Wine for Normal People

The state of Virginia in the US has been trying to make great wine since the 1600s. After 350 years, they finally made it work! From great terroir to outstanding talent, this may be the most exciting place for wine in the US today. 

After a listener question on the difference between Brouilly and Beaujolais, we talk Virginia wine:

1. The place has has 400 year history, but only about the last 30 have been exciting!

2. We talk about the challenges of climate, pests, humidity, etc of growing vitis vinifera in Virginia

3. We discuss the various regions and grapes of Virginia

4. I name names: Linden, Glen Manor, Barboursville, RdV, King Family, Veritas, Early Mountain and Blenheim make the list.

This state has a bright future if they keep churning out wines like they do from the top talent in Virginia. Delicious stuff! 

Direct download: 151_Ep_151__Virginia_Wine_US.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:55pm EDT

To usher in 2016, we bring you a poem to make you smile and laugh. Thank you for listening in 2015 -- you are truly the best audience in the world!

Direct download: 150_Ep_150__WFNP_2016_New_Years_Poem.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 12:43am EDT

What are the worst gifts a wine lover can receive? From the wine bra, to the wine stein to gas station wine, we go over the worst of the worst, in hopes that we can prepare you for what may be awaiting you under the tree! You won't believe this stuff! Here's the list with links:


  1. Wine games:

  2. Wine bra:

  3. Wine shirts:

  4. Wine Chillers:

  5. Wine napkins:

  6. Chambong:

  7. Chalices:

  8. 750 ml Wine glass:

  9. Double walled wine stein:

  10. Wine bjorn:

  11. Old vintage wine, $2 wine, a magnum of white Zinfandel, Crappy homemade wine given as a gift

There are some bad ones in there! Check it  out and never buy these for anyone! Merry Christmas and thanks for listening! 

Direct download: 149_Ep_149__Wine_Gifts_So_Bad_Theyre_Great.mp3
Category:wine, wine education, wine gadgets -- posted at: 11:45pm EDT

Michelle DeFeo is a rock star of the Champagne world. She's a fabulous businesswoman, a Champagne nerd, and a normal wine person! We discuss everything from Bon Jovi to being a woman in the wine biz to differences in Champagne styles to flutes vs wine glasses. 

Here are more detailed show notes:

  • We discuss the landscape of the Champagne industry and Laurent-Perrier's place in it
  • Then we discuss Michelle's background -- her journey from Jersey girl to Francophile and whether she's on team Springsteen or team Bon Jovi
  • We trade war stories about the perils of being a woman in the wine industry and Michelle shares her hopeful outlook on the situation
  • Then it's a Champagne dork out -- flutes v. glasses, occasions for Champagne, and sugar levels in the wine (and a little secret about sugar in wine)
  • We discuss the storied history of Laurent-Perrier and it's pure, fresh, elegant style plus vintage and multi-vintage Champagnes from the house
  • We wrap with some information on what it's like to work for Laurent-Perrier

Finally Michelle tells us what she'll be drinking for the holidays!

A super informative podcast with a great lady. The wine is delicious too -- so put it on the list! 


Happy Thanksgiving! We discuss the ideal wines to go with this hard-to-pair meal with specifics down to producers in some cases! We focus on American wines for this very American holiday.


Here is the line up this year (explanations all included in the podcast!):

1. American sparkling

2. Off-dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc or Gewurztraminer

3. Dry rosé

4. Oregon Pinot Noir

5. Central Coast or Washington State Syrah


From our family to yours -- a happy, safe, fun Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Direct download: 147_Ep_147__Thanksgiving_Pairings_2015.mp3
Category:wine, Thanksgiving -- posted at: 1:21am EDT

Entrepreneur Stephen Bolger discusses VINIV, his company that allows people make their own Bordeaux wine using grapes from top vineyards & help from the top winemaking talent in the region. We discuss this cool concept plus how best to explore Bordeaux wine.

Here's an outline of what we talk about:

  1. First we talk about Stephen's meandering path into wine -- from minerals to tech to grapes!
  2. Then we talk about how VINIV evolved, from idea to reality and the challenges and opportunities along the way. 
  3. We talk about Stephen's relationship with Lynch-Bages and the Cazes family, who owns Château Lynch-Bages, where VINIV is located.
  4. Although VINIV is really expensive, participating is a once in a lifetime experience and one that can be shared among lots of people. Stephen talks about what his clients get out of the experience.
  5. Then we pivot to general discussion on Bordeaux -- we talk about what it's really like in Bordeaux and the politics/structure of the industry. We talk about how people can people get great wine from Bordeaux if they know nothing and how to best explore Bordeaux.

Enjoy! And check out the link for our live, interactive classes!

Direct download: 146_Ep_146_Stephen_Bolger_of_VINIV__Make_Your_Own_Bordeaux.mp3
Category:Bordeaux wine -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

It's getting cooler in the northern hemisphere (and it's still not hot in the southern one!) so we thought we'd make some recommendations for what you could get to drink well this fall! 

Before we get to it, we announce FALL/WINTER CLASSES! Please head to to register!

And here are the slots:

  1. Rhône white blend
  2. Santa Barbara Chardonnay
  3. Fiano di Avellino
  4. Tavel rosé
  5. A wild card white or sparkling -- Lambrusco (a sparkling red) could be cool, or you could just figure out what strikes your fancy
  6. A Cru Beaujolais like Morgon or Moulin a Vent
  7. Spanish Rioja
  8. Portuguese red -- Douro or Dão or Alentejo
  9. Langhe Nebbiolo
  10. Aglianico from southern Italy
  11. Cahors (Malbec) from France
  12. Walla Walla Syrah or Merlot

Let us know what you wind up getting or if you have any new favorites from our recommendations!

Direct download: 145_Ep_145__Filling_a_Case_for_Fall.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 1:57am EDT

We talk with Marcello Lunelli, chief winemaker for Ferrari, producer of high end, Metodo Classico sparkling wine in Trentino, Italy. It's great wine. We discuss:


1. Trentino -- its unique location and how the terroir, the Dolomite Mountains, and the soil make the area so special and different from other parts of northeast Italy.

2. The economic situation of Trentino and how Pinot Grigio has been a curse and a blessing for the area.  

3. Marcello's background: his education, his experiences abroad, and his philosophies on how to make superb sparkling wine, including the importance of organic viticulture to Ferrari and the difference it makes. 

4. How sparkling is making headway in Italy and how Ferrari is at the forefront of the movement. 

5. The difference between Trentino metodo classico and Franciacorta in Lombardy.

6. The long history of Ferrari -- they've been around since 1902 -- and how the Lunelli family learned high quality winemaking from the master, Giulio Ferrari.

7. The challenge of making high quality sparkling at scale: How to make a large volume of wine while maintaining quality of a small winery.  

Marcello's passion comes through in the wine. It's excellent -- a MUST try and a great value for what's in the bottle!


In this episode we talk about the enormous and growing popularity (in North America) of red blends.We discuss:

  1. The stats on red blends in the US and their explosive growth, especially at the low end
  2. The marketing gimmicks around the trends, including the fascinating names the large companies have come up with from "InspiRed" to "The Troublemaker."
  3. The flavor profile of most blends and the differences between them and varietal wines. 
  4. The benefits of blends and the names of some very famed blends.
  5. The difference between "intentional blends" and "kitchen sink" blends. Along with the sweetness factor.
  6. My opinion on the importance of back label copy to help explain the blend better
  7. A run down of the potential winners and losers of the trend

Thanks for listening! Enjoy!


Direct download: 143_Ep_143__The_Red_Blend_Trend.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 10:54pm EDT

Happy Thanksgiving Canadians! In this mini episode we recommend some wines to have on the table...and a way to serve them! We are thankful for you!


Here are the wines we mention:

Sparkling wine / sparkling rosé
Off-dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc (Spätlese or Vouvray)
Northern Rhône -- Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph
Oaked Chardonnay 
Sweet wines: Vins doux Naturels, Port
Direct download: Mini_Podcast__Pairings_for_Canadian_Thanksgiving_FINAL.mp3
Category:wine, Thanksgiving -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT