Meg Houston Maker - Writer and Editor, Founder of Terroir Review (USA)
Years in the industry:
I’ve been writing about wine, food, and terroir for about eleven years. I contribute to consumer and trade publications, and I’ve helped launch three wine magazines in addition to my own site, Terroir Review. I work as a critic, judge, speaker, and educator, and spent two years as consumer marketing director for Bonny Doon Vineyard. I’m currently venturing into photo and video storytelling, and am working on a film about heritage cider.
My interests are informed by over three decades as a devoted scratch cook, homestead gardener, amateur naturalist, and plant shepherd, so you could say I’ve been at this most of my life.
My Biggest Challenge to Wellness:
I travel often to meet with producers, taste their production, and stomp through their vineyards, fields, and cellars. My friends consider this the most glamorous job imaginable, but the international travel is exhausting, and the long days, late nights, and lengthy meals lead to numbing fatigue.
While traveling, I tend to prioritize sleep over exercise, and although spitting is utterly crucial, it’s an imperfect solution when tasting hundreds of wines over several days. It all adds up. By the end of a tour I’m sluggish and out of balance — and then I need to get onto an airplane and fly back home.
It’s also hard on these research trips to get the quiet time I need to recharge my batteries and reflect on the day’s work, both of which are essential if I’m to write knowledgeably and well about people and place.
How I Keep it Together To Stay Well:
Life at home has the opposite pace. My husband and I live on three quiet rural acres in New Hampshire, where we chop our own firewood, grow our own vegetables, cook daily, and try to live a handmade life. We prefer locally grown foods and lower-alcohol wines. We almost never dine in restaurants.
To keep my energy up (and to get a solid night’s sleep), I work out every day, alternating weight training, intervals, yoga, Pilates, and cardio activities like running and stairclimbing. My enormous vegetable and flower patch has me outdoors from early spring through late fall schlepping soil and plants and making a glorious mess. Gardening fuels both body and soul.
Loving relationships with family and friends are essential. I have an amazingly supportive husband.
Critically, I find that the writing itself helps bring me into balance. Being a writer requires me to read widely, think critically, synthesize what I’m learning, and try to frame it in a way that readers can appreciate. It keeps me interdisciplinary while also deepening my compassion for others. And it gives me plenty of quiet time, a good reminder to safeguard my own solitude.