the first serious attempt to map the world’s wine regions. His book Vintage: The Story of Wine (1989 and 2004) was made into a 13-part TV series. Since 1977 he has compiled his annual Pocket Wine Book, selling millions of copies in up to 14 languages.

Headshot of Hugh Johnson

Karen MacNeil

Karen MacNeil is author of The Wine Bible and creator and editor of WineSpeed. She has won numerous awards, including the James Beard award for Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year, the Louis Roederer award for Best Consumer Wine Writing, and the International Wine and Spirits award as the Global Wine Communicator of the Year. MacNeil was previously wine correspondent for the Today Show; host of the Emmy award-winning PBS series “Wine, Food and Friends with Karen MacNeil”; and the first Food and Wine Editor of USA Today.

Woman sitting at a table with a bottle of wine

William E. Massee

William E. Massee was one of the first American wine writers in the post-World War II era. Much of his work in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s coincided with the beginning of America’s postwar preoccupation with good living. Hi books championed American wines at a time when connoisseurs dismissed them as inconsequential. They included Massee’s Wine Handbook, Massee’s Wine Almanac, and Joyous Anarchy: The Search for Great American Wines.

Terry Robards

Terry Robards is the author of The New York Times Book of Wine (1976) and Terry Robards’ New Book of Wine: The Ultimate Guide to Wines Throughout the World (1986). Robards started his career as a small-town news and sports reporter, eventually becoming a financial writer, correspondent, and wine writer for the New York Times. He also wrote about wine for the New York Post, Wine Spectator magazine, and Wine Enthusiast magazine. His radio program “The Topic is Wine,” appeared nightly on WQXR-FM in New York. He is the proprietor of Terry Robards’ Wines and Spirits, Ltd., a retailer of wines and spirits in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Jancis Robinson

Robinson is founder of the award-winning, wine correspondent for the Financial Times. She advised the cellar of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from 2004 until 2022, and continues to be a member of the Royal Household Wine Committee. The author of numerous books and editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, she has been called “the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world” by Decanter magazine.

Headshot of Jancis Robinson

Steven Spurrier

Steven Spurrier was a British wine expert, merchant and writer who organized the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting, which unexpectedly elevated the status of California wine and promoted the expansion of wine production in the New World. He was the founder of the Academie du Vin and Christie’s Wine Course, and he authored and co-authored several wine books.

Newspaper clipping of Steven Spurrier sniffing a glass of red wine with a table of wine bottles beside him.

Charles Sullivan

Sullivan is a famed California wine historian who has chronicled the wine industry in the Santa Clara Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and Napa Valley. He received a Veuve Clicquot award in 2003 for best wine book, Zinfandel: A History of a Grape and its Wine.

Bob Thompson

Thompson is widely regarded as one of the preeminent writers on the topic of California and West Coast wines. He started his career as a sports writer, and transitioned to writing about wine in 1961 when he was hired by Sunset Books as an assistant editor. He has written several books on the California wine region including Notes on a California Cellarbook and The Wine Atlas of California and the Pacific Northwest, as well as The California Wine Book written in conjunction with Hugh Johnson.

Headshot of Bob Thompson

Gail Unzelman

Gail Unzelman is an author, publisher, and book collector. From 1990 to 2015, she served as the editor and publisher of the Wayward Tendrils Quarterly, a journal devoted to wine books, wine authors, wine libraries, bibliography, and all such matters relating to wine literature. At the same time, she managed the Wayward Tendrils Wine Book Collector’s Society, a group for wine writers and wine book collectors. She founded Nomis Press in 1990 for the purpose of publishing her book Wine & Gastronomy: A New Short-Title Bibliography Guide Based on the André L. Simon Bibliothecas, Vinaria, Gastronomica, & Bacchica. The press would eventually publish more than a dozen books on California wine, including histories of the El Dorado, Los Angeles, Napa, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, and Sonoma viticultural districts.

Gail Unzelman seated on the open trunk of an SUV filled with boxes of her wine literature.

Warren Winiarski and Jancis Robinson facing each other with palms grasped.
Warren Winiarski and British wine writer Jancis Robinson at the UC Davis Library in February 2017 (Kelley Chao/UC Davis Library)

A Special Thank You

Thank you to all who support these collections and a special thank you to legendary Napa winemaker, Warren Winiarski, who has made a generous gift to help us build the most comprehensive collection of wine writers’ work in the world.