Hawk Wakawaka: Philosophy, Writing, Wine

The Venn Diagram Of Me

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Gandhi

Blessed with travel, and a wealth of in-depth time with vintners from around the world, Elaine Chukan Brown uses WakawakaWineReviews.com to share more of the story. She serves as the American Specialist for JancisRobinson.com, and a contributing writer for Wine & Spirits. Her work is regularly featured in World of Fine Wine, serving as the cover story in two of the four issues for 2015, and appears in Alquimie, Men’s Healthas well as the 4th edition of the Oxford Companion to Wineamong others. As a featured guest, she has spoken about wine around the country including the UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Program, and the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) Grand Seminar. She is known for having created illustrated wine-tasting notes, which have been described by @KermitLynchWine as “a new standard in wine reviews.”

In 2015 she was awarded the Frank Prial Fellowship for the Napa Valley Wine Writer Symposium. She was named by Imbibe Magazine as a 2014 Imbibe 75 “Person to Watch,” a Grape Collective 2014 Top-25 person to follow on Instagram, and a finalist for the Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Awards in both 2014 and 2015. Her work at Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews has been recommended numerous times by The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times as well as in Food & Wine Magazine, The Washington Post, Portland Times, and The Daily Beast, and has been repeatedly named one of the most influential wine blogs in the world. She has also been a finalist for eight Wine Blog Awards in four years.

Brown’s previous work as an academic philosopher informs her views of wine, and people. She brings the rigor, thoroughness, and clarity demanded of her previous career forward to her work with wine. In traveling wine regions, and interviewing people in wine, her primary goal is always to witness the life in front of her, be it in the person or the glass.

Elaine previously served as Dartmouth College’s Charles A Eastman Fellow, a McGill University Tomlinson Fellow, Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s Student of the Year, and others. As a philosopher and poet she has presented at conferences in Russia, Czech Republic, Canada, and throughout the United States. Her academic work has been published by both Cambridge Scholarly Press, and Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, among others.

She began life through her 20s as a commercial salmon fisherman in Bristol Bay, Alaska, where her family still operate their businesses. However, her favorite job has been as a volunteer animal trainer and ranch hand working with camels and other exotics for River’s Crest Dragon Slayer’s in Aptos, California. Elaine, her daughter, Rachel, and their pets currently live in Sonoma, California.

Cheers! Live Sincerely.



  1. Hi Elaine

    Your reviews make a refreshing change from stuffy points based ratings and one dimensional wine descriptions. Keep up the good work.


    Dr Miles Thomas
    London UK

    • Hi Miles,

      I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here, and for sharing your perspective on my wine comics. I’m so glad you enjoy them.

      I look forward to investigating your site Winepsych.com too.
      Thank you!

  2. Elaine,

    Hi, my name is Justin and I am the winemaker for StoneCap wines. When you reviewed our Syrah it was my first experience with your website and I must say it is pretty interesting. I like the way you are approaching wine reviews and making them informative but easy to understand, I think you are right when you say the “comic book” aspect allows you to better explain what some people see as complicated or stuffy when discussing what a wine tastes or smells like and putting it in a format that is not intimidating. Anyway I am glad you enjoyed the StoneCap Syrah, I would like to mention that we are using a composite cork on this project that is only good for 3 years so this is not the wine to put in your cellar rather something to be enjoyed now. The vineyard I work with on these wines has lots of age ability potential it is just not where we are going with these wines, you can check out Goose Ridge wines to see what we are doing with these grapes to make a wine that has more cellar potential.
    Thanks for the write up and best of luck.

    Justin Michaud

    • Hi Justin,

      I’m happy to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to write, and for your perspective on the wine comics and reviews. I’ve added a post edit with your note about the bottling choices and aging potential of Stone Cap and Goose Ridge wines to the bottom of the review of your Syrah so that readers can see your advice there directly. I appreciate you taking the time to write, and share this important information with us!


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