Karen MacNeil is an American author, journalist, wine educator and consultant based in Napa Valley. MacNeil is also the creator and chairman of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.
MacNeil has published The Wine Bible, a book 10 years in the making, and was the host of a 13-episode PBS series titled Wine, Food and Friends with Karen MacNeil, in tandem with the publication of a companion book, Wine, Food & Friends. MacNeil was also wine correspondent on NBC's The Today Show, has published articles in a wide range of publications, and works as a private wine education consultant.
MacNeil's first article, on the subject of the best butter on offer in New York delis, was published in The Village Voice and shaped the direction of her career. Her transition from food writer to wine writer came about in the mid-1970s, when she was commissioned by Elle magazine to write a wine article. In 1991 she signed a contract with Workman Publishing Co. to write a book on wine, while The Wine Bible would not be released until 2001. A 910 page book, it sold more than 125,000 copies in a year and continues to sell well. Her second book was Wine, Food & Friends (2006).
MacNeil's articles have appeared in The New York Times, Food & Wine, Saveur, and Town & Country. She is also a contributor to Robert Parker's website erobertparker.com with the blog "One Woman’s View". In her work as a private wine education consultant, she has had clients such as firms Merrill Lynch, Lexus, General Electric, Time Inc. and American Express.
MacNeil was named Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year in 2004 by the James Beard Foundation. In 2005 she was named Wine Educator of the Year by the European Wine Council, in 2007 she was given the Wine Literary Award by the Wine Appreciation Guildand, and in 2008 the International Wine & Spirits Competition Communicator of the Year award. She is the only person in the U.S. to win all four major awards of the wine industry.
- Heimoff, Steve, Wine Enthusiast (July 18, 2007). Q & A with Karen MacNeil
- McCarthy, Terry, Time (December 17, 2004). Missionary of the Vine
- Wine Business (March 29, 2010). Wine Expert and Author Karen MacNeil Launches New Brand Identity and Innovative Website
- Tunks, Jane, San Francisco Chronicle (December 29, 2006). Wine educator keeps her roots close to the vine
- Reynolds, Jonathan, The new York Times (September 29, 2002). Que Syrah, Syrah
- Salmon, Felix, Reuters.com (May 18, 2010). Should wine writers be experts?