Smart Tests for Wine Acidity, Tannin & Balance with Sommelier Chris Scott



In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Chris Scott, a U.K.-based sommelier who published the world’s first-ever wine podcast, the UK Wine Show. Chris and his wife, Jane also founded ThirtyFifty, a company which offers fun and no-nonsense wine tastings for private and corporate events. From his adventures as a triathlete to wine tastings in a hot tub, Chris shares his often-hilarious adventures as well as his brilliant tasting tips, including nifty ways to physically see how acidic or tannic wine is and insights into the U.K. wine industry. Enjoy!



  • Why did Chris become interested in competing as a triathlete?
  • How did ThirtyFifty get started?
  • Where did the name ThirtyFifty come from?
  • How did Chris end up hosting a wine tasting with a hot tub?
  • What was it like hosting a wine tasting in a castle?
  • How can you identify and describe tannins during a tasting?
  • How does Chris define balance in wine?
  • Why does Chris believe it’s so important for wine tastings and teaching to be experiential?
  • How did Chris get started with The UK Wine Show?
  • How did the tiki bar videos influence Chris early on with his show?
  • Does Chris think wine is a particularly good candidate as the subject of a podcast?
  • How has the UK wine scene changed over the years?
  • Are there any connections between the growing conditions in the UK and in Champagne?
  • How does Chris think Brexit will impact the UK and European wine industries?
  • What is the best wine advice Chris has ever received?
  • What is Chris’ favourite wine gadget?


About Chris Scott

Chris Scott is an award-winning wine podcaster and presenter who runs wine tasting company called ThirtyFifty and produces a weekly wine podcast, The UK Wine Show, which is consistently ranked in the top 10 Apple Podcasts’ Food & Drink charts.

Born and bred in New Zealand, Chris spent time as a student working hands-on in the vineyards of Canterbury before graduating with first class honours in engineering.

In 2001, he moved to London U.K. and now holds the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits, the top qualification. He now heads up a team of 20 wine experts across the UK, between them running more than 500 corporate events, wine courses and private tastings per year.




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Transcript & Takeaways

Welcome to episode 35!

In today’s episode, we’re chatting with Chris Scott, a U.K.-based sommelier who published the world’s first-ever wine podcast. I’ll give you a full intro on Chris in a minute. I know you’re going to love his brilliant tasting tips, including nifty ways to physically see how acidic or tannic a wine is.

A quick note. Chris shares with us his favourite wine gadget near the end of the episode. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes at so you know where you can buy it, as well as to the video version of this conversation so you can watch him demonstrate how to use it. Yep, that’s another tease … you’ll have to stick around to find out what it is.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about this podcast. Please post a review on social media or on Apple Podcasts, formerly iTunes. If you do that, let me know and I’ll give you a shout out on this podcast.

Plus, if you do, I’ll send a free copy of my Ultimate Food & Wine Pairing Guide. It’s a quick template covering the major food matches for red, white, rose and dessert wines. It’s visually very appealing and I know you’ll get tons of use from it. All you have to do is post a review on Apple Podcasts, formerly iTunes, or on social media. Then just email me at and I’ll send it to you.

On with the show. Enjoy!


You can also watch the video interview with Chris that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.


Well, there you have it! Here are my takeaways from this terrific discussion with Chris:

  1. I love the way Chris makes an abstract concept like balance in wine concrete and visual with his see-saw metaphor.
  2. His test for determining the acidity in wine is so smart, though not something I suggest you do at a dinner party.
  3. What you can do at a dinner party is his more subtle test for the strength and firmness of tannins in your wine by rubbing your tongue along the roof of your mouth.
  4. Love his tip on half bottles for preserving wine.
  5. He has some great insights into the similarities of Champagne and English wines, as well as the implications of Brexit on the wine industry and wine lovers.

You’ll find links to Chris’s website, social media handles, podcast, the video version of this interview and the gadget he recommended in the show notes at

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 walking the gerbil, cleaning your ductwork or clipping your toenails … 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 the tasting tips that Chris shared. 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!



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