Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher
Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, long-time top journalists at some of America’s leading newspapers, wrote “Tastings,” the weekly wine column of The Wall Street Journal, for 12 years. The column was originated by them in March 1998 with the initial issue of Weekend Journal. They are also authors of four books about wine, including “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine: New and Improved,” “Wine for Every Day and Every Occasion: Red, White and Bubbly to Celebrate the Joy of Living,” and their memoir, “Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes From a Marriage.”
A native of Red Bank, N.J., Ms. Gaiter grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Tallahassee, Fla., where her father taught at Florida A&M University and her mother was a school teacher. Ms. Gaiter earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia, which in 2010 awarded her its Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. She was a founding editor there of the black students’ newspaper, Blackout, and had internships at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, the Evening Independent in St. Petersburg and the Capitol Canon, a Tallahassee weekly.
Ms. Gaiter and Mr. Brecher met and fell in love on June 4, 1973, the day they started work as Miami Herald reporters, marrying in 1979. In later years, Ms. Gaiter was a reporter at The New York Times, The Miami Herald’s first black woman editorial writer and regular Op-Ed columnist, an editor at the now- defunct Miami News, and a reporter and editor at the Journal covering race. The Journal twice nominated her work for the Pultizer Prize. In 1998, she was the news editor for urban affairs when asked to also write the “Tastings” column with Mr. Brecher. They became full-time wine writers in 2000.
Mr. Brecher, who grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., earned a bachelor's degree from Columbia College of Columbia University. While at Columbia, he was editor-in-chief of the Daily Spectator and an intern in The Wall Street Journal's Cleveland bureau. Following graduation, he joined The Miami Herald, where he held various editing positions. In 1980, the couple moved to New York and Mr. Brecher became an editor in Newsweek’s foreign and business news departments. In 1984, The Miami Herald lured the couple back to Miami, making Mr. Brecher, at the time, the youngest city editor in its history. In 1989, it named him assistant managing editor. In 1990, the couple returned to Manhattan to join The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Brecher was the Journal’s Page One editor from November 1992 until March 2000, when the wine column required his full attention. While Page One editor, he was responsible for all articles and columns on the front page. During that time, the Journal won seven Pulitzer Prizes for articles that appeared on page one, an unprecedented streak for the newspaper.
Ms. Gaiter and Mr. Brecher are well-known from television appearances on Martha Stewart Living, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, Today (for which they selected and uncorked the wine for the show’s 50th-anniversary), Fresh Air with Terry Gross on National Public Radio, and other radio and TV shows. They are also well-known for creating “Open That Bottle Night,” an event on the last Saturday of February during which people worldwide finally uncork that wine that is always too special to open and celebrate the memories that come with it. OTBN was a subject on Jeopardy! in 2005. The Journal nominated Tastings for a Pulitzer Prize. In 2009, after writing Tastings for 12 years, the couple retired from the Journal and became the editors of France Magazine’s A La Carte section, where Ms. Gaiter remains. Mr. Brecher became an editor at large at Bloomberg News last year.
They live in Manhattan and have two daughters: Media, a Teen Vogue fashion news assistant and sometime model, and Zoë, a drummer who will be graduating from Skidmore College this month as a music major.