How are podcasts a great way to learn about wine? Which wine books can jumpstart your education about wine and further it as you get more knowledgeable? What’s behind the backlash against wine influencers on social media?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Robert Vernick and Peter Yeung, co-hosts of the XChateau podcast.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
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- What are Peter and Robert’s first memories of wine?
- Which scent brings Peter back to his first memorable bottle of wine?
- What made Robert’s first experience with an old Bordeaux wine memorable?
- How did Peter and Robert get the inspiration to start the XChateau podcast?
- Why were Peter and Robert drawn to podcasting in particular?
- How did a sabbatical from management consulting help to start Peter’s wine career?
- Which books made a big impact on Robert’s wine career?
- What did Peter learn about inclusivity in the wine space from his favourite podcast guest, Ikimi Dubose?
- How did Robert’s favourite guest, Maureen Downey, change his views on counterfeit wines?
- How is Chai Consulting using cutting-edge technology to combat wine fraud?
- What surprising facts did Peter and Robert learn about the Brazilian wine world?
- What does it mean to be a wine influencer?
- Why is there so much backlash from the traditional wine world against influencers?
- I enjoyed their insights about how podcasts are a great way to learn about wine. Of course, I’m biased, but I think the depth of information you can get from a podcast is unparalleled compared to social media. Each episode can be like one of those condensed summary books for when you don’t have the time or interest to read the whole thing.
- And finally, I thought they offered great insights as to what’s behind the backlash against wine influencers on social media. It really points to a changing of the guard in the wine industry, which in turn, affects how we learn about wine and new wines to drink.
- That said, I think wine books can jumpstart your education about wine and further it as you get more knowledgeable. Again, I admit my own bias having published two of them. However, I liked their recommendations for your wine library.
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I remember being in my room and opening the bottle and the whole room just filled with the aroma. That got me a lot more interested in wine. - Peter Yeung Click to tweet
I feel like people are going to podcasts to learn things or find interesting things so I think you can capture a unique audience. - Robert Vernick Click to tweet
Ikimi Dubose really taught us about building new spaces as a way of actually getting inclusivity. - Peter Yeung Click to tweet
We did this whole series on wine influencers and every single person we talked to, in their top five demographics was Brazil. - Robert Vernick Click to tweet
The traditional wine industry doesn’t really want to change anything… Before it was the bloggers, now with the influencers, they’ve always hated something. - Robert Vernick Click to tweet
I’m less judgmental of the content. I really care about whether they’re helping the industry and helping create awareness for wine. Is that gonna turn someone from beer to wine? - Robert Vernick Click to tweet
About Robert Vernick and Peter Yeung
Robert Vernick and Peter Yeung co-host the XChateau podcast that features insights, analysis, and perspectives on news and trends in the wine industry beyond winemaking, such as marketing, finance, and consumer trends.
Robert is a noted wine blogger who holds the WSET Diploma. Peter is wine business consultant and the award-winning author of Luxury Wine Marketing published by Infinite Ideas in Oxford, U.K. He was named one of Wine Business Monthly’s 2020 Wine Industry Leaders.
- Connect with Robert Vernick and Peter Yeung
- Kevin Zraly’s Book | Windows on the World Complete Wine Course
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- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 29: Wine Scandals, Fakes and Forgery with Maureen Downey
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Natalie MacLean 0:00
Some of the backlash against influencers. Do you think there’s misogyny involved?
Robert Vernick 0:05
The traditional wine media in the traditional wine industry doesn’t really want to change anything. I don’t think they think anything is wrong. Before it was the bloggers, now it’s the influencers, and they’ve always hated something new, anything that is going to change the establishment. The democratisation of these platforms has given people who previously didn’t have a voice or couldn’t get a voice through the traditional means, have made it easier for them to find their tribe and build up influence and build credibility. There are people who are just taking a pretty photo with a bottle, and that may get a lot of likes and a lot of attention, or is it really wine content? Who cares if it’s helping kind of proliferate wine? And I think, why not try something different? I think that that’s where the backlash comes from. I definitely think it is generational as well. There’s some age factors in there, in terms of changing of the guard by generations.
Natalie MacLean 0:53
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? Well, 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 142. How are podcasts a great way to learn about wine? Which wine books can jumpstart your education about wine, and then further it as you get more knowledgeable? What’s behind the backlash against wine influencers on social media? You’ll get those answers and more wine tips in our conversation today with Robert Vernick and Peter Yeung, co-hosts of the XChateau podcast. 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 video every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/142.
Now on a personal note before we dive into the show. So I love sitting at the kitchen island and chatting with Miles as he cooks dinner on Saturdays. One night, he noticed I was watching him intently as he pounded the chicken breast with a mallet. And so he started saying the following; So this breaks down the muscle fibres in the meat making it more tender, this is important when you have two pieces that are different sizes because they’ll cook at an uneven rate and the thinner piece will dry out and the thicker one will be undercooked. I said wait, wait, wait, are you food splaining to me? And he said, Well, just in case you ever want to try making this yourself Hon. So I said, Well, I appreciate your good intentions, but I’ll always be cooking adjacent. You cook; I pull the corks; that’s why we work so well together. Fortunately, Miles is willing to learn about wine, though that’s made our lives much more expensive. Okay, on with the show.
Natalie MacLean 3:41
Robert Vernick and Peter Yeung co-host the XChateau podcast that features insights, analysis and perspectives beyond winemaking, so they tackle topics like marketing and finance and consumer trends, some really interesting stuff. Robert is a noted wine blogger and holds the WSET diploma. Peter is a business consultant and the award winning author of Luxury Wine Marketing and he was named one of wine businesses 2020 wine industry leaders. I welcome them both now from their homes in San Francisco. Hello, Peter. Hello, Robert.
Peter Yeung 4:16
Natalie, thanks for having us.
Natalie MacLean 4:18
I’m so glad you’re here. Excellent. All right, so let’s kick it off with your first memory of wine. Peter, why don’t you talk about your first memory of wine?
Peter Yeung 4:28
I had to actually look through old passports because I asked my dad like when did we go to Europe? I don’t remember the year. And I’m like, maybe I should know this since you know, it’s my first memory of wine and, and then I discovered Oh, I was 10 at that time. We were travelling through Europe with my uncle and his family who were Wine and Spirits distributors in Singapore. And we occasionally, I barely remember this, I only remember maybe one or two wine tastings, but the one I do remember, I believe it was in Alsace. Everyone was tasting wine, and were spitting the wine. The adults anyway, not at 10. But I saw my dad,, he was tasting the wine and like swallowing he wasn’t spitting. So, you know, I observed that. And so I went over to him and I pinched his stomach and said, you’re doing it wrong. Robert knows that I probably still do that today.
Natalie MacLean 5:24
It’s all in good fun. Cool. So that gave you your first memory. How about you, Robert?
Robert Vernick 5:30
So I grew up in a Hungarian American family and both my parents worked. And I remember when I’d get sick as a kid that I would stay with my grandparents. And warm wine was like the cure for everything. I’m not sure if they just felt like alcohol killed everything or if it helped you sleep, I don’t know, but I remember having a warm red wine when I was sick as a kid. It was obviously watered down, but it was just something that can really help you sleep and get through like a fever or whatever.
Natalie MacLean 5:55
Ah, did it make you feel better do you think?
Robert Vernick 5:57
I don’t know. probably helped me sleep, I’m not sure.
Natalie MacLean 6:01
Well, helps me feel better, but not when I’m sick. Because I can’t smell. But cool. So Peter, let’s move ahead a little bit. What’s the first memorable wine that you actually tasted?
Peter Yeung 6:12
Yeah, in college, I actually ordered wine from wine.com. And I was a little bit more into wine, although not like today. I would buy different things and I bought a Barolo. And I remember being in my room, and opening the bottle, and the whole room just like filled with the aroma. And that got me a lot more interested in wine. I still didn’t know anything until I took some like wine courses and things at least a decade later. That was like changed my life in a way I guess. But it took a long time. And I still enjoy very aromatic Nebbiolo’s today and I’m a little distracted even now because you know, since we’re having to drink wine at eight in the morning for you, Natalie, I did open a Barolo 2013 Oddero. The perfume is in my room. And it’s like, okay, I can smell it, even though it’s, you know, a foot or more away.
Natalie MacLean 7:12
Isn’t it amazing how powerful smell really is? I mean, it’s part of why I’m sure we’re all into wine. But it just takes you back to those first memories. I mean, it’s so intimately connected with memory. That’s great Peter. How about you, Robert, what is your first memorable wine?
Robert Vernick 7:28
I was getting into wine because we’d have it at business dinners and stuff like that. It wasn’t until I was doing a startup and the CEO of a company that bought mine was Bordelais. And he found out I was like getting into wine. And he’s like you have to try aged Bordeaux. And so he brought a couple bottles from his cellar. I don’t remember the exact vintages, either the late 80s, early 90s but it was Château Grand Boise.. And I just remember thinking like, Wow, what’s going on here? There’s like next level, like things that I’m smelling that I’ve never smelled in a wine; at that point I probably hadn’t had a wine that was that old. So much jumped out of glass; I was like, what was going on at that time, at that place, to make this wine smell like this now? And where’s this bottle been all this time? And all these questions were sort of going through my head, and it really kind of like hooked me.
Natalie MacLean 8:13
That’s awesome. Yeah, there is always that one starter wine. You both seem to have been in high tech. Robert, was your startup a high tech venture? Yes? Did you know each other before you came into wine, because you have this sort of common background?
Robert Vernick 8:26
No, no, I lived out of the country for a while; I was in China for 12 years. So I did a lot of my stuff there.
Natalie MacLean 8:31
Oh, okay, okay. Wow, how did you guys meet, by the way,
Peter Yeung 8:35
We were in some of the same classes. And then one of our friends, who I was in a tasting group with, I think, invited Robert to join that tasting group. And so he joined. And so we saw each other pretty much every week blind tasting wines. And yeah, that’s how we got to know each other.
Natalie MacLean 8:51
Oh, wow. And when did the idea for the podcast come along?
Robert Vernick 8:55
We’d been talking about it pre pandemic, I think we started talking about it. And I know it’s been, let’s see, it’s 2021. So we started probably talking like late 2019, we were talking about the idea of a podcast. And you know, obviously, Peter had just written this book. And a lot of people didn’t understand the space. And I was like, well, I could just interview you. And then he’s like, well, I don’t know anything about social media and I can interview you and so we started talking about that. And then the pandemic hit and all of a sudden we had a lot more free time because neither of us was commuting anywhere. So we bought some bikes and basically started from our homes.
Natalie MacLean 9:25
Wow, and why did you decide on a podcast say versus YouTube or some other outlet? Why were you drawn to podcasts?
Peter Yeung 9:34
Look at us.
Natalie MacLean 9:41
Voice or no face for radio is what I like to say personally about myself, so yeah, okay, so but you must be drawn to the whole power of podcast, the whole thing about I don’t know, there’s something about it isn’t there, like radio but more on demand, more flexible?
Robert Vernick 9:58
Yeah. I feel like people are going to a podcast to learn things or find interesting things. And so I think you can capture a unique audience. I think it’s very hard to market a podcast. I mean, I think you use other channels, but there’s not necessarily a straight overlap. But uh, I feel like we have fairly active listeners who listen to every episode. And we get a lot of feedback from people personally in the industry. I’d say most of our people are based in the US. So I think there’s that. I think there’s actually a very strong consumption for the people who do listen, they actually listen to the entire thing.
Natalie MacLean 10:27
Well, what kind of feedback do you get?
Robert Vernick 10:30
Mostly positive. People like certain types of guests, sometimes people said they missed the episodes. We’re just Peter and myself going back and forth, because we do have a lot of guests. Peter, what else have I forgotten?
Peter Yeung 10:39
My mom was actually complimentary of one of our more recent episodes. She said, My voice was okay. But normally, she’s a lot more critical. She said some of the episodes early on were too boring. And you know, we needed to have more jokes or things like that.
Natalie MacLean 10:54
Thanks, Mom. Mums are invested.
Peter Yeung 10:58
Yeah, and I think that’s still our sole four star review is from my Mom on Apple podcasts. We also listened to a lot of podcasts, especially for learning about wine, so I listened to, for a long time, Inside Winemaking, and GuildSomm, and, you know, Levi Dalton’s podcast (I’ll Drink to That! Wine Talk). And it was how I started to study about wine, especially for the Master of Wine programme. And so we thought it was natural to do one and Robert’s very on top of all the tech trends, and I’m maybe a laggard in that space and he’s one of the forward people there. And so he had identified that, hey, podcast is probably a good idea; we should do it.
Robert Vernick 11:38
Yeah, there’s a lot of interesting business podcasts that talk about problems in the business space where people actually learn things from and it was like, there’s nothing like that for wine. And like everybody’s doing interviews of producers and talking about the production in the actual like, making the wine but no one’s talking about like, well, what happens once you make the wine and like getting into the market and dealing with that, but there are on the business side, there’s podcasts about selling your company, like that’s all they talk about; is about buying and selling companies. “A specific niche.” And so we thought that might interesting for wine, because there’s a lot of topics and a lot of people don’t have a full grasp of those.
Natalie MacLean 12:12
Absolutely. Now, Peter, you are also in high tech, tell us about that. Because you were in high tech before he got into wine. But there’s still a connection there.
Peter Yeung 12:26
It was more of like, clean technology, I guess, but in the Silicon Valley space, so I was always more in like that energy utility world. And when I was a management consultant, I took a sabbatical and studied wine at the Culinary Institute of America, where you’re wine tasting everyday; it was actually with Karen MacNeil. She was the Dean at the time. And so we had classes with her and she’s very, like, you have to spit. Very structured and teacher like
Natalie MacLean 12:53
Yes. How many wines were you tasting a day there?
Peter Yeung 12:56
Oh, I don’t know, probably at least 20, if not more, because it was literally like nine to four, I think.
Natalie Maclean 13:03
And that’s intense.
Peter Yeung 13:06
This was like a six week programme. After a few days, you know, everyone’s looking each other like, Oh, we got to go get a beer, and then you get over that, and you can just start powering through and enjoying it more. And I think that sparked for me what was more of an interest into more of a passion for wine. And so I started building it more and more into my life, even back at McKinsey, a consulting firm I was at. So I saw an opportunity to go into the clean tech space and high tech in Silicon Valley and try to potentially make some money to then screw around and wine, do something silly that doesn’t make a lot of money in wine. I made that attempt. Unfortunately, I just recovered the pay cut I took to go there in the diminished valuation IPO but it was a great experience. And eventually I said, Okay, I think it’s time; maybe I should do this wine thing.
Natalie MacLean 14:00
Right. Absolutely. And, Robert, there are a few books that must have been part of your journey. What were some of the most influential in your learning about wine?
Robert Vernick 14:09
In terms of books, my very first wine book was Kevin Sraly’s Windows of the World. I wanted something very clear cut, laid out, like, how do I get into this? How do I approach this? It’s a book I recommend to people all the time, I think it’s one of those classic kind of like, what the way I would want to approach it. Sometimes books approach it from the grape as opposed to the region and so I really like that approach. And then obviously, the book I use the most,, I think any person who’s actually studying wine, is Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Wine Companion. I actually use the online version now because you can save things and bookmark things and star things. And I was always like, I want a physical book, but now I’ve totally switched to digital for that; it just becomes so much easier, because they update it and it’s all on the online subscription and you just get it as a wine student. So it’s just something that you know, I probably use once a week at this point.
Natalie MacLean 14:54
Yeah, and things are changing so quickly. I mean, it’s kind of why when I decided to teach online wine and food pairing classes, I started online, and it’s still all online. I haven’t moved to physical courses. I mean, I’ve led wine tastings in the past, but I just find it so flexible. I mean, the number of people you can reach, the updates to the course are continual. I mean, I get it, it’s really powerful. So maybe tell us, for each of you, who has been your favourite guest on your podcast so far? And why? What was that person’s backstory?
Peter Yeung 15:28
I think it Ikimi Dubose of The Roots Fund. She’s just so dynamic and such a personality.
Natalie MacLean 15:35
And what is The Roots Fund? Sorry
Peter Yeung 15:38
It’s a scholarship fund for the BIPOC community in wine. And she’s just such a force. And you’re both intrigued and intimidated at the same time.There’s always new layers of even her own personal backstory, she’s like, a quarter Chinese, I think. And they’re just like, wait, really. And so it was great. I think she really taught us about how to be more inclusive, and about not inviting people into the same space, but building new spaces as a way of actually getting inclusivity.
Natalie MacLean 16:12
Did you give an example of that? Because that’s an interesting insight.
Peter Yeung 16:16
I don’t know if there was a specific example that I remember, but it was like, if you have the same structure, and you’re just saying, Oh, sure, you’re welcome in, but the structure was built for a certain type of person, then that’s not really going to work. And so having something new that is built with a broader, more diverse set of people mind is a better approach.
Natalie MacLean 16:39
And what was her name again? Ikimi Dubose. Okay, I must look her up because she sounds really interesting. Potential guests in the future for this podcast. And Robert, Do you have a favourite guest?
Robert Vernick 16:51
Mine’s more controversial. I really enjoyed talking to Maureen Downey who I’ve chatted with a number of other times. I mean, I just, there’s so much drama and conspiracy around counterfeiting wine, it’s still going on. And so she gave us the whole lowdown on the Rudy (Rudy Kurniawan ) backstory, but also like, what’s actually happening now still, and how bad of a problem it really is, and something that it’s kind of a victimless crime, or people get fake wine? Ooh, that’s not the end of the world. But people are spending tons of money on these things, and sometimes not. I mean, some I mean, even there are people who have been counterfeiting, Yellowtail, but all these things that like I didn’t realise how bad of a problem it really was until talking with her. She’s just so energetic and she’s one of those people that people love to love or hate. You know, very polarising
Natalie MacLean 17:33
Polarising because she’s got great strong opinions. They call her the wine detective in the world of wine fraud. I am sure not everyone loves her, especially the counterfeiters. But yeah, was she talking about new technologies? I just wonder, just throw this out there. Maybe you haven’t explored it. But do you think non fungible tokens (NFTs); I think that’s right, will play a part in preventing fraud?
Robert Vernick 17:56
I think on the higher end, yeah, a lot of the counterfeiting stuff is really cosmetic at this point. And then she has a company that is doing a blockchain NFT for wines that puts a chip underneath the capsule, but on top of the cork, that can be detected and trace. And so I know a lot of wineries are looking into that and starting to do that. But then right as their business is wrapping up the pandemic hit. So Chai Consulting, is pioneering in that space. So I definitely think it’s something that, especially in the very collectible wines, I think it will start to, I think it will take a while for that to roll all the way out. I know we’re probably many years away from that becoming a something that’s on every bottle of wine or any kind of consumable product, but it’s something that I think could be used across any of the food products, right, like in terms of tracking where things have been; if they’ve been in heated areas and things like that, from yoghurt to eggs.
Natalie MacLean 18:41
Wow. Cool. And then you’ve had a few unusual moments on your podcast. Tell me about mayonnaise, Peter.
Peter Yeung 18:50
It’s just it’s something people love to hate. I think it was Paul Yanon of Colangelo & Partners. Maybe this is why people don’t interview other parts of the business like PR people. They end up saying things like mayonnaise is not interesting
Robert Vernick 19:05
He was talking about marketing or doing PR for mayonnaise; he’s like no one gets on about I want to go help Hellman’s with mayonnaise
Peter Yeung 19:13
He was just comparing it to wine, where wine is more interesting, fascinating, has these stories. And he’s like, what do you say about mayonnaise? And then someone else, I can’t remember who, was also hitting on mayonnaise during an interview.
Natalie MacLean 19:25
It was just boring compared to wine but you don’t have a backstory to mayonnaise. Yeah, okay. And what about influencers in Brazil? There’s something about that as well, you were talking about?
Robert Vernick 19:39
We did this whole series on wine influencers; talk about the different types of wine influencers, and every single person we talked to, in their top five kind of like demographics was Brazil. It was just a running joke. You know, before doing this podcast, I didn’t realise how big the Brazilian wine market was or how passionate they were about wine and now I pay attention to it. They’re out there in force. And they’re consuming content voraciously.
Peter Yeung 20:03
It started looking at just Roberts demographics because we’d be like, okay, we’re doing this where your demographics maybe like US, France, Italy, whatever, Brazil would show up pretty high on there. And then we would ask all these other influencers, and Brazil was always like number three, or four and we would just be shocked. We’re like, really? Oh, okay.
Natalie MacLean 20:22
Among your followers.
Robert Vernick 20:24
So it was 6% of my following on Instagram is from Brazil, which is crazy to me.
Natalie MacLean 20:30
Hmm. Interesting. Yeah. Do the two of you consider yourselves influencers? Or what would you call yourselves?
Robert Vernick 20:37
The one takeaway from our interview is everybody hates the term influencer
Natalie MacLean 20:40
They don’t like it.
Robert Vernick 20:41
Yeah, no, no, no matter what space you’re in. So I mean, it’s kind of a loaded term; its a term people love to hate.
Natalie MacLean 20:45
Why is that?
Robert Vernick 20:48
Because I think there’s so many different types of people that have influence. I think the true definition of an influencer is like, you could go anywhere and bring your people with you. And people like, are following you, not what you’re doing. It’ll go wherever you’re doing things. And so in that regard, I wouldn’t consider myself an influencer. Because like, if I just pop up on a new platform, people aren’t gonna just flock and seek me out. So I think on Instagram, like I am a, I guess, a wine personality or a wine, known wine account. But I wouldn’t consider myself like that I can move people from one platform to another, and no matter where they’re on the media, they’re always going to follow me.
Natalie MacLean 21:27
Right, and start talking about shampoo or something. And that’s like, they’re all using your brand. Yeah. How about you, Peter?
Peter Yeung 21:34
Definitely not, uh, Robert calls me a noob for social media. And I am in some ways, I don’t spend a lot of time on it. And I mean, I have some, but depending on how you define the term, I think maybe within the wine trade, or industries, I certainly as a consultant to different wine brands or wine businesses, I have influence in some way on what they do. But that’s I think, not the traditional use of the term influencer.
Natalie MacLean 22:00
Sure. Some of the backlash against influencers. Do you think there’s misogyny involved?
Robert Vernick 22:07
I think the traditional wine media and traditional wine industry doesn’t really want to change anything, I don’t think they think anything is wrong. I think that they cherry pick the people that are, so you know, before it was the bloggers now with the influencers, and they’ve always hated something, right. And so they hate something new, anything that is going to change the establishment. So what I think the democratisation of these platforms has done is given people who previously didn’t have a voice or couldn’t get a voice through the traditional means, have made it a lot more easier for them to find their tribe and kind of build up influence and build credibility with a group of people. So you know, there are people who are just taking a pretty photo with a bottle. And that may get a lot of likes and a lot of attention, or is it really wine content? Who cares if it’s helping kind of proliferate wine? And I think some people question the level of the content. But I would say that, clearly, the level of content that has been traditional in the wine history isn’t helping already, so why not try something different? So I think that that’s where the some of the backlash comes from. I definitely think it is generational as well. I think there’s some age factors in there in terms of changing of the guard by generations and how people think about that. And you even see this and other things in terms of like millennials, and Gen Z kind of have these like little wars against each other on these different social media platforms over different topics. And you just have to market and talk to each of these groups in a very different way. But it’s not just age, it’s also the level that they want to dive into it. I mean, wine is, so it’s like the deep end of the pool. And so people just wanna stay in the shallow end.
Natalie MacLean 23:29
Yeah, that’s true. But you make some really good points there. Like at first there was like, I don’t know if it was 5-10 years ago. But traditional media and I include myself, among those because I’ve written for magazines and newspapers, but there was a lot of disrespect for bloggers. Now bloggers have almost seemed to become mainstream. And there’s very little difference, especially with traditional media dying, like the newspapers and magazines. Everyone’s on a blog now, no matter where you came from, or what your age is, but I like that parallel that at first, it was the bloggers who are getting the short end of the stick, and now it’s kind of the influencers and next, it’ll be somebody else. But there is an important generational aspect to it beyond misogyny.
Robert Vernick 24:12
Yeah, let me so I mean, going into the misogyny side, like there are a lot more female influencers than there are male ones. Having talked to a number of PR firms, it’s just rare for me as a white male to talk to a PR firm like, oh, a male person who talks about wine with a decent following; it’s like this odd, like rarity for them, and it feels it feels nice, but awkward at the same time. So you’re a unicorn. I mean, I think there is some of that, but I think any of the day, I follow people who post kind of awkward things and then other people who like I felt anywhere from collectors to actual like people who I’d consider influencers, who are really talking about brands and getting out there but like, I’m less judgmental of the content I really care about, like, I mean, I hope they’re helping the industry and helping create awareness for wine is it can turn someone from a beer to a wine, hopefully I mean, the more wine you’re drinking overall in the world, the better it is.
Natalie MacLean 25:03
Absolutely, and with hard seltzers like White Claw who are drinking wines lunch, if you will, I think we do need multiple points of contact and influence, wherever it can be found, if the wine category is going to continue to thrive.
Natalie MacLean 25:21
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed our chat with Peter and Robert. Here are my top takeaways.
Number one, I enjoyed their insights about how podcasts are a great way to learn about wine. Yes, of course, I’m biased, but I think the depth of information you can get from a podcast is unparalleled compared to social media. Each episode can be like one of those little condensed summary books for when you don’t have the time or interest to read the whole thing.
That said, I think wine books can jumpstart your education and further it as you get more knowledgeable. Again, I admit to my own bias having published two of them. However, I like Peter and Roberts recommendations for your wine library.
And finally, I thought they offer great insights as to what’s behind the backlash against wine influencers on social media. It really does point to a changing of the guard in the wine industry, which in turn affects how we learn about wine and new wines to drink.
In the shownotes, you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, links to both of my books, and where you can find me on Zoom, Insta, Facebook, and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean/142.
You won’t want to miss next week when we continue our chat with Robert and Peter. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 29 go back and take a listen. I chat about wine scandals, fakes and forgery with Maureen Downey, whom Peter and Robert also interviewed. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
Maureen Downey 27:03
I worked in auctions for many years and I’ve been managing private wine collections and it’s not just the crusty old 1960 bottle that we need to worry about because the current wine fraud that we’re seeing is recent vintages, recent releases. So if you think that you don’t buy $1,000 bottles and therefore wine fraud doesn’t affect you, you’re wrong. There’s been a lot of Miraval Rosé that’s counterfeit, there’s more and more Brunello di Montalcino in the $40 range that is coming out as counterfeit. So this really does hit all aspects of the industry. And that is because we have seen such low punishment for those who get caught doing this, that organised crime has gotten into the game. Because if you get caught human trafficking or trafficking drugs, you’re going away forever. You get caught counterfeiting wine or selling counterfeit wine, you maybe get a slap on the wrist, if that, literally.
Natalie MacLean 27:57
If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the tips that Peter and Robert shared. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a wine you discovered from a wine influencer.
Natalie MacLean 28:23
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 Nataliemaclean.com/subscribe. Meet me here next week. Cheers.