Wine For Normal People



A podcast for people who like wine but not the attitude that goes with it. We talk about wine in a fun, straightforward, normal way to get you excited about it and help you drink better, more interesting stuff. Back catalog available at


  • Ep 451: Thanksgiving Wines on a Budget

    22/11/2022 Duração: 40min

    Happy Thanksgiving/Harvest Meal 2022. For this episode, we’re discussing wines that will give you great bang for your buck, pair perfectly with the meal, and impress your guests. Photo: Pumpkins & Pais! (c) Wine For Normal People These pairings are really for any traditional western meal – Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any sort of food that celebrates autumn flavors.    Here’s the list for 2022... The Welcome Wine Sparkling options: Sekt from Germany (Riesling is best), South African Cap Classique, Lambrusco Sherry: Our favorite type of Sherry is Amontillado. It’s great with nuts and generally well liked by people when they try it. Good producers: Hidalgo la Gitana, Valdespino, Lustau, Osbourne, and Bodegas Dios Baco are some great producers. Dry white wines Wines that complement a buttery, savory meal: Grillo from Sicily Pinot Blanc from Alsace Soave from Italy A blend from Lisboa (around Lisbon, Portugal) Verdejo from Spain OR More acidic whites -- better with acidic food with a lot of citrus

  • Ep 450: Aldo Vacca, Managing Director of Europe's Best Co-op, The Produttori del Barbaresco

    15/11/2022 Duração: 01h01min

    For decades, Aldo Vacca has been the Managing Director of the Produttori del Barbaresco, the best and most successful wine co-op in Europe. Through his leadership and guidance, the Produttori has taken its wines, and with it, the wines of Barbaresco beyond Piedmont in northeastern Italy, to world renown. Aldo’s job at the Produttori is not just an occupation, it is his family legacy and a professional choice he made that has benefitted all who love Nebbiolo. Photo: Aldo took a degree in Viticulture at the Torino University and worked at the prestigious University of California at Davis, after which he got one of the most coveted jobs in Piedmont – he got a job working for Gaja in 1986. But after 4 years, he realized that rather than fame and modernism, he wanted to do something that celebrated the land of Barbaresco and all it represented. He followed in the footsteps of his great grandfather and used his infinite knowledge of Nebbiolo and his skills at management and hospitality, to tran

  • Ep 449: All About Oak Barrels with Craig Holme of Tonnellerie Radoux

    08/11/2022 Duração: 45min

    This week's show is about the essential art of cooperage, or barrel making. Aussie winemaker and current US National Sales Manager for Tonnellerie Radoux, Craig Holme, takes us through how barrels are made, from forest to cellar. We discuss sustainability (Hint: the issue isn't the barrels or the trees, it's the fact that they come on container ships fully assembled, as winemakers order. Hello, carbon footprint!), how different regions look at barrels, and how barrels are a very personal thing to a winemaker. A cool look inside of an essential part of wine!     Thanks to the Patrons for their insightful questions that augmented the show! To join Patreon, click here.    Here are the show notes: 1. Craig tells us briefly about his early life in Mount Benson, South Australia where his family farmed Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. He discusses how he worked in the wine industry, working harvests around the world, and then becoming a winemaker himself. For 10 years, Craig and his wife owned a small wine brand, ca

  • Ep 448: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Terroir with Dr. Kevin Pogue, PhD, Geologist and Terroir Educator

    31/10/2022 Duração: 59min

    Dr. Kevin Pogue, PhD, professor, geologist, and terroir expert educates us on terroir. This podcast is like taking a terroir class: it debunks so many things that people spout in reference books, at wineries, and in mainstream press about the topic! He explains things brilliantly and he is one of the first people I've ever met who actually has answers to my really dorky questions about terroir.  Photo: Kevin Pogue. From As more detail, Kevin is one of the most famous people in the field of terroir. He's considered the foremost terroir expert on Washington State wine and he’s known around the world -  his work has been featured in both national and international journals. He's a licensed geologist and professor of geology at Whitman College in Walla Walla. Kevin has a doctorate in geology from Oregon State University, and decades of college teaching and research experience. He has authored books, articles, and done extensive research on the terroir of the Pacific northwest, with a good portion of

  • Ep 447: Édouard Miailhe from Château Siran Returns

    25/10/2022 Duração: 51min

    In this show we welcome back Édouard Miailhe, proprietor of Château Siran in the Margaux appellation of the Médoc (he was on Episode 391, as part of our Médoc series, discussing his role as the president of the Margaux appellation and a small bit about the Château). He joins to talk about many things that we didn’t cover in the first show, and the exciting things happening now, including the fact that Château Siran’s 2018 vintage was named the #1 wine of 2021 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine! Édouard Miailhe, owner of Château Siran, photo by Wine For Normal People After meeting Édouard in person, tasting the wines, and seeing what is happening at Siran, I agree that magazine made the right decision. Siran has some of the most vibrant energy in Bordeaux and some of the best wines. And Édouard is really just getting started.   Château Siran In addition to this, the show covers something we did not at all address in the first show: the role of the Miailhe family as discussed in the book “Wine and War” by Donald and

  • Ep 446: Côte de Beaune of Bourgogne (Burgundy), Part 2

    17/10/2022 Duração: 59min

    This week’s show covers the southern part of the Côte de Beaune, south of Meursault. In this part of the Côte de Beaune you will find some of the most famed, stunning Chardonnay on earth. We start with a recap of episode 455 to tie these two shows together. Then we work our way through the southern half of the Côte de Beaune and the most famed Chardonnays in the world from the Montrachet family of vineyards. Like the first show, this is quite a download and we try to provide a structure for understanding this study in terroir, which sets us up well to do deeper dives on other parts of Bourgogne so we can understand the villages even better.   As in the first show, we don't need much in the notes besides this wonderful map from the Vins de Bourgogne site, but I'll throw a few things down here just for recap.   Here are the show notes: We discuss the pricing of Burgundy and why wines are so expensive. We talk about the difference between Burgundy and Napa that was sparked by a conversation on Patreon. Here

  • Ep 445: Côte de Beaune of Bourgogne (Burgundy), Part 1

    11/10/2022 Duração: 01h01min

      We don't need much in the notes besides this wonderful map from the Vins de Bourgogne site, but I'll throw a few things down here just for recap.   This week’s show covers the Côte de Beaune: the southern part of Côte d’Or, the famed ‘golden slope’ of Burgundy. The Côte de Beaune lies between the villages of Ladoix-Serrigny in the north and the Maranges in the south. In the north, there is delicious Pinot Noir but, in the south, you will find some of the most famed, stunning Chardonnay on earth. The topic is so big and a bit daunting so we cover the northern half of the Côte de Beaune in this episode, laying out the details of what is in each commune. We attempt to provide a structure for understanding this very difficult and detailed topic that is really a study in terroir, mostly as a basis for future podcasts that dive deeper into these appellations.   Here are the show notes: Overview: The Côte de Beaune is about 20 – 25 km /12 or 16 miles from north to south. This region is not flat, with most grape

  • Ep 444: The Wines of Lisboa, Portugal (the wine region around Lisbon)

    04/10/2022 Duração: 32min

    This week’s show is short but extremely valuable! We tell you about one of the best value regions in the wine world: Lisboa, the area around Lisbon in Portugal.   Although it has extensive hills and regional variation in climate, the real action is less in the smaller DOCs (Denominacão de Origem Controlada) and more within the larger Lisboa IPR (Indicação de Proveniência Regulamentada or Protected Designation of Origin). Using the freedom of the larger IPR, winemakers are making spectacular blends of native and international grapes for prices that seem too good to be true.   The city of Lisbon. Photo: Pexels   The pressure is off to feel like you have to age these wines, spend a lot of money, or save these bottles for a special occasion. For less than US$10 you can often get a lovely bottle of red or white that drinks above its price point and is great for weeknight drinking.    Here are the show notes: We give an overview of the Lisboa Region Location: It’s the wine region around the capital of Portugal, Li

  • Ep 443: French-American Hybrid Grapes -- The Lowdown

    27/09/2022 Duração: 38min

    There are many parts of European and American cultures that have intermingled, some quite successfully, but the jury is still out on whether the vitis vinifera and the American vitis species have created something truly special and lasting. In this show, we break down European-American grapevine hybrids – what they are, why they are more important to the conversation today, their history, how they are made and what some of the more popular and more successful grapes are. We wrap with a conversation of the challenges these grapes face and I give my view on what I think the role of hybrids will be in the future.  Photo (c) Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences   Here are the show notes: What are hybrids? For wine purposes, hybrids are grapes created by crossing two or more vitis species – the European species of grapevine, Vitis vinifera, with any number of native North American grapes. The goal of hybrids is to select for specific, superior traits in each of the grapes to create something that will

  • Ep 442: The Greats -- Brunello di Montalcino

    20/09/2022 Duração: 48min

    In Italy’s arsenal of great wines of the world, Brunello di Montalcino may be the most coveted of all. Its small production and terroir-driven style represents the pinnacle of Sangiovese, widely considered Italy’s most famed grape. Made in the small and historic Tuscan hilltop village of Montalcino, just south of Siena, the grapes thrive in the climate and soils of this rugged area. Although the youngest of all the Italian greats, Brunello, with its rich flavors, elegant balance of acidity and tannin, and incredible ability to improve with age, is a wine that everyone should experience even if just once in their wine lives. In this show we delve into the nuances of Brunello and talk about just what makes it so special. Photo: Montalcino town & Vineyards, from Conzorzio di Brunello di Montalcino   Here are the show notes: Location: The small production zone of Montalcino is centered to the northeast of the namesake village in a wooded, hilly area with the most notable feature being Monte Amiata, the highe

  • Ep 441: Will Henry from Lumen Wines Asks -- Are Wild Vineyards the Way of the Future?

    13/09/2022 Duração: 34min

    Lumen is farming this vineyard gone wild and it's making the best Pinot Noir there is... Photo: The Wild King Vineyard, Courtesy of Lumen Be forewarned! This is a pretty dorky and technical show. Some of you say you would like to hear what wine people talk about when we’re together: here it is!   Will Henry, co-proprietor at Lumen Wines in the cool climate AVAs of Santa Barbara, returns to the show (he was on Ep 259) to tell us a story about a vineyard he happened upon that is changing his ideas about how viticulture should be approached in California.   Photo: Will Henry and Lane Tanner (not married, BTW, just business partners!) Courtesy of Lumen Will had recently purchased the Warner Henry Vineyard (named after his late father who founded the Henry Wine Group, introducing people all over the US to small, family-owned) up in the Solomon Hills of the Santa Maria Valley AVA. He was focused on that and one of his vineyard contractors mentioned an unpruned, unirrigated, and unattended vineyard that he kept pa

  • Ep 440: Jason Haas of Tablas Creek -- Regenerative agriculture, alternative packaging, & Improving the environmental footprint of wine

    06/09/2022 Duração: 59min

    Jason Haas is a Partner and the General Manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard. His late father, Robert Haas was a renowned importer who partnered with Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to scout a perfect site to grow Rhône varieties in California. They found it in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles and built one of the best wineries in California. Jason Haas of Tablas Creek. Photo from Tablas Creek   Jason doesn’t just oversee the business, winemaking, and sales and marketing operations, he also is actively involved in the Rhone Rangers (they promote Rhone varieties in California), the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Family Winemakers of California, and he is a talented and prolific writer. His clear and educational writing has been published in many wine publications as well as the award-winning Tablas Creek blog.      Jason is a big advocate for Paso Robles but also a passionate champion of more sustainable, earth-friendly solutions in the wine industry. He is a pioneer of the regenerative organi

  • Ep 439: Gamay All Day with Serge Doré (AKA, Serge talks about Beaujolais!)

    30/08/2022 Duração: 43min

    Another energetic, entertaining show with Serge!   Serge Doré with his daughter Gabriele. Photo: JoAnn Actis-Grande Portsmouth Herald Serge Doré, importer of French wine (and American via Quebec…he’s a man of many identities and a worldliness we can only aspire to!) and popular podcast favorite, joins us to talk about Beaujolais, one of his favorite regions. Like all the French regions with which he works, Serge has seen the ups and downs of Beaujolais and has stuck around through a lot in working with the producers here. In the show, Serge takes us through the evolution of the region. He details the rise and fall of the Beaujolais Nouveau craze, the aftermath, and the outstanding recent history of the region. He shares stories of producers he imports and gives us inside dirt.   Here are the topics we cover: Serge began working in Beaujolais in 1979. He tells us about the region then and what it was like to meet the famed Georges Duboeuf and learn about Beaujolais from him.  We discuss the phenomenon of B

  • Ep 438: The Grape Miniseries -- País

    23/08/2022 Duração: 42min

    País, known as Criolla Chica in Argentina, and Mission in the US,  was brought by the Spanish conquistadores and was South America’s most planted grape for centuries until an economic boom in Chile and waves of migration in Argentina brought new and interesting grapes to these nations. Argentina has plantings of the grape, California now barely any, so Chile is the epicenter of the grape, where it is thought of as the locals’ grape – something low quality and common that has been around forever but has never made more than cheap, bulk wine or wine for local consumption.  País (a.k.a., Criolla Chica or Mission), "Mission Grapes" by Hey Fritters is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.   But in 2007, the 200+ year old vines caught the attention of Europeans who were making wine in Chile and they began experimenting. The grape was made into sparkling wine and then into funky natural wines, which gained a following in France and in the capital city of Chile, Santiago. Today, there is revived interest in this grape, and it

  • Ep 437: Tom Wark on the history of US alcohol law, recent threats to wine shipping & how Prohibition altered cultural views of wine

    16/08/2022 Duração: 53min

    Tom Wark is a wine writer, wine public relations company owner (Wark Communications), and our trusted resource for figuring out what is going on with the US wine industry and how it affects us, as wine drinkers. In his role as the executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers, he manages and helps direct lobbying, litigation, and membership strategy and management for the retailers in the US and in that role has really helped dissect and expose some of the logistical and really cultural issues around wine in the US. He is the author of “Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog”.   Photo: Tom Wark. Source: "Fermentation Blog"   In this show we discuss a variety of topics, including the recent threat to US interstate wine shipping from the Uniform Law Commission. The bulk of our conversation revolves around the historical legacy of alcohol Prohibition in the US and the damage it caused to the way alcohol is sold, marketing and viewed in the United States.   Our main topics for the show: The latest

  • Ep 436: Wine Faults -- what are they, how to spot them, and what to do about them

    02/08/2022 Duração: 52min

    Wine is a product of nature, human intervention, chemistry, and it’s subject to many outside influences – storage, transport, handling – that can do a number on what’s inside the bottle. In this episode, we cover the main things that could go wrong with wine, how they got there, and what to do about it (where possible)! Photo: Pixabay Shout out to Jamie Goode, the outstanding scientist and wine writer who makes so many complex science concepts so easy to understand. Here is the link to his book, “The Science of Wine from Vine to Glass,”* from which some of the reference materials for the pod were taken. Also to “Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia,” * who (always with the humor of Tom Stevenson) brings up a number of very real faults that a lot of the mainstream wine press forget to mention (sauerkraut, anyone?). Other sources are below!   Here are the show notes: We start with defining what a flaw is in a wine, versus a taint, as defined by Jamie Goode. Then we talk about just plain old sucky wine. Flaw v Taint: F

  • Ep 435: Alternatives to a Favorite -- Pinot Noir

    26/07/2022 Duração: 40min

    Patron Serl Z asked: What are wines other than Pinot Noir for those for whom that is the only red wine they will drink? Photo: Pinot Noir grapes, Canva photos Join the conversation: Become a Patron on Patreon Pinot has so many different faces depending on where it’s grown – terroir is everything with the grape. But if we’re talking about medium-bodied, more acidic styles that are food-friendly, then this podcast answers that question!   Italy: Schiava or Teroldego from Alto Adige Bardolino or lighter styles of Valpolicella from Veneto Nebbiolo from Piedmont, alternately Grignolino, a light, acidic wine The reds of Mount Etna (Etna Rosso), Sicily Frappato, Sicily   France: Poulsard and Trousseau, the reds of the Jura region (specifically Arbois, which is often blended in with Pinot) Gamay from Beaujolais – Beaujolais-Village or lighter to medium styles from the Crus of Saint-Amour, Régnié, and Fleurie Reds from the Loire Valley. based on Cabernet Franc, especially St-Nicholas de Bourgeuil Côtes du

  • Ep 434: The World's Foremost Authorities on Rosé -- Elizabeth Gabay, Master of Wine, & Ben Bernheim, Co-Author

    18/07/2022 Duração: 01h13min

    Elizabeth (Liz) Gabay, Master of Wine, is the world's foremost expert on rosé and a big part of her career has been studying, writing about, and understanding rosé. Ben Bernheim, her son, is now learning from her wisdom and and is a specialist in his own right. The two of them have just completed the excellent book “Rosés of Southern France” (which is now available on Amazon for purchase. Liz is largely responsible for shifting the tide on rosé and helping people to understand that this wine is its own serious category that deserves thought, study, and consideration. In addition to the new book, Liz is the author of “Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution,” and she is also a contributor on rosé in Decanter, The Drinks Business, The Buyer, SevenFiftyDaily, Meiningers, and many more prestigious publications. Photo:   The wisdom these Liz and Ben have on the subject of rosé is vast, and they are so fun, engaging, and real, that they make it all so interesting and ac

  • Ep 433: Quinta da Raza -- Terroir, Family, & the Complex White Wines of the Vinho Verde Region of Portugal

    12/07/2022 Duração: 49min

    Vinho Verde, the DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) Region, has made wine since Roman times. This region is one of the largest DOCs in Europe but within its boundaries there are vast differences between the nine sub regions. In this show,  Mafalda Teixeira Coelho, co-owner of Quinta da Raza and Pedro Campos, winemaker clear up a lot of the misconceptions about Vinho Verde. We learn about the terroir of this old and complex region, the various subregions, and how serious, and sometimes ageworthy wine is being produced here.   Photo: Mafalda Teixeira Coelho, co-owner of Quinta da Raza and Pedro Campos, winemaker (c)Wine For Normal People  In September 2021, I visited the region and I just loved the wines of Quinta da Raza, I adored Mafalda and Pedro, and I thought they were perfect representatives to tell us about their corner of this big region, in Basto, and what they are capable of making in this unique terroir.   Here’s what we discuss in the show: The diversity of Vinho Verde, it’s 9 sub regions and

  • Ep 432: Agroforestry -- An Answer to Wine's Biggest Environmental Challenges with Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier of Château Anthonic in Moulis-en-Médoc

    05/07/2022 Duração: 57min

    Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier of Château Anthonic in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation on the Left Bank of Bordeaux is revolutionizing the entire Médoc with a novel approach to farming and adapting to climate change: Agroforestry. This show talks about the practice and the unbelievable results that can be achieved by farming in this way. It will inspire hope that there is a future for viticulture, even in areas where there is great climate change.   Photo: Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier Château Anthonic Château Anthonic is in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation on the Left Bank of Bordeaux. It is owned and operated by Jean-Baptiste and Nathalie Cordonnier. They make very classically styled, delicious (and relatively low alcohol) red wine from mainly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Château Anthonic Since 2016, Jean-Baptiste and his team have practiced agroforestry –trying to mimic the soils and conditions of the forest to enrich soil health and encou

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