HC&G Celebrates 20 Years of Wine & Spirits

HC&G's wine columnist spills how she landed her job 20 years ago.
Sheri Hi Res Contrib Photo Eric Striffler

Baroness Sheri de Borchgrave. Photograph by Eric Striffler.

Twenty years ago, I attended a launch party for a new magazine called HC&G and decided to chat up its founding editor, Newell Turner. At the time, I was writing the sex advice column for Cosmopolitan and getting a little tired of explaining how to find the G spot. I had been having more fun going on restaurant-reviewing missions with a food-writer friend of mine, so I boldly asked Newell if he would consider adding a restaurant column to the magazine’s pages. “What I really need is a wine columnist,” he told me. “Do you think you could do that?”

“Absolutely,” I lied.

Front Of Winery Long Shot

In the early years, I toured the Long Island wine region with experts such as Jean-Luc Le Dû, then head sommelier at Daniel; Julian Niccolini, co-owner of the Four Seasons restaurant; and Virginia Philip, a Master Sommelier. To put it diplomatically, they were all a little underwhelmed by the East End’s prospects as a winemaking juggernaut. But two decades later, an area once dominated by Chardonnay and Merlot is now producing a rich bounty of international varietals, including Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, and others. The Hamptons, as everyone knows, are also awash in rosé. And winemakers from California, Australia, and France have arrived, seduced by the terroir. In recent years, several area wines have broken the 90-point ceiling and are now recognized as world-class.
Macari Vineyards Grapes 002
The late Hollywood producer Michael Lynne, who founded Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, put it best in an interview I did with him in 2006. “It’s not enough just to promote one’s own wines,” he said. “Wines are only recognized in the context of their region.”

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The print version of this article appears with the headline: 20 Years of Wines & Spirits – The Accidental Columnist.