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 515: The Origin Story of Oak Barrels

    03/04/2024 Duración: 42min

    Inspired by a question from friend and Patron Amy Payton, this week I cover the history of oak barrels. I go from animal skins in Mesopatamia to modern day barrels, talking about how winemakers decided that oak was the best vessel for wine. I answer her follow up questions too -- How are barrels obtained by winemakers? What happens to them after they are used and are oak barrels sustainable? I learned so much in this show and I thank Amy for the idea.  Get the back catalog on Patreon! Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

  • Ep 514: The Grape Miniseries -- Fiano

    27/03/2024 Duración: 41min

    This week I explore one of my favorite grapes of all time, Fiano! The grape makes some of the most exquisite wines you could imagine -- whites with layered complexity, age-ability, and unadulterated deliciousness. I discuss all aspects of the grape:The historical overview of the grape and how Mastroberardino saved it from obscurity (Check out my podcast with Piero Mastroberardino here)A discussion of Fiano in the vineyard and how adaptable it isSome thoughts about winemaking and its effect on the grapeThe aromas and flavors of the grape Where it grows:Italy: Campania (65%), specifically Irpinia, and within that area the Fiano di Avellino DOCG, with sizable quantities in Sicily and Puglia as well. Listen to my show on my trip to Campania here...New World places: Australia, Argentina, the USI hope I convince you to try the grape if you haven't had it before. It is truly one of my "desert island wines" -- it's very hard not to love it! ______________________________________________________Full show notes and all

  • Ep 513: The Divine Dolcetto of Diano d’Alba with Giulio Abrigo of Abrigo Giovanni

    19/03/2024 Duración: 56min

    I welcome to the show my friend Giulio Abrigo of Abrigo Giovanni Azienda Agricola, who focuses on the exquisite Dolcetto in Diano d'Alba in the Barolo zone of Piemonte. Abrigo Giovanni is a small family operation, operating on just 13 ha or 32 acres mainly in Diano d’Alba -- the site of the winery and the family home. Dolcetto Diano d’Alba is one of a handful of DOCG zones for the grape – stricter controls and the top Dolcetto wines are made in this area. Here, the elevation, the soils, and the exposition are ideal for this highly underrated grape. Abrigo Giovanni focuses on Dolcetto but for the past 11 years they also make a highly rated and awarded Barolo from the site of “Ravello” which has caught the attention of many wine critics, and, although not available in the US, they make the single best nocciole (hazelnut spread) I have ever had in my life. This is a fascinating look at the passion behind making a wine that is part of a long legacy and tradition, but frequently flies under the radar...for n

  • Ep 512: Volcanic Wines

    13/03/2024 Duración: 52min

    In recent years, there has been a lot of buzz around “volcanic wines.” The term makes it sound as if these are wines that are spawned from a volcano, but in reality these are wines that many people believe have special qualities because they grow on volcanic soils. In this show, I define the types of volcanoes before discussing the ecosystems they form. I then talk about the specific regions known to have volcanic wines, but I also point out that these areas have other factors that may create similarities in the wine – proximity to oceans, old vines (unaffected by phylloxera), and high elevations and cooling breezes. These must be considered, despite the fact that many of the volcanic wine groupies say flavor is purely from the soils. Here is the list of wines/places I discuss in the show:ItalyMount Etna, Sicily: Reds (Rosso of the Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio grapes), whites (Bianco, mainly of the Carricante grape)Soave, Veneto: Whites grown on specific hillsides (Garganega, Trebbiano di So

  • Ep 511: The Greats-- Semillon of the Hunter Valley, Australia

    06/03/2024 Duración: 39min

    The Hunter Valley is the OG -- the first place where Australian grape growing took place.  For 200 years there has been continuous winegrowing and winemaking among the rolling hills and green valleys, which are peppered with iconic wineries, many of which have been around for more than 100 years. Although other types of wines are made, the Hunter has one crown jewel -- Semillon. In this show I give detail on the history, background and terroir of the Hunter before discussing the Semillon and why it is so special and is truly a GREAT!!I give an overview of the Hunter Valley, which is one of Australia’s most popular wine destinations. It is just over a two hours' drive north from Sydney in New South Wales – about 160 km/100 mi north. It is very near UNESCO World Heritage National Parks, which are popular tourist destinations.With its low latitude (32°S), viticulture would not be possible without some mitigating factors The Hunter Valley is SMALL - it's 2% of Australian vineyard area. The region focuses on

  • Special Announcement: MC Ice departs and Where to get past episodes of WfNP

    03/03/2024 Duración: 03min

    This is a quick special announcement show with two news items:1. After many years of being on the show, MC Ice has left the building! This was not his main business and he has chosen to focus on his work and other pursuits! We thank him for his contributions. Going forward, educational shows will be with Elizabeth only, with occasional guest appearances from Patrons to mix things up!2. Probably more important is the answer to the question many of you have been asking: Where do I get the old episodes of the podcast?Many of you have noticed that the back catalog of the podcast is no longer available on public podcast feed. It’s not gone but the access is restricted. You can still access the past 13 years ofepisodes by joining Patreon. As soon as you sign up, you will receive instructions on how to access the back episodes. It’s a very simple process and you can sign up at decision to do this was based on the fact

  • Ep 510: Virginia’s Iconic Barboursville Vineyards with Winemaker & GM Luca Paschina

    27/02/2024 Duración: 01h04min

    I welcome to the show, again, and this time for a much longer and more thorough conversation, Luca Paschina, the head winemaker and GM of Barboursville, the historic property in the Monticello AVA of Virginia. Luca was on the show in 2016, originally on episode 162. Barboursville has a long history, which starts around the same time as its current owners’ wine history -- the Zonin family of Veneto (found 1821). We discuss Thomas Jefferson and his role in trying to get Virginia wine started. Luca tells us about Gianni Zonin, who purchased Barboursville in 1976 and created the first world class winery in Virginia. He is still the owner today. Luca has been the head winemaker of Barboursville since 1990. He gives us an excellent retrospective on what he has learned in these decades and the key terroir points about the Monticello AVA. tell us the . We also touch on some of the challenges and the advantages of the region and we are pretty honest about separating the wheat from the chaff. This is a very honest look

  • Revisiting the Wine and Health Debacle -- Re-release of Ep 274: Christopher Snowdon

    21/02/2024 Duración: 54min

    As a follow up to Felicity Carter's show last week, in which we mentioned referenced the work of Christopher Snowdon often, I am re-releasing Episode 274 to give another perspective. This was originally released April 29, 2019. We raised all sorts of red flags in this show and Christopher has been consistent on his blog about how moderate drinking is still good for you and why wine is NOT the new tobacco...This is a great supplement and another viewpoint on this subject and dovetails perfectly with last week's show.The show notes are simple this week: his two articles --“The campaign to make alcohol ‘the new tobacco’” March 28, 2019 (Scroll down to see the article on this page)"A glass of wine won't shorten your life -- moderate drinking is still good for you" April 17, 2018 More on Chris:Snowdon is author of five books: 'Polemics' (2020) 'Killjoys' (2017), 'Selfishness, Greed and Capitalism' (2015), 'The Art of Suppression' (2011), 'The Spirit Level Delusion' (2010) and 'Velvet Glove, Iron Fis

  • Ep 509: Felicity Carter Exposes the Jaw-dropping Truth of Who is Guiding Global Wine & Health Policy

    14/02/2024 Duración: 51min

    My guest, Felicity Carter, is probably the most brilliant journalist in wine, and certainly one of the only ones doing vital investigative work in the field of wine, health, and the neo prohibitionist movement. From 2008 to 2021, she was editor-in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International, a global, English-language magazine, one of Germany’s oldest publishing houses. She reported from 22 countries in that position. She writes for Decanter, The Guardian, and pretty much every major prestigious wine publication out there.Felicity is the foremost authority on wine and health and has information about what is ACTUALLY going on with the “new” data on wine and health…talk about a malevolent hand. HOLY SH&T when you find out what is behind the WHO’s recommendation. Your jaw will drop when she reveals what is actually happening...mine did.Full show notes are on Patreon. Become a member today! _______________________________________________________________Wine

  • Ep 508: Armenian Wine - Ancient Grapes, Modern Innovation, True Excellence with Aimee Keushguerian of Zulal & Keush

    06/02/2024 Duración: 41min

    In this show we explore the world of Armenian wine, which has roots in the ancient world and may be the oldest winemaking region in Europe. To tell us about these wines, the terroir, and the regions, I welcome Keush Managing Director & Zulal Founder, Aimee Keushguerian. Aimee educates us on Armenian wine and tells us about the projects she and her family are undertaking to shape the modern Armenian wine industry, which is definitely getting noticed for its high quality and interesting grape varieties.Armenia is located in the Caucasus region bordering Georgia, Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. Vineyards are in the mountains with very high elevations -- some of the highest in Europe. For a map see: As a guide, here are some of the grapes we mention:Areni is the spicy, medium bodied, lovely main red grape. Vayots Dzor is the main quality region for Areni.Tozot from Vayots Dzor is like a Grenache an

  • Ep 507: Innovative Pairing with Plant-based Food with the founders of

    30/01/2024 Duración: 53min

    Food and wine pairing is complex. But as many of us are trying to eat healthier, more plant-based diets it becomes an exercise in frustration. Traditional outlets barely ever talk about how to pair red wine with vegetarian dishes, beyond eggplant and mushrooms. Wendy Narby, a wine educator and writer in Bordeaux and Sally Evans, a winemaker and owner of Château George 7 (sette) aim to change that. This week they talk about their new site, which  helps us learn to pair the wines of Bordeaux and wines like them with vegetarian dishes. This podcast and their site,, gives great ideas for pairings that prove you don't have to give up bold wine if you decide to eat a plant-based meal.   Knowing you can have a meatless day and still have a great wine pairing makes it a little more appealing to try it, no?   Full show notes are on Patreon. Become a member today!   _______________________________________________________________ Wine Access  is my go-to source for

  • Ep 506: The Wines of the Côtes de Bordeaux -- The Secret Best Value Wines of the Region

    24/01/2024 Duración: 55min

    This time we explore the hidden gems of  Bordeaux -- the Côtes de Bordeaux -- which make superb wines that few people know about. With an easy-drinking style, the Côtes de Bordeaux are the hidden, affordable wines of Bordeaux. These historic vineyards are a collection of AOCs around eastern Bordeaux on sunny hillside slopes that grow a majority of Merlot and have similar soil types. These are not second or bulk wines – rather family-owned, often sustainable wines that are always a good value for money.   This group of appellations under the marketing umbrella of Côtes de Bordeaux covers 9 - 10% of the total production of Bordeaux.     Faced with lots of competition from the named communes of Bordeaux (Pomerol, Saint-Émilion, etc), and the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur AOCs, efforts started in 2004 to create the Union des Côtes de Bordeaux (UCB) to create a collective “brand” of recognition: the AOC Côtes de Bordeaux with 6 terroir: Côtes de Bordeaux - umbrella appellation Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux Castillon

  • Ep 505: Alternatives to a Favorite -- Grenache (Garnacha)

    16/01/2024 Duración: 37min

    It's another edition of the "Alternatives to a Fave" series! This time: Grenache/Garnacha. As an extension of the Grape Mini-series, we come up with lists of wines that lovers of a specific grape can try as alternatives. Grenache/Garnacha comes in many different forms -- as a juicy, cherry-berry standalone grape in Spain, as lighter blender in the Rhône and Rioja, in rosé and fortified wines, and as full, serious wine in places like Priorat (Spain), Châteauneuf-du-Pape (France), and Australia, where old vines make very intense wines. Photo: Grenache grapes in California. Credit: Getty Images via Canva This one was a challenge, but we came up with a good list of ideas and most won't burn a hole in your wallet! This show focuses only on the red wines  (not rosé or sweet wines) and our list includes everything from Zinfandel to Nero d'Avola, to Valpolicella and Alentejo blends (Portugal), on the lighter side to Syrah, Amarone, and Aglianico on the heavy side.   We hope, as usual, that this show opens some new d

  • Ep 504: A Normal Wine Person Perspective on Greek Wine -- Patron Lindsey Miller Shares Her Love and Knowledge of Greece

    10/01/2024 Duración: 37min

    For the first time, we have a Wine For Normal People Patron on the show to share her passion and expertise!   This week is a follow-up to last week’s weedier podcast on Greece. This time, long time listener and friend, Lindsey Miller, joins as our first Patron guest, to talk about her passion for and knowledge of Greek wine. She helps bring this topic to life, giving us background on how she fell in love with Greece, got to know its wines, and developed some expertise on the subject.   Lindsey shares tips and tricks on how to get the best Greek wine, talks about the challenges for the country’s wines in English-speaking markets, and makes helpful suggestions on where to start – from a grape AND region perspective – with Greece.   I had so much fun with Lindsey and she did a great job “humanizing” the topic and getting me motivated to explore even more of Greece! Let’s raise a glass (of Greek wine) to her for being the first brave soul to come on the show and share her passion and smarts with us! Lindse

  • Ep 503: Greek Wine -- The Updated 10,000 Foot Overview

    03/01/2024 Duración: 49min

    This show is an update to our previous shows on Greece. We hope to get you (re)started on your exploration of this ancient winemaking nation that has been reborn in recent years. Greek wines are unique, terroir-driven, and they harken back to the nation's ancient past and the very foundations of wine as a major part of the history in western civilization.   With recent investments and modernization, the wines are better than ever and are worth exploring. Map from the Wines of Greece Although the places and grapes can be hard to pronounce (we did our best

  • Ep 502: Stu Smith of Smith-Madrone -- Why Napa County is Strangling Small Wineries

    19/12/2023 Duración: 59min

    This is a baffling story that includes a Napa history lesson, an idea of how the Valley has grown and then a jaunt into intrigue, sting operations, and what appears to be an effort to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by the Napa County government. It seems that the County is going after small wineries in an attempt to bankrupt them out of business.  Friend of the pod, Stu Smith of Smith-Madrone joins to discuss and explain the situation -- at least the parts that have an explanation!  If you want background on Smith-Madrone, check out... Ep 253: Stu Smith of Smith-Madrone Vineyards Talks About 48 Years in Napa Valley Please support small wineries! Now, more than ever they need our help!! Stu Smith, Smith-Madrone Vineyard Lindsay Hoopes, Hoopes Vineyard   Full show notes are on Patreon. Become a member today! _______________________________________________________________ Wine Access  is my go-to source for the best selection of interesting, outstanding quality

  • Ep 501: Winemaker Thomas Bianciardi of San Filippo - Award-Winning Wines of Brunello di Montalcino

    12/12/2023 Duración: 56min

    Thomas Bianciardi is the winemaker for the exceptional Azienda Agricola San Filippo in Montalcino, the famed enclave of Tuscany. I had the honor of meeting him while on the Patron trip to Tuscany this spring and loved the philosophy, the wines, and the way that Thomas explained the region. Photo: Thomas Bianciardi Credit: Wine For Normal People Thomas joins to discuss Montalcino, educate us about the region and tell us about how he and owner Roberto Gianneli make these exceptional wines that recently made #3 on Wine Spectators 2020 list of top wines. These wines are a great reflection of the terroir and the people who make them.   Photo: Roberto Gianneli, Owner of San Filippo. Credit: San Filippo   For info on the Agriturissmo, where you can stay on the property, click here!    Full show notes are on Patreon. Become a member today! _______________________________________________________________ Wine Access  is my go-to source for the best selection of interesting, outst

  • Ep 500: Listeners Ask About 500 Episodes of WFNP

    06/12/2023 Duración: 01h07min

    This show is listener driven, which makes sense since we have always had a listener focus at Wine For Normal People! We take some amazing questions about the podcast from listeners and reveal some fun facts about the show that you may not know.   We cover things like:  What experience did we have going into the podcast? How do we select guests and plan shows? How should a first-time listener approach 500 episodes? What regions do we like now that we didn't at the outset? What has changed with the show over the years?   And much more. Lots of laughs and good fun, with some wine education and entrepreneurial advice to boot! Thank you to all listeners for being so loyal, kind, and all around awesome over the years -- especially the Patrons! And thank you to Wine Access for its continued support of the show!! Here’s to 500 more episodes!  Episodes referenced: Ep 149: Wine Gifts So Bad They're Great! Ep 396: Halloween Candy and Wine Pairings Revisited with Kelsey and Colby Ep 353: Women in Wine and the

  • Ep 499: The Impacts of Smoke on Wine with Professor Tom Collins of Washington State University

    29/11/2023 Duración: 58min

    Professor Thomas Collins (yes, his name is Tom Collins) is a foremost authority in the US on smoke in the vineyards. After a long career in research and enology at large wineries in New York and California, and a Ph.D. at UC-Davis, Dr. Collins became an assistant professor of grape and wine chemistry in the Viticulture and Enology Program at Washington State University in 2015. Photo: Dr. Tom Collins, Credit: WSU   He manages a research program in grape, wine and spirits aroma and flavor chemistry, and teaches courses in grape and wine chemistry and winery operations. In this show we talk all about wine and fire -- topics like: Why are there so many fires and will this trend continue in the future? Who is studying fire and what has been discovered so far? What parts of the vine are affected by fire and what actually damages the grapes? What are the remedies and what can we expect to happen in the future with fire research? A great show with a really smart and easy to understand guest -- important when it'

  • Special update to Episode 327: Wine ingredient & nutrition labeling goes live in the EU (and what it means to us)

    21/11/2023 Duración: 44min

    This is a special update and recap of Episode 327 with Barnaby Eales on Wine ingredient & nutrition labeling. I refreshed and edited that (very short) episode and then MC Ice and I added the details of the new law. We did the original episode in 2020 and at that time it was unclear whether or not Europe would go through with the plan, but they executed it and now we may be seeing back labels with a WHOLE lot more info about the wine! Listen to the update to learn what you NEED to know!    This new system goes live on December 8, 2023. There are still a lot of uncertainties, but all European wine lovers should know what the changes are so this is a must listen!   Here are a few useful links for further reading...   Full show notes are on Patreon. Become a member today! ________________

página 1 de 3