Kathleen Burk was born and raised in California and as the daughter of a grape farmer she has wine in her bones. Whilst at the University of California at Berkeley, she travelled around Napa Valley tasting wine, riding pillion on a 750cc motorcycle. At Oxford she discovered European wines, to which she is devoted.
She has achieved a Diploma in Wine and Spirits; this is the level just below that of the Master of Wine, of which there are about 250 in the world. She writes for The World of Fine Wine, the leading magazine for those interested in both its culture and taste, and is a judge for the International Wine and Spirits Competition. She is the Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London. Her newest book is Old World, New World: the Story of Britain and America.