An Interview with Jancis Robinson


Unless you have been on a desert island for the past 20 years, the name Jancis Robinson will need no introduction. However, for those of you who have unfortunately been marooned, here is a brief introduction.

Since 1975, Jancis has been one of the preeminent voices in the world of wine. A Master of Wine, author of several books – most notably a massive tome called The Oxford Companion to Wine – as well as several television shows and other broadcast media, Jancis is considered to be the one of the most (if not the most) prolific wine writers on the planet.

Join us as we talk with Jancis about wine, her career, her colleagues, and her huge impact on a generation and a half of wine consumers.

For more information on Jancis Robinson:

Sponsor: California Wine Club:

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Show #176
(56:33 min 39 MB)


9 Responses to “An Interview with Jancis Robinson”

  1. 1 Doug Hackett Nov 13th, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Well, here is another podcast I just had to pull down. I try to listen to all the wine writers/critics you all pull in so keep ’em coming! I enjoyed listening to this interview as well as the ones with Mr. Tanzer, Mr. Tabor, Mr. Meadows and others. I tried to listen to the one with Jay Miller but it was hard to decipher the audio. The more writers/critics the better! I really do enjoy listening to them the most! Cheers!

  2. 2 Paul R Nov 23rd, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    okay, i have to say that i agree with doug. i love hearing interviews from wine writers/critics. obviously, jancis has a wealth of wine knowledge and it was great to hear from her.

    however, i do not agree with a couple of things. and perhaps i’m reading more into her comments than others, but i felt a need to mention some things:

    – if jancis dislikes scores so much, why post them? according to her, it’s to help her subscribers/readers. personally, i feel it’s because of the competition. i agree with jay in that i find scores so misleading. however, i think its pretty well documented that people want scores, and that if you don’t score a wine, potential subscribers will not subscribe to your publication. the difference i am talking about may be slight, but actually i think it’s big from a perception.

    – i have friends that like a herbaceous quality in wines, similar to jancis. those wines do not appeal to me. but i applaud any critic that is upfront about what their palate is like.

    – i do not have a massive cellar with nothing but trophy bottles in it. i enjoy tasting/analyzing/discussing wine with my friends and fellow wine lovers. but for those people who have accumulated massive wealth, and procure nothing but trophy bottles, good for them! and when they pull a cork, and the wine does not impress them in the first 5 minutes, and they pop something else, so be it. perhaps they are missing the nuances of the first wine, perhaps not. i’m just not sure why anyone needs to be critical of them and how they enjoy their lifestyle.

  3. 3 Francis DeRoos Nov 23rd, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    I just got off a plane flight back from the San Ynez wine region and was delighted to find this interview on my ipod. Jancis Robinson is a fantastic interview and you guys did your homework before speaking with her. The tone of the interview was professional and upbeat. I’d like to comment on PaulR’s post regarding scoring. Rather than push or challenge the interviewer, I think this was handled with class and appropriately glossed over. It’s pretty logical that she publishes scores because of competition but that still doesn’t mean one has to like it. We all do things that we “don’t like” in our work but that doesn’t mean they’re not important, valuable, or even vital to our jobs or businesses. This last statement was more of a defense of Ms Robinson but I think you guys handled it well and rather than but a guest on the defense that has so much to offer, you continued to explore some really interesting topics. Thanks,

  4. 4 GrapeRadio Bunch Nov 23rd, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Look, lets be honest here. It is smart business to use/publish scores. These are people that need to make a living and scores are part of the business of wine.


  5. 5 Douglas Nov 25th, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Hi Jay and Grape Radio! I love all your podcasts, esp. the interviews with the critics, like Ms. Robinson. I know that after three years you have a pretty solid idea of what you want Grape Radio to do. It’s not a show where you do “gotcha” type questioning. But still, I think it would have been cool if you could have gently delved into the rivalry between Ms. Robinson and Mr. Parker. I have read that there have been a few wines in which they wildly disagreeed about!


  6. 6 Domenico Bettinelli Nov 30th, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Something Jancis said about going to a wine tasting while pregnant gave me an idea for a potential future topic you might cover: How about a show about pregnant moms and wine? There are all kinds of conflicting opinions about the dangers of wine drinking while pregnant. Some say not a drop. Some doctors say a small glass a day is fine. In some countries, women imbibe just as much while pregnant as they do when not.

    Perhaps Rusty, as a medical professional and expert on the health effects of wine, and a panel of women in the industry–obviously those who are moms now would probably be best qualified–would make a good discussion of this topic.

    This is topical for me. My wife and I have been married 2-1/2 years and my wife has been pregnant or breastfeeding for nearly all of that (we’re expecting our second in February and there was a miscarriage in between), and our consumption of wine has been drastically curtailed. (I feel bad opening a nice bottle of wine in front of her, although she’s been known to sneak a half glass here and there.) I’m not looking for an excuse to push her to drink, but I would love to hear more opinions and perhaps many of your female listeners might too.

  7. 7 Rusty Gaffney Dec 11th, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Domenico

    There is considerable controversy over the safety of drinking wine during pregnancy and the opinions vary from country to country. A few facts: Women have only half as much of the principal enzyme that deals with alcohol (alcohol dehydrogenase or ADH) in stomach as men do. The result is that alcohol is poorly metabolized in stomach and travels to the small intestine and liver where any not metabolized enters the blood stream. After menopause, women develop ADH in amounts in stomach and liver more like men and they are able to drink more. Also women are usually smaller with a greater percentage of weight as fat rather than muscle or bone. Fat has a poor blood supply so alcohol in bloodstream enters women’s organs more rapidly leading to quicker drunkeness. This is why it is recommended women drink one and no more than two glasses of wine a day (moderation).
    That said, there is a reported connection between social drinking in pregnant women and the so-called “fetal alcohol effect” – smaller babies that thrive less well and are less intelligent and less able to integrate as adult with contemporaries. As a result, in the US, it is generally recommended that women not drink at all when pregnant. Note the warning on wine labels. In the UK they are more liberal and advise no more than 2 drinks on one occasion and not more than 3 drinks in a week (I have no idea what scientific study this recommendation is based on). Although the stresses of pregnancy might be mitigated by a glass of wine, I feel the risk, although small, is not worth it. No wine for 9 months is a small sacrifice to make to insure the baby receives every opportunity for good health.


  1. 1 Grape Radio Interview with Jancis Robinson « Anything Wine pingback on Nov 25th, 2007 at 6:36 pm
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