Michael Steinberger

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Michael Steinberger is an American author and journalist, and was the wine columnist of the internet magazine Slate from 2002 to 2011.[1] He has been described as "one of the greatest wine writers on the planet",[2] and to possess a "blessedly trustworthy voice and palate".[3] Steinberger has himself stated his palate is Euro-centric, having been cultivated on French wine, with the wine from Bordeaux and Burgundy being his "touchstones".[4] He currently resides in Hockessin, Delaware with his wife and two kids.


Steinberger has previously worked as a Hong Kong correspondent for Maclean's.[5] He has also contributed to publications such as The New York Times,[6][7] Saveur, Financial Times,[8] The Economist, Food & Wine,[9] New York Magazine, Wine Spectator,[10] The World of Fine Wine,[11] and Sommelier Journal.[12] Steinberger's Slate column that had run since June, 2002 was terminated as a result of layoffs by Slate parent company The Washington Post Company in August, 2011.[1][13]

Steinberger's book Au Revoir to All That was published in June, 2009.


One of Steinberger's articles published by Slate in 2002, "Grape Rot: The New Wine Spectator's Distinct Aroma of Fishiness",[14] led to a harsh response by Wine Spectator executive editor Tom Matthews. Steinberger's articles were no longer published in Wine Spectator after the article, and Matthews demanded a retraction of the article, while recommending that Slate "no longer accept Steinberger's unprofessional and potentially libelous contributions".

An article that revealed Steinberger's distaste for the Sauvignon blanc grape, "White Lies: Why Sauvignon Blanc is Overrated",[15] was widely met with surprise by the wine writers' community.[16][17]

In a Slate article titled "Change We Can Taste", written concerning an interview with White House food and beverage operations usher Daniel Shanks published on Bloomberg.com,[18] Steinberger called for a new "wine policy" for the Obama presidency.[19] Coining the term "Shafer-gate", in reference to the serving of bottles of "extravagant" 2003 Shafer Hillside Select, costing around $250 a bottle, at a November 2008 emergency economic summit, the article described the Bush era tactics of "shock and awe" in terms of wine policy, achieved with what Steinberger calls "fruit bombs"; he wrote that the White House wine service had been "hostage to a profoundly misguided strategy", and pointed to Obama's opportunity "to act swiftly and boldly on the wine front".[19] When the article was described by Decanter.com to have "slammed the White House wine policy",[20] its contents were quoted and reiterated without any element of satire.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Colman, Tyler, drvino.com (August 25, 2011). The budgetary ax cuts Slate’s wine column
  2. ^ Colman, Tyler, drvino.com (February 14, 2008). "Great wine, great writing: the 1947 Cheval Blanc and Mike Steinberger". 
  3. ^ Feiring, Alison, alicefeiring.com (April 8, 2008). "Michael Steinberger on the Future (of wine writing)". Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. 
  4. ^ Steinberger, Mike, The Washington Post (June 19, 2008). Discussions: Fine Wines, and Wines That Are Fine
  5. ^ Booklounge.ca Author spotlight: Michael Steinberger
  6. ^ Steinberger, Michael, The New York Times (October 22, 2006). "Drinking Deeply". 
  7. ^ Steinberger, Michael, The New York Times (November 4, 2007). "What Would Bacchus Do?". 
  8. ^ Steinberger, Mike, Financial Times (August 8, 2003). "New voice on the grapevine". 
  9. ^ Steinberger, Michael, Food & Wine (February 2007). "Become a Wine Expert in 28 Days". 
  10. ^ Steinberger, Michael, Wine Spectator (October 15, 2002). "Triumph at Taillevent". 
  11. ^ Steinberger, Mike, The World of Fine Wine (March 2008). "Everyone a Critic. The Future of Wine Writing" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-19. 
  12. ^ Steinberger, Mike, Sommelier Journal (February 2009). "The Ultimate Service of a Sommelier May Be Through Education". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. 
  13. ^ Hagey, Keach, Politico.com (August 24, 2011). Slate lays off four, including Jack Shafer
  14. ^ Steinberger, Mike, Slate (December 26, 2002). "Grape Rot: The New Wine Spectator's Distinct Aroma of Fishiness; Wine Spectator defends its Honor". 
  15. ^ Steinberger, Mike, Slate (April 18, 2006). "White Lies: Why Sauvignon Blanc is Overrated". 
  16. ^ Asimov, Eric, The New York Times: The Pour (July 22, 2008). "Easygoing Califonians". 
  17. ^ Yarrow, Alder, Vinography.com (April 22, 2006). "Why Slander a Grape?". 
  18. ^ McCoy, Elin, Bloomberg.com (September 18, 2008). White House Wine Jeeves Picks Bottles for 'Presence'
  19. ^ a b Steinberger, Mike, Slate (January 14, 2009). "Change We Can Taste". 
  20. ^ Shaw, Lucy, Decanter.com (January 28, 2009). "Obama urged to change White House wine policy". 

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