Santa Maria BBQ & Wines + Can You Earn a Living as a Wine Writer?



Why is Santa Maria BBQ different from other types and which wines pair well with it? What does it take to earn a living as a full-time wine writer? Why does grammar really matter? Why is passion not enough?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Jaime Lewis, a fabulous food and wine writer, journalism professor and host of her own podcast, CONSUMED.

You can find the wines we discussed here.


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  • How can you become a full-time wine writer?
  • What does it look like to focus on your strengths?
  • Which unrealistically high standards are placed on wine writers?
  • Why does Jaime distinctly separate her writing from her journalism?
  • What are Jaime’s top tips for improving your writing?
  • What makes Santa Maria-style barbecue unique?
  • Why is Santa Maria-style barbecue important to California’s history?
  • How did the Santa Maria Club get its start?
  • Why has Pinot Noir become a popular accompaniment to Santa Maria barbecue?
  • Which wine would Jaime pair with her childhood favourite dish?
  • What’s Jaime’s favourite wine gadget?
  • Which quick trick can you use to aerate a bottle of wine?
  • What are Jaime’s favourite wine books?


Key Takeaways

  • I was fascinated with Jaime’s description of how Santa Maria BBQ is different from other types, from the various cuts of meat to preparation and cooking, as well as, of course, the wines that pair well with it.
  • She gives a realistic picture of what it takes to earn a living as a full-time wine writer. Gotta love that phrase, marry up.
  • I love that she’s a grammar nerd like me and my mother and her mother. For me, a dangling participle is as disturbing as pouring wine into a dirty glass. Just don’t do it.

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About Jaime Lewis

Jaime writes, speaks and podcasts about the good life.

After an arts management career that included employment with Architecture New York Magazine, the San Francisco Symphony and the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Jaime chose to follow her nose (and palate) into the wine industry. Earning a Wine & Spirits Education Trust Advanced certification in 2007, she set off to eat, drink and write her way across the major wine regions of Italy and New Zealand, including stints in Barolo, Alba, Bolgheri, Chianti, Marlborough and Martinborough.

Jaime has participated in nearly every moment of a wine’s life, from planting and bottling to selling. In addition to blogging about her personal year-long journey through the world, Jaime has written product, promotional and web copy for acclaimed wineries including Robert Mondavi, Firestone, Tantara, Herman Story, Laetitia, and Sans Liege. She has blogged for Parker Sanpei Lifestyle Public Relations, Villa San-Juliette Winery, Spinaca Farms and Challenge Dairy; and her editorial work has appeared in publications that include Wine Enthusiast, Fathom Magazine, Life & Thyme, Vegetarian Times, ITALY Magazine, Santa Barbara Independent, The Tasting Panel Magazine, SOMM Journal, The Clever Root, and Edible Santa Barbara, among others.

Jaime is the former managing editor of Edible SLO Magazine; a food columnist for 805 Living and SLO Life Magazines, and the former Central Coast reporter for Wines & Vines Magazine. A fellow at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers (2018) at Meadowood Napa Valley and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Jaime is a graduate of Vassar College, where she earned degrees in art history and music.

When not writing, Jaime podcasts at CONSUMED and teaches journalism at Cal Poly State University.



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Jaime Lewis 0:00
I know my friends in Memphis and Kansas City and Texas are just dying right now as I say that barbecue here does not use any sauces, it’s done low and slow. The Santa Maria style barbecue pit raises and lowers over the coals and the coals, the wood is always red oak, which is indigenous to where we live.

Natalie MacLean 0:20
And does that give it a special type of flavour?

Jaime Lewis 0:22
Yes, absolutely. The flavour is very specific with red oak and part of the reason Santa Maria style barbecue is so important is it’s one of the very few California food ways. If you think about like San Francisco sourdough, or cioppino, or San Diego style Mexican food; these are very specific food ways. Santa Maria style barbecue goes way back, even further back than any of those. A lot of people have Pinot Noir with their Santa Maria style barbecue, especially Santa Maria Valley Pinots are very robust.

Natalie MacLean 1:02
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 169. Why is Santa Maria BBQ different from other types and which wines pair well with it? What does it really take to earn a living as a full time wine writer? Why does grammar really matter? And why is passion not enough? You’ll hear those stories and more during part two of our chat with Jaime Lewis, fabulous food and wine writer, journalism professor and host of her own podcast Consumed. You don’t need to have listened to part one from last week first, but I do hope you’ll go back to it if you missed it after you finish this one.

Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show with the continuing story of publishing my new wine memoir, I’m so glad you spoke up about this. Tara, another member of the Facebook group, posted in response to mine, about getting honest with just how much wine we drink. I’ve renamed Tara and I’ll paraphrase her comments. She added I think about my relationship with wine a lot. Sometimes I drink to fit into social situations when I didn’t even feel like drinking; other times I pretend to be excited when my friend suggests we go for drinks. Those choices affect me long after I put the drink down. I think your new memoir will be a great conversation starter between friends who are too shy or just too embarrassed to bring up these issues on our own. We can talk about your book first. But then I hope we get real about our feelings and behaviour. Thanks for letting me be a beta reader.

Part of the book club guide that comes with this memoir has some provocative questions about this issue and others like these. Why is it we don’t often share what’s really going on in our lives, even with our closest friends? Have we all bought into the Instagram filter of showing only our perfect lives? Does it take a crisis before we really start to share with each other? I do hope these questions will kickstart those conversations even for those who aren’t part of book or wine clubs. I think it’s a discussion worth having with ourselves too. What do you think?

In the show notes at you’ll find a link to a 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. 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 Natalie, In the show notes at you’ll also find my email contact, the full transcript of my conversation with Jaime, links to her website and books and podcast and 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. Okay, on with the show!

Natalie MacLean 5:08
Let’s find our way back again to your writing career. Tell us about your conversation at the symposium for wine writers, which is a glorious event. I’ve been there once myself in Napa Valley and brings together all of these wine writers, both experienced writers and want to be budding writers. But tell us about your experience there and the conversation in particular that you had that was revealing.

Jaime Lewis 5:33
I was so just awestruck to be invited. I like many people, particularly women struggle with imposter syndrome. So the invitation was just, I cracked open the bottle I had been hanging on to for a long time, when I was accepted to that. When I visited, I mean Meadowood is such a glorious place and I just hadn’t ever had, especially as a mom, I hadn’t been pampered quite like that ever before. So I went because I had been pitching stories around to magazines, and I had been very successful, it’s a ton of work to get a story in any magazine these days. The publications are dwindling, the options are shrinking. Even as we have this over democratised influencer, anybody can be a photographer, anybody can be a writer. And I don’t mean to be snobby about that, but there are those who really are qualified to do so. And it gets very noisy for the people who are editors and the gatekeepers on publications. But I had been having some really wonderful success and making some fantastic connections, to be able to become a wine writer, and I had this rather fantastical hope that I could make a living as purely either a wine writer or writer just in general. And when I showed up, it was a rude awakening. And I don’t mean to discourage anybody who wants to write, but I will. Some of the best advice I ever had was from the writing coach, Diane Jacob, who is specific to food and drink, and she’s just fantastic and so, so honest. At a conference, once I heard her say, somebody asked the question, how do we become a full time career writer? And she said, I don’t know, marry up? Wow, that was painful to hear. And yet, I’m so thankful that I’ve had good people around me to say those kinds of things so that I can adjust my expectations and get creative.

But in any case, what you asked me about, first of all, there was a session on getting paid. And wonderful, amazing editors and publishers were on the panel. And one of those publishers shared that what she pays, this is the oldest and one of the most famous wine magazines in the world, the share that she pays for a 1000 word story, which it would easily take me 20 to 30 hours to research, report and write. She pays 385 American dollars. Wow.

Natalie Maclean 8:10
Holy smokes.

Jaime Lewis 8:13
My food budget for a family of four is what?  $800 a month. That is not viable for me. So that was a really rude awakening. And then you know, sitting at one of these beautiful finale dinners, which Natalie you’ve sat through that dinner, it’s just, it’s phenomenal. I was seated next to a very, very prominent wine writer for a major American publication. And as we got to talking, he asked me where I was from and I said San Luis Obispo, and he said, Oh, I’m very familiar with San Luis Obispo. I, I know your power plant there. And I said our power plant? Diablo power plant? How do you know about that? And he said, Oh, well, I mean, writing about wine is my side gig. I work for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by day and I’ve been out to Diablo powerplant. Wow, he doesn’t even have a full time wine writing job.

So I made a decision. After I cried a little bit, I made a decision that I was going to focus on my strengths. And so the wine writing symposium at the time did not allow people who wrote for corporate or for profit wineries, or winemakers or any kind of promotional and marketing publication, you could not write for a winery and do the job of journalism. They have since changed that, and partly because I made a stink about that. How do you expect people to make a living in this increasingly difficult? It’s unrealistic. And they actually changed that, not because of only me, a lot of people spoke up about that, but I decided to have my bread and butter so I write a lot about tourism. I am an expert on San Luis Obispo County and the Central Coast in general. So why not capitalise on that? And I do. But I also have my columns. And I also, I do pitch stories around when they’re really remarkable. And I feel like I’m the only person to talk about it. Otherwise, I have pared down quite a bit. Do you have an experience like that? Is that been the case for you?

Natalie MacLean 10:25
Well, I’ve gone through some similar things in that, you know, with the kind of the death of print, I’ve focused more and more on my own website, mobile apps, and so on. So I’m, in a sense, serving my online community, which I find is my local backyard. I teach online courses and so on. So I like how you’ve dug down into your local region with the people and the food and the places and then perhaps, if the New York Times wants a piece on San Luis Obispo food, you should be the one to write it. So that’s kind of what I do, but in a different way for my online group, because I’ve came from high tech, so I focused on them early. But there are a lot of similarities in terms of just doing that, because it is unrealistic. Actually, the question I’ll ask you really ticks me off when someone asks, but how do you avoid conflict of interest? Like they’re not in the reality of living in a real world or whatever, you know, because as you just said, wine writing does not pay. But where do you draw the line for yourself?

Jaime Lewis 11:24
Well, I’m just very, very conscious of it. I’m very upfront with both sides. And I did marry up. I’m sorry, you guys. I’m so sorry. I did. I married a robotics engineer who works for Silicon Valley. I did not marry him for that. But I think we do need to be real about that. I am bankrolled by another person. He is very supportive of my career. But that’s the reality. And Diane Jacob herself has been very upfront about having married up in that way. So what I bring to the relationship is lots of perks and benefits, lots of wine, lots of events and lots of travel.

But keeping it separate, I can afford to keep it separate. So if I’m writing about a particular brand, I can tell them, Look, this never goes into my journalism. And likewise, journalism, I will never include somebody that I had made a dime off of. I think it’s important to note, it’s not like I’m so clean about all of that, because I’m just, you know, moralistic? No, I can afford to be clean about that.

Natalie MacLean 12:34
That’s very honest. Very good. Thank you for sharing it. Now you teach journalism at Cal Poly? What are your sort of favourite tips to share with students to improve their writing, because I’ve heard the stat it might be bigger than this, but three out of five people would love to write a book or love to write in some capacity, of course, when they retire. And when we retire, we’re going to be brain surgeons, but what do you what do you recommend, as ways to improve your writing?

Jaime Lewis 13:01
I’ll be honest, I’ve been disappointed by the people. I teach a lot of Ag. agricultural communications. So they are agriculture majors a lot of the time and they’re learning how to communicate, because they wind up working for a winery or for a grower and they will need to communicate about their job and their product. And I’ll say I’m always shocked. I don’t want to be a doomsdayer. But California public schools, I mean, it’s tough. The number one thing that I tell them and keep in mind, my audience is perhaps different from someone who already has a great grasp of the basics. But if you want to write passion is not enough. Passion is not enough. We talk a lot about passion. It’s so critical. But honestly, you need a good grasp of how to communicate and that is grammar, punctuation, syntax, creativity, knowing the difference between your subject and object. These are basic things and I sound persnickety. But honestly, you want it to look as though that is not even an issue. Being able to make somebody think that that punctuation grammar, making it look effortless. That is number one for me.

Natalie MacLean 14:25
You don’t sound persnickety. You sound like my mother and my grandmother who are both English teachers, so that’s okay. And you can even take a teaching tone with me.

Jaime Lewis 14:34
You don’t there’s a guy here locally, he’s actually very, very well known in the wine world. His name is Steven McConnell, and he has a blog called the wine1percent ( And he’s going to be tickled that I mentioned him. He’s pretty big, but he’s very stream of consciousness and it works. And the funny thing is, I’ve interviewed him before and he said, I know how to write. Just this is what works for me and this. It’s like Picasso. Picasso painted and sketched very according to the rules. And what I learned as a composition major was you write according to the rules to begin with, then you start messing around. And I just believe in that. I think that that works really well. I think it’s worked throughout time in history for all different disciplines. And that’s what I believe and also knowing the difference between a passive verb and an active verb. Always lead with the active verb. Anyway. I am your mom and your grandma.

Natalie MacLean 15:31
Yeah, that’s right. And this. Thank you for joining us on the grammar podcast. We’ll be right back with a dangling participle. And I believe you need to know the rules before you can bend them for sure in any genre, in any discipline, you know, ballet dancers, they’re at the bar over and over the repetition of the whatever entrechats or all the rest of it before they get out into Swan Lake. So yeah, take a minute.

Jaime Lewis 15:58
Like I said before, at that point, you can write about anything, you can write about anything. And that’s been handy for me as my wine life has shifted and changed. I have not been left high and dry. I’ve been able to pivot and pivoting as we know from this previous couple of years with COVID is critical. So it’s been wonderful for me

Natalie MacLean 16:21
That’s great. Awesome. So let’s drift a little bit back to food and wine here so people will not think this is the grammar podcast, but you’ve written about Santa Maria barbecue. So what is it? Tell us how it’s different from regular barbecue and all the other good things.

Jaime Lewis 16:40
Yes, Santa Maria style barbecue is a passion of mine. I grew up in that area. So Santa Maria style barbecue is really special.

Natalie MacLean 16:50
Sorry, where is it in relation to where you are now; San Luis Obispo?

Jaime Lewis 16:54
It’s about 30 minutes south of where I am. So it’s very handy. I can continue and it leads into our area quite a bit. Santa Maria style barbecue, if you grew up here, you don’t know anything different. That is barbecue to somebody growing up here. I know my friends in Memphis and Kansas City and Texas are just dying right now as I say that barbecue here does not use any sauces. It doesn’t use any sauces. It’s not like a lot of fall apart barbecue where you have a whole hog barbecue where it just all falls apart. It’s not like that. It’s based on a method. So the three important parts of Santa Maria style barbecue are the way it’s cooked. So it’s done low and slow. The Santa Maria style barbeque pit raises and lowers over the coals, and the coals, the wood is always red oak, which is indigenous to where we live.

Natalie MacLean 17:51
And does that give it a special type of flavour? The red oak?

Jaime Lewis 17:53
Yes, absolutely. So you couldn’t do white oak, I mean, I guess you could, but the flavour is very specific with red oak and part of the reason Santa Maria style barbecue is so important is it’s one of the very few California foodways. If you think about like San Francisco sourdough or cioppino or you know, like a San Diego style Mexican food, these are very specific foodways. Santa Maria star barbecue goes way back even further back than any of those. It started with the vaqueros coming when California was called Alta California, part of Spain and Mexico later, the vaqueros, Spanish Mexican cowboys, would ranch cattle, dig a pit in the earth, put the meat on a willow spit, essentially willow trees are indigenous here, and it’s very strong. And they would roll it and they would raise it and lower it depending on how done the meat was and where they wanted it to cook, at what point in the cooking it would be. So you’ve got red oak coals, you’ve got willow, you also need a specific cut. It was always sirloin. Now people make the mistake of thinking it’s Tri Tip, which there’s a whole other story there, but going way back it was always top sirloin. And the way it’s seasoned is very specific. It’s only salt, pepper and garlic powder. That’s it.

Natalie MacLean 19:19
Wow. And so what kind of flavour does the red oak impart? What does it taste or smell like?

Jaime Lewis 19:24
Well, there’s a smokiness there for sure. And it’s all obviously wood fired, and the meat isn’t covered in any way. So it’s really getting a direct hit of the red oak. And of course, like I said, you could do it with any other kind of wood. But a person who lives here and knows Santa Maria style barbecue is going to know the difference between the way it tastes when it’s red oak. I like to believe that anyway, a very sensitive palate could tell. So it’s gone through a lot in that time. Santa Maria became very known for it’s oil, it became a very rich area in terms of oil drilling and the wells here, I mean, you’ll often see one of my closest friends, James Ontiveros, who has Native 9 wine and Ranchos de Ontiveros wines, his winery, his vineyard has an oil rig on it. That’s always good. I mean, that’s very common around here.

So it became very wealthy and a lot of people who are making lots of money off of oil here in the, I don’t know, forties, fifties, sixties, they adopted Santa Maria style wine and started the Santa Maria club. And on Wednesday nights, it was stag night. And Santa Maria style barbecue was the only thing that was served. And it has these specific sides. It has garlic bread, and it has pinquito beans, which is a bean that’s a lot like a pinto bean, but it’s smaller, and it’s also specific to this area, and maybe salad and then maybe macaroni and it was a very old school meal. They didn’t serve it with wine, it was more often than not whiskey, whiskey, spirits, but now people really do because Pinot Noir has become so important to the Santa Maria valley. A lot of people have Pinot Noir with their Santa Maria style barbecue, especially Santa Maria Valley Pinots are very robust. They can stand up to it.

Natalie MacLean 21:25
Yeah, I was just gonna say Pinot and this big barbecue, but okay,

Jaime Lewis 21:28
Very concentrated, long hang time. And then also things that have developed around here, Santa Maria is, in many ways, I think something like, Gosh, 90% of the strawberries that the United States eat come from Santa Maria, very famous for strawberries. So Strawberry Shortcake is often at the end of that meal. It is delicious. And it’s one of the most comprehensive, it really tells the Santa Maria story. It’s the largest city anywhere between Monterey and I think Los Angeles, maybe Ventura. But a lot of people don’t want to talk about it, because it’s very industrial and it’s a very working class area. But to me, it’s fascinating because the food and the drink; it’s crystal clear. They’ve got this long story, it tells the story of Santa Maria and I love that.

Natalie MacLean 22:22
Wow, I’m getting hungry and thirsty as you talk. So it sounds so good. So let me ask you a few lightning round questions. Tell me about a favourite childhood food and what you pair with it today as an adult. And of course, we’re again not on the subject of giving wine to children; we’ve already established that but if you took a favourite childhood food, what would you put with it?

Jaime Lewis 22:45
Yes, well, I grew up with a lot of brown and white food. I love my mother so much, and she’s really quite an awesome cook now. But back then we were just trying to make it you know, so baked potato with Denison’s chilli from a can was my go to dinner. Umm, Umm. And I today would definitely pair that with a beer. Sorry, friends. But if I had to pair it with a wine honestly, it’d be a really inky, peppery Syrah from Paso Robles.

Natalie MacLean 23:18
Hmm, that sounds really good. Ever have a very weird pairing, that might be it, but any strange wine or food?

Jaime Lewis 23:26
I think that might be it. Also, I don’t love chocolate and wine. I’ve tried to do it. And I know there are people out there who do it and do it really well. But I love each of them individually. But I don’t. That doesn’t work for me.

Natalie MacLean 23:40
Yeah, no, it’s true. It’s very hard. Unless you’re dealing with a very sweet or fortified wine sometimes it can work. But yeah. Do you have a favourite wine gadget?

Jaime Lewis 23:53
Yes. Okay, so I wasn’t sure if you wanted me to show something that anyone can get or something that only I have. So I’ll show you both. So my brother is in the Air Force and has lived all over the world and I am his biggest fan. He sent me this. Can you see that?

Natalie MacLean 24:10
Yeah, I can see that. Describe it for the podcast listeners as well.

Jaime Lewis 24:14
So what this is, this is I’m reading what he told me because I can’t remember it all the time. It’s a 20 millimetre shell with a fabricated tip and it’s a beer opener. Uh, sorry, still doing beer

Natalie MacLean 24:26
Beer and in grammar; that’s okay.

Jaime Lewis 24:28
I know. I know. I’m sorry. But this is a very special little gadget. So the brass shell he got on his last deployment. This gives me chills. It’s from an F 15 E strike Eagle. Oh my goodness. And it went sorry. This is a little morbid, but it went after an ISIS fighter fleeing on a motorcycle.

Natalie MacLean 24:49
Wow. That is amazing.

Jaime Lewis 24:52
This is very special to me because my brother has given so much to defend our country; he has given so much and his family has too. And so this is special to me because it’s just badass; am I right?

Natalie MacLean 25:05
It’s really great. It looks like a little mini spear. Did he make it? Or it was just

Jaime Lewis 25:10
Well, somebody made it, a machinist, yes. But the shell, the brass bit, that’s the crooked part.. Yeah, it’s pretty cool, right? But then something that anybody can get. I don’t mean to over casualize wine, but I like to drink out of a tumbler and it’s not that it’s the best thing necessarily for the wine, I mean, don’t get me wrong if I’m drinking Sassicaia, I’m putting it in the right glass. But for everyday drinking, I love out of a kind of  square shaped tumbler, there’s something so European about that. This is $1.99 at cost plus world market. And also if you have children in the house, and they’re constantly breaking these, you can afford to buy more.

Natalie MacLean 25:55
That’s true. Piece of Riedel glass or whatever, it’s like heartbreak every time one of those things breaks. And do you have a wine tip that our listeners can implement, any sort of wine advice, or conversely, any bad wine advice that they should avoid?

Jaime Lewis 26:11
I learned from working with budget wines when I was writing for the company that did a lot of Trader Joe’s deals. When we would taste through wines that wineries just, they had a huge yield maybe one year, a huge harvest or a huge yield more than they expected, and they didn’t have the packaging to fulfil it. They had “shiners”, you know, and they wanted to repackage it for Trader Joe’s. So excellent wines, but not their highest tier reserve stuff. Something I learned if you’re trying to aerate a bottle of wine very quickly, you open it up, you pull the cork, you let it maybe stand for a couple of minutes, pop the cork back in and shake it. I hope nobody’s upset about this. Shake it because you think about all of the oxygen that’s getting distributed throughout that wine. It’s kind of a poor man’s decanter, and it’s really quick. And then you let it settle for a little bit and you can shake the hell out of it. I mean, you know, go for it. Let it sit for a little bit and then you have at least one little notch up towards something that’s ready to drink.

Natalie MacLean 27:20
That’s fantastic. I’m going to try that. Wow. Shock everybody.

Jaime Lewis 27:25
Everybody looks at me when I do that. Like what is she doing? And I know that you can bruise gin, you can bruise vodka, but I’ve chosen to believe you cannot bruise wine.

Natalie MacLean 27:35
Oh, it’s already purple. The red stuff is or whatever. Oh my gosh, Jaime, this is wonderful. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention before I ask where we can find you online, you and your podcast?

Jaime Lewis 27:50
One thing you had mentioned, what’s my favourite wine book. And I do of course love Karen McNeil’s Wine Bible. Classic, great reference. But I also have this book that was written by somebody who lives in San Luis Obispo County. It’s called the Spirit of Wine. The author’s name is Steven Lloyd Moffitt. And he is the professor of comparative religions at Cal Poly University, a fantastic scholar, and he is passionate about wine. And that book is illuminating. It is so interesting talking about how people who love wine are so much like monastics, where they just they really delve in, the arc of a person who loves wine is very much the same as someone who falls in love with a deity and it’s just beautiful. I really recommend it.

Natalie MacLean 28:40
That sounds fantastic. And it sounds like I need to get him on the podcast if he’s willing. That sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. I’ve not heard of the book or him so that’s terrific. All right. So Consumed is your wonderful podcast, which I’m sure is available wherever you find podcasts, including listening to this one. What is the website that you want to drive people towards and any other info you want to share?

Jaime Lewis 29:03
Sure, the Consumed podcast, which is casual conversations with eaters, drinkers, thinkers and makers is available at, it’s also all over. Yes, Spotify, Apple podcasts wherever you listen. And then my Instagram which drives a lot of that is at Jaime C. Lewis and my name is J-a-i-m-e  C L-e w i s.

Natalie MacLean 29:29
Terrific. Wow. Thank you so much, Jaime, this has been a thrill. I mean, I love your stories and it comes out; your writer self comes out in the way you communicate, which is just wonderful. It’s a real treat to just let you take it and go with it. All these stories. So thank you so much. Thank you for being here.

Jaime Lewis 29:47
Thank you. It’s a treat for me too. Thank you, Natalie.

Natalie MacLean 29:50
Alright, I look forward to our next chat. Bye for now

Natalie MacLean 29:53
There you have it. I hope you enjoyed our chat with Jaime. Here are my takeaways.

I was fascinated with Jaime’s description of how Santa Maria barbecue is different from other types; from the various cuts of meats to preparation and cooking, as well, of course as the wines that pair best with it. She gives a realistic picture of what it takes to earn a living as a full time wine writer. You  gotta love or hate that phrase marry up. I love that she’s a grammar nerd like me and my mother and her mother. For me a dangling participle is about as disturbing as pouring wine into a dirty glass; just don’t do it.

In the show notes at you’ll find my email contact, a link to the post Diary of a Book Launch, a full transcript of my conversation with Jaime, links to her website and books, 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. Email me if you have a sip tip question or would like to be a beta reader of my new memoir at Natalie, You won’t want to miss next week but I chat with Janina Doyle who started her wine career in several top notch restaurants in London UK, rising from waitress to head sommelier and she’s also the host of her own podcast Eat Sleep Wine Repeat ( In the meantime, if you missed episode 106 go back and take a listen. I chat with Joel Gott about his California roots and gourmet burgers. Speaking of barbecue, I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.

Natalie MacLean 31:57
Zinfandel just seems to be the ultimate classic hamburger wine

Joel Gott 31:58
I completely agree

Natalie MacLean 31:59
As he said, reaching for a wine I think, but why do you think it works so well with burgers?

Joel Gott 32:03
I mean, honestly, it’s a great food wine, it’s very similar to how  Sauvignon Blanc  is a great food wine. So with Zinfandel, what I find is, it has this spice to it. Most of the time food overpowers wine. And so with the spice in Zinfandel, usually maybe a little teeny bit of residual sugar, or a lot of sweet fruit, it stands up to all the flavours and the fats and salts in food.

Natalie MacLean 32:27
Good explanation

Natalie MacLean 32:34
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 stories we discussed. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a full bodied red that pairs beautifully with Santa Maria barbecue

Natalie MacLean 33:00
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 Meet me here next week. Cheers!