The Eating Our Words 100: Denman Moody, Author of The Advanced Oenophile
Photo by Carla Soriano
Eating Our Words has embarked on a project to profile 100 Houston culinarians of all fields, practices, careers and backgrounds. This isn't a Best of Houston list, it's not a 100 Favorites list and it's not in any particular order. Instead, the Eating Our Words 100 is a way to introduce our readers to some of the most notable people behind Houston's exciting and deep-rooted culinary culture. Twice a week, we'll explore a new culinarian's work, his or her inspiration and what makes Houston a perfect home.
What he does: Talk about wine and write about wine. Denman Moody started writing in January 1978 -- "six months before Robert Parker started writing about wine," he proudly mentions. He circulated his Moody's Wine Review newsletter from 1978 to 1983, after which he sold his mailing list to International Wine Review in New York, "with one condition, and that was that I would stay on as Contributing Editor in Rare Wine," he adds. He did this until 1990, when that company sold out to Wine and Spirits. He occasionally wrote articles for Wine and Spirits, and from then until today has published somewhere between 300 and 400 articles about wine, in magazines worldwide. Since March of 2010, he has written a monthly wine article for Houston Lifestyles & Homes.
In March, he published his first book, The Advanced Oenophile, "which has already received seven positive reviews, locally and nationally," he says with a grin on his face. He prefaces his description of the book by defining "oenophile": a wine connoisseur and lover. He says that if you read his book a couple of times, you will become a oenophile, because there are 34 years worth of knowledge -- "a lot of good stuff, a lot of unusual stuff" -- that he says has not been published in very many places.
As if promoting his self-published book were not enough work, Moody is quite active in Houston's wine world. Just this month, he has helped with several charitable events' wine auctions, various wine seminars, and a wide variety of special public and private events. A lot of his events entail creating food and wine pairings, which he says is the most fun of all.
Why he likes it: "It's almost as if you would have asked me -- when I was single -- why I liked girls. I mean, I don't know...God made me like wine." [laughs]
What inspires him: "A lot of my friends have the palate [for wine], but no passion. A lot of them have the passion, but no palate. I have the palate and the passion. English was my favorite subject, so I am a writer. And I love wine. So, I write about wine. I had things inside me that just needed to come out!"
If not this, then what: Professionally: "I've had about six different professions, so I don't need another profession" [chuckles]. "But I would like to be on a couple of boards, as those professions have given me experience in many different areas." Regarding his hobbies, he says, "I love reading, I am very inquisitive. I try to keep up with a lot of different subjects. I also love to exercise -- I am a certified kettle bell trainer. I do the kettle bells."
If not here, then where? Moody was born in Houston, and his wife Marijo moved here when she was two or three, so they have both been in Houston all of their lives. "I don't really have a place like Hawaii, Napa or Colorado that I'd like to move to. I like to visit them but not live there. My wife and I have so many friends here, so many people we know from our childhood. We love Houston."
What's next? Getting the word out about his book, on a national level. Since he self-published his book and doesn't have an agent, his book has only gotten limited exposure nationwide. Figuring out how to change that is his next project.
The Eating...Our Words 100:
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