Grape Encounters Wine Radio
Grape Encounters Wine Radio
Grape Encounters Radio
Totally delightful wine conversations!
Episode #759 – Spain’s Garnacha is Spellbinding!  Could it be That Nearby Village of Witches?
Welcome to the second week of an exhilarating journey through the captivating world of Garnacha wines in Northern Spain! This multi-week exploration has been meticulously crafted to delve deep into the heart of Garnacha, a wine varietal that remains unjustly overlooked despite consistently ranking among the world's top wine producers. How can something so prolific remain shrouded in mystery and underappreciated, you may wonder? The answer lies in Garnacha, or Grenache, as it is more globally recognized, being a key player in the art of wine blending, harmonizing effortlessly with varietals like Syrah and Mourvèdre, and conjuring magic with each partnership. For those acquainted with French wines, Châteauneuf-du-Pape springs to mind—a paragon of class and elegance in wine blends, primarily composed of Garnacha, along with a select assortment of grapes, including the aforementioned Syrah and Mourvèdre. Host David Wilson is given the key to the beloved underground wine museum. Meanwhile, in Spain, an exciting transformation is occurring within the wine realm. A new generation of winemakers has turned its spotlight on Garnacha as a solo act, garnering attention like never before. In Spain, massive co-operatives have evolved since the 1940s, with countless growers adhering to rigorous standards to cultivate some of the world's finest grapes. At the heart of these co-operatives, you'll find exceptional winemaking facilities producing an array of truly remarkable wines from this collective effort. This is the epitome of communal dedication. While Garnacha has a storied history spanning centuries, recent endeavors to raise awareness are finally bearing fruit, ushering in Garnacha's finest hour. An organization deeply committed to elevating Garnacha to its rightful prominence is Asociación Origen Garnacha. Under the leadership of Carolina de Funes, Grape Encounters embarked on an unforgettable journey to the heart of what is affectionately known as "Garnacha Land," providing a ringside seat and a bird's-eye view into the creation of one of Spain's most cherished wines. This expedition pushed the limits of Grape Encounters Radio, taking them on a challenging adventure. While the exact kilometers covered were not tallied, it's safe to say that the efficiency of Italian cars was a blessing! Their day commenced at Bodegas Aragonesas, where they were warmly received by remarkable individuals like David Jimeno and Ana Chueca, the export managers of the company. Bodegas Aragonesas proudly represents wines from two cooperatives. Remarkably, in a town with a population of merely 750, 400 residents are grape growers. The day kicked off with hands-on vine pruning, followed by an enlightening deep dive into the often misunderstood world of cooperative winemaking. Understanding this model reveals the secret behind enjoying some of the world's finest wines at a fraction of the cost of American and other international wines. And, where business meetings occur, you can bet on an extensive, delectable lunch that stretches into a leisurely 2-3 hour affair. Their journey then led them to the eerie and enchanting witches' village of Trasmoz. This stop was a peculiar one for David Wilson, as he harbors an aversion to all things spooky, from things that go bump in the night to witchcraft, monsters, and even Halloween trick-or-treaters. To add to the intrigue, Trasmoz is a town excommunicated by the Spanish government. However, fear not, for David had garlic tucked away in his pocket! Arriving in Trasmoz, the setting was nothing short of cinematic—dark, gloomy, and an ideal backdrop for a Stephen King novel or film. Their hosts, Oscar and Caroline, seemed straight out of central casting for a movie set in an excommunicated witch's village in the eerie Spanish hinterlands. Perched atop a hill,
Jan 28
42 min
Episode #758 – We’ve Got Spain on the Brain as We Reveal the Magic Behind Today’s Garnachas!
For the next 30 days, we’ve got Spain on the brain as we bring you the most comprehensive look at the regions and varietals responsible for some of the most beloved wines in the world today and for many centuries in the past.  At the invitation of the Asociación Garnacha Spain, we took our microphones and unrelenting curiosity to the northeastern part of the country where Garnacha wines were not only born in a remote Priorat monastery but continue to thrive.  It often comes as quite a surprise to wine enthusiasts to learn that Garnacha, aka Grenache, holds the distinction of being one of the most widely planted and revered varietals in the world. Long heralded as the ultimate blending grape, today, Garnacha has taken on a whole new identity as a single-variety wine that can hold its own against the most epic wines on the planet, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Around the globe, people are rediscovering Garnacha. Thanks in large part to the power and influence of Spanish wine co-ops that go to great lengths to assure exceptional quality fruit and provide a means for thousands of fiercely dedicated growers to see their grapes transformed into some of the most desirable wines on the planet, there’s no doubt that Garnacha is the wine to watch. For the next three weeks, you’ll meet some of the most influential individuals and organizations that are managing Garnacha’s swiftly growing rebirth and popularity. Now, to be clear, this is a grape that has always been wildly popular; however, thanks to organizations like Asociación Garnacha Spain, these exceptional wines are finding fantastic favor with audiences that are not overly familiar with the wine's historic roots and versatility, In the final analysis, Garnacha’s distinct and delicious characteristics make it the perfect choice for those seeking something different than their standby favorites. On today’s show, we will begin our journey by visiting Scala Dei, which was a fully functional monastery until 1835.  For seven centuries, the monks there pioneered and taught farming techniques that were largely responsible for the fame earned by the wines of the Priorat. From the monastery, Grape Encounters Host David Wilson and his guide for the day, Victor Huguet, Export Area Manager for Cellers Unió, one of the region’s leading wine co-ops, will wind their way through the breathtaking, rocky landscape, to the producer’s discrete but formidable winemaking facility.  That’s where the magic happens at the hands of winemaking Guru Jordi Puxeu, whose ruggedly dashing, mysterious demeanor and bottomless barrel of winemaking lore will ensure that you never see wine, especially Garnacha, the same way again.  More importantly, you’ll most assuredly be seeing a lot more Garnacha on your table in the days to come! We’re packing a lot into the next three episodes of Grape Encounters because we believe with great confidence that once you discover today’s Garnacha, as well as some of the other remarkable varietals of northern Spain, you’ll want to join this exciting revolution in the world of wine. For millions of wine enthusiasts, today’s generation of Garnacha wines may seem like something new, but make no mistake; their historical roots run very deep indeed!
Jan 25
36 min
Episode #757 – Previewing our 3-Week Mega-Series in Garnacha Land Spain, Plus, Worldwide Flights and Hotels NOW Under $25!
Featuring Special Guest Carolina de Funes, Manager of Asociación Garnacha Spain We’re taking you to Spain’s Garnacha Land for three amazing weeks, AND we’ll also share how to get worldwide flights and accommodations for under $25!  THIS IS NOT A TYPO!  From insanely cheap off-season worldwide travel with airfares that are almost free and phenomenal equally inexpensive accommodations to a preview of our upcoming mega-series in Spain's Garnacha Land, this week's episode of Grape Encounters will have you shopping for new luggage almost immediately! There is no wine varietal that we love more than Garnacha or Grenache, and there is no place on earth that produces this varietal better than its native Garnacha Land, Spain, in the upper-eastern section of the country. There have only been a few times in the history of Grape Encounters radio that we've stretched a topic out more than two weeks, but we're going to be doing that beginning in the second half of January. Few people realize that the beloved Garnacha grape has enjoyed long stretches of history when it was more popular than even Cabernet Sauvignon… actually, more popular than anything else! And there's a reason; it's a taste that is universally beloved. Yet, despite its unparalleled appeal, wine enthusiasts sometimes forget about it.  There are two explanations for its rather low profile.  First, as a single-varietal wine, it is not as aggressively marketed as some of your other favorites.  Second, Garnacha (or Grenache, as we call it in the US) tends to be more of a team player, frequently blended with other wildly complimentary varietals like Syrah and Mourvèdre. On this week's show, we're going to tell you all about our upcoming trip to Garnacha Land, Spain, in hopes that you'll keep Grape Encounters Radio top-of-mind in the coming weeks. Joining David on the show is a very special guest from Garnacha Land; the Manager of Asociación Garnacha Spain, Carolina de Funes.  Carolina will be revealing what she and her colleagues have in store for David's truly ambitious trip, which she promises will include some pretty crazy places, including a village far off the beaten path that is not just the home of great wines but has a spine-tingling history of witchcraft that will have you eagerly anticipating storytelling time around the campfire. Be sure to bring your security blanket.  But if you think that food and wine travel just isn't in your budget, we've got some crazy news for you! We're going to show you where you can find airfares all over the world for less than $25 per person. We're also going to tell you about hotels and resorts in wildly exotic places that will provide you with first-class accommodations for around $25 a night as well! At Grape Encounters Radio, we like to take mighty good care of our listeners, and we're going to point you to adventures of a lifetime and also take you along on our biggest adventure in years... and it won't cost you one red cent to join us! Best of all, when you get back home, you can relive those wine memories that you created on the road by stopping by your Total Wine & More store! Nobody offers a bigger selection of the wines you want most at the lowest prices than Total Wine & More! Find what you love, and love what you find at Total Wine & More!  But drink responsibly, be 21!
Jan 17
36 min
Episode #756 – Why You Really Must Keep a Bottle of Port-Style Wine on Hand for Emergencies
In this episode of Grape Encounters, we invite you to step into a world where wine enthusiasts embark on a quest to elevate their wine experience… where big, bold reds that once fell short are transformed into vibrant, unforgettable delights. It's a story of courage and alchemy, where a mere teaspoon of our friend Jutta Turners's remarkable port-style wine became the catalyst for an explosion of flavor. In this episode, we'll unveil the secrets to why wine drinkers should never fear tinkering with their wine, why satisfaction is just a teaspoon away, and how a few drops of the right elixir can be a game changer for any wine lover in search of greater satisfaction. Join us as we explore the art of wine transformation, revealing how a little port-style magic can bring couples with different tastes together for an extraordinary wine journey. Our story begins in the picturesque wine country of Paso Robles, where vineyards sprawl beneath the California sun, and the Grape Encounters wine bar stands as a beacon of experimentation and creativity. It was about 12 years ago that a serendipitous discovery unfolded, changing the course of Show host and wine bar operator David Wilson's thinking about how to give wine enthusiasts greater satisfaction. One day, David found himself in the company of a customer named Gypsy, a colorful, choosy, and delightful lady, always dressed in red, whose palate longed for the bold flavors of wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, but they had to be fruit forward, or they would be deemed unacceptable.  A challenge easier said than done. Her preferences posed a sometimes frustrating challenge for David, but he was determined to make her happy. And then, it happened – the happy accident that gave birth to a new approach to customer satisfaction. One challenging evening, while failing to please Gypsy, pour after pour, David's gaze fell upon a bottle of Two Horse port-style wine crafted by MM Organics in the heart of Paso Robles. In an act of pure inspiration and desperation, he added a splash of Two Horse to Gypsy's Cabernet, magically creating a symphony of flavors that instantly ignited her senses. Two Horse had worked its magic, and a customer who was previously tough to please had become a delighted wine enthusiast. It turns out that Two Horse was more than just a wine; it was an elixir of transformation. Even a teaspoon of Two Horse could turn an ordinary bottle into an extraordinary experience when blended with other wines. It was like witnessing a garden suddenly burst into bloom after a hearty dose of Miracle-Gro. The chemistry at play was nothing short of magic. Jutta Thoerner: Bringing Old World to Paso Robles The heart and soul behind MM Organics, Jutta Thoerner, played a pivotal role in this enchanting story. Hailing from Germany, Jutta may be small in stature, but her spirit and determination are boundless. She tends her land with two mighty workhorses, embodying a deep respect for the earth and an unwavering commitment to organic practices and sustainability. But Two Horse isn't the only treasure that Jutta nurtures. Beyond the vineyards, she is also the steward of a precious walnut orchard, originally planted by Paso Robles' winemaking pioneer, Dr. Stan Hoffman. This orchard, planted during the region's early days, had fallen into disrepair. Yet, with Jutta's unyielding dedication, it came back to life like a forgotten symphony resuming its sweet melodies. Today, MM Organics produces a symphony of walnut products, ranging from delectable walnut oils to rich, irresistible chocolate-covered walnuts, sprouted walnuts, and more. These products, alongside their wines, are available on their website,, inviting you to savor the fruits of Jutta's labor and the bounty of Paso Robles. Transforming Lives Beyond the Vineyards
Jan 15
44 min
Episode #754 – Taylor Swift and Wine:  Why Her Eras Tour Should Remind Us of the 1976 Judgment of Paris
At a recent family gathering, Grape Encounters host David Wilson realized that he couldn’t keep it inside any longer. He had a secret that he hadn’t shared with either of his older brothers. As a child, he used to borrow, without permission, their record albums, sometimes at the risk of torture or worse. With a shared love of classic rock, David wondered how they would react to his confession. He broke the news to the eldest brother, Bob, first.  “Bob, there’s something that I want to confess to you, and I am not sure how you’re going to react. You might find this hard to believe,” he continued, “but I am a Swifty and proud of it!” Bob’s response was predictable. “A Swifty? What in the world is a Swifty?” With a healthy degree of trepidation, David answered the question. “A Swifty is a dedicated fan of Taylor Swift, but I doubt you even know who that is.” To David's surprise, Bob knew exactly who Taylor Swift was and responded quite unpredictably. “You know, doubt that I'm a Swifty, but from everything that I have heard and read about her, I'm pretty impressed. I can’t say I care for her music very much, but I sure do like what she's doing to spread positivity and bring people together.” It was a response that David wouldn’t have anticipated in a million years from a brother who generally hates anything to do with pop culture, modern music, and social media. Nonetheless, Brother Bob clearly recognizes what hundreds of millions of people around the world recognize: Taylor Swift is good for America and the world. And though there are many who might take grave exception to her political posture, she is seldom attacked on social media because what she brings to a sharply divided and volatile world is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. She is, quite literally, America's ambassador of goodwill, as evidenced by an impact on the American economy this year alone of more than $5 billion and a waiting list for concert tickets around the world that is sometimes in the millions. For at least the past year, Grape Encounters host David Wilson has been deeply intrigued by the Taylor Swift phenomenon, and what makes her an exceptional subject for Grape Encounters Radio is the massive amount of interest that people have in her taste in wine. It seems that everybody wants to know what is inside those wine glasses that she is often seen holding on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Given the massive influence she has on her audience, there can be little doubt that her taste in wine has the potential to significantly bolster vino sales. Every marketing executive and wine producer in the world ought to be paying close attention to that question. David recently found himself pondering a very interesting comparison between what is now the most successful concert tour in history and the most important event in American wine history: the 1976 Judgment of Paris. There is no chapter on American winemaking that had a greater positive impact on the world's impression of American, or more specifically, California wines. In this very intriguing episode of Grape Encounters Radio, David draws comparisons between these two events that, in their own ways, have generated more positivity where America is concerned than nearly any other single event that you might be able to think of. We are living in times where Americans feel hard-pressed to rally around anything as universally inspiring and joyful as the Taylor Swift happy machine or the Judgment of Paris back in 1976, which continues to be written about and dissected every single day. If you think that perhaps David is off his rocker or that this conversation is likely to be a bit of a stretch—make that a huge stretch—keep an open mind and give a listen. You might just come away with a very different point of view and some very decent and well-deserved reasons to be proud of being an Am...
Dec 23, 2023
39 min
Episode #753 – Mike Grgich Was, and Forever Will Be, Larger than Life
Winemaking legend Mike Grgich not only catapulted California Wine from the shadows to the spotlight literally overnight, but he also mentored and inspired more generations of rising star winemakers than anyone else. It’s certainly a reasonable assumption, given that Mike remained engaged in his craft for the lion’s share of a century. It’s a living legacy without peer. And though we will no longer be able to delight in his physical presence, he will undoubtedly continue to inspire winemakers and enthusiasts for countless generations to come. There’s no easy way to say goodbye to someone as beloved as Mike Grgich, so let's not. Mike will continue to be at every table where American (and especially California) wines are served, and as we enjoy these wines, our memories of Mike will surely give us much to discuss. In today’s heartfelt tribute, Host David Wilson shares several personal anecdotes and memories of his encounters with Mike Grgich, beginning with a chance meeting in Hawaii decades before David got bit by the wine bug. Many years later, David would answer his phone, expecting an oven repairman to be on the other end of the line. Nope. Instead, it was a call from out of the blue from none other than Mike Grgich, and just a few hours later, they would meet in person a second time… at a bistro in the California desert town of La Quinta, where Mike enjoyed much of the winter. In today’s tribute to Mike Grgich, we’ll reflect on a fearless 10-year-old whose father sent him away to navigate post-WWI Yugoslavia, a country in political, social, and economic disarray. Against all odds, Mike would prevail, and his journey would eventually lead him to California, where, as a promising young winemaker, he would land a job making wine for Chateau Montelena in the Napa Valley. It was there that fate would transport his wine to an obscure blind-tasting competition in France and his monumental victory at the 1976 "Judgment of Paris," Literally overnight, Mike would find himself at the epicenter of a media frenzy… completely dumbfounded by all the fuss. It was a victory that coincided with America’s Bicentennial, which made the victory particularly poignant. Mike Grgich did not just put California wine on the map; he spent most of his 100 years on Earth keeping it on the map by making himself available to wine lovers from around the world. While most people would’ve probably retired decades ago, Mike Grgich literally dedicated his life to connecting with people, and it didn’t matter whether you were a wine expert, a wine geek, a casual wine drinker, or someone who, for whatever reason, doesn’t drink wine at all. David says, “I remember the first time I sat to interview Mike. I wanted to understand the Grgich Hills brand better and Mike’s role in the company at the age of nearly 90 years. There’s a vintage train that travels up and down the Napa Valley and stops right in front of the Grgich Hills winery. The first time I ever saw Mike in his native environment, he sat in a chair near where Travelers on the train disembarked. Within seconds of the train coming to a stop, his fans surrounded Mike, and he would sit in his chair posing for pictures and giving out autographs for as long as his admirers wanted. For many, if not most, it was a highlight of their life, and even the biggest crowbar wouldn’t have been enough to separate Mike from the people who loved him and his wines. He was a rockstar. It was quite a sight to see.” Today’s tribute extends beyond personal anecdotes as David shares details from his visit to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where Mike's belongings, including his iconic beret and the suitcase he carried at age 10, are displayed. The Smithsonian was unveiling a new exhibit featuring iconic snapshots of American culture between 1950 and 2000, and they thought David might like to pay special tribute to Mike being featured in the exhibit.
Dec 20, 2023
39 min
Episode #751 – VeroVino:  One Woman’s Determination to Level the Playing Field for Exceptional, Tiny Imports
Did you know that less than 1% of wines make it to US retailers' shelves?  On this weeks edition of Grape Encounters you'll meet a wine importer, distributor and retailer who is determined to give hard-to-get imports an opportunity to show their stuff in the extraordinarily competitive American market. Vero, which means real in Italian, is all about opening up the category of small production, sustainably made, authentic wines, olive oils and foods from around the world. We curate them ourselves from farmer-artisans not yet present in the US market, and we sell them to business and consumers across the US. In doing so, we create a community of small producers, businesses, and wine and food lovers where passion is the common denominator. Sheila Donohue is the Founder and CEO of VeroVino.  A native New Yorker now residing in the California coastal community of Ventura, Sheila lived in Bologna, Italy for 20 years. After becoming a sommelier and getting to know hundreds of smaller producers with great tasting authentic products, but mainly unknown around the US, she decided to start 'spreading the love' by bringing these hidden gems from anywhere in the world direct to people who want to explore and experience more out of wine, food and life. On this week's edition of Grape Encounters you'll hear Sheila reflect on her transition from a full time job in Fintech to following her entrepreneurial passion in food and wine as she founded a startup bringing farmer-artisans of small production wines and foods just a click away from US wine lovers and foodies.  In the world of wine marketing, there couldn't be a tougher challenge, but challenges have never deterred Sheila Donohue, and her success bringing tiny producers to one of the world's toughest markets is a success story that host David Wilson is anxious to share with listeners. This week edition of Grape Encounters is brought to you by Total Wine & More. Total Wine is the absolute best place to find perfect holiday gifts and unparalleled wines for your holiday table. Find what you love, and love what you find at Total Wine and more! Please drink responsibly. Be 21.  
Dec 4, 2023
49 min
Episode #750 – Why Olive Oil Turbocharges Your Wine Experiences
If you're a wine enthusiast, chances are you're also an olive oil enthusiast—you just might not know it yet! In this week's episode of Grape Encounters Wine Radio, we're diving headfirst into the world of olive oil and its inseparable bond with wine. The more you integrate olive oil into your wine experience, the richer and more delightful your journey becomes. Join us as we explore the harmonious marriage of these two extraordinary liquids and prepare to elevate your wine adventures to new heights. Welcome to Grape Encounters Wine Radio, the show that has been captivating audiences for an incredible 15 years. We're not your typical wine podcast; we're your storytellers, your guides, and your companions on an extraordinary journey where wine is more than just a beverage—it's the spark that ignites tales of human connection, passion, and discovery.  While other wine enthusiasts might meticulously analyze tasting notes and food pairings, we're here to take you on a different path—a road less traveled. Grape Encounters is about the encounters that have shaped the lives of individuals and communities, all thanks to wine's remarkable ability to bring people together. It's about unveiling the mysteries, sharing the adventures, and introducing you to the remarkable people whose lives have been forever changed by the world of wine. Inseparable Companions: Host David Wilson introduces us to the enchanting world of olive oil, highlighting its inseparable connection with wine. As we learn, where there's wine, there's always room for the liquid gold that is olive oil. I Found My Thrill, On Olive Hill: Our featured guest, Federico DiCarlo, takes us on a sensory journey through the olive groves of Atri, Italy. Federico, along with his father, is the heart and soul behind Olive Hill, a producer of some of the world's most exquisite olive oils. Syrup of the Gods: David can't help but gush about the divine quality of Federico's olive oil, comparing it to "the syrup of the gods." Prepare to be tempted by this liquid gold that David claims he can enjoy as much as wine. Global Olive Culture: Discover how olive oil and wine share more than just a connection; they share a global presence. Explore the diverse regions where olives and grapes thrive, from Italy to California and beyond. The Delicate Art of Olive Oil Production: Federico shares the secrets of olive oil production, including a surprising fact about the fragility of this precious liquid. Learn how just one drop of perfume can spoil 100 liters of oil, emphasizing the importance of meticulous care. Olive Oil in the Kitchen: David and Federico discuss the evolving use of olive oil in cooking, debunking the misconception that it makes everything taste like olives. Explore the myriad ways olive oil enhances flavors in various dishes, from salads to desserts. The Mediterranean Diet: Dive into the Mediterranean diet and its unique relationship with olive oil. Understand why it's a key ingredient for a healthy lifestyle and why you don't necessarily gain weight from enjoying these flavorful foods. So, whether you're a seasoned wine enthusiast or just beginning to explore the world of olives and wine, Episode #742 of Grape Encounters Wine Radio promises to be a delightful and informative journey that will deepen your appreciation for these extraordinary products. You won't want to miss it!
Nov 25, 2023
46 min
Episode #749 – Ancient Roman Wine Unveiled in Palm Springs Plus Tons of Turkey Day Fun!
Welcome to Grape Encounters Radio, where host David Wilson is serving up a delightful Thanksgiving feast of stories, wine adventures, and holiday tips in Episode 749. This year's Thanksgiving holds special significance as David joyfully anticipates reuniting with his family after four years away. David takes us on a nostalgic journey to the last two Thanksgiving celebrations spent in Italy, where he introduced his Italian friends and adopted family to the quintessential American tradition of a Thanksgiving feast. Picture a grand turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberries becoming a curious culinary spectacle for his Italian guests who were more accustomed to different gastronomic delights. The cultural exchange and the shared joy of a bountiful Thanksgiving table create lasting memories and set the stage for this year's festivities. Transitioning from the personal to the professional, David shares his recent experience as a celebrity media host at the Palm Springs International Food and Wine Festival. The highlight of the festival? The grand introduction of the Vinum Hadrianum project, a fascinating endeavor that David has been consulting on for the past two years. The project's remarkable mission is the resurrection of the wines of ancient Rome, offering a unique and historical perspective on winemaking. The Vinum Hadrianum wines receive an overwhelmingly warm reception at the festival, prompting David to delve into the historical context of ancient Roman wine consumption. At the event, he drops a fascinating fact: 95 million citizens of the Roman Empire, 2,000 years ago, consumed an average of one liter of wine per day. That's twice the amount of wine produced in present-day America! Festival attendees were captivated by this lost piece of wine and human history, signaling a potential shift in consumer attitudes toward a deeper understanding of wine heritage. David contrasts this immersive experience with typical wine festivals, where attendees often rush to taste as many wines as possible without truly connecting with the stories behind them. In the case of Vinum Hadrianum, people engage in meaningful conversations, spending considerable time understanding and appreciating the unique project. The ancient techniques and tools used in the production of Vinum Hadrianum wines, such as fermentation and aging in terracotta amphoras made from the same clay the region's grapes are grown in, add a layer of purity and uniqueness to the wines that captivate the audience. David expresses hope that this newfound interest in the historical background of wines may lead to a broader appreciation for the origins and stories behind various wine varieties. As the festival experience unfolds, David manages multiple groups of enthusiastic attendees eager to learn about ancient Roman wines. The challenges of handling these engaging conversations highlight the genuine interest people show in exploring wine history and production. Transitioning to the upcoming Thanksgiving celebrations, David drops a surprise find at an Amazon grocery store: Premium turkeys for less than $7 for a whole 14 lb. bird. Even more astonishing is that providing Amazon Prime information at the register results in a 25 percent discount on the entire grocery bill. This unexpected deal adds a delightful twist to the Thanksgiving preparations and sets the stage for more surprises to come. The episode takes a delightful turn as David shares his expert wine recommendations for Thanksgiving. Bubbly takes center stage, deemed a versatile option that complements the entire meal. Zinfandel is suggested for its juiciness and fruitiness, a perfect match for classic cranberry sauce. David's wine suggestions span reds like Syrah and Grenache, whites like Sauvignon Blanc (especially from New Zealand), and even Beaujolais Nouveau, known for its freshness and youth.
Nov 21, 2023
41 min
Episode #748 – The Utter Randomness of Wine Reviews!
On this NO BS episode of Grape Encounters Radio, host David Wilson really turns up the heat on wine writers and reviewers, urging wine enthusiasts to hold them accountable. Witty, edgy, and engaging, David encourages listeners to think seriously about the motives behind the wine reviews they read (and listen to) and to be sure they are genuinely comfortable with the qualifications of the person dishing out advice.  David also challenges writers to be accountable for their recommendations.  After all, if someone is going to spend time, energy, and money taking a reviewer's advice, they should feel confident that it's well-researched and comes from a place of expertise. The episode also focuses on how to decide which pairings and reviews to trust, given that everyone has different tastes. It's important to follow writers with a palate similar to you when seeking out ideal wine and food pairing experiences. David challenges wine writers to be accountable when making recommendations. He said: "Are you willing to take responsibility for your recommendation? Let’s assume we take your advice and end up spending $75 on groceries, $60 on wine. We also spend two hours shopping and three hours in the kitchen. Do you realize that if you’re not spot on within reason, it’s going to be costly to those of us who trusted your words?  I’m not asking for somebody to refund our expenses; I’m just saying, remember, it costs us money to take your recommendations". David shares his concern that far too many people are putting their opinion out there, which may send people down a very unpleasant rabbit hole. He says it's incredible how few people even think about the qualifications of the person whose article they're reading or whose podcast they're listening to. He says, “I’m happy to share my background with my listeners. If they don't feel comfortable with me, I need to do a better job. But one thing's for sure... I'm an open book, and all wine journalists should be.” David points out that someone doesn't have to be a wine expert, but if they had a fabulous experience, they should be able to successfully articulate their delight into words. He said: "You don't have to be a wine expert. In fact, this could be your very first wine pairing review for all I care. But what matters is that you had an objectively wonderful experience and can transfer your delight to us." The conversation also touches on how difficult it can be to trust someone else's opinion when it comes to food and wine pairings since everyone has different tastes. David stresses the importance of asking questions to decide which advice or recommendations should be taken seriously: What was the occasion the writer is sharing? Was it a blind tasting or did everybody know what they were drinking? He also suggested including as many details as possible such as vintage, region of origin, and price point, when giving recommendations. The latest installment of Grape Encounters Radio has something for everyone who loves wine. From insights on choosing pairings you can trust to practical advice on finding champion wine mentors, this show is full of wisdom and wit! Download now and tune in for a fun and informative experience! This edition of Grape Encounters has been brought to you by Total Wine & More. Absolutely nobody makes great wines, spirits, and beer from around the globe more accessible and affordable than Total Wine & More. Whether you're an expert, a sommelier in training, or just a wine-loving consumer that could do without all the jargon, Total Wine & More speaks your language. Find what you love. Love what you find at Total Wine & More, or visit Total And please, be 21!
Nov 13, 2023
40 min
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