How did my love of stories as a child bring me to the world of publishing and podcasting? What is the problem with the way some wines are marketed toward women? Why am I so insanely passionate about the message I share in my upcoming memoir?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Bridget Albert and Julie Milroy on their excellent podcast called Served Up.
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- How did my love of stories bring me to the world of podcasting?
- How did I go from writing for magazines to publishing my first book?
- What wine-insider stories will you read about in Red, White & Drunk All Over and Unquenchable?
- How did great white sharks end up featuring in one of my adventures with a winemaker?
- What was it like travelling to vineyards around the world with my young son?
- What are some of my favourite wine-adjacent memories with my son?
- What have I learned about myself while building my career in the wine industry?
- How is my upcoming memoir different from my previous books?
- Why is there a gap in wine marketing when it comes to women?
- What progress is the wine world making in being more inclusive for women?
- How can we as women help to move the industry forward?
- Why am I so passionate about the messages I share in my upcoming memoir?
- Why is it important for us to show the real and vulnerable aspects of our journeys?
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Voice is so powerful. It can convey so much emotion and it can bring to life a lot of things that the written word can’t and add that extra element of richness. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
When the culture and the education start addressing women as intelligent consumers who would be interested in expensive wines, that’s when you’ll get that change. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
There’s nothing wrong with fun labels but if that’s all women are, that’s the problem. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
About Served Up
Served Up, hosted by Bridget Albert and Julie Milroy, is a podcast for beverage professionals to advance their skills, customer experiences, and work environments.
Bridget Albert is Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits National Director of Education Beam Suntory and an advocate for upbeat education that makes an impact. She has designed beverage programs and produced trainings for top national accounts that include the Hilton Worldwide Resorts Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Crystal Cruise Line. Bridget is also the co-author of “Market Fresh Mixology” and “Life, Love, Happiness & Cocktails.”
Julie Milroy is Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Vice President of On-Premise and an innovative change leader, sales & marketing executive, career coach, educator and podcast co-host. She has over 15 years of experience in the beverage alcohol industry, spanning various roles in Sales, Human Resources, Marketing, and Commercial Strategy. Julie uses her diverse experiential background to create impact and results that are customer centric and collaborative. As a proud Korean American, Julie is passionate about supporting the AAPI & marginalized communities and empowering women in their career journey.
- Connect with Served Up
- Wine & Chocolate with Natalie MacLean
- Diary of a Book Launch: An Insider Peek from Idea to Publication
- My Books:
- My Mobile Wine Apps
- My Wine and Food Matcher
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 149: Bottle of the Sexist: Marketing Wine to Women with Felicity Carter
- My Food and Wine Pairing Guide
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 166: How Humor & High Tech Help Wine with Served Up Podcast’s Julie Milroy & Bridget Albert
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 109: How to Pair Wine and Chocolate with Chocolate Sommelier Roxanne Browning
- My new class The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner And How To Fix Them Forever
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- 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
There’s nothing wrong with fun labels. But if that’s all women are, that’s the problem. We are a range of tastes, budgets, desires, hopes, dreams, we’re people, we’re multitudes. And so I think marketing should talk to us like that. And wineries or agencies will benefit. Because, yes, we do want to buy the expensive wines, just give us a chance.
Bridget Albert 0:24
How do we do that, Natalie? And how is the wine world trying to break through that ceiling?
Natalie MacLean 0:29
I think the more there are women in senior positions in your companies, the more that mindset will pervade the marketing process, and the more we’ll see it in the market
Natalie MacLean 0:47
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 167. How did my love of stories as a child bring me into the world of publishing and podcasting? What’s the problem with the way some wines are marketed toward women? And why am I so insanely passionate about the message I share in my upcoming memoir? You’ll hear those stories and more during Part Two of my chat with Bridget Albert and Julie Milroy on their excellent podcast called Served Up. I share stories about my journey as a writer and drinker. You don’t need to have listened to Part One from last week first, but I hope you’ll go back if you missed it, after you finish this one. If you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published, or even the day after, you can still get in on a free wine and chocolate tasting I’m hosting tomorrow evening at 7pm. That’s Thursday, February 10; just in time for Galentines’ and Valentines’ Day, I’ll put a link where you can register for the event in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/167. Or just email me at Natalie, @Nataliemaclean.com.
Now on a personal note before we dive into the show with the continuing story of publishing my new wine memoir. So I’ve just started watching the Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window. It’s a deadpan comedy thriller on Netflix starring one of my favourite actresses Kristen Bell. Kristen’s character Anna loves her wine. In fact, she likes to pour an entire bottle of wine into a big glass right up to the rim. The way she sips on it is hilarious. It makes me think about wine and women, how it’s marketed to us, how it’s become a reward or crutch for many of us after a long day of work, housework, kids meals, lessons and so on. Now, I know men are busy too, but it just seems to me that wines are sold to us more as a justified reward with brands like Mommy Juice and Mommy’s Timeout and Mad Housewife. This also makes me question my role as a wine writer in promoting this narrative that may bring more pain or pleasure into the world. It’s one of the questions I struggle with in the memoir I’m writing. Just as I struggle with my own consumption. There’s nothing wrong with wine as a treat and in moderation, but when it becomes something we deserve, because dammit, no one else is saying thank you, I think it can become a problem.
I’ve lost track of the number of emails and direct messages I’ve received over the years from women asking me how much is too much. I’m vigilant about my consumption though I’m far from perfect. I never want to lose the pleasure of wine and have to give it up completely. Do you think about these things? Please let me know.
In the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/167 you’ll find a link to the blog post called Diary of a Book Launch, where I share more behind the scenes stories about the journey of taking this memoir from idea to publication. Now if you want a more intimate insider seat beside me on this journey, please let me know you’d like to become a beta reader and get a sneak peek at this manuscript. Email me at Natalie @Nataliemaclean.com. In the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/167 you’ll also find my email contact, a full transcript of my conversation with Julie and Bridget, links to their podcast and website, where you can find me in a free online wine and food pairing class, a link to the wine and chocolate tasting tomorrow evening, and where you can find the live stream video version of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube Live every Wednesday at 7pm. Okay, on with the show.
Julie Milroy 5:16
Yeah, so the podcast came later from the website. So what made you want to get into podcasting?
Natalie MacLean 5:22
Well, I find podcasting is such an intimate medium. I mean, most people will hear this conversation and not see it, at least first. And you know, you’re millimetres away from somebody’s brain, that’s a very intimate place to be, as you tell stories, and I think, well, at least for me, it takes me back to when I was a child, and my mother would read bedtime stories to me, and I’m dozing off. Podcasts, it feels almost like that. There’s something comforting about it. And there’s something that evokes the theatre of the mind. Again, you have to co-create it with your post, you have to envision what they’re talking about most the time, even if you’re watching this as a video, we’re not showing things other than our three talking heads. So there’s a creativity element that is there. That’s again, like reading books, I find wine and books are so similar. But so I was drawn to it for those reasons. And because I tend to listen to books rather than read the physical artefacts, and I think the voice is so powerful, it has, it can convey so much emotion that it can bring to life, a lot of things that just the written word can’t, it can add that extra element of richness.
Bridget Albert 6:31
What a great segue, can you tell us about your book as well, we would love to know what inspired you to write it; Red, White and Drunk all Over; A Wine Soaked Journey from the Grape to the Glass and Unquenchable. So yes, we’d love to hear about your books and that journey for you and how that came to be.
Natalie MacLean 6:51
Thanks, Bridget. So I’ve been writing for magazines when I started out, as I mentioned, and then I started entering some writing competitions. And that worked out. And so I got an email from an editor at Penguin, one of the larger publishing houses saying, Hey, have you ever considered writing a book? And I thought, no, but that sounds interesting. But then when I asked my magazine editors for advice, they said, get an agent, go the route that is a little bit more methodical. And so I did, and I ended up publishing with Random House. Now they’re merged actually, it’s Penguin Random House. So it’s all one big happy family again. But I started out with Red, White and Drunk All Over. And it was just sort of adventures. My inspiration was Kermit Lynch Adventures Along the Wine Route, love him, storyteller to the nth degree. I think a lot of people in the trade think of that book as their seminal book as well. So just tried to do day in the life of stories so that you could learn about wine. I say my mother always hid the peas in the mashed potatoes,so I got my vegetables in without sort of realising it. So the education is hidden in the stories, and then Unquenchable was a continuation of that. So I just went to more countries, did more crazy things like go shark diving, and then talk about seafood and wine pairing. No sharks were harmed, but milk goats and cheese and wine pairing and do all sorts of things around the world. But again, for me, instead of just observing from afar, diving down and doing something with a winemaker, usually it was a winemaker, revealed more insights, as the day would go on, whatever the adventure was, or weeks, whatever the length of time was we both forgot our roles in a good way. And we had more direct open conversation. And that’s where the insights came from. So that’s kind of the story behind those two books.
Julie Milroy 8:36
That is amazing.
Bridget Albert 8:37
Yeah, I think you needed to pause right here and tell us about shark diving. You just glazed right over that. Like, did you drink wine and then went shark diving?
Natalie MacLean 8:46
I felt like I needed a drink Bridget
Bridget Albert 8:47
How much wine did you drink after you went shark diving?
Julie Milroy 8:50
Where was that at?
Natalie MacLean 8:51
So this was off the coast of South Africa. And there was a winemaker who regularly led these sort of shark diving expeditions. And I thought, oh, there’s a good subject for a book. And it was until I got into water that I thought, “What am I doing?”, but you are in cages. So thank God, but what happens is they chum the water. So they’re spreading shark food. I think it’s fish guts or something. And these giant, giant, great white sharks, I mean, they’re as long as an 18 Wheeler, and they come up right next to your cage. And you can see their eye not blinking. They try to start chomping at the bar. So you keep your fingers in. It’s exhilarating and thrilling. And then you go, why am I doing this? But then I knew what I was doing, or why I did it afterwards. So the story, so that that adrenaline rush and then we went back to land and thought, I thought I’m never doing that again, but it was very exciting. So again, it was a day in the boat with the winemaker, we were able to talk about all sorts of things, South African wines, seafood and wine pairing. I think it’s only going through that again. that emotional rush that opened us up for a better conversation that made me never forget the experience or the wines that we tasted.
Julie Milroy 10:09
Wine is so nostalgic, right? So when you can have that moment, then the wine or the wine and then the moment, you’ll remember it forever. And we’ve been bouncing around, because it’s just all so fascinating. But you did bring up that you had a son and that you were raised with a single mother and something that we really like to bring up and bring awareness to is being a woman in this industry and being a mom and managing all of that. So could you share with us what that was like? Did your son come with you when you travelled the world and go to different places? And what were the highlights? And what were some of the challenges?
Natalie MacLean 10:45
So I was married for 20 years before that crumbled. That’s part of my memoir, which is my third book, my son stayed home with his father because he was just too small to go off to Australia and South Africa and so on. But in later years, he came with me to vineyards and we tried to plan visits like to vineyards that were child friendly, had a grassy field or something, where he and his dad could play ball or do whatever. And I used to call dining out our family sport. So you would never catch our family on the cover of an LL Bean magazine. But we did dine out; we loved dining out because that was the time when we all connected in restaurants. And we talked about everything. And we took him with us when he was very young. It made it a regular thing. So he was used to it. And I remember he would order things and he got to know different chefs at different local restaurants. And you know, one time he got this fish dish that had some sort of cream sauce, and he goes, “Oh, sauce, I don’t want this.” And I said well, the chef is just trying to be creative honey. So the next time he ordered, because he did his own ordering with the server, he said, I want the fish dish kind of mushy, but the chef does not need to be creative; no sauces. So, but we love that. So in terms of having a young son, it was always a balancing act like any career. And I never made wine taboo. But I did deliberately not give him a sweet wine to taste for the first time; I gave him a very bold Shiraz. And he thought it was yucky. I think some of my most poignant memories with my son have always taken place in liquor stores. It’s very bizarre, but I suppose if I had been a carpenter, we would have had our talks in the woodshed or something. But I remember when he was four, and we’re walking down the liquor aisle, and he says, “Mommy, why do we always have to go to the booze store?”, and I’m thinking they’re gonna call Child Services. But he grew up around wine. So it’s always been part of his life. Although he doesn’t drink it yet; he’s just turned 22. And he’s not a wine drinker yet, I think there’s still hope. But I respect his choices too.
Julie Milroy 12:46
It does come a little bit later. I mean, my son is 10. And I know Bridget’s daughter’s grown up in the industry and a lot of us can relate. It’s not us changing our life because we have a child, it’s that child adapting to our life and our lifestyle. And I could relate with the dining out, that’s our greatest hobby, you know, like, we go out to eat all the time, and he’s becoming more and more savvy and appropriate. And I’m like, one day, you’ll be able to go to all my work dinners with me, you know, you’ll be my plus one. Because my husband gave that up years ago. He’s like, No, you go by yourself. So that’s wonderful to hear that and get a glimpse into what that was like being in this industry and as a mom,
Natalie MacLean 13:24
Bridget Albert 13:25
I mean, this industry can be very aggressive and and it asks so much from you. If you allow it to just take and take and take. My daughter is about to turn 18; we’re planning for college. I’m on the spirits side of the industry, again, not making that taboo. So hopefully when she goes off to college, she’s just not going to ragers every night because she hasn’t been around it and I can relate to you so much. You know when you have that little babe in that like, Mom, why are we going to the booze store again. For daughter corrected her teacher on a spelling test on how to correctly spell Absolut.
Natalie MacLean 13:59
Ah, that’s great, I love it
Bridget Albert 14:00
It’s the vodka. Yeah, so been there. Right? How are you finding some balance then within the industry with a career that is so high powered in an industry that is so very aggressive? You know, how are you keeping your sanity?
Natalie MacLean 14:17
Well, a little bit at a time. It’s always one day at a time. There’s a variety of things that we have to do as women. I think this is generalising of course. But I do think that a lot of women are prone to be pleasers, people pleasers, to take care of everyone first and themselves last. And so just being aware of that and cultivating things you can do that sort of help you step back and slow down, that you aren’t grabbing for a glass of wine as a way of coming off a frenzied day, that you’re choosing that glass of wine to enjoy in a sensory way, that you’re not grabbing it as a as a narcotic to like say, Oh my God, no one’s rewarding Mommy so Mommy’s going to help herself. It’s meditation, it’s exercise, it’s getting out, forest bathing, and going for walks. It’s also asking myself, if I’m going for a glass of wine for what I call the wrong reason. It’s what’s the thought before the thought, I need a drink. Because that’s usually, there’s something hurting there, there’s a tiredness, or there’s an anger, or there’s a resentment. And that’s the thing I need to try to deal with. Maybe not in the moment, but not with wine. And so I want to choose wine. I don’t want wine to choose me, so to speak. Even though some wines have definitely chosen me. That is actually part of what I’m talking about in my memoir, because my first two books, as we discussed are wine books, they’re wine adventure stories. But this one is a memoir about being a woman in the wine industry. It’s a behind the scenes of well, the wine writing industry for me, because I haven’t worked for a winery or an agency. But it’s looking at those things and looking at how wine is marketed to women, how we buy and consume wine differently from men. And yet we are, as you know, the largest consumers of wine. So it’s all of those issues. I’m rambling a little bit, but your question Bridget led me right into that.
Julie Milroy 16:11
I can’t wait to read that. I mean, I think that’s such a great progression for you, you know, have been writing about wine for over 20 years, starting with Red, White and Drunk All Over. And as I mentioned earlier, when we started, I really enjoyed that book, because it was very light. It was funny to get I’ve read it 20 years ago, but I didn’t realise because I know who Kermit Lynch is now. I didn’t know Kermit Lynch when I first read it because I was greener than green. And I love that you just shared that there’s little nuggets of education. Because what I took away at the time was this is a fun book. I think my husband/boyfriend at the time, read it right after me. So I actually want to go back and reread it. And then I haven’t read your second. And I’m so excited for your memoir, but I kind of feel like it takes you through your phases of being in this industry. And I love that the last one just kind of wraps it all around kind of a woman’s experience, being that we are the largest consumers in the wine industry and of wine, the fact that so many of the premium wines are geared towards men, you know, there is still as much as our industry is progressing, and I know behind many other industries, but we are progressing, where I personally feel that it’s a lot slower than the wine side with everything. And it’s still, you know, I would go to some of these collector meetings and stuff, because I would sell really nice Italian wine with the collectors and it was just a group of men. There might be two of us that are like tasting the wines and stuff. And it was always a lovely experience. I mean, we were all there for the wine. But it was very rare to see woman wine collectors. I think , how does that change?
Natalie MacLean 17:47
Yeah, well, good question. I’m glad you asked. I interviewed on my podcast recently, Felicity Carter, formerly of Meiningers over in Germany, a big wine trade magazine. And now she’s gone to a startup in California. And she has some wonderful insights about women. We talked about it she said, Look at Hong Kong, there are two leading women there; I will probably mess up their names. I know who they are. But Debra Meiburg and Jeannie Cho Lee, I think they’re both Masters of Wine. And they are leaders in industry, education, consumer education, I think. And there’s a whole connoisseur class of women in Hong Kong that buy expensive wines and so on. She said it’s when the culture and the education starts addressing women as intelligent consumers who would be interested in expensive wines that you get that change, rather than always treating women as cash cows, who just want a pink label
Julie Milroy 18:40
Prosecco or Pink! And sweet
Natalie MacLean 18:44
Yes exactly. There’s nothing wrong with fun labels. But if that’s all women are, that’s the problem. We are a range of tastes, budgets, desires, hopes, dreams, we’re people, we’re multitudes. And so I think marketing should talk to us like that. And marketing from wineries or agencies will benefit, because yes, we do want to buy the expensive wines just give us a chance
Bridget Albert 19:09
How do we do that Natalie, you know, how I see on the spirit side is definitely you know, progressing to make some changes within their marketing strategies across the board, especially when it comes to like Bourbon, let’s say which is such a manly drink, you know, and must be drunk with a cigar outside and now or a drumming circle? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. We’re seeing like, No, I mean, me. I’m a Bourbon drinker. My mother is a bourbon drinker. My grandmother was a Bourbon drinker. You know, I look back three generations of women who love to drink Bourbon. So how is the wine world really here in the US trying to break through that ceiling?
Natalie MacLean 19:46
That’s a tough one. And being on the writing side of things, I’m mostly observing when it comes to issues like this and critiquing or analysing. I’m not working inside the industry from a producer point of view. So I don’t have all the answers. But I think the more there are women in senior positions in your companies, the more that mindset will pervade the marketing process. And the more we’ll see it in the market. I mean, in my industry, why writing, it’s still mostly men, nothing wrong with men. But it is a certain, often background and point of view, especially if they are of a certain age, a certain race and so on. And it’s only when you promote more women, not just whatever, tokenized women to senior positions in marketing and sales and production in these companies that I think it’s going to trickle down into how wine is made and marketed.
Julie Milroy 20:39
I love that you said that because as soon as Bridget said, how I’m like, it’s gonna take us we have to do it, you know, and, and others like you. And it’s just that you have to bring awareness to it. We can’t just say, Okay, it’s the same. It’s has it’s always been for the last 20 to 30 years, and we’re just going to go with the flow, we need to say, Hey, how about we do it this way? Or even better? Why don’t we throw our own collector’s club for women? Yeah, you know, and it’s like, why haven’t we done that, and I just joined an organisation called Chief, and I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but it is a private network, for executive women and it was started with two women about and it’s a startup, they’ve definitely been investors involved, some big high profile investors, Madeleine Albright, Venus Williams, some big people, but it’s really about a network of once women get to the top, how do we keep them there and have them continue to grow? Not just get that one leadership position and say, Okay, Hi, I’ve made it I should just hold on. And, you know, it’s how do we continue to grow that and you just brought up a great idea. And like, one of the things I can offer is a really nice, exclusive high end, some of the best wines and have a tasting and show them how to collect wine, you know, we’ll, we’ll invite you, you can?
Natalie MacLean 21:59
Oh, yeah, yes, absolutely. I’d love to. That brings to mind two things; Madeleine Albright’s quote that you probably know, but she says there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support each other. That’s one. But also, you know, I guess what I’ve done in my own industry, my writing is I’ve taken younger women and actually transitioned them into some of my columns and TV spots. So I talked with editors and said, Look, I know I’ve been doing this column for you for years, but I don’t need all of these columns, will you give her a chance, I’ll edit her work. And so I think that’s the only way, is like to actually put someone there, because I think sometimes even if they pitch themselves, either they don’t know how to do it, or the editor doesn’t know them, or the television producer. And I think that’s all you can do.
Julie Milroy 22:50
It is so important. And I didn’t mean to cut you off. But men do it to each other all the time for each other. Right? Like, hey, so and so the nice guys, nice guys. Great, you know, or give them a chance, you know, or he knows nothing, but give them a chance. Okay, no problem, you know, so we need to do that more often. And it does take giving that recommendation, hey, you know, I worked with Natalie, you know, and different people. And I know Bridget and I do that. And we’re very lucky within our organisation, our industries, we do have a lot of champions, and we do champion others, but there’s still so much more to do.
Natalie MacLean 23:25
And you know, I don’t buy the argument there are not enough qualified women or women aren’t interested. There are. Look at the graduation rates, even look, post babies, there are lots of qualified women. I think there’s an inherent bias that men don’t even realise; you hire someone who’s like you, because that’s what makes you more most comfortable. Those are the people who make you comfortable. They’re like you they have your background, the share the same jokes. That’s what we need to get over unconscious bias of hiring somebody like me, because as you say, Julie’s a good guy, or I’ve known him forever, whatever.
Bridget Albert 23:58
Yeah, we have to continue to do that until unconscious bias is lessened. Right. I don’t know that it’ll ever go away, but till it’s lessened, I’ve heard all kinds of BS I have over the course of my career, everything from women just don’t raise their hand and step in the room and ask the questions to leadership. That’s a bunch of crap.
Natalie MacLean 24:18
It is. It is gender and race
Bridget Albert 24:21
It is by gender and race. We don’t see enough women of colour in the industry as well. So it is like Julie said, it’s on us to find those allies and to continue to push those doors or as a lot of my friends say in the industry, just to kind of burn the table down and rebuild it. So yeah. All right. So let’s get a little aggressive with it. And this is why it’s so refreshing to talk to someone like yourself who’s a true Trailblazer on the wine side, my God with your, your podcasts and your books and and all of these wonderful things that you’re putting out there. Can you talk to us a little bit more about your memoir? Do you have a release date, do you know when that’s coming out? I can’t wait to purchase it. And I know I’ve said this before just to a couple of our guests, but hopefully they’ll make like a Netflix special about you and we can watch the hell out of it.
Natalie MacLean 25:11
That’s so sweet. Oh, well, my favourite Netflix show recently was the Queen’s Gambit where she comes from nothing and then chess grandmaster and walks into a room. I love men by the way, let me just clarify, I have many supportive men in my life, in the industry, and so on. But there is a story there. So the publishing industry, especially with a pandemic, now, paper shortages, all kinds of things going on, is on a two year timeline for publishing. So it used to be a year, and people found that incredibly slow. Now we’re on a two year, so it’s two years out. So I’m talking about it because I want to share the issues that are in there well in advance, because I don’t want to wait till it comes out to actually be a voice for these kinds of issues. It’s centred on my most terrible vintage that began with my divorce, which was a surprise to me. 20 years I was married. And typical playbook, there was a younger woman. And it ended with kind of a professional meltdown on social media. And I dig into why that happened. But the two issues are not separate. There are lots of underlying themes, from some of the issues with disgust; but also some of the things that I discovered about myself that I think will resonate with other women and men. So the need for perfectionism, the competitiveness, the drive, drive drive. As I said, it’s about losing and finding love again, and it’s about losing your identity so you can find your voice, your true voice, who you. Nobody are, without editing out the nasty bits without presenting, you know, Little Miss Perfect. I think, again, that we relate to that sort of humanity of the full spectrum of a person. So I’m trying to do all of that in this and we’ll see how it goes.
Julie Milroy 27:02
That just sounds so wonderful, I think more than ever now. And that’s what we really try to do on this podcast, we appreciate you being so open and vulnerable. Because people want to see the real deal. They want to hear the real story, they want to know your story, and it becomes deeply personal. But that’s where that magic is, right? And I think it’s really important more than ever to really just share that and you know, and other people can relate. And then that helps them through a tough time that maybe they haven’t gone through or that they’re just starting to go through.
Natalie MacLean 27:36
Exactly, exactly. I don’t think any of us can relate with perfection or the appearance of perfection on certain social media channels. But what we identify, when I read a book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, I’m zeroing in on, what was the flaws? You know, are they suffering? Yeah, suffering or the flaws? Because that’s where it gets me. It’s like, oh, I remember that time. Now. How did they overcome it? You know, it’s the philosophy. I like to say it’s the philosophy and all of us that makes us relatable. It is not the Oh, I got 100 on my test, or I won this writing award. Well, you know, good for you. Like no one could relate to that. It’s like, how did you struggle with your own perfectionism or competitiveness or whatever it was? Because I struggle to
Julie Milroy 28:20
I love that. Bridget, that reminds me of a side conversation we were just having, when we talk about influencers and stuff, you know, yeah, the more you’re real, and relatable, and what were your challenges and how you overcame it. That’s what’s really going to resonate with people and as women leaders in the industry, it’s up to us to be vulnerable and to put that out there so that the next ones coming up, no, okay. She struggled. It wasn’t easy. It was hard. And I could do it, too.
Natalie MacLean 28:50
Exactly. Julie, you know, and as a woman who’s now a 20 year veteran, I feel I can do that and not take the career hit. Because I’m done with that that. I mean, I just, as I say, it can’t kill me twice. Whereas I think younger women, justifiably, are more afraid of the impacts on their career about talking about certain things or whatever. So I think it’s especially on senior women, the onus is, especially on women who are veterans to be open because frankly, with less to lose, after you lose it all and then come back again. I think it’s part of the responsibility of being in the industry these days. Absolutely.
Julie Milroy 29:30
Before we start to wrap up because I feel like we’ve just got on a whole other thing and we can go into it. Maybe that’ll be a podcast for next time but tell our listeners what you’re offering them for an opportunity to check out your books.
Natalie MacLean 29:47
Sure, absolutely. So I have an Ultimate Guide to Food and Wine Pairing that is free. And if they go to my website Nataliemaclean.com/servedup, in honour of your podcast, they can download that. There’s all kinds of pairings and different iterations, all types of wine. So I hope your listeners will find the guide useful. And some of them might be interested in reading the books as well.
Julie Milroy 30:13
Awesome. I will find the guide useful and I’m sure Bridget will, too.
Bridget Albert 30:18
All right, great. Yeah, that’s lovely. Well, Natalie, you know, on behalf of Served Up, Julie, myself, just want to thank you for sharing this space with us this morning, for just being so very open about your journey and about your passion. That’s not such an easy thing to do all the time. And we appreciate your insights. And we really appreciate you being just a bold leader. So thank you for everything that you do.
Natalie MacLean 30:47
It’s been wonderful. I love this discussion. When you said it was unscripted, I thought, “Where are we gonna go but everywhere, thank you. This was fun.” We have to do it in person with wine, please”
Julie Milroy 30:58
100%. We’ve got many things that we need to do together. And number one, most importantly, is have wine and taste wine together. We look forward to many more and remind us where do you live in Canada.
Natalie MacLean 31:13
I’m based in Ottawa, Ontario, but I live online. So a lot of my students come from the United States, but also around the world. Course Canada. These days. It’s a global village. It sure is
Bridget Albert 31:26
It sit sure is.. We want to wish you just some great health during this time that we live in and always, and a whole lot of peace in your life. So thank you, and cheers to you.
Natalie MacLean 31:39
Oh, thank you Bridget. Julie. I raise my glass, my virtual glass, right now to you both. Thank you so much for this. I appreciate it.
Natalie MacLean 31:51
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Julie and Bridget. In the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/167 you’ll find my email contact, a link to the post Diary of a Book Launch, a full transcript of my conversation with Julie and Bridget and links to their podcast and website, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, a link to tomorrow’s wine and chocolate tasting online, and where you can find the live stream video version of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube Live every Wednesday at 7pm. Email me if you have a sip question or want to be a beta reader of my new memoir at Natalie, @ Nataliemaclean.com.
You won’t want to miss next week when I chat with Jamie Lewis, a food and wine writer whose work has been published in the Wine Enthusiast, Vegetarian Times, the Santa Barbara Independent and Somm Journal among others. When she’s not writing, Jamie hosts the podcast Consumed and teaches journalism at California Polytechnic State University. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 109, go back and take a listen. I chat about pairing wine and chocolate with a chocolate sommelier. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
Roxanne Browning 33:05
I’ve got it down to an art and a science where I taste a Pinot for instance, I know not to pair that with a very intense chocolate of a 75% or better because Pinot is a delicate grape, so I may want to try that with a 60% or our 66% and I have several. Also with fusion, so I’ll taste three or four myself and if I’m working with a sommelier, or a winemaker ; we’ll go “Oh my god, this is the pairing”. We wait for that “Aha moment” where there’s a balance between the wine and the chocolate and one does not overpower the other. And it leaves you with a very nice after taste that just lingers and it keeps on changing. It’s very complex. So that’s what I’m looking for when I create pairings.
Natalie MacLean 33:55
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wines and issues we discussed. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a wine that pairs beautifully with chocolate
Natalie MacLean 34:19
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!