The love of wine has never been so lighthearted and fun! Grape Encounters is a bold departure from conventional wine education and enjoyment. Not long ago, wine tasting was regarded as something done by people with specially trained palates, sophisticated sensibilities and lots and lots of disposable income. Today, wine is being consumed by hundreds of millions of people who drink it simply because it is what they like. Grape Encounters is about the colorful people, the places, the ambiance and the passion that makes wine drinking one of the world's most popular pastimes. Grape Encounters is lighthearted, interactive and a very good time -- taking listeners out of the studio and into places you won't see on a winery tour. Behind every great wine is a winemaker who loves what he or she does and probably has a terrific sense of humor. No matter how much you love wine, you'll love it so much more when you tune in to Grape Encounters!
Episode #751 – Vero Vino: 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 Donahue is the Founder and CEO of Vero Vino. A native New Yorker now residing in the California coastal community of Ventura, Shelia 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 Shelia 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.
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!
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.
Episode #746 – NEW! The Definitive Book on Australian Wine!
This week, Grape Encounters presents a “Down-Understanding of Australian Wines” like never before! Now, in our 15th year in the world of broadcasting, we continue to bring you stories, people, and adventures that revolve around one common theme – wine. But today, we're setting our sights on a world of wine that doesn’t get nearly the attention it richly deserves. Today, we’re taking a deep dive into Australian wine. Figuratively, that is. And we have a true superstar to guide us!
Our guest for this week's show is Jane Lopes, the co-author of the brand-new Australian wine Bible, "How To Drink Australian." You may be asking yourself, why Australia, and why now? Well, wines from Down Under have never been more exciting, and celebrating the vibrant and extraordinary wine scene that's been fermenting there is long overdue.
Exploring the World of Australian Wine with Jane Lopes
Jane Lopes is a wine luminary, a sommelier extraordinaire, and a master storyteller in her own right. Born in California's most revered wine country, Napa Valley, Jane's journey into the world of wine began as she graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Renaissance literature. From the pages of literature to the exquisite notes of fine wines, Jane's path was set. Her career has taken her on a thrilling journey through some of the world's most prestigious gastronomic establishments, including legendary Eleven Madison Park in New York, where she contributed to achieving the restaurant's top ranking on the San Pellegrino World's 50 Best List.
But that's not all; in 2018, Jane shattered the glass ceiling by becoming one of the few women globally to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier exam and the only woman from Australia. Her remarkable journey culminated in the publication of her first book, "Vignette: Stories of Life & Wine in 100 Bottles." In 2020, Jane and her husband, Jonathan Ross, ventured into the wine import business, bringing many of the finest Australian wines to the United States. Now, she's here with us to share her insights, experiences, and the excitement of Australian wine, all found in the pages of her latest collaboration, "How To Drink Australian."
Unlocking the Mysteries of Australian Wine
How To Drink Australian is no ordinary wine book. It's a captivating journey that takes you state by state, region by region, through the diverse and dynamic world of Australian wine. Each section offers a tantalizing glimpse into the evolution of wine in that region, the unique terroir, and the charismatic wine styles that have emerged. Jane and her husband, Jonathan, delve deep into the heart of each region, bringing you insider knowledge and insights. To aid you in your Australian wine adventures, "How To Drink Australian" includes a comprehensive glossary and a directory of the most influential producers in the region. These profiles offer further insight into the significance of these winemakers within their respective areas.
Whether you're a seasoned sommelier, a budding wine enthusiast, or simply someone looking to embark on a vinous voyage, this book is your passport to understanding and savoring Australian wine in all its glory. It's a testament to the incredible diversity and quality that this region has to offer, and Jane Lopes and Jonathan Ross are your expert guides. Without further ado, it's time to tune in to Grape Encounters Radio Episode #736. Join David as he sits down with the remarkable Jane Lopes to discuss her extraordinary career, the fascinating world of Australian wine, and the insights you'll find in "How To Drink Australian."
Episode #745 – How Artificial Intelligence Almost Sank This Interview!
Well, they say with artificial intelligence, you have to take the good with the bad, or is it the bad with the good? Well, whichever way it is, the guest who was supposed to be featured on this show headed for the hills when he heard a little bit about some of the latest AI innovations that are finding their way into journalism, photography, and even wine. Who would have thought that a 10-minute pre-interview prep talk would freak a guest out like it did? But the story about the story is probably a better story than the story! Ya follow? We're baffled, too! So, let's dive in!
Welcome to a particularly quirky episode of Grape Encounters! Each week, Grape Encounters strives to present engaging content from a fresh and unique perspective that you likely won't find anywhere else. Well, this week, that’s one heck of an understatement.
Today, David starts this episode with the answer to a question that’s been puzzling a few listeners. That mysterious clunking sound you've been hearing? It turns out it's all about ice – yes, ice! As David shares his fascinating experience of introducing ice to his Italian friends, he's hilariously earned the nickname "Ice Man." Just wait until you hear this story!
But that's just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended). Earlier today, the guest we had scheduled on this week’s show made an unscheduled U-Turn toward the exit at the mere mention of the dreaded AI! Yup! Bolted for the door even before our cyborgs could fetch him a cup of instant coffee with artificial creamer! Why, you ask? Well, it's all about Artificial Intelligence (AI), and it turns out our guest had quite a reaction to it. David dives into the growing significance of AI in various fields, from art generation to text-to-video technology, and tells you the story behind this fellow’s colossal aversion to making it by faking it!
Ethical dilemmas and AI's ability to manipulate photos and replicate human voices are crucial issues we must consider. It's a complex world out there, but David takes us on a journey to explore both the ethical conundrums and the exciting possibilities of AI in the broadcasting, podcasting, and even wine universe.
You won't believe the advancements AI has made in research, planning, graphics, video, and audio production. From generating party menus with shopping lists and invitations to creating customized travel itineraries, AI is revolutionizing the way we experience wine, food, and travel.
Imagine AI-assisted table settings and decoration ideas, cooking timer and reminder assistance, ingredient substitutions for dietary restrictions, and even AI-enhanced food photographs for your social media. With AI, you can have real-time food styling tips, restaurant recommendations, and so much more!
While our guest's concerns about AI voice cloning are valid, we'll explore how AI can simplify your life and enhance your experiences in the world of wine, food, and travel. This is a topic that'll have you both intrigued and excited about the future.
But the adventure doesn't stop there! Just around the corner, join David Wilson at the Palm Springs International Food and Wine Festival in November for an unforgettable experience. We promise you; it's going to be an event you won't want to miss. So, buckle up and get ready to learn, laugh, and unwind with like-minded wine enthusiasts right here on Grape Encounters Radio.
Episode #744 – Encore! An Hour With Natalie MacLean, Author of the Season’s Hottest Read, “Wine Witch on Fire…”
It’s back! We don't run many repeats, but when we do, they have to be mighty special... and this hour-long kitchen table conversation with #1 best-selling author Natalie MacLean--arguably America's finest wine and food author--is just a click away. Natalie’s new release, Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much, is our most downloaded episode of Grape Encounters this year.
HOST DAVID WILSON SAYS:
For many years, I have been telling you that Natalie epitomizes what a great food critic and author is. From her poignant and profoundly insightful wine reviews to her mesmerizing best-selling epistles, Natalie MacLean is essential reading for anyone who calls themselves a foodie or wine enthusiast. In all that she does, this beloved author is spot on... and once you start reading any one of her works, it's nearly impossible to set it down. But it's one thing to read her words and quite another thing to listen to her insights straight from her lips. That's why this deeply intimate conversation with Natalie was such a tremendous privilege and treat. The only thing that I can recall looking forward to as much was my first trip to Disneyland at age 6.
Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much… is easily the summer’s number one read in the food and wine category, but don’t let the whimsical title lead you to believe this is a lighthearted tribute to your favorite drink. Quite the opposite. Natalie’s latest work is raw, daring, and deeply disturbing at times, as she shares experiences that most people in her shoes would keep tightly bottled up and stashed in the darkest corner of the cellar, where it is to remain unopened for an eternity. Sadly, there has long been a dark side to the wine business, and as one of the industry's most revered critics, she often had to face the full force of foes determined to dethrone her.
Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much (Dundurn Press) is a powerful memoir of how one woman resurrects her life and career in the glamorous but sexist wine industry. The story begins with her husband of twenty years, a high-powered CEO, demanding a divorce. Then an online mob of rivals comes for her career.
Wavering between depression and determination, she must fight for her son, rebuild her career, and salvage her self-worth using her superpowers: heart, humor, and an uncanny ability to pair wine and food. Natalie confronts her insider role in the slick marketing encouraging women to drink too much while she battles the veiled misogyny of the wine world. However, Natalie eventually prevails after all the misery that others put her through, and she joins us to tell her story with the warmth of a lick on the cheek from a Golden Retriever puppy!
Great Grape Encounters
David has some of the most lively guests who share awesome inspiration and guidance beyond just wine. I love his episode with Jean-Charles
Entertaining, informative, and a nice variety of topics.
Fun and Entertaining
David has an unpretentious approach to wine, that is fun and entertaining. He guides his guests and listeners through his whimsical world of wine.