What Ever Happened to Dorothy J. Gaiter & John Brecher?

After 579 columns on wine and with two visiting children, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher are 'just kind of enjoying the holidays.'

It’s been a year ago today since we lost Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher. No they didn’t die, but the wine community did lose two of the most respected wine writers in the industry.

Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher ended their column on December 26th 2009 and parted ways with the newspaper after 12 years, the husband-and-wife team announced their departure at the end of their Christmas Day article.

"This is our 579th and last ‘Tastings’ column. The past 12 years — a full case! — have been a joy, not because of the wine but because we had an opportunity to meet so many of you, both in person and virtually," they wrote.

The couple as well as writing their wine column, also wrote three books on the subject, one of which was "The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine" in 2002, in which they described how their relationship began:

"We met and fell in love on June 4, 1973, the day both of us began working as reporters at the Miami Herald. We’d both just finished college — Dorothy at the University of Missouri, John at Columbia — and we were both twenty-one years old.

"We fell in love with wine soon after that. Neither of us grew up in families where wine was served at meals, so we started at the bottom, learning by drinking inexpensive wine and reading books. In the late 1970s, we began taking notes on our wines and saving labels so we could relive some of our experiences (‘Oh, yeah, remember that Chardonnay?’)

"Wine, for us, has never been an end in itself, but just one part of a good life. We remember good times and bad through the wines we were sharing during that period. . . . We’ve been serious, hard-working journalists our whole lives. John was City Editor of the Miami Herald, a foreign writer for Newsweek, and Page One editor of the Wall Street Journal for seven years. Dottie was an editorial writer and columnist for the Miami Herald, a reporter for the New York Times, and a national reporter and editor covering issues of race for the Wall Street Journal for a decade.”

Gaiter and Brecher were also the minds behind annual "Open That Bottle Night" (OTBN), which encourages their readers to open a bottle that they have been saving that has “symbolic significance” , and then share their stories.  The event is always scheduled for the last Saturday in February.

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher will be missed, they wrote about wine in a user-friendly format and I sincerely appreciated their advice to their readers to “always try something new”.

I’ll leave you with their a great quote from their last column;

“Here’s the bottom line: Wine isn’t a spectator sport. It’s utterly intimate. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should like, including us. Try wines broadly—there have never been so many good ones, at all prices, on shelves—and keep raising your personal bar for what is truly memorable, so that you are always looking for the next wine that will touch your soul and make you feel you’ve gone someplace you’ve never been before. It’s not about delicious wines. It’s about delicious experiences. May your life be filled with them”


Click here for Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher’s final column.


  • March 23, 2012


    It has been just over 2 years since they left the journal and I haven’t missed them at all. For the last 3 years that they were with the WSJ it felt like Open that Bottle Night was all they could write about.

  • March 25, 2012

    Kris Chislett


  • July 7, 2012


    I strongly disagree, but to each their own, I guess.

  • June 27, 2013


    I miss them a lot. They were in stark contrast to the elite, snobby, snooty wine writers who replaced them.

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