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Welcoming Christy Frank as Columnist to Wine Review Online
By Michael Franz
Sep 16, 2021
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It is with great pleasure that I write to welcome Christy Frank to the ranks of WRO wine columnists.  As you’ll learn, Christy is an outstanding writer – quick, clear, and funny, but also deeply knowledgeable.

The attributes on either side of that last comma – funny and deeply knowledgeable – don’t often go together.  Lots and lots of serious education tends to “beat the funny” out of many people, and those who dodge that beating often just start taking themselves too seriously to stay funny.  There’s no doubting the depth and extent of Christy’s education, which has yielded a B.A. from Cornell, a Master of Economics in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from Columbia, plus a Diploma from WSET and certification as an Advanced Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Yikes.  

Book learnin’ is what my old friends on pipeline crews back in Chicago would have called all of that, but they wouldn’t have been able to dismiss Christy on that score, as her education has been leavened by lots of practical experience in the wine trade.  She started in retail in a wine shop in Boston, then shifted to high-level work as a senior brand manager with Möet Hennessy USA and one of its superb earlier incarnations, Schieffelin & Somerset, which was a phenomenal company when I was breaking into wine writing.  She worked on both wine and spirits brands in those years…some of the world’s most famous and successful.

Enviable as that job was, Christy had been envisioning a wine shop in her mind for years, refining the concept during visits to vast numbers of shops as a trade member and avid consumer and learner.  The evolved idea took shape in Frankly Wines, a shop in lower Manhattan that she opened in 2007 with a strong focus on wines from the Southern Hemisphere.  It earned recognition as one of New York’s best shops by publications including the Financial Times, GrubStreet, Wine-Searcher and the New York Times.

Christy sold that shop in 2017, shifting to work on behalf of DNS wines, an importing company focused predominantly on European wines while also devoting time to her own consulting venture, Glass Half Full Consulting.  She undertook a wide range of tasks in this latter capacity, assisting wine shops during their launch phase or revivifying established ones, but also working for restaurants on their wine lists and staff training.  Christy also developed marketing plans for entities as dissimilar as a luxury goods company and a natural wine newsletter, and somehow found time to launch a canned cocktail brand, Hamlet Hound, during all of this.  Oh, and she worked for Wine Australia for three years as Education Development Manager, which shows how comprehensively she has been engaged with almost every facet of the global wine trade from production through importation, distribution and sales (both on- and off-premise), and extending to the cultivation and education of consumers.

But there’s more.  Christy was writing and tasting during all of this, contributing pieces for multiple outlets as and participating on the tasting panels for the New York Times and Wine & Spirits Magazine.  She also began work back in 2015 (before she sold Frankly Wines) as the consulting wine buyer and marketing director for yet another retail shop, Copake Wine Works up in the Hudson Valley / Berkshires area, and remains heavily engaged in that venture though she still lives in New York City, while raising three kids.

Sheer exhaustion can “beat the funny” out of someone just as surely as loads of serious education or the pretentiousness that often accompanies accomplishment.  For these reasons, it isn’t easy to understand how Christy has maintained the humor you’ll find in her first column for WRO this week, or how she manages to interweave so much information with so much fun.

Those who know me on the professor side of my life are aware that I’ve got a theory about everything, at least provisionally, so let me try this one on you:  I know lots of really smart people who aren’t funny, but I don’t know anybody who is really funny who isn’t also smart.  My guess about Christy is that her light and funny side is part of her foundation, a part that has simply proved too resilient for any of her educational or occupational attainments to weigh down.

I believe her first column will corroborate my hypothesis, but please have a look for yourself.  Roughly half of her future columns will offer insights for consumers into the workings of the wine trade, with the other half likely being dispersed across her very wide range of interests.  

Welcome aboard, Christy…all of us at WRO look forward to the ride ahead!