Pairing Tomatoes & Wine, Heatwave Impact, Gary Vaynerchuk’s New Wine Club



What’s the best way to pair wine with tomatoes and tomato dishes? Will the current heatwave impact wine and the greater wine economy? How is Gary Vaynerchuk disrupting the way we buy wine? What effect does being in a romantic relationship have on your use or abuse of wine?

On this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m diving into all these topics plus I’m sharing some tips you can use to get the most out of my wine app for your next shopping trip.

Enjoy the episode!



  • What should you consider when pairing wine with tomatoes?
  • Why are raw tomatoes particularly tough on wine?
  • What types of wine are well-suited to pairing with tomatoes?
  • Which wines should you avoid pairing with tomatoes?
  • How are bridging ingredients used with tomatoes?
  • How can salt improve your wine pairing experience?
  • Does the cooking style and spiciness of the food affect the wine pairing?
  • How are the current heatwaves and record high temperatures affecting wine production around the world?
  • Which types of grapes are more susceptible to the heat?
  • Are certain planting areas more vulnerable than others?
  • How is Gary Vaynerchuk disrupting the way we buy wine?
  • What regions are Empathy Wines sourced from?
  • What does a new study say about the effect of romantic relationships on alcohol consumption?
  • How can you use my wine app to make your next wine shopping trip easy?




Tomatoes and Wine Pairing Tips

Check out this video segment I did on Canada AM about pairing wine and tomatoes.

  • Raw tomatoes are tough on wine. Luckily, they’re often served cooked in a multi-ingredient dish or in a sauce, such as ratatouille or marinara, which makes them less harsh.
  • Try juicy Italian reds, such as Barbera, Valpolicella, and Dolcetto—all have complementary ripe red fruit aromas, a touch of spice, and a mouth-awakening acidity.
  • Cool-climate Pinots from Burgundy, Canada, New Zealand, and Oregon have these aromas too, together with the tartness needed for tomatoes.
  • Warm-climate Pinots, such as those from California and Australia, with their high alcohol content (14 percent or more), are too ripe and flabby to hold their own with tomatoes.
  • Not all tomatoes are created equal. The yellow, golden, and purple varieties are sweeter than the red, so they require a tart wine with ripe fruit aromas, such as those Californian and Australian pinots.
  • Red tomatoes have the most acidity.
  • If you match a wine that doesn’t have that acidity, it’s going to taste flabby in comparison to the tomatoes.
  • Pasta, like chicken, is a very neutral vehicle, it’s what you put with it. It’s all about the sauce in the tomatoes.
  • They have all have acidity and it also depends on the dish. The pasta’s going to soften the perception of acidity. So it’s different if you’re just eating raw tomato and drinking wine, it’s different when you put some salt, etc.
  • If you put ingredients like basil or olive oil or mozzarella cheese, like a Caprese salad, that’s going to soften the acidity or the perception of the acidity in the tomato. Salting raw tomatoes achieves the same effect.


Heatwaves and Wine

  • The ultra-high temperatures of late have wreaked havoc on many French grapes to the point of no return.
  • Temperatures in France were as high as 48°C in June
  • Vineyards are reporting losses of up to 60-80%.
  • There are several factors that affect the severity of the impact of these temperatures including:
    • pruning styles
    • the extent of leaf cover
    • whether dry farming was being used
    • the direction which the vineyard is facing
  • June is an important period in the growth cycle of the vines since this is when the leaves and grapes are still green and very sensitive to environmental effects


Gary Vaynerchuk’s New Wine Club

  • While working in his family’s wine shop since the age of 14, Gary started Wine Library TV in the early 2000s and turned the family business into $60 million business
  • Gary has since become a huge entity in the digital media space and runs VaynerMedia, a digital agency with clients like Pepsi and General Electric
  • In 2018 Gary and two partners started Empathy Wines and disrupted the traditional wine sales model by bringing wines direct to consumers
  • Empathy Wines was launched with an innovative approach – purely social media marketing
  • Using this model, Empathy Wines brings savings to consumers since the middlemen are cut out of the process
  • Empathy Wines offers a subscription service, as well as personalized wine picks via text.


Relationships and Wine

  • This study showed that being in a romantic relationship reduces the likelihood of participation in risky alcohol behaviour in persons who were genetically predisposed to alcohol dependence.
  • This effect was especially pronounced for men, a result which supports other studies that have shown the positive health effects for men in romantic relationships.
  • The “increased social control” resulting from these relationships creates an environment where partners make lifestyle choices that match up with their social expectations.


Wine Reviews


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Transcript & Takeaways

Welcome to episode 40!

I have some juicy wine topics to chat with you about in this episode, including:

  • How do you pair wine with different types of tomatoes and tomato dishes?
  • How will the current heatwaves across North America and Europe change the style of wines we drink (and their prices)?
  • How will the new direct to consumer wine club from Gary Vaynerchuk change the way we buy wine?
  • What does a new study say about being in a romantic and your use or abuse of wine and other types of alcohol?

I’ll include links to my pairing tips, the wines I recommend for tomatoes, Gary’s new wine club and the research study in the show notes at

Before we dive in, I’d like to share a note that I received recently from a listener. I’m not going to reveal the name of this person for privacy reasons. Her note really touched me, and I think will resonate with you too.

She writes, “Thanks for the great tips on your last podcast. The sober curious trend was very interesting. I always wonder if I’m becoming an alcoholic when I have a glass of wine especially when I have a second or third glass. Every day around 4 pm the urge to have a drink pops into my head, and if I ignore it, after an hour I’m fine and have a cup of tea instead. It’s good to talk about this worry with you. I also bought your book Red, White and Drunk All Over years ago and loved it. Thanks Natalie, you feel like a friend I’ve had for years.”

Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I appreciate your openness and vulnerability.

I call 4 pm the arsenic hour … it’s often the time when we’re the most exhausted from a full day of work, and we haven’t found our second wind to relax for the evening. I struggle with that personally, and use a combination of tactics, including trying to slow down every motion I make deliberately from walking to deep breathing. I go for a walk if I can, have green tea and take a supplement called Zen L-Theanine, which is an amino acid also found in green and black tea, according to the website Medical News Today. It may affect the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine, which influence mood, sleep, and emotion, and cortisol, to help the body deal with stress. This isn’t medical advice as I’m not a doctor, I’m just sharing what works for me in case it’s helpful to you.

Alright, let’s dive into our topics today.


You can also watch the videos on Pairing Wine & Tomatoes and Relationships & Wine + Heatwaves that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.


You’ll find links to great wines in stores now that pair well with tomatoes in the show notes at, along with links to Gary’s new wine club and the research study.

Did you know that you can now listen to this podcast on your smart speaker? Just say: “Hey Google” or for Amazon’s Echo, use her name that begins with A … I won’t say it now as it’ll set off your device and mine.

So I’ll say Madame A as in “Madam A — play the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast.” I’d love to chat about wine with you while you’re flossing your teeth, getting groceries or feeding your parrot … it’s always wine time.

What was your favourite tip or quote from this episode? Share that with me on Twitter or Facebook and tag me @nataliemaclean, on Instagram I’m @nataliemacleanwine.

If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who’s interested in pairing wine with tomatoes, the impact of heatwaves on wine styles, Gary’s new club or the study about relationships and wine. My podcast is easy to find, whether you search Google on its name Unreserved Wine Talk, or on my name.

Finally, if you want to take your ability to pair wine and food to the next level, join me in a free online video class at

I can’t wait to share more wine stories with you.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to this one. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a terrific glass of wine with a freshly picked tomato!



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