Writer Stuart Pigott - Biography

August 2012

Born in London into a working class family, Stuart Pigott’s first wine harvest was as a child , hanging out of his bedroom window picking Trollinger grapes growing against a nearby wall and throwing them down to waiting friends. Pigott’s first first article about wine appeared in the April 1984 issue of Decanter magazine, and he quickly distinguished himself by writing about Riesling, which at that time attracted little attention in the German wine industry but would provide focus for much of Pigott’s career. In 1986 Pigott successfully completed his studies (with a BA in painting and a master’s in cultural history), and then began the uphill battle to make a living as a freelance wine journalist. In 1989, he rented a flat in Bernkastel/Mosel, one of the famous homelands of Riesling, and his studies of German wine and Germany intensified dramatically.

Pigott’s first of many German-language books, on the nation’s leading Riesling producers and their wines, was published in the autumn of 1994 and in their wake came a slew of articles in German, British, American, Japanese, Italian, and Scandinavian publications. For his trilogy of books on wine and globalization— Schöne neue Weinwelt (Brave New Wine World, 2003), Wilder Wein (Wild Wine, 2006), Wein weit weg (Wine Far Away, 2009)—he used the “gonzo” approach to writing, which was inspired by writers Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. With the help of the photographer Andreas Durst and co-authors Ursula Heinzelmann, Chandra Kurt, Manfred Lüer and Stephan Reinhardt he produced Wein spricht Deutsch (Wine Speaks German, 2007), a standard work on the wines of the German-speaking countries.

In October 2008 he studied for two semesters at the famous wine school in Geisenheim, where he learned a great deal there about wine growing and winemaking; he then participated in a practical exercise in wine-growing in the remote Tauber Valley. Christian and Simone Stahl of Winzerhof Stahl in Auernhofen/Franken loaned him 10 rows of Müller-Thurgau vines in the brutally steep Hasennest site and provided support. Pigott’s dry 2009 Müller-Thurgau was officially launched in Berlin in September 2010.

2010 and 2011 kept Pigott busy filming “Weinwunder Deutschland,” or “Wine Wonder Germany,” a 12-part television series for Bavarian Broadcasting. The first show had—what else?—Riesling as its theme. In early 2012, he filmed another six episodes is currently in New York City to promote Stuart Pigott Riesling Global.

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