Home Wine Business Editorial Sales & Marketing Turning the Tables on Melanie Young

Turning the Tables on Melanie Young

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By Carl Giavanti

 

Melanie Young is a certified specialist of wine and co-host of The Connected Table Live global podcast, which spotlights thought leaders in wine, food and hospitality. Her articles have appeared in Wine Industry Advisor and Wine Enthusiast. For 22 years, Young ran M Young Communications, an event marketing agency for international wine and food clients. She was responsible for the creation and management of The James Beard Foundation Awards (1990-2006) and New York Restaurant Week (1992-2001). Young is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Society of Wine Educators and the Wine Media Guild. Follow her on Instagram: @theconnectedtable @melaniefabulous

 

How did you come to wine, and to wine writing?

My father was a wine educator who inspired me to embrace wine and business. For 20+ years, I ran M. Young Communications, a wine, food and hospitality events marketing and PR agency in New York City. I worked with many wine regions and brands in Europe and South America, Notably, I Iaunched The James Beard Foundation Awards and oversaw this program for its first 16 years. I also launched New York Restaurant Week in 1992. 

After closing that agency, I started The Connected Table Inc. with the goal to write and create content and experiential events focused on wine and food. In 2014, I launched The Connected Table radio show and podcast with my husband, David Ransom, who is an editor for The Tasting Panel magazine and had worked in his family winery in New York’s Hudson Valley (which is how we first met in the early 1990s; we were married in 2007). Check out his marriage proposal on stage at The James Beard Awards in 2006; it’s on YouTube https://youtu.be/dOvi3zQjuaw?feature=shared 

What are the primary story interests for The Connected Table?

The Connected Table LIVE features conversations with global thought leaders in wine, food and hospitality. We like to refer to them as leaders, legends and legacies. Our SIPS podcasts focus custom content to spotlight brand and specific topics. We record onsite and virtually and can broadcast anywhere in the world. 

Much of our coverage is based on the trips we take to visit producers and regions around the world. We like to interview people with whom we have had a personal connection and tell their story with sincerity and authenticity.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am both a certified specialist of wine and a certified health coach. My interest in health is all about self-care and avoiding burnout. I am a breast cancer survivor and author of an award-winning book, Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer. I host a second podcast called Fearless Fabulous YOU! that focuses on self-care and inspired living for women.

What haven’t you done that you’d like to do?

I want to write a novel about the escapades of a gutsy woman working with the crème de la crème in the wine and food business NYC who grew up in the Deep South with very eccentric parents. Semi-autobiographical for sure.

What’s the best story you have written?

I like to deep dive into stories. Topics can range from spotlighting a varietal or wine region or addressing one aspect of the business of wine. The topic of global wine counterfeiting spiked my curiosity and resulted in this article:  Wine Industry Advisor, Counterfeiting is a Lingering Stain on the Wine Industry (Feb. 2022)

If you weren’t writing about wine for a living, what would you be doing?   

I’d like to run a purpose-driven business or foundation that enriches the lives of others and lets me travel and touch more lives. I consider travel the ultimate education. My career dream was to be a cultural ambassador or foreign correspondent.

Can you describe your approach to wine writing and content creation?

My curious side wants to tell a story through words and visuals about a person, a place and backstory on the bottle. My business side tends to focus on writing about how to creatively market wine. Recent examples in Wine Industry Advisor include my articles on working with influencers, planning effective fam trips and landing your brand in film and television.

Do you work on an editorial schedule and/or develop story ideas as they come up?

Given our travel schedule and that many of our guests are overseas in different time zones, we pre-record many shows for The Connected Table and then schedule them as well as the accompanying blog and social media posts.

Do you post your articles and shows on social media? 

The Connected Table podcasts are streamed on demand on more than 40 podcast channels that can be accessed anywhere in the world including iHeart, Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and we promote on our social media networks. We are about connecting people to the world of fine wine and food. We post about the shows and our travels on  Instagram@theconnectedtable.

What are your recommendations to wineries when interacting with journalists?

Read up on the journalist and his/her writing and outlets. Don’t sell me a product; tell me a story. I honor the people I interview by really researching them, and I appreciate the same consideration.

What frustrates you most about working on winery stories and/or wine reviews?

The low pay for the time you put into researching and writing.

Which wine personalities would you most like to meet and taste with (living or dead)?

Living: Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Saskia de Rothschild, (I’ve had a Rothschild obsession since I was a little girl and wrote a term paper on the family) and Prince Robert of Luxembourg. Three people who have passed: Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich and Robert Mondavi.

If you take days off, how do you spend them? 

I am happy working out, taking walks and reading. But 100% days off are rare unless we are on vacation. I try to give myself some “Me Time” every day.

What’s your cure for a wine hangover?

I rarely have hangovers because I embrace moderation and spitting at tastings. What I both practice and preach is the importance of healthy hydration. I always carry a water bottle and travel with my own spit cups.

What’s your favorite wine region in the world?

There are many wine regions I still have not visited and hope to. Of course, Italy, France and Spain are close to my heart because I have been deeply involved in all three.

Favorite quotes you’d like to share? 

“May all your love be true love and all your pain be champagne.” —Mrs. Graham

“Happy are those who dream dreams and who are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” —Leon J. Suenens

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Carl Giavanti

Carl Giavanti is a Winery Publicist with a DTC Marketing background. He’s celebrating his 14th year of winery consulting. Carl has been involved in business marketing and public relations for over 25 years; originally in technology, digital marketing and project management, and now as a winery media relations consultant. Clients are or have been in Napa Valley, Willamette Valley, Walla Walla, Columbia Valley, and the Columbia Gorge. (www.CarlGiavantiConsulting.com/Media)

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