Hall's Way with Wine
Lisa Shara Hall
Lisa Shara Hall serves as senior editor for Wine Business Monthly, Wine Business Insider and Winebusiness.com. She writes for numerous publications, including “The Oxford Companion to Wine,” “The Hugh Johnson/Jancis Robinson World Atlas of Wine,” Meninger’s Wine Business International and Decanter.
Hall is the author of “Wines of the Pacific Northwest” (Mitchell Beazley, 2001) and co-author of “The Food Lover’s Companion to Portland” (Chronicle Books, 1996).
She is an active member of the Society of Wine Educators and the British-based Circle of Wine Writers. Hall is a frequent lecturer and educator, as well as the first student in Oregon to attempt the Master of Wine qualification.
Hall regularly judges wine competitions, including the annual all-Greek competition in Greece, the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition and the International Wine Challenge. She was one of only four North Americans invited to judge Decanter’s inaugural (now annual) World Wine Competition in London.
OWP: How did you first become interested in wine?
LH: I was writing about restaurants for The Oregonian, and by 1993, I was bored with writing about chicken! So wine caught my attention. I wrote about wine tastings and wine travel, and wine lists. Then I would get my hand slapped that I was a restaurant writer and we would go back and forth about that! I left The Oregonian in 2000 and started writing for Wine Business Monthly in 1997.
OWP: Besides Pinot Noir, which varietal holds the most promise in Oregon?
LH: I think Riesling is the up and coming variety. I go the annual Riesling tasting after IPNC and there are more and more Riesling producers each year. They are fine quality Rieslings as well.
OWP: If you owned a winery, where would it be and which varietals would we find in your barrels (or tanks)?
LH: Likely in the Eola Hills; I like the volcanic soils and stronger perception of acidity that comes from there. Likely Riesling and Pinot Noir.
OWP: As you have written for many publications over the years, what is your opinion on wine scores? Which publication(s) do you trust the most?
LH: I hate wine scores. They have no meaning and are out of context. I don’t trust publications, But I like how Jancis Robinson scores, a range of 1 to 20.
OWP: As you were the first student in Oregon to attempt the Master of Wine qualification, what advice would you have for those trying to attain this extreme level of certification? Why is certification (at any level) important?
LH: You have to devote an amazing amount of time to the MW process; daily! And really, really study from books. And taste an incredible number of wines. It is almost a full-time project. And you have to think like a Brit!
OWP: What is your next publishing project? When will it be released?
I am writing a book on Oregon wines, going AVA by AVA and telling stories about winemakers. It should come out by late spring.