Bordeaux Wines, Politics and Wine, Monastrell & Spanish Food Pairings with Lori Budd of Exploring the Glass



What is it like to participate in the coveted en premiere tasting of the new vintage of Bordeaux wines in France while they’re still in the barrels aging? Which Spanish foods should you pair with the fabulous red wine Monastrell? How does politics influence wine?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with winemaker, writer and podcast host, Lori Budd who graduated from the prestigious UC Davis enology program. She and her husband own Dracaena Wines in Paso Robles. She’s also the host of the podcast called Exploring the Glass.

You can find the wines we discussed here.


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  • Who are the Rothschilds and what is their association with banking and wine?
  • What was it like to attend the Rothschild family’s ballet competition as their guest?
  • What was Lori’s experience as a participant in an en premiere tasting in Bordeaux?
  • How does the tasting experience differ for wines that are ready to drink versus still in the barrel?
  • How is Portugal’s turbulent history reflected in its wine?
  • What type of wine did Lori taste from the ungrafted vines of the Jumilla region in Spain?
  • How are Jumilla winemakers adapting their styles to meet the changing taste of Monastrell consumers?
  • Which Spanish foods should you try alongside Monastrell?
  • What does Lori love about Spain and Spanish wines?
  • What was Lori’s early career like, first as a microbiologist and then as an adventure educator?
  • How did Lori first fall in love with wine?
  • What was the journey like from wine lover to winemaker?


Key Takeaways

  • I loved Lori’s story about attending the en premiere tasting of the new vintage in Bordeaux while it’s still in the barrels aging. It sounds exciting, terrifying and eye-opening.
  • Lori had some terrific Spanish dishes to pair with the luscious Spanish red wine, Monastrell.
  • I found Lori’s insights on how politics has influenced wine fascinating.

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About Lori Budd

Lori Budd began her career as a microbiologist, but her need for excitement led her into Adventure Education, teaching students how to rock climb, zip line and tie those all important survival knots. Along the way, she fell in love with wine and graduated from the prestigious UC Davis enology program, along with certifications from a number of other wine programs. She and her husband, Michael, own Dracaena Wines in Paso Robles. She’s consumed by the stories that unfold as each glass is poured, and shares those in her award-winning blog and podcast called Exploring the Glass.



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Natalie MacLean 0:00
You were in Bordeaux. You participated in the en primeur tasting.

Lori Budd 0:04
It was a once in a lifetime experience. You get to taste the wine that is bottled from barrel and you’re tasting the wines prior to their release. All of these premier tasters are there and they rate the wines. This is what allows them to determine what price point they will do. And it also allows them to sell the wine before it’s even released, which is brilliant marketing.

Natalie MacLean 0:28
Is kind of like a futures market. Exactly.

Lori Budd 0:32
It’s the original futures market is what it is.

Natalie MacLean 0:41
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations? Oh, 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 181. What’s it like to participate in the coveted on premium tasting of the new vintage of Bordeaux wines in France while they’re still in the barrels ageing? Which Spanish foods should you pair with the fabulous red wine Monastrell? And how does politics influence wine? You’ll hear those stories and more in my chat with Lori Budd who is the host of the popular podcast Exploring the Glass. Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show with the continuing story of publishing my wine memoir Wine Witch on Fire:  Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Depression and Drinking too Much. So I have an official publication date for my book. May 9 2023. So it’s just under a year from today. The countdown begins. It’s been a long journey. My memoir is based on the most terrible vintage of my life 2012. And I’ve either been thinking about it or writing about it ever since. As I mentioned, my agent and I close the deal with my publisher just before Christmas. Timelines in the publishing industry are notoriously long, and supply chain issues with paper shortages, especially, are making them even longer these days. The book cover will be developed soon as that’s needed to get the memoir listed on Amazon, Chapters Indigo, Barnes and Noble and so on. So if you’d like to see get a sneak peek at the design concepts and give me some feedback, let me know. I’ve posted a link to a blog post called Diary of a Book Launch in the show notes at This is where I share more behind the scenes stories about the journey of taking this memoir from idea to publication. If you want a more intimate insider seat beside me on this journey, please let me know that you’d like to become a beta reader and get a sneak peek at the manuscript. Email me at [email protected] Okay, on with the show.

Lori Budd began her career as a microbiologist, but she says her need for excitement led her into adventure education, teaching students how to rock climb, zipline, and tie all those important survival knots. Along the way, she fell in love with wine and graduated from the prestigious University of California at Davis Enology programme, along with completing several certifications from other wine programmes. She and her husband own Dracaena Wines in Paso Robles. She’s consumed by stories that unfold as each glass is poured and shares those in her award winning blog and podcast called Exploring the Glass. And she joins us now from Fresno, California. Hi, Lori. It’s so great for you to be here with us.

Lori Budd 6:18
Hi, Natalie. Nice to be here. I thank you so much. I’m like honoured.

Natalie MacLean 6:23
Oh, the pleasure and honour is all mine. Lori, I just love your podcast and what you do with your various channels. So before we dive into your journey and why, let’s begin with some of your more memorable moments during your career. I was fascinated by this. You just mentioned it but I want to hear the story. You were guests of the Rothschilds? Roth sheilds?  you can tell me with their ballet competition. So tell us about that. First tell me how to pronounce that correctly. I just don’t crack open a bottle of Rothschild or Rothshield every night.

Lori Budd 6:55
So technically it is Rothshield. But all of us Americans, I guess Canadians actually say Rothschild. But yeah, technically it is Rothshield. Yeah, it was an incredible experience. I was lucky enough to win The Millesima blog award. And when I was there, the host was Clerc Milon. So that’s how we got to meet them, all three of them together, you know the two brothers and sisters together. And then we became like brand ambassadors for them.

Natalie MacLean 7:27
And tell us who they are in the world of wine. The Rothschild. Oh, for those who may not know, who aren’t drinking it on a weekday.

Lori Budd 7:36
Wow. They are the family of wine. Mouton Rothschild. Clerc Million. They actually also owed Opus One in Napa, but they are very prestigious family. They did come from banking, but they just are the family. And so except for when I was there, I cannot afford to be drinking their wines.

Natalie MacLean 7:58
Because it comes out at like five or $600 a pop like a bottles, maybe more these days. It’s one of the top ranked Bordeaux first growths like one of the five.

Lori Budd 8:07
Yes, it is a first growth. It is honestly incredible wines and they are incredible people. They are not at all bourgeois, they really are kind of very down to earth, very pleasant, very fun people to be around with. But a few months after that, they invited us back. They have a ballet competition every other year I believe it is. And it is just from the ballet schools around Bordeaux in that area. And it’s an academic award so that it gives grants. And it was incredible to see these beautiful dances go on and then a top male and a top female ballet dancer were awarded the championship I guess you would call it. It was beautiful. And what’s more incredible I was in France for 36 hours. For the time I left New Jersey – because I was in New Jersey that time – to the time I returned. It was like in out bam, bam, because I couldn’t miss a day of work.

Natalie MacLean 9:05
Wow. Well, wow. That is incredible. And so were you sort of in the audience watching. Were you one of the judges? I mean, how did you.

Lori Budd 9:12
Oh, gosh, no, we were there. It happened at Clerc Milon. It was beautiful setting it was at sunset. So we had a nice little introductory party beforehand, like appetisers and of course, their champagne. And then we were escorted to this beautiful tent that was on the property. We watched the ballet and then the presentation of the awards. And then we had some major festivities and got to drink some spectacular wine, including one that I will never forget. We were married in 1995 and I got to drink 1995 Mouton. Wow. It honestly might have ruined me. It’s so good.

Natalie MacLean 9:59
I bet.  Oh my gosh, what an experience. And does that tie in? Now I know they’re quite into the arts because they commissioned a new label from a different artists every year for their flagship wine they’ve had, you know, Picasso.  They’ve had the creme de la creme. So is this an extension of that of their participation in the arts?

Lori Budd 10:17
Absolutely. They are very involved in the arts, through everything, just the dedication they have to it, the love they have to it, and how much they give back to it is all part of the family for generations, I believe.

Natalie MacLean 10:31
That’s wonderful. Wow. So you were also in Bordeaux, I guess this must have been a different trip. But you participated in the en primeur tasting, tell us what that is. And what it felt like.

Lori Budd 10:43
It was a wonderful experience I. Probably is a once in a lifetime experience. Although I do know, people go back and back. And I would love to return. But what it is, is you get to taste the wine that is bottled from barrel, so you’re tasting out of bottles, but it’s the one that’s actually still in barrel. And it’s the vintage that is going to be released. And the concept is that you’re tasting the wines prior to their release. And this is what sets the price point for when it actually does get released. So everybody who is there, that’s where the James Sucklings of the world are and all of these premier tasters are there and they rate the wines. And this is what allows them to determine what price point they will do. And it also allows them to sell the wine before it’s even released, which is brilliant marketing. Yeah, how they get to put their money back into the next vintage because if you’re in the wine industry, you know, it’s a lot of money intake, and it’s years before you get to see that money back if you get to see that. But anyway.

Natalie MacLean 11:54
Especially if you’re ageing the wine in oak barrels. So on average, how long would these wines have been in barrel? I know it would differ by Chateau but were they generally two, three years to

Lori Budd 12:05
Three years was what we were tasting generally. Yes. Okay.

Natalie MacLean 12:09
It’s kind of like a futures market.

Lori Budd 12:10
Exactly it’s the original futures market is what it is. Yes.

Natalie MacLean 12:14
Oh, that’s great. So how many wines did you taste?

Lori Budd 12:17
Oh, I can’t even tell you. We were we were whisked away from Chateau to Chateau to Chateau and then each individual region of Bordeaux had one place where you could taste all of their wines. You know, we would go to St. Emilion on and then St. Estephe and then Sauternes. So we were tasting multiple, it was giant rooms, and you were tasting multiple chateaus and each of the rooms and then we were having dinners at different chateaus every night. It was beautiful.

Natalie MacLean 12:48
Oh well, did the wines taste really tannic? And were they hard to take? Or were they already tasting good?

Lori Budd 12:54
I was told to be prepared that it was a very different tasting. So I think that because I went in with that mindset that it prepared me. I think that if you thought you were tasting wine that was ready to drink. We all know Bordeaux, some were those they’re meant to age. But I think that if you went in with that mentality, yeah, you would be oh. But if you went in knowing that, listen, these are still in barrel. So they’re going to be heavily tannic, and you learn to taste through that tannin and you can start to see where that fruit is going to be, and how that wine is going to grow up or age a little better.

Natalie MacLean 13:35
Sure. And for those who are not familiar with tannins, of course, that’s that furry mouth. That astringent, dry feeling you get like eating walnuts or drinking over steep tea. So wine and its youth, especially a Bordeaux blend that has Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and so on is going to have those tannins generally. So which Chateaux stood out for you like the dinners? Like, tell us about one where you went? And what was it like? What were they serving? What was the Chateau life?

Lori Budd 14:03
So I am probably the only absolute wine lover who does not like food.

Natalie MacLean 14:09
Wow, that is a mark of distinction for sure.

Lori Budd 14:11
Yes, yes. As my husband says, I eat to live I don’t live to eat. I am a for the most part a vegetarian. So it’s a very different and when people ask me for wine pairings, I’m like, well, it should go with this. But since I don’t eat that, I don’t really know. You know, I don’t have one in particular. I was actually kind of awestruck to be around so many incredible winemakers and to be talking to them, and them asking me questions about how I make wine. You know, I was like blown away that these major Chateaux are curious as to how I make wine and things like that. So the food really wasn’t to me that point. It was just talking to these people and I guess you hold them up to our eye I held them up to this pedestal. Oh my gosh, your first, you know, cru Chateau here and you’re talking to me about how I made why, you know?

Natalie MacLean 15:11
Wow. That’s great. And were they dinners like long tables, eloquent banquets. Did everybody get dressed up?

Lori Budd 15:19
Yes. You were getting dressed up for the majority of the dinners? Yes, you were. Some of them were more walk around cocktail type things where it was more appetizers and things, but the majority of the actual dinners, it was you were sitting in these beautiful rooms and very long tables, and you were getting dressed up.

Natalie MacLean 15:38
Wow. Did you get to talk to any of the wine writers that go there regularly?

Lori Budd 15:42
I did not. There were six of us that won the award. And we were kind of whisked, you know, okay, going this way, going this way, going this way. And we tended to stay together. So

Natalie MacLean 15:55
Sure. What is Millesima? What is that organisation?

Lori Budd 15:59
Millesima is actually an importer. So there’s a couple of them. There’s one in New York. And there’s a huge one in New York, but they import Bordeaux wines. They sell Bordeaux wines basically. So it’s like Zachys, or JG Buckley’s that’s what they are. But they hold the this wine writers award every year. And there’s different categories. There’s food pairings, there’s travel, there’s photography, and then there’s a winner for America. And then there’s a winner for European or outside of America. So there’s six winners, and you all get swept away to this incredible experience.

Natalie MacLean 16:38
That sounds wonderful. Do you have to write about Bordeaux?

Lori Budd 16:41
No, actually, the article that I wrote about that one was actually a food pairing, believe it or not. It was about Portugal’s history and how it correlates to the wine that it was produced and the food that they eat. How the turbulent history relates to the wine, that was what I wrote.

Natalie MacLean 16:59
So how did the turbulent history relate to the wine?

Lori Budd 17:02
It’s similar to a lot of other areas. You know, as governments come and go, some governments just want the wine to be produced in mass quantities, and we don’t want it to be good. We just want a lot of it. And then as the government’s change and regulations change, they start to realize that maybe not as large quantities but smaller quantities, and better quality is where it is and that’s why Portugal’s wines are really rather exquisite.

Natalie MacLean 17:32
Wow, great. My goodness. And then you also had a visit to now is it Jumilla? Umilla? The region Spain. Jumilla. I’ve always read these words, but you know, pronouncing them if you haven’t been to the region, it’s like, okay, Jumilla in Spain.

Lori Budd 17:48

Jumilla. I actually just returned from there in November was when I went and it was a wonderful press trip. We went and we learned all about Monastrell, the grape. Yes, it was incredible because they have all of these regions. Many of their vines are ungrafted, which is kind of unheard of, you know.

Natalie MacLean 18:10
pre phylloxera before the phylloxera ruined all the vineyards. But yeah, that is amazing. How old would those ungrafted vines be?

Lori Budd 18:18
Some of them are like 50 years old, some are older. And what was interesting again, politics come into play with winemaking. Once they joined the EU, they’re no longer allowed to use ungrafted vines, they have to use grafted vines. Oh my goodness, as the government says no more ungrafted vines. So as they lose the grafted vines, they have to use rootstock you know, and grafted them over. But it just was incredible. It was such a beautiful area so mountainous and open. It was beautiful. And once again, the people I think the wine industry across the board no matter where you go to is just a welcoming community. But the wines the wines are incredible there.

Natalie MacLean 19:02
What did they taste like? What does Mourvèdre Monastrell tastes like from that region?

Lori Budd 19:07
So the article I wrote that was published in the Vintner Project is about how three different winemakers approach Monastrell differently. And what happens is Monastrell is kind of a beast. It’s a bold, rustic wild wine and you know, and a lot of tannins to it, and done 100% is beautiful in its own way. Unblended, Correct? Correct, unblended. And what’s happening is that people’s palates are changing, and they’re not wanting that rustic-ness anymore. So winemakers need to adapt how they are producing this wine and Monastrell is called the queen of Jumilla. So they’re resting their laurels on this grape, they have to make sure that they’re making it the best way they can. So the article that I wrote is about three different winemakers and how they’re approaching, providing that style of Monastrell that people are looking for which is really a lighter and brighter Monastrell. They’re looking for not so much rustic-ness. And you know, one of Vina Elena is harvesting early. They’re always like one of the first vineyard sites to harvest so they’re getting that bright acidity out of it, you know.

Natalie MacLean 20:26
Before it over ripens, and you get more of the heavier fruit expression, more alcohol.

Lori Budd 20:33
Right, getting that red fruit versus the darker fruit. Another winery is blending it with Tempranillo, so Tempranillo brightens it up and lightens it. And it’s still Monastrell because of the percentage, but they’re throwing in some Tempranillo in there. And then Castillo is actually as opposed to paying attention so much in the vineyard of what they’re doing. They’re pay more finesse into the winemaking where they’re taking it and they are taking one section that they are harvesting and fermenting whole cluster. One is through gentle maceration. And then the other one, they’ve completely de stemmed it. And blending those to be the perfect, you know, taking the best of the best of each one. So it’s interesting to see how each winemakers philosophy comes into play. But they’re all getting that same result of that lighter, brighter Monstrell.

Natalie MacLean 21:31
Right, because the stems and so on has a lot of that harsher tannin in it if they’re thrown in there with the grapes, correct?. Right. And how do you think the Monastrell from that region – I know I know they’ve got some different styles going on now that they’re lightening up – how does it differ from say the Mourvedre of Southern France?

Lori Budd 21:53
I think the southern France is more rustic. I think it is it’s a little more tannic, and not out of control. You know, I don’t want to make it sound like it’s out of control. But I think they’re doing more of natural. They’re tending the vineyards to get the best fruit, the highest quality, but they’re not necessarily looking for that lighter, brighterness. They’re looking for that rustic-ness that kind of put that blanket on and cosy up with it, you know?

Natalie MacLean 22:23
So it’s a bigger wine, alcohol wise, tannin wise and so on. Yeah. Cool. Interesting. And then what did you see people very quick this wine while you were in Spain?

Lori Budd 22:34
Oh, a lot of seafood. A lot of paella I was living on and I never say it correctly. paella? paella?

Unknown Speaker 22:41
Okay, we’ll go with that.

Lori Budd 22:43
I was in love. I didn’t care. I was having it every meal. And I was at and it was what they serve the vineyard workers. You know, as they’re out in the vineyards working all day or whatever. Some of the workers will come and they will create this dish on this big pan in the middle of the vineyard. And it was pure carbohydrates. So I was in heaven. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 23:05
Is it paella? Is it another name for pie? What was in it?

Lori Budd 23:08
It was dough. It was flour. They could add protein to it. But for mine, they didn’t. But you know, you could add protein to it or whatever. It literally was a quick pick me up for the vineyard so that the workers would be working hard, working hard, sit down, eat blah, blah, blah, and then go back out. But no, it wasn’t pie. Yeah, it was nothing like pie. Yeah. Oh, my goodness. I have a video on my Instagram feed of them making it it’s pretty cool to watch. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 23:35
What is your Instagram handle?

Lori Budd 23:37
So it’s Exploring the Wineglass.

Natalie MacLean 23:39
Okay. We’ll link to that in the show notes too. But I’m sure folks will be curious to see what that looks like. What other dishes, traditional Spanish dishes did they pair with Monastrell?

Lori Budd 23:49
Oh, my gosh, the ham. the hamone. Oh, okay. Yeah. And I learned this, that the better quality hamone actually, when they hold the plate up, it sticks to the plate. Yes.

Natalie MacLean 24:03
Why does it do that? What’s in it?

Lori Budd 24:05
Yeah, I think because of the fats, because of the fat sticks to it. But it was pretty funny. A couple of them were like, Oh, look, we were in these restaurants. And they’re like, oh, and I’m like out there holding up the plating.

Natalie MacLean 24:17
Oh, it’s like throwing spaghetti on the wall or something. Just Spanish version? Yes, yes. Yes. Wow. Anything else?

Lori Budd 24:23
It was funny because the two other females that were with us. I’m gonna say I’m a vegetarian next time.

Natalie MacLean 24:32
They didn’t want to eat all the fat.

Lori Budd 24:34
The food was incredible. I had my first quail egg, which was really good. It was so cute. I came out and I’m like, look at how tiny this egg is. And they’re like, it’s a quail egg. I was like, Well, I’ve never seen one before. This is kind of cool.

Natalie MacLean 24:46
Do they taste different from regular eggs?

Lori Budd 24:49
It did. It was so much more flavourful. Really? Yeah. Flavours come through like you know, I don’t know. Eggs to me are kind of bland like they just taste like the salt and pepper or you know I put hot sauce on everything. So you know it needs to taste like that. But this it just was flavorful. I don’t know. Maybe they flavoured it, but it tasted like to go to wine terminology. It was a fuller body. Fuller body.

Natalie MacLean 25:12
Gotcha. That’s great. And now you’re planning to go to Navarra.

Lori Budd 25:19
I am. So I actually the 28th I will be going to Navarra to learn about Garnacha.

Natalie MacLean 25:25
Oh, another famous grape of Spain. Now situate where are those two regions in the country?

Lori Budd 25:31
Northeast I know is Jumilla, and I am not 100% sure where Navarra. I will learn that when I go there. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 25:40
Exactly. Garnacha. That’s the flagship grape. And is it famous for anything else?

Lori Budd 25:47
I think that’s their flagship. You know, I’m sure they make other wines there. But as Jumilla is voting on Monastrell. Navarro is Garnacha, which is Grenache.

Natalie MacLean 25:58
Yeah, why Navarro? Why did you decide to go there? What intrigued you?

Lori Budd 26:03
These are press trips. So I’m going there to learn about the region to write articles about the region. So I’m so excited other than Bordeaux and I did go to Hungary for Cab Franc day. These are like my first real press trips. So I’m really excited. And I’m hoping that I get to see more areas. I’m dying to see. Really spacious. That’s where I want to go.

Natalie MacLean 26:26
Okay. Where is that in the country?

Lori Budd 26:28
That is again Spain? I guess I have a thing for Spain. Yes, you do. It’s right above Portugal. It’s Galicia and it’s called Green Spain. And I think that’s why I really want to go there is it looks so beautiful. They equated to Ireland, so oh, really kind of like feel like it might be my second Spanish home type thing.

Natalie MacLean 26:46
Oh, lovely. Yeah, that sounds so good.

Lori Budd 26:49
And Albarino is just so incredible.

Natalie MacLean 26:51
Oh, yeah, it’s such a nice zesty white wine. So that must be a cool climate. That region.

Lori Budd 26:57
Yeah. And very windy and the special pergola the way they trellis is on pergolas. So it just looks so romantic and so beautiful there. That’s where I would really, really love to go.

Natalie MacLean 27:08
Sounds lovely. Well, let’s get back to your personal journey. You started as a as a microbiologist, what did that entail?

Lori Budd 27:15
So my husband and I met at work. We worked at a food company, a large food company. And when I started it was called Lipton, but it then became Unilever. So it’s a Soup Company, originally?  yes. Which soup and tea soup and tea. It was much more food oriented. Today, it’s more personal care. You know, that’s the Doves, the Dove soap, Pam X sprays and all of that stuff.

Natalie MacLean 27:43
I know what you’re talking about. I used to work at Procter and Gamble. Oh, okay. Crisco, and Pampers and Tide.

Lori Budd 27:48
Yes. Yes. So I was in charge of microbiology for very specific things. And so like Lipton original tea, the one ready to drink, the one that you would pop open, that was kind of my product. My job was to make sure that as it was being produced, that it was safe for you to eat or drink, technically, right. And my husband at that point, he was Wishbone salad dressing. So that’s how we met. He would come up. He would create a product and then have to bring it to me and check. And I would have to basically inoculate it with micro organisms. And that’s how we determine the shelf life, the shelf stability of it, and whether things are safe, or any of those consumer complaints that come in, we have to check if it’s micro reasons that people got sick or something like that. So that’s how we met and that’s how I started was in microbiology. Wow. So kinda helps with the wine.

Natalie MacLean 28:45
Exactly. There is a link there is a path there. I’ve heard you say you met over science. That’s really nifty. Like and you continue that relationship obviously today with the winery?

Lori Budd 28:56
Yeah, we have some very strange conversations. We joke that when we go out to dinner, people are talking about what’s on TV, what’s on this and we’re talking about this food product that exploded and what micro organism caused it to explode or why this occurred? Or, you know, so food chemists, microbiologists match made in heaven.

Natalie MacLean 29:13
Oh, yeah. Sounds really geeky. Perfect. That’s great. But before you got into wine, you had a detour, I guess, into adventure education. What made you leap into that?

Lori Budd 29:29
Good God. I am really, really hyper, which is actually like why I’m sitting on a rocking chair so that I can rock while I talk. It is very difficult for me to sit still. And microbiology was not a good fit. You’re sitting under a hood a lot of times. You’re in a lab. You’re not really talking to people. I remember one time I was doing an experiment and I was under a hood and it was on a Sunday. I had to go in on a Sunday. So I was listening to my beloved Miami Dolphins and it was against the Jets. And I was working with listeria, which is really a bad thing. And the they threw an interception and I got really annoyed. And I actually hit myself. When I broke the vial, I cracked the vial into my skin, which could have meant that I gave myself listeria. So for like four days, I was like checking the back of my neck for medical, like, you know, so I just have not meant to be a microbiologist at all. So I went into teaching. And what happened was, I kind of just fell into this adventure ed, and it was perfect. So I taught kids how to rock climb at the school. We had rock walls. We had elements in the ceiling that I could drop down. And it really was a cooperative education class. So for the majority of the marking period, I would teach them how to respect each other, talk to each other, communicate with each other and build these bonds that they can trust each other. And then the class culminates in them climbing. So things would come out of the ceiling and one student would be climbing and another few of them would be belaying them and picking up the slack to make sure that they were safe. We had elements inside, we had elements outside. So I just became the specialist in it and teaching the kids how to harness themselves what not to use, if they’re out and about and they want to do something. So you know, whenever somebody needs something tied to the roof of their car, I’m the one they call whatnot. You know, I’m out there tying the knots for them.

Natalie MacLean 31:31
Oh, that’s great. And did you move from school to school? Or were you based at one school? I was based at one school, sort of like the Phys. Ed teacher?

Lori Budd 31:39
Yes. Yeah, exactly. I was a Phys. Ed teacher. I was a Phys. Ed teacher. I just specialised in adventure ed.

Natalie MacLean 31:44
Oh, great.

Lori Budd 31:45
And thank you for calling it Phys. Ed versus Gym is a little…

Natalie MacLean 31:49
Yeah. My mom was a school teacher for 37 years, she taught great two. But yeah, I have a lot of respect for teachers. You do need a lot of energy for that. You cannot be seated, sitting just in your seat, no. And so then for a while you were commuting between New Jersey where you were teaching and Paso Robles. But maybe we should start off with first how you fell in love with wine.

Lori Budd 32:11
So my husband and I, when we started dating, we were very low on the totem pole of careers. So we weren’t getting paid very much. So our dates weren’t, you know, out and crazy things plus, I don’t eat very much. So you know, our dates were we would walk to the local shop, right, which is a food store and pick out a bottle of wine, usually from the label, which is why I always tell people, sometimes that’s a good thing, you know. And then we would go back and he’s a food chemist, so he would cook the meal, I would sit there and watch him cook the meal. And then that was our date nights, you know, we’d rent a movie or go to a movie or something like that. But we would basically eat at home over a bottle of wine. Talk. So that’s how we kind of fell in love. And as I say, as we progressed in our careers, we were able to stand up from that lower shelf of the supermarket, we were able to see the eye level wide of the supermarket and realized okay, there’s some difference here. And then as we started to do vacations, we started to say, Oh, well, let’s try this region, you know. We drove to the Finger Lakes or you know, then we started going to Napa, Sonoma, and then we just started going to different regions. And we realized there was a difference between wine and wine. And I say the experience of your palate changing the wine that really showed me that there was wine is a ’92 Ferrari Carano Chardonnay. That was the first wine that I got that I tasted that I was like, Oh my gosh, this is my aha wine. This is beautiful wine. I tell people, you know, palates change, because that wine is no longer what I would drink today. It’s a beautiful wine. But it’s not the wine that I’m like, oh my god now you know. Now, now my palates someplace else for Oh my God, why, you know. Sure. So that’s how it is. And we just went from region to region and we tried different wine, and we fell in love with wine. And as we progress, we’re like, you know, we did one of those make wine with us groups. And being the science dorks that we are. The fruit was actually trucked from –  this was in New Jersey –  the fruit was trucked from Lodi, California to New Jersey, so you can imagine what condition the fruit was in. So we’re in there and there’s a whole bunch of other people making wine also, and we’re in there pulling out the materials other than grapes, we’re ripping out the mouldy grapes, and we’re just putting in the best grapes that we could get into there and everybody else is making fun of us and they’re all drinking and having a good time. But then at the end, after the wine is made, you have a big party and you share your bottles. And everybody’s like well why is your wine so much better than our wine? It came from the same plant and I’m like, well, because we didn’t put mould in our wine you know, like so. We just started doing that, that we decided, alright, trucking grapes is not the way to go. So we went to crush pad in San Francisco and we made wine there. And we made a Syrah from Whitehawk Vineyard, which is a very famous vineyard. And everybody was like, this is so good. This is so good. So you get that little itch in your brain saying I can do this, I can do this. And so in 2013, we decided this is how we’re going to retire. So when we can finally really retire, we’re going to retire to this winery. And hopefully by then it’s got its name for itself. And it’s doing that. So 2013 was our first vintage and we started with cab franc at Dracaena Wines.

Natalie MacLean 35:43
Do you still have your day jobs and the winery is kind of the side project. How does this work now?

Lori Budd 35:48
I will be officially retired from my day job on March 1. Oh, wow. Congratulations.

Thank you. Thank you. So 100% winery. Wou know, we’re starting to look for a tasting room. We’re starting to try to grow a little bit more, but he still has his day job.

Natalie MacLean 36:05

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Lori. Here my take aways. I love Lori’s story about attending the en primer tasting of the new vintage of Bordeaux wines. While it’s still in barrels. It sounded exciting, terrifying, and eye opening. Two, Lori had some terrific Spanish dishes to pair with the luscious Spanish red wine Monastrell. And three, I found Lori’s insights on how politics have influenced wine fascinating. In the show notes, you’ll find my email contact the full manuscript of my conversation with Lori links to her podcast and website, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, and where you can find the live stream video version of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube Live every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at forward/181. Email me if you have a sip, tip, questions, and if you want to be a beta reader of my new memoir at [email protected] You won’t want to miss next week when we continue our chat with Lorie but in the meantime, if you missed episode 24 go back and take a listen. In honour of National Wine Day coming up on May 25. Not that we need an actual day to celebrate. I talk about how wine is interwoven in many aspects of our lives from history and politics to agriculture and commerce. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. The dinner table itself is a symbol of modern unity and tolerance. Throughout history a person’s position at the dinner table reflected the social hierarchy, the best seats, and the best food and wine went to those with the most power. In contrast, King Arthur’s Court stood for or at least sat for equality since the Knights gathered at a round table. Today some of the best conversations happen at the table and some of the most brilliant ideas are conceived there. Just as importantly, eating and drinking together helps us to understand people from other cultures through their wine and cuisine. Wine has long been a closer companion to food than has hard liquor or beer. The high alcohol content of hard liquor tends to overwhelm food. The reason it’s often consumed on its own, or to paraphrase wine is fine, but liquor is quicker.

If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who be interested in the wines and stories we discussed. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your class this week, perhaps a savoury Monastrell.

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