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SpeakEasy: Melanie Ofenloch, The Dallas Wine Chick

Welcome to SpeakEasy, our new series of interviews with notable bloggers. We look forward to more easygoing, insightful chats with people like Melanie Ofenloch of Dallas Wine Chick. She starts it off by talking about her first blog post, the rise in the quality of wine at her company's functions, Texas wine, and where in Dallas to splurge on a meal along with a more casual recommendation.

When did you start Dallas Wine Chick, and do you remember what your first post was about? No cheating! OK, if you don’t remember, go back and look. Tell me what you think of it today.

It’s funny. I started the blog because of Twitter. I was working for a large marketing agency and thought I should figure out this little social media platform. I started out talking about marketing but I bored myself to death. I began talking about wine and the interaction grew. I told my husband when I hit 1,600 followers that I’d start the blog. (Today I’m over 7,000.)

I would have declared without pause that the anniversary of the blog was February 1, 2010. I followed up with a post on the exact date of what I thought was my four year anniversary last month. But, being a fact-checker and because you asked, I went back and realized I’d actually started the blog a month earlier.

Tell me about your full-time job. Has being a wine blogger helped you in your career in some manner great or small?

I am the chief marketing officer for an energy software company. Ironically, when I was interviewing with the CEO, he found a very small reference on my resume (buried at the bottom of page two). His comment: “My wife follows your blog.” Score!

My co-workers have come to enjoy the many Wine Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday events we hold to taste wine samples. And the quality of wine at our company functions has risen exponentially.

Let’s pretend I just won the lottery (Yay!) and I’m flying to Dallas to take you out to dinner (Sweet!). Where would we go for the ultimate in food and wine?

We would go to Urbano, one of my favorite BYOB gourmet restaurants. I’d bring something special from my cellar and we’d eat like kings in Dallas’s undiscovered gem.

OK, more realistically, I’m in Dallas but we’re going to go to a casual place to enjoy some wine. What’s a favorite, go-to spot with great wines by the glass?

Veritas, one of the neighborhood wine bars in Dallas. It was formed by two lawyers who wanted a cool place to get a glass of wine. Very cool urban vibe, great people and a by-the-glass list that stretches Dallasites to try something new.

What wines that you knew little or nothing about have you embraced because of wine blogging?

Wow—so many experiences I’ve had that I never would have had otherwise. Franciacorta. Wines from Greece, Israel, Austria—and the list goes on and on. That’s the joy of wine.

Should Texas wine be on my radar? What should I seek out?

Yes. I think Texas wines have come a very long way in just four years. Specifically I have been impressed with what my friend Benjamin Calais is doing bringing Rhône-style wines and French techniques to Texas grapes. He’s worth seeking out.

When it comes to wine people—winemakers, sommeliers, writers, and others—who has been most influential in your pursuit of wine?

I’d have to call out the Twitter wine blogging community, specifically @winebratsf, @marycressler, and @writeforwine. Actually, Jameson, you have always been encouraging and supportive, and it’s been fun to see how you’ve turned your passion into a career.

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