Grape grading

Becoming a wine critic rarely happens by choice, says Lisa Perrotti-Brown. The reviewer for Robert Parker reveals how she got the coveted role and shares her thoughts on the famous point system.

With an assuredness that accompanies her discourses on wines, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, wine critic of Robert Parker’s wine review team, would have you thinking that the grape nectar was something she had fallen in love with since young. But the 42-year-old, who hails from Maine, USA, reveals that it was an economic necessity, and not passion, that landed her in the wine industry in the first place: armed with a degree in English literature, she moved to London in 1989 to build a playwright career. However, living as a stage scribe did not pay the bills, so she looked for other jobs. The only work experience she had was waitressing, which she did in her college summer breaks. So when a friend offered her a position as a staff in a wine bar, she accepted it. Soon, she became the bar’s manager.

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“The more I learned about wine, the more I loved it,” recalls Perrotti-Brown, who is now based in Singapore, and travels regularly to Japan, Hong Kong and Australia to cover her regional wine beat. “And once you get that bug, there’s no going back.”

Excerpt from July issue of epicure