Wine and spirits expert Becky Sue Epstein is an experienced editor, broadcaster and consultant in the fields of wine, spirits, food and travel. Currently based in New England, she holds several positions requiring a substantial amount of (mainly enjoyable) worldwide wine- and spirits-related travel.

In between trips, tastings and events, Epstein writes books. Her award-winning cookbook The American Lighthouse Cookbook (Sourcebooks/Cumberland, co-written with Chef Ed Jackson) came out last year. Her second book is an entirely new update of the classic kitchen reference Substituting Ingredients (Sourcebooks June 2010) which is already in its third printing.

Her latest book is Champagne:A Global History (Reaktion, September 2011) which includes sparkling wines from around the world; available in print and ebook formats.

Latest Articles

Follow me in my travels

Once Upon a Time in a Chianti Castle
Once upon a time…That’s how all stories about castles should begin. In this case, though, it’s about a winery castle – Castello Monsanto. So instead of “once upon a time” it’s “one day recently” I was invited to lunch with Laura Bianchi, one of the members of the family that bought the 18th century Castello Monsanto about 50 years ago. She was in the US to show her wines, which range in price from $14.99 to $52.99. After tasting, I found I liked them all. In any lineup, it’s tempting to lean toward the more expensive wines – or go countersnob and declare you love only the least expensive. But these were fairly equal in likeability for me. The 2010… Read more
How to use Your Holiday Gift Card: Two Great Accessories for Wine Travel
If you’re taking a special bottle of wine to an event this year, you might want to invest in a VinniBag to carry it in your luggage. It’s inflatable and Made in USA! With this accessory in my wheeled bag, I successfully toted wine on and off Amtrak and around New York City for the day, before arriving at my destination. (Yes, it’s a good idea NOT to juggle wine around very much, but in my case it wasn’t a priceless Bordeaux or Burgundy.) COST: Around $25 each. PRO: Cradled wine bottle well and did not leak; great for a really special bottle of wine CON: Rather large thing to fit into a suitcase Wineskin is a re-sealable bubble-pack made… Read more
3 Vodka Taste Test from Chopin: very smooth over all
When Chopin Vodka from Poland became widely available in the US, it was the first time I’d had a potato vodka I liked. Because it had been some years since I’d really considered Chopin, I was interested when I heard they had a created a tasting kit which offered not only their traditional potato vodka, but also their wheat vodka and their rye. Each one is very smooth, but with marked differences in aromas and flavors. Chopin’s black-topped potato vodka is the most neutral, with a slowly evolving flavor tinged with sweat pear and honey – on the whole a rounder flavor – with a mildly forceful alcohol finish. The gold-capped Chopin wheat vodka was the least appealing at first,… Read more