What are the latest trends in wine, from blue wines to raw wines? And should you be drinking them? Why are high-tech and wine a perfect pairing? What’s it like behind the scenes of the wine writing industry? How do you recover from devastating professional and personal attacks?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m being interviewed by Elizabeth Schneider on the Wine For Normal People podcast.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- What happy accident introduced me to the world of great wines?
- How did I go from visiting wineries on the weekend to becoming a wine writer?
- Why do I think wine and tech are a perfect pairing?
- What was unusual about my journey to publishing my first book?
- How have I used storytelling as a common theme throughout my work?
- What’s the real story behind the challenges and attacks I faced in 2021?
- How do Canadian and American wine palates compare?
- Which Canadian wine region am I most excited about right now?
- Where can you find the best Canadian Pinot Noir?
- Why is it so difficult to access Canadian wine in Canada?
Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips
I had to learn how to write with a book-length narrative arc versus just sewing together magazine articles. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
I know that sometimes when people listen to my show, I’m not for them. I’m very different for the wine world, as are you. - Elizabeth Schneider Click to tweet
I love storytelling so that piece will intersect with the writing, the podcasting, and the teaching because I think storytelling is what we’re wired for. It’s what I love. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
I think we might be more similar than different in palates because neither Canada nor America had the traditional wine-growing culture like Europe had. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
About Elizabeth Schneider
After graduating from Wesleyan University (CT) and starting my career in Boston, Elizabeth quickly realized that her heart was more in her hobby than in her high-tech job. Trips to the wine shop often yielded awesomely poor (but hilarious) results, so Elizabeth and her sister finally took a course at the Boston Center for Adult Education to learn how to taste and appreciate wine. And that kicked it all off.
A stint in St. John in the Caribbean to wait tables and just unwind for 8 months (yes, I quit my high-tech corporate job, packed two bags, and hopped on a plane), was followed by a great two years completing my MBA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where she met M.C. Ice, her podcast partner, and husband) and since then her career has been solely about wine.
- Connect with Elizabeth Schneider
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 51: Wine for Normal People with Elizabeth Schneider
- Blumen Garden Bistro
- Flame +Smith
- Long Dog Vineyard & Winery
- The Manse
- Lustre & Tarnish
- My Books:
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 32: Orange Wines, Pairings for Meatless Burgers
- My new class The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner And How To Fix Them Forever
Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live Video
Want to know when we go live?
Add this to your calendar:
Tag Me on Social
Tag me on social media if you enjoyed the episode:
- @nataliemaclean and @natdecants on Facebook
- @nataliemaclean on Twitter
- @nataliemacleanwine on Instagram
- @nataliemaclean on LinkedIn
- Email Me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thirsty for more?
- Sign up for my free online wine video class where I’ll walk you through The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!)
- You’ll find my books here, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
- The new audio edition of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass is now available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and other country-specific Amazon sites; iTunes.ca, iTunes.com and other country-specific iTunes sites; Audible.ca and Audible.com.
Natalie MacLean 0:00
That year, it really shook me because it started with a divorce, which undermine my confidence as a woman and then finished with the attack. I had to decide whether to just walk away from wine writing become bitter, and my wine drinking was getting out of control because I was using it to cope. Or if I was going to pull myself together, especially for my son, who was only 14 at the time, my career, my health, my self worth, I do think there’s going to be more stories like this coming to light. I am writing my story now as a memoir that’s about that time. I really do hope it will be a book that can help women, but also men or anyone who’s ever felt completely misunderstood or just lost in life and things have escalated beyond their control, and they just ache for compassion and understanding.
Natalie MacLean 1:00
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine, the love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations. That’s the blend here on the unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 148. What are the latest trends in wine? From blue wines to raw wines? And should you be drinking or running in the opposite direction? Why is high tech and wine a perfect pairing? What’s it like to go behind the scenes a wine writing industry? And how do you recover from devastating professional and personal attacks. I’m speaking from my own experience on this one. You’ll get those answers and more wind tips in my chat with a wonderful Elizabeth Snyder, host of the wind for normal people podcast. She’s interviewing me this time. In the shownotes you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation. links to both of my books. How you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class and where you can find me on zoom Instagram, Facebook and YouTube live every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie mcclain.com forward slash 148. Now on a personal note before we dive into the show, last Friday, Myles and I drove up to Prince Edward county for a glorious weekend. The sun was out as we walked the long sandy beach at sandbanks Provincial Park. And as a maritime gal, I find the water so calming. We enjoyed some of the best meals we’ve had in a long time, especially at bloom and veestro. their backyard garden is spectacular. Flaming Smith, famous for their dry aged steaks and fiery grilling pet. And for lunch. Bantam. Must try the curry chicken. I was determined not to visit wineries as that’s worked for me. No pity, I know. But after we enjoyed a bottle of long dog Pinot Noir at bloom, and we couldn’t resist, I bought a case. Oh, and by the way, we stayed at the mats, which is this lovely, old grey building that used to be the rectory for the priest who live there. It’s right beside a church kind of just in downtown Picton, but they’ve renovated it completely. It’s beautiful. The rooms are gorgeous. Anyway, just another recommendation if you go It felt so good to get away. Even if it was only a three hour drive from home. A change of scenery felt really healing. Do you feel that way too about travel? Let me know. Okay, on with the show.
Elizabeth Schneider 4:18
Natalie MacLean is an accredited sommelier who operates one of the largest wine sites on the web at www Natalie MacLean calm her first book red, white and drunk all over a wine so journey from grape to glass and her second book unquenchable. A tipsy quest for the world’s best bargain wines were both selected as one of Amazon’s best books of the year. She is the wine expert on CTV is the social Canada’s largest daytime television show. CTV News global televisions Morning Show. She was named the world’s best drinks writer at the World Food Media Awards, and has one for James Beard found And journalism awards. Natalie is an author, an online wine course instructor and wine reviewer. She is a member of the National Capital sommelier Guild, the wine writers circle and several French wine societies with complicated and impressive names that I can’t say since I always always say I really don’t speak French. Natalie has an MBA. She’s a fellow podcast host her excellent podcast, unreserved wine talk has been cited as such a great podcast and I have also been on her show. Welcome, Natalie.
Natalie MacLean 5:32
Hey, Elizabeth. It’s so great to be here with you.
Elizabeth Schneider 5:35
You are so accomplished. It’s ridiculous. It’s so good to have you. I feel like a schmo next to.
Natalie MacLean 5:42
All right. No, my dear. Your podcast rocks the top of every list. All right.
Elizabeth Schneider 5:47
Tell us about your life. how you got into wine. Were you born into a wine family? I’m guessing, I’m guessing No. But you tell Oh,
Natalie MacLean 5:56
yeah, exactly. So I grew up in a small Nova Scotia town. And it was beer and whiskey on the table because we were Scottish. So wine was for fancy people. And we were not fancy at all. Well, I guess there was one box of wine at Easter and the same would be saved for Christmas the next year. So there was a little bit of wine, but pretty scary stuff. So it wasn’t until my late 20s that I started drinking wine after I finished the MBA, like you. And what happened is I never learned to cook. I was a child of a single mom. She was a school teacher. She just didn’t get into cooking. So it was hot dogs and so on. So anyway, no cooking skills. My husband, I met him in the NBA, we would go out for dinner a lot now that we had some money. And that was the first time I tasted a good wine. It was a Brunello was an Italian restaurant. I thought he was offering us a past adesh I didn’t know what that Brunello meant, I’m sure. And he he offered it to us in tumblers, and no sniffing no ceremony. And I just remember lifting that glass to my nose and thinking Holy smokes, what’s this, and then I drank it even better. And I just, I loved it. And I wanted more of it. But I also wanted to know how to talk about it so that I could get more of it. And you know, the last, I don’t know, 23 years has been a search for those words.
Elizabeth Schneider 7:23
It’s amazing. Well, you have definitely found the word since you decided to write books about wine. What’s the progression in wide so here you are, you’re an MBA, you were working in tech, right? I mean, you were like two sides of the same coin. I also grew up with a single mother, although she did cook, she actually had a catering company. So for a little while, but she never taught us how to cook because she cooked so she was like, forget it. You don’t need to know how to cook. Do you got the MBA, but you were in tech, right?
Natalie MacLean 7:48
Yeah, exactly. So I worked for a high tech company that was based in Mountain View, California. It’s actually now the campus of Google. And so I was getting into this love of wine. And I started arranging all of my meetings on Thursdays or Fridays, so I could drive up to Napa and Sonoma to visit wineries. Other side activities never stopped. You know, it was type A personality. So golf was just don’t give me an iron club. And learning Spanish at night was exhausting, but I could drink Spanish wine. So anyway, I started through those visits, weekend stay overs and driving up to wine country. And then eventually I took a Somalia course just for fun at night. But I never had any confidence, Elizabeth that I could actually get paid to write. And that’s why I didn’t go to journalism school. My single mom drilled into me be financially independent. So what I did, and I had no notion about writing about wine until I was on maternity leave, and very, very sleep deprived state. All of that made sense to me. I had finished the sommelier programme is a diploma programme. And I thought, wow, I could write about wine on the web. That was actually news and a story back when I started writing in the Palaeolithic Era. So
Elizabeth Schneider 9:03
it’s happened very fast. Let’s face it, when we think about how quickly all of this has evolved, and the fact that that period of time when you started blogs were the thing I started with a blog also. Oh, yeah,
Natalie MacLean 9:17
that was a big deal. I think too. We both may have been influenced, coming from a high tech background. We weren’t afraid of the technology, right? And you can see just how much these two things fit together, even though it didn’t seem like they could wind and tack but I think it’s an amazing intersection. So yeah, I started a website early. I got into writing and I just didn’t go back to tech. I was hooked.
Elizabeth Schneider 9:39
Did you quit after you had your son, huh? Yeah,
Natalie MacLean 9:43
in Canada, we’re very lucky to have long maternity leaves. But also the high tech company I worked for gave you six paid weeks every four years. And I hadn’t taken of course any vacation because you know, work, work, work, work work. And so I had a full year off and so I had the Time like now what a luxury. Yeah, at the time to explore this without the financial pressure. And so by the end of the year, I thought, This is what I’m doing.
Elizabeth Schneider 10:08
That is so awesome. You started with the website. But then how did the book come about?
Natalie MacLean 10:13
Well, it wasn’t even my idea to write a book. After I won a James Beard award, this editor from penguin reached out to me, which seems like a dream. Now, it doesn’t really happen that way, usually, but she said, Have you ever thought about writing a book? And I thought, No, but maybe. And so I kind of asked one of my editors at a magazine, what do I do and she said, Get an agent, don’t start their backup, get an agent. So I did. And then we trotted around to all the publishing houses and went from there, I got a book deal. But it was still a struggle, I had to learn how to write for a book with a narrative, book length narrative arc versus just sewing together magazine articles. So again, we share that experience Elizabeth, so it was a learning
Elizabeth Schneider 11:01
by him was a bit circuitous in that I had the podcast and no one listened to podcasts, you know, until like, last year. So
Natalie MacLean 11:09
we’re an innovator, you’re doing this? Well, again,
Elizabeth Schneider 11:11
you know, to your point, it’s about the tech thing. I mean, in 2011, I was working with Rick from hell avino, I was writing copy for his site, because he needed an expert and I just quit my job at the huge hulking winery, and I needed money. I kind of didn’t want to do consulting stuff. I wanted to do consumer stuff, because he was so all in on tech. He was like, why don’t we start a podcast together? I was like, What the hell is that? And then that was in 2011. So I was just lucky that that came about and then for the longest time, I just remember my dad being like, you’re never gonna do anything with this. Nothing’s ever gonna come with this. What are you doing with your life? And then actually, my agent approached me because she was a podcast listener. So it is sort of similar, but it’s great. The blog was not my true passion. It was much more about talkie talkie like you know, that’s
Natalie MacLean 12:01
Oh, you can you are good at it. You’re a professional Gary are great gather. And you know, you got in there early, which is so fundamental. Now everyone’s on the bandwagon. But I just find podcasting, such an intimate medium, you know, being millimetres away from somebody’s brain, that whole voice thing. And as you know, I’m sure podcast listeners, they’re in it for the long haul, they listened to the whole thing versus like, you know, Facebook video, you’re lucky to get 30 seconds of engagement with somebody.
Elizabeth Schneider 12:31
Social media is really difficult for people like us, because I think we’re so interested in the content. Mm hmm. But there’s all this segmentation of like, Who’s gonna seek out a wine podcast, it’s gonna be somebody who wants to learn so already, it’s kind of like this awesome audience. And I know that sometimes when people listen to my show, I’m not for them. I’m very different for the wine world, as are you. And so I may just be like, Wow, that is not anything I want and why and I want something really serious. That’s totally fine. However, I think social media is more difficult, or me at least because I’m like, that’s not enough time for me to do what I want to tell you. So let me ask you this. How did you get into teaching? Why’d you first did all of the writing right? And then that’s right, teaching.
Natalie MacLean 13:23
Exactly. So I’ve been teaching wine courses online, just online. I don’t do them in person ever. But it was like coming full circle coming home in a way of teaching because I taught Highland dancing for years. I mean, I started in my basement as a 13 year old and Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah, they took little notices around to the principals of the elementary school. And then the first kid who won a trophy of mine, I photocopied her picture and the story and I didn’t even know what the heck I was doing. But it was my first customer testimonial. It’s both fun. And then by the time I finished just before I went away to the MBA programme, I had 300 students and three teachers and my different locations. Yeah, yeah. But again, I didn’t have the business savvy. I didn’t sell the business. I just put them all in with a teacher, I thought who would be good for them. So they were taken care of, but it was just so naive, but anyway,
Elizabeth Schneider 14:18
not really, though, because and it’s amazing. You’re such a born entrepreneur. I wish I had that. I was always like, oh, should I do the lemonade stand? No, nobody’s gonna buy it. You know? Like, I’ve like onsubmit No, I don’t think so. And then I just kind of do it and then somebody finds it and they’re like, that’s really good. You should do that. And I’m like, No, I don’t know. I’m the self loathing Jew again. It’s not good enough. It’s so funny.
Natalie MacLean 14:45
Well then I’m the Paranoid driven Catholic so like, it’s like, oh my god. You’re one job away from eating cat food. Go Go, go, go go. It’s like, Oh, please, someone help me relax. Anyway, maybe that’s how we both came to wine.
Elizabeth Schneider 14:58
I seriously, you Before you did the online teaching, your main business was reviewing wine and writing about wine. Correct? Exactly that was your core. Out of all of the stuff that you do. Do you like writing more? Do you like podcasting more? Do you like teaching? What what’s your thing that if you could do nothing else, but that you would do?
Natalie MacLean 15:18
Well, this may be a sheet of an answer. But I love storytelling. And so that piece will intersect with the writing the podcasting and the teaching. Because I think storytelling is what we’re wired for. It’s what I love. It’s kind of how my own mom taught me. And I just think like with my books, I try to tell stories, because if I give you 17 steps for proper wine service, yes, you might remember some of them, maybe for good all of them. But if they tell you that night, I worked at a five diamond restaurant as a sommelier, in training, nervous, and someone orders an expensive Bordeaux and I dripped wine on the white tablecloth and all this other stuff, but still put the learning in there the steps and what is good wine service. It’s like what my mom used to do, she used to put the peas in the mashed potatoes to kind of hide the vegetables. So I’m trying to hide the vegetables still with the way I approach while teaching about it and writing about it. So it’s a storytelling,
Elizabeth Schneider 16:19
I definitely see that it’s so funny. I think I’m more on the psychological side of things. I really like that. No, the reason I do this is because I’m a real researcher, and I love to dig into the why behind things. So it’s less about the story for me and more about the what’s behind that I should have been should have been a psychologist that, you know, I really love digging into that. What is making that tick. Why is Bordeaux the way that it is? Why is South Africa having the issues of having what’s underneath it. So to me, it’s like, Okay, and then I go really down that rabbit hole, like I’m like, okay, what’s the politics of it? What’s the culture there? What’s the, that’s my cross section, my cross section is that what makes things tick. I know, I’m such a weird person in that
Natalie MacLean 17:08
way. But that’s why you have so many followers and subscribers, your listeners to your podcast, there are lots of people like that I’m one of them. I just love your approach. Well, thank
Elizabeth Schneider 17:17
you. And I love yours, too. They’re very complimentary. I want to talk about this is the hard question. Because we talked about this. And I know it’s not anything you’ve really ever talked about. And this is not like, I don’t want this to be a huge deal. But in 2012, you had an issue with some copyright infringement stuff. And it was a very difficult period, for a number of reasons, give us a brief overview, because it still hangs around. And I think you should clear the air. How did you weather the storm, because the backstory behind this, there’s more to it, and you survive this, and I just give a little bit here.
Natalie MacLean 17:52
So you’re right on this, but this is the first time I’ve talked about this issue publicly. And thank you for inviting me to do that, even though I’m terrified. So 2012 was the absolute worst vintage of my life. The year started with my husband of 20 years, asking for a divorce and a custody battle over my young son. And then it ended with this confusion over copyright. So back up a little bit. You know, one day, I was just going through my email, and I got this Google Alert. And I clicked it open. And it was for one of my wine reviews. And I clicked through the link. And it took me to another wine website. And I thought that’s weird, because I had told the man who ran the site, I didn’t want to be part of his site. And yet there was my review. So it just sort of served around a little bit. And I noticed that on his site, and another website, they were republishing the wine reviews from a provincial liquor store monopoly here in Ontario,
Elizabeth Schneider 18:51
right? lcbo? Exactly. Anybody can look at that stuff.
Natalie MacLean 18:55
Mm hmm. And so you know, I’m a glass half full kind of gal. So I didn’t ask them to remove my reviews from their site. Instead, I started republishing the reviews from the lcbo site on my site, I assume they must be in the public domain. If all of these sites are doing it. They must have purchased them or something I don’t know. They must qualify for fair use because they’re fairly small bits of information. And all of these sites have been doing it for years, but I was wrong, dead wrong about that. And eventually I removed the reviews from my website. But in the meantime, the issue really escalated online, and it went far beyond my wine reviews to a pretty vicious attack on my character, and my body from my hair.
Elizabeth Schneider 19:44
My breasts, oh my gosh, to what
Natalie MacLean 19:47
certain men wanted to do to me in intimate detail, several of whom were male wine writers to a rape threat. If I didn’t shut up.
Elizabeth Schneider 19:56
Oh my god. You didn’t tell me that part. Look, here’s them. The other end of this is two things that I want to say. One is that a lot of this stuff comes to roost because we as solopreneurs, sometimes don’t understand the full copyright stuff. There’s all these people now coming after people for pictures and stuff like that, I told you, I shared this with you. I’ve had people try to come after me. And did you take it down, and they’re still coming after you. And it’s very confusing. I actually have a contact at the USPTO office, the US Patent and Trademark Office. I’ve talked to him about this. Because there’s no guidelines for us, we don’t know. And the other thing that you didn’t mention, but you mentioned to me, I hope you don’t mind me mentioning is that these other sites did not get the same attention, even though they were doing the same thing you were doing. And it really was a very singled out thing because you were both more popular, and perhaps because they felt they could intimidate you, for whatever reason, whether it be a chauvinistic reason, or whatever. And I think that really sucks. I think that you were trying the best that you could, and the fact that the wine industry came after you in that way sad. Not surprising. Yeah, was it right? I mean, really, are you surprised by it like in retrospect by not it’s disgusting, but let’s face it, they that’s look at the court of master sommeliers and everything that happened, right.
Natalie MacLean 21:19
But this is 10 years ago, Elizabeth, this was 2012, there was a whole confluence of things. It was the heyday of aggregators, like the Huffington Post, right? People were confused over copyright. But it’s only 10 years later, now that those stories are coming to light, you know, with the New York Times exposition about the quartermaster sommeliers, where they all had to resign for sexual harassment, and so on.
Elizabeth Schneider 21:42
I think it’s all tied in to this bit of toxicity. Thank you for sharing that it is a horrible story, but one that I wish you had talked about it earlier, because I feel like people don’t know, they don’t know what you went through. But Alright, let’s
Natalie MacLean 21:57
no one ever sees. But I’ll just add a couple more things here. But just to finish this off, because I appreciate the opportunity. You know, I guess that year in particular really shook me because it started with a divorce, which really kind of I felt, undermined my confidence as a woman and then finished with the attack, I had to decide whether to just walk away from wine writing become bitter, and my wine drinking was getting out of control, because I was using it to cope. Or if I was going to pull myself together, especially for my son, who was only 14 at the time, my career, my health, my health, my my self worth. And so I do think there’s going to be more stories like this coming to light and I am writing my story now is that as a memoir, that’s about that time, I really do hope it will be a book that can help women, but also men or anyone who’s ever felt, you know, completely misunderstood or just lost in life and things have escalated beyond their control. And they just ache for just compassion and understanding. Sometimes there’s not enough of that. No, I
Elizabeth Schneider 23:10
agree with you. And I think when you’re in the public eye, it’s one thing when you’ve got people in private maligning you, but then when you’re in public, and then you don’t know what to do, do you come forward and tell what’s going on? Or do you not? And I think it’s really hard. So I do appreciate you talking about this. But I do want to say, You’re incredible, because you picked it up and you stayed in wine, and the world needs your voice, and they need your positivity, this industry can really wear you down. Whether you’re a man or a woman, by the way, I mean, it can wear you down, especially if you’re of a certain personality type. Where I mean, I feel it every day, I feel like you’re not out enough and you’re not I mean, as I was saying, before, you know, I’m this like the self loathing Jew, I’m like, What am I doing? And, and there’s plenty of people to you know, send me emails with like, oh, you’re not doing this, you’re not as good as this. You’re not. I’m just trying to stay in my lane man. Like, exactly, you know, there’s not a whole lot of us doing what we’re doing. And I do it for the passion and I do it for the listeners, like you do it for your readers and your listeners too. And so I just applaud you for sticking with it. Because you really, you’re so talented, and you have other things to do. I mean, who among us, especially again, on the entrepreneur business side hasn’t been like what else would I do? Like if this doesn’t work out? What else am I gonna do? Can I go back to tech? Am I like, out of that, you know, anything? Like who hadn’t thought about that before? Yeah, terrified me
Natalie MacLean 24:35
too. Because it was like, 15 years since I left corporate life. It’s like, what am I going to do? How am I going to support my son, you know, my career has just been cancelled. So
Elizabeth Schneider 24:43
anyway, yeah. But you’re back and you stuck with it, and you did what you did best. So let’s talk about let’s move on past that. Thank you for talking about that. And let’s talk about Canada. Because we have so many listeners in Canada, Canada is really special place? And what are the differences do you think between the Canadian wine drinker and American wine drinkers? And what’s the fundamental difference besides the fact that Canadians are way nicer and funnier, like the best?
Natalie MacLean 25:16
And Americans are so flattering. So, you know, I think we might be more similar than different in palates, I think, because neither Canada nor America had the traditional wine growing culture like Europe had. So we grew up, I think, as countries as beer and whiskey nations. So that affects, I think, the kind of palette you develop. I do think that often wine drinkers, palates develop alongside wine culture and wine growing regions, and so if anything, but I’m going to generalise grossly here, because we are a cooler climate in many places along Canada, if that has affected our palates, it would be then toward less full bodied, more acidic kinds of styles like our Rieslings and our gamma A’s and our cab frogs, because it’s difficult for us to ripen really full bodied Cabernet and Shiraz is and so on. So if anything that would be it. But Canadian wine as a whole is a really, really exciting place right now you know that it’s so dynamic, it’s growing. There’s so many new wineries new start like they’re experimenting and yet at the same time, winemakers are understanding better what works here the climate, the soil, the grapes, yeah.
Elizabeth Schneider 26:30
What is your favourite Canadian region right now? Do you like the wines of BC better? Do you like the stuff from where you are closer to you? Do you like Nova Scotia? Your hometown? your homeland? Right?
Natalie MacLean 26:43
Yeah. Nova Scotia is
Elizabeth Schneider 26:45
getting a lot of play right now
Natalie MacLean 26:46
for it, isn’t it? Yeah,
Elizabeth Schneider 26:48
it’s that moment, a small moment.
Natalie MacLean 26:51
They make terrific sparkling wines out there and something called tidal Bay, which is named after the Bay of Fundy highest tides in the world. And it goes so beautifully with steamed lobster, melted butter, Sunset on the beach. Yeah, that just takes me right there. I guess because I taste far more interior wines of all Canadian wines. I mean, I taste wines from around the world. We have a lot of choice here. But the wines I’m most familiar with at this point are those from Ontario, and I naturally gravitate toward Pinot Noir. I know it’s a cliche, but as my personal drinking wine. And we do Pino really, really well because we’re cool climates. So I’d have to say the wines from this region. There are pockets there are three almost four different wine regions in Ontario itself. But I’m a big fan of the pinos that we produce here
Elizabeth Schneider 27:42
of the sub regions. Where would you say the best piano is coming out of right now, with all due respect to everybody else, just you feel like they’re the lead dog right now
Natalie MacLean 27:52
the most developed and the most advanced, the region that has the most history and understanding would be niagra, although that is divided, of course and now into sub appellations. But we’ve got the emerging region, more northerly of Prince Edward County, and some spectacular pinos, their limestone. It’s much colder up there, they have to Hill the vines like put the dirt up on the vines right winter, so they don’t die. But it produces sort of these nervy edgy winds that I love. They’re kind of like people always on the edge of a nervous breakdown, are they going to survive, or they’re going to fall apart, but when they’re good when they’re on? They’re spectacular. So it’s that high and low that magic is about them that I love. You know
Elizabeth Schneider 28:38
what’s really interesting to me Just going back to the Canadian system and the way that you have to buy wines. What is maddening about the system, the liquor board system is that you’re in Ontario, your access to especially French wines is great. And then you get to other places, edit is horrible. And it’s so much more expensive. It’s teams like that system is really not fair. I mean, the more systems don’t get me wrong, the American system obviously has some very serious problems too. However, I think that it’s a bit more equalised. There’s a lot of competition
Natalie MacLean 29:17
with our monopoly system. And even though the lcbo is the world’s largest single purchaser of wine, wow. Yeah, yeah, they They’re huge. But still we have issues across the country. It’s easier to ship a handgun across Canada than it is an Ontario wine to BC. We have these inter provincial borders that are insane. Because as you know, Elizabeth wine is the most value added agricultural product we produce. It has so many spin offs in terms of economic benefits and jobs. And yet we have these provincial monopolies limiting how we can buy and ship and taste our own wines across the country. It’s also easier in Many cases to get a California Wine here than a BC wine for salmon is an Ontario. Oh yeah, it’s crazy. It’s crazy. So the system is a hangover from prohibition for sure where we didn’t trust adults to buy alcohol.
Elizabeth Schneider 30:13
And Phil don’t do that in the United States. Exactly. That battle,
Natalie MacLean 30:19
I can only hope for change. But yeah, it’s a system that needs reworking.
Elizabeth Schneider 30:23
Yeah. And I hope Shana that gets that soon, because one of the things that I find about Canadian wine drinkers is that they do want to know more, they love information. So that’s, you know, they want to try stuff, but it’s just it makes it prohibitively expensive, sometimes because of the monopoly system.
Natalie MacLean 30:39
Well, I know when I’m teaching my online courses, you know, I have students from Canada, the US, but also around the world, suggesting a wine list is always a challenge. But what I tried to do is say, Okay, look, here are the wines that I’ll be tasting, but just get a California Cabernet in your price range or in this style. So we try to overcome that. But definitely inventory issues are attached to anything you try to do. When it comes to teaching or writing. Not everybody’s going to have the same availability in stock. I think we’ve overcome that now, though, with the online courses, because if you suggest lots of substitutes, everybody ends up being able to find something, but it affects that as well.
Elizabeth Schneider 31:18
Sometimes, but not always, because I do the same thing. And sometimes it’s like people are like, I just could not find that I couldn’t find especially with like some of the German Austrian wines, things like that. Sure.
Natalie MacLean 31:34
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Elizabeth Snyder. in the show notes, you’ll find a link to the full transcript of our conversation. How you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. Links to the restaurants I mentioned in Prince Edward County, as well as the Manse and long dog Pinot Noir. And where you can find me on zoom Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie maclean.com forward slash 148. You won’t want to miss next week when I continue my chat with the witty and wise Elizabeth Snyder. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 32 go back and take a listen. I talked about more wine trends such as orange wines and pairings for meatless burgers. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. Orange wines are white wines that are made like red wines. Are you confused yet? They start out making a white wine. That’s what they do. Their intention first is white wine, but then they leave the grape skins on during fermentation just as red wines do, and white wines do not. This imparts a distinctive colour flavour and texture whereas the skins are removed to ferment white wine. Orange wine also has more exposure to oxygen, which adds a savoury character called umami. So that’s the fifth taste along with sweet salty, bitter, and sour umami, often described as deliciousness. You get it in Parmesan cheese and cooked mushrooms and so on. It’s made from fresh white or pink vanilla or permitted hybrid grapes. All the grapes are mass rated fermented on their skins for 10 days to achieve the colour of orange 10 days. If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wine trends we discussed. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a plain old red or white wine. Go figure. You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash subscribe up here next week. Cheers