We seem to be entering a new era in The Cork Report’s history and I couldn’t happier about it.

When I retired the New York Cork Report in late 2016, I wanted to get back to basics. I wanted to expand my coverage beyond New York, yes, but I wanted to get back to this being my blog (with Todd’s help of course). I felt like I wasn’t doing a very good job managing the team of writers over there and that they deserved better.

The Cork Report may have started off as just me and Todd, but it’s grown again. I’ve come to realize that the real value of this site and of everything I do related to wine is the community of interesting and interested wine lovers – writers or not – that has grown around it. This tribe is a loyal one and it’s a wonderful one.

Our newest contributor, Valerie Kathawala, and I found one another via Instagram. She’s given me some great restaurant and wine bar recommendations in New York City. We’ve even been in the same room at NY Drinks NY this year. But we haven’t met. I think that sums up how life today can be in the social media-driven world of wine.

Anyway, when she reached out to me earlier this week – via Instagram of course – with a story idea that she wanted to write for The Cork Report, I wasn’t going to say no. Valerie isn’t the kind of writer you pass on working with.

She’s based in New York City and brings a focus on the wines of Germany, Austria, and northern Italy and a particular interest in biodynamics to the Cork Report. How does that all fit together, you ask? By factoring in her fascination with riesling, blaufränkisch, teroldego, lagrein and zweigelt — established and increasingly important varieties for American cool-climate producers — and her sense that ever more East Coast growers are finding ways to farm holistically.

Valerie is also convinced that understanding the wines of your own extended backyard is as essential as studying the Old World regions you have crushes on.

Valerie’s recent work has been featured in the print journal Pipette as well as on WineFolly, The Vintner Project, and Grape Collective, where she is a regular contributor. She is WSET 3 certified, at work on WSG Italian Wine Scholar training, and has hands-on winemaking experience in various capacities in the Finger Lakes.

She lives with her husband and three children in Manhattan.

You can follow her explorations on Instagram @valkatnyc

Please join me in welcoming her to the team.

About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded NewYorkCorkReport.com in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched TheCorkReport.us in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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