Why does it seem taboo to talk about the intoxicating effects of wine? What’s prompting so much wine shaming of those who enjoy easy-drinking commercial wines that have residual sugar, and why do these wines play an important role in the wine market? How can memoirs have more emotional impact than biographies, and what’s the difference between the two?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m being interviewed by Calla Bischoff and Kara Ferreira on their Boozy Biddies Talk Wine podcast.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
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I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.
I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?
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- Why did I dedicate Wine Witch on Fire to my mother?
- What makes memoirs often more emotionally impactful than biographies?
- Why is it taboo to talk about the intoxicating effects of wine?
- What is it about wine that feeds into the perception of sophistication and elegance compared to other alcoholic beverages?
- How can you integrate the intellectual aspect of wine with the buzz?
- Why do I believe commercial wines serve an important role in the industry?
- How did I decide which wines to include in Wine Witch on Fire?
- What are some of the challenges still being faced by women and people of color in the industry?
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Part of the allure of wine is because it has a buzz, and not to acknowledge it is not just misguided but deluding yourself. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
There’s way too much wine shaming going on about people who love wines with residual sugar. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
About Calla Bischoff and Kara Ferreira
Calla Bischoff is an East Coast kid at heart who has made her way out West where she worked as a wine supplier for seven years. She’s pivoted in the industry, now focusing on selling corks and oak barrels to distilleries around North America, but is physically incapable of staying away from wine even if her sales focus on the harder stuff. She has had the opportunity to work for international wineries in Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia while also spending a good amount of time with domestic wines from California. She spends more time in airports than her apartment for work but still enjoys traveling for pleasure especially if it involves a good wine region to visit.
Kara Ferreira is still an East Coast kid – despite being born in California – who grew up drinking Italian wine at home with her Italian family (which, thanks to Ancestry.com, we now know is only about 6% Italian). She also took a course on Italian wine while studying abroad, so naturally this makes her an expert. After many years waiting tables throughout college, in the Berkshires and in New York City, Kara left the service industry, had a career detour through the United Nations, and then turned to website design & development. She owns her own website company and is the co-partner of a small business consultancy, but of course, still loves a glass of good wine.
Together we’ve created Boozy Biddies Talk Wine, a fun and irreverent exploration of wine for people who love drinking it and want to know just a bit more about it.
- Connect with Boozy Biddies
- Stephen King’s Book | On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 251: Pinot Noir, the Nervous Breakdown Grape + Navigating Bad Life Vintages with the Boozy Biddies
- Marynissen Wine Estates
- Upcoming Launch Events for Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much
- Closson Chase Vineyard Tasting & Book Signing – Prince Edward County on Thursday, September 28th at 5 pm
- The 2023 Toronto International Festival of Authors – Sunday, October 1st at 7 pm at the Harbourfront Centre
- Ottawa Writers Festival – Friday, October 27th at 6 pm
- Virtual Online Wine Tasting – Thursday, November 9th at 7 pm
- Diary of a Book Launch: An Insider Peek from Idea to Publication
- Wine Witch on Fire Free Companion Guide for Book Clubs
- My Books:
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 2: Wine Confession: Loving the Buzz of Alcohol
- My new class The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner And How To Fix Them Forever
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Thirsty for more?
- Sign up for my free online wine video class where I’ll walk you through The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!)
- 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 (00:00):
I am not against commercial brands. There’s way too much wine shaming people who love wines with residual sugar. Sugar sweetness is the first taste we develop as babies. It’s the first signal that this food is not poison. There’s nothing wrong with the human attraction to sugar. All things in moderation. For people who love an off dry wine, there’s nothing wrong with that. Stop making them think they’re less evolved for liking what they like.
Calla Bischoff (00:27):
When we started, one of our things was don’t yuck somebody else’s yum.
Yeah, don’t someone else’s yum.
That is great.
I do not like butter oaky Chardonnay, but I know people do. Yeah, don’t yuck someone else’s yum.
Natalie MacLean (00:39):
That is brilliant. I love that. It’s the great democratizing approach without dumbing stuff down.
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 252. Why does it seem taboo to talk about the intoxicating effects of wine? What’s prompting so much wine shaming of those who enjoy easy drinking commercial wines that have residual sugar? Why do these wines play an important role in the wine market? And how can memoirs have more emotional impact than biographies, and what’s the difference between the two? In today’s episode, you’ll hear those stories and tips that answer those questions in Part Two of our chat with Kara Ferreira and Calla Bishoff, hosts of the fun and irreverent podcast Boozy Biddies. You don’t have to have listened to Part One from last week first, but I hope you’ll go back to it if you missed it after you finish this one.
Recently, I was on CTV’s Your Morning Show talking about super tasters, which I discuss in my new book Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much. Dr. Linda Baruch at Yale University School of Medicine discovered the super taster phenomenon in 1999. Women are more than twice as likely as men to be super tasters because we have more fungi. Those are the tiny structures on the tongue that hold taste buds. Dr. Baruch dipped a thyroid medication on study participants’ tongues to test their sensitivity to bitterness. She divided the population into three groups, non tasters with limited palettes 25%, tasters with average palettes 50%, and super tasters with very sensitive palettes 25%. Super tasters possess more than a hundred times more taste buds per square inch than do regular tasters. She compares this to having 500 fingers rather than just 10, noting that super tasters live in a neon world of taste.
This doesn’t mean that as super tasters, we are better tasters. That comes with practice. But it does mean that we’re more sensitive tasters. For me personally, it’s probably why I didn’t start drinking alcohol until I discovered wine in my late twenties. I grew up in a Scottish family in Nova Scotia where beer and whiskey were the popular adult beverages and I found both way too bitter. That’s why the smooth, juicy Pinot Noir is my favourite wine, whereas wines with a pleasantly bitter finish like Italian Amarone that so many people love doesn’t appeal to me. It’s also why I don’t like olives and other bitter foods.
As a professional wine critic, I recommend wines that I love and don’t love because I recognize there’s a wide array of taste preferences among my readers. So if there’s a terrific Amarone, I’ll recommend it and give it a high score. I just won’t be opening it for myself anytime soon.
Tim Hanni, a sensory taste specialist and Master of Wine in California, measured the density and number of my taste buds for an article I was writing. Being a super taster also means being extra sensitive to your entire environment. Hanni knew without my telling him that I cut the tags out of my clothing, prefer tea over coffee, and have thermostat wars with my family members. There are lots of home test kits that you can order online now. Some people also test their children to see if that’s why they don’t eat their vegetables. It doesn’t solve the vegetable problem, but it helps with understanding it. I want to give a shout out to Marynissen Wine Estates for stocking Wine Witch on Fire in their winery tasting room and supporting its message of hope, justice, and resilience.
I’ll put a link to their winery in the show notes. If you visit a winery or work at one, please encourage the owner or tasting room manager to stock the book. Just a reminder, I’ll be hosting three fun wine tasting and book launch events this month and next I’ll be in Prince Edward County in Ontario on Thursday, September 28th. Get your tickets at ClossonChase.com. On Sunday, October 1st at 7:00 PM, I’ll be hosting an event as part of the Toronto International Festival of Writers. Save your spot at FestivalofAuthors.ca. I’ll also be hosting an event at the Ottawa Writers Festival on October 27th at 6:30 PM register at WritersFestival.org. Finally, I have a bonus event for you. Save this date on your calendar now Thursday, November 9th at 7:00 PM as I’m planning to host a virtual online tasting that everyone can join in details to follow soon. Please let me know if you can join me at one or more of these events.Also, let your friends, family, and colleagues know about them. I’ll include links to all of the events in the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/252.
Here’s a review from Rachelle Levitsky in Ottawa. “This memoir was definitely a page turner for me. It evoked personal emotions. I was angry for her. I was sad for her. My empath side sat with some of these things she shared and made me pause and think about how society works. Her story made me proud of her from one woman to another for not taking it sitting down and not letting crappy people’s behaviour defeat her and her journey of career achievements. I have admiration, respect for strong women and like to know them and support them. I was left with a sense of happiness to know that she came out on top and that she was able to move through this chapter of her life with unapologetic courage and strength to push forward and get back up on her feet. Cheers to her”. Thank you, Rachelle.
If you’ve read this book or are reading it, I’d love to hear from you at [email protected]. If you haven’t got your copy yet and would like to support it and this podcast that I do on a volunteer basis, please order it from any online book retailer no matter where you live. Every little bit helps spread the message. I’ll put a link in the show notes to all the retailers worldwide at NatalieMacLean.com/252. Okay on with the show,
Kara Ferreira (08:00):
But actually since you do mention your Scottish heritage, just one other thing. I mean this book, it sounds like you talk about everything that’s in it. We talk about how it touches on misogyny in the industry. We talk about the struggle of finding balance with alcohol, your divorce, dating, your relationship with your son, your relationship with your mother. It’s also a memoir. It gets into how you got into the wine industry and then sort of there’s all these literary references, your favorite wines. It all flows beautifully. You would think that all of that would be sort of all over the place, but it’s not. But you do mention as part of your upbringing, and I guess in terms of you seem to excel in a lot of what you apply yourself towards.
But you have that…
Natalie MacLean (08:47):
Demons driven demons, but thank you.
Kara Ferreira (08:50):
Highland Dancing little episode. Yes. So that was a fun. Sort touching on how you did that. You got to travel a bit when you were, this was in high school for the most part.
Natalie MacLean (08:59):
That’s right. So I took Highland dancing from the time I was about five. My mom was a single mom, a teacher, and she was always trying to upgrade her teaching license in the summer. So she would drop me off at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. And I was five. I could not follow an itinerary, so I ended up picking strawberries most of the time, which was a lot of fun, and then wandering back to the gate to get picked up at the end of the day. But I stayed with the Highland dancing right up till I was so about 20 and competed in the World Championships in Dunoon, Scotland. We went there every summer. She saved all her money. She did not have a lot. She gave up a lot of stuff for me, and yeah, that’s how we got to see the world and meet other families. So not just from a touristy perspective, but really connecting on a cultural level. We went down the States. We did Highland Games across Canada, But that was every weekend. Summers were always dance camps. So it was very, very structured kind of childhood that I chose. I wanted it.
Calla Bischoff (10:00):
I love the way you talk about your mother in this book. I am looking at the notes that I wrote down. It’s dedicated to her, too. Your mother, she sounds so strong and awesome.
Natalie MacLean (10:13):
I didn’t think of her like that when I was a kid. I was always saying, don’t tell me what to do. I’m the boss of me. But I realized her strength as I grew up, and the incredible thing she had to face. She was a practicing Catholic and back in the seventies, being a divorced single mother, a school teacher was just not kosher. It was just. So we moved around a lot from town to town. We moved, I don’t know 14 times by the time I was 10, but I realize now what it took to do that or I have a sense of what it took to do that, to how strong she had to be for us and then have the discipline to pump everything she had – time and money – into what I was doing.
Calla Bischoff (10:53):
The admiration you have for her is just so amazing. I have a very strong relationship with my mother, and I think she’s incredibly strong. And it made me want to call her it, and I talk to my mother every day already. Anyway, I’m living in Denver now. They’re back on the East Coast, but it was like after that, I just wanted to call and be like, I love you so much. Thank you so much for being everything that you’ve been. So I think, I mean, that hit home a lot, too. I cried reading your book six different times.
Natalie MacLean (11:23):
Oh excellent. Thank you.
Calla Bischoff (11:24):
I cry a lot in general. I’m just an emotional human being.
Natalie MacLean (11:29):
There’s a lot of teary parts in it, but I hope that. Well you are connecting with it emotionally, and I think that is the most you can ask for from a memoir. It’s just to resonate that way that that feels somehow good for you as well. The tears and the joy and everything else. We can’t live 60 different lives, but we can read 60 different memoirs and feel as though we did.
Calla Bischoff (11:52):
I like memoirs a lot because it resonates differently than a biography. Biography is like born here, married, then kids, career, death. And I’ve read some memoirs. And it’s one of my favourite books in the world to read, Stephen King’s On Writing is one of my favourite memoirs.
Natalie MacLean (12:09):
That’s a master. Oh, yeah.
Calla Bischoff (12:10):
But what I took a lot more from that was more about passion for the literature industry and English. I connected more with reading your book on an emotional level than. I’m an English major, that was my degree. So that was just really inspiring as far as my passion for books and whatnot. I was never a writer. I wanted to be a college English professor one day. So that was my dream. And then Kara introduced me to wine and poof, things changed.
Ruined everything from there.
Things changed real quick for me.
Natalie MacLean (12:40):
And I think you make a great point, Calla. Biography is kind of a linear exposition of an entire life, and some lives are fascinating and they carry you through the book. A memoir is one slice in time, usually a year, maybe two, and it’s about something that happened that was transformative for the person, the author. And I think what draws us to memoirs is that interaction with the characters.
Calla Bischoff (13:03):
Yeah. There’s themes to your book. Obviously. You really hone into the Witch thing. I mean, first of all, queen of Puns over here, you are. Your chapter names are just.
Natalie MacLean (13:14):
Karma is a witch.
Calla Bischoff (13:16):
And Kara, when we do these introductions for our podcast, I usually try to make some dumb pun. We did our Rhone episode and I was like, there’s no place like Rhone. I’m like clicking my heels around three times. And Kara is just like, what? Why? Again? And so when I told her today, I wrote her introduction. I had to send her a text message being like, I promise it’s normal. I can’t. First of all, I’d be too nervous to try to make a pun in front of the pun queen over here.
I don’t know. It’ll probably show up at some point or another, but you definitely have themes. Besides the witch, there’s just this constant kind of play of the fairytale in your book too, which I know can play into witches. There’s always the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz or in Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. But I love, my entire English thesis was based on fairytales.
Natalie MacLean (14:05):
Oh that is fantastic. I love that.
Calla Bischoff (14:06):
But this idea, you have your Prince Charming in your life, and there’s been all these other things. So you definitely have that thematic arc there that is the fairytale. That’s really cool. And it does kind of make a memoir seem less rigid than a biography.
Natalie MacLean (14:21):
Yeah. It’s just weaving in one more thread so that the whole pattern is more interesting than straight linearity and yeah, I can’t resist a good pun. So there’s good witch hunting and all the rest of it, but I have to say this while it’s on my mind, I’m going to blurt it out. What did the green grape say to the purple grape?
Calla Bischoff (14:40):
I don’t know.
Natalie MacLean (14:41):
Dude, stop holding your breath.
Calla Bischoff (14:45):
[laughter] My God. Were you a dad in a past lifetime?
Natalie MacLean (14:53):
No, my son, who’s in the story, his name has changed, but he says, mom jokes are worse than dad jokes. I’m just letting you know. Stop it. Just stop it.
Calla Bischoff (15:03):
I love that.
Kara Ferreira (15:06):
But you did mention, I think, at certain points in the book, one that some other people in the industry maybe had taken a bit of issue with maybe one of your books – that was Red, White and Drunk All Over. But it’s sort of actually acknowledging the effect that alcohol does have that some, perhaps other wine writers or even other spirits writers, but that sometimes it’s maybe considered unsophisticated to acknowledge that we’re enjoying this substance but that it also has this effect if we enjoy it too much.
Natalie MacLean (15:33):
Well, yes. I got the look askance at tastings because Red, White, and Drunk All Over a Tipsy Search. Wait a minute, I’m getting all the subtitles. A Wine Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass was my first book back in 2006. So it was at a time when people didn’t talk about the buzz in wine, the alcohol. We talked about it like it was, I dunno, something else. Not grape juice, but something that didn’t have any alcoholic effects. But for me as a dancer, the sensory experience of wine is also that full bodied effect. And I still like it. I just have to monitor it more closely. But yeah, so I was all out there because in my two books talking about how wine affected me, and I think well I know people related to that because I got tons and tons of emails and letters after those books as well.
Calla Bischoff (16:21):
Yeah, I feel like wine has been put on this pedestal for such a long time. I mean, one of your quotes that really resonated with me and the idea of terroir and how I feel like people just look at wine, especially professionally, as just the terroir and not that alcoholic component that makes you buzzed. There’s just this art, this history, this lineage to different vineyards and Chateau and X, Y, Z. But what you say, that’s why we put wine not cooking oil on the dinner table in its original packaging. It matters who made the wine, where it was made and what happened that year. And that I feel like does become such a focus of people in the industry and how they sell it and how they look at it, not realizing that drinking a glass of wine the same as drinking a Coors or a vodka soda. It’s still going to get that dial moving where you are becoming more inebriated every time you take another sip.
Natalie MacLean (17:10):
Yeah. And I think a lot of people in the industry are afraid to talk about it. Well, I hope more and more are not now, but because it would seem to be unprofessional that you’re just drawn to writing about wine or alcohol in general because you could have easily been a movie critic or a dance critic. But I think there is a whole bodied experience that draws us, and maybe we are moths to a flame, but I think that is part of the allure of wine because it has buzz. And not to acknowledge it I think is not just misguided, but you’re deluding yourself.
Calla Bischoff (17:47):
There’s some kind of sophistication to versus me throwing back six White Claws at a baseball game. There is something different there that just seems elevated in your drinking experience versus just, like I said, going out and getting a gin and tonic or just a couple hard seltzers or whatever. The choices. The industry shows that, too. There is this assumption of snobbery and that does exist, but a lot of people are like, oh are you a sommelier? I’m like no I just sell wine. I’m the worst at tasting things. Versus if I was like, oh I’m a Coors rep or something like that. There’s just something more elegant and sophisticated that people start to put wine further and further up this pedestal and becomes culty in a lot of ways.
Natalie MacLean (18:30):
Absolutely. Well, it is the drink of conversation. I mean, we don’t generally knock back a Pinot Noir the way we might with a vodka shooter. So it is the slow drink of conversation in its best form. But I do think that also gets a hoity-toity image when it’s taken to an extreme or that that’s the only thing it is that there’s nothing to do with the body here experiencing any sort of buzz here. We’re all up in our heads talking about, well it was this appellation and the rains that spring and et cetera.
Kara Ferreira (19:04):
I think that limits the experience, too. We talked about the podcast when I have a really good champagne, I feel it in my body differently. It actually makes my cheeks and my thighs tingle.
Calla Bischoff (19:15):
Natalie MacLean (19:16):
Oh that tingly.
Calla Bischoff (19:16):
She gets tingly thighs.
Kara Ferreira (19:18):
I get tingly thighs
Calla Bischoff (19:19):
It’s one of my favorite things. I’m like oh on this episode, Kara’s thighs are definitely going to tingle. You’re going to tingle.
Natalie MacLean (19:25):
I love that.
Calla Bischoff (19:26):
That is so good [laughter]
Kara Ferreira (19:27):
But I do feel like Champagne is just the most notable one, but there’s different wines. Where do you feel like the buzz hits me physically differently if you just pay attention to it and if you are disconnected from your body or if you’re just staying in your head, you’re missing sort of that nuance.
Natalie MacLean (19:41):
That full experience. And that is something also I sort of struggled with in the book is connecting my head back with my body. And I think that’s part of moderation too, not being so up in your head that it’s all work, work, work, work, work. And then I need to have a drink to get back down into my body to relax. If you can integrate the two, the mind and the body, I think you can integrate the two aspects of wine. It’s intellectual part and it’s physical buzz and I think it’s just a more holistic way. But tingly thighs, that sounds really. I’m going to be looking for that with Champagne from now on.
Calla Bischoff (20:14):
I mean, I would love to make a thing tingle my thighs every now and then.
Natalie MacLean (20:18):
That should be a Champagne brand or something.
Kara Ferreira (20:21):
Calla Bischoff (20:24):
I don’t think the Champagne region will allow that. Probably just be like an American sparkling.
Natalie MacLean (20:28):
Calla Bischoff (20:30):
Done using the Coca-Cola method. Yes. So you talk about tasting alley, that’s your hallway of all of these samples that are sent to you from whatever, just wine everywhere.
Kara Ferreira (20:45):
I would like a tasting alley.
Calla Bischoff (20:48):
Kara, actually, her husband just moved in with her. They’ve been living. They had a place in the city and a house in Connecticut, and he’s been back in the house in Connecticut full time as he’s switching jobs right now. But Kara was sending me a video this weekend of them combining their bars together.
Natalie MacLean (21:05):
Oh, that’s an important move.
Calla Bischoff (21:06):
An my little goddaughter is putting wine on the shelf.
Kara Ferreira (21:09):
She was pulling the bottles out of the box and handing them to me.
Calla Bischoff (21:13):
To start them early. So you’re developing your tasting alley.
Kara Ferreira (21:17):
We work on the wine tasting alley though. We do have our wine and our root cellar, but we need an actual.
Calla Bischoff (21:24):
But when it comes to wine too, I had a question written down that you’ve tasted thousands at this point and you have a book about finding approachable and affordable wine. Where do the idea of commercial wines stand in your life? We’ve talked a lot about how there is still in the industry. It’s just like there’s craft beer and there’s Coors. There’s also wine that is unique to every vintage, and there’s wine that is very much homogenous year to year just to be something comfortable for the buyer to go back to. They always know that this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is going to taste the same every year. So there’s comfort to that. And there’s people who like to look at the new changes. In your life as far as what you like drinking, do you have a place in your palette that is commercial or is it just kind of what sticks to you in the moment?
Natalie MacLean (22:10):
First of all, I have to rise above my own personal bias and prejudice. I love Pinot Noir. I love it dry. I love Burgundy. So a wine with a lot of residual sugar and tannin and oak is not going to appeal to me personally. But I’m trying to think of my readers. I always say my liver for the people. Out there. Sacrificing myself yet again. Tiny, tiny violins. But I try to think with someone who loves a full-bodied cabernet or whatever it is with some nice residual sugar, would that person like this for this price? I do consider price and I will recommend it.
So I am not against commercial brands. I mean, I think they serve an important role. I do think that people who follow my reviews probably are not huge on the commercial brands. They’re not looking for wine reviews, anyway. But I will review all of the wines that I think are a fit for someone who loves that style. And I think there’s way too much wine shaming going on about people who love wines with residual sugar. Sugar sweetness is the first taste we develop as babies. I mean, it’s the first signal that this food isn’t poison. There’s nothing wrong with the human attraction to sugar. All things in moderation.So for people who love an off dry wine or there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, stop making them think they’re less evolved or something for liking what they like.
Calla Bischoff (23:36):
When we started, we’d called it the Boozy Biddies 10 Commandments or the 10 Rules of Boozy Biddies. And a lot of them was because we approached this podcast trying to make it irreverent, silly, and just easy talking. One of our things was actually. Shit, Kara, what was it?
Kara Ferreira (23:51):
Don’t yuk somebody else is yum.
Calla Bischoff (23:53):
Yeah, don’t yuk someone else is yum.
Natalie MacLean (23:54):
That is great. Brillant.
Calla Bischoff (23:55):
Just like, Hey, just because I do not like buttery oaky Chardonnay, but I know people do. And I would never see my friend or someone at a bar order some big type wine and be like, oh no. I’m like, hey you do you. The same way that I might order an off dry Riesling. And someone’s like oh Riesling. Interesting. So one of our things was, yeah, don’t yuck someone else’s.
Natalie MacLean (24:19):
That is brilliant. I love that. It’s a great democratizing kind of approach without dumbing stuff down. There’s a difference there. And I used to really dislike Gewürztraminer because I found it too over the top florally. And I would write tasting notes like if you Gewürztraminer, this is a good one. Until the Gewurztraimer crowd came after me and going what do you mean if you like Gewürztraminer. Stop being a snob about Gewürztraminer. So I stopped qualifying it. It’s like this is a good Gewürztraminer period.
Kara Ferreira (24:52):
You do mention throughout the book at certain moments, it’s the memoir. So you were counting different periods of time where we were drinking this wine and you’ll name it and you’ll usually share a bit about if it was a female producer or some little anecdote about the actual wine. Just out of curiosity, do you actually have notes in the journals you mentioned that would reflect that was the actual wine you were drinking? Is it the wine you remember at the time, or did you sort of go through some of your favourite wines and decide which ones you want to feature throughout the book?
Natalie MacLean (25:19):
It was a combination of both. Like a dear diary, many Pinot Noirs ours today.
It was the wines I was drinking, but also now 10 years on, I have woven in wines that I think have a great story to tell. Many of them are about women, but not exclusively. But I love a good story like Donnafugata, which I just love saying – Donnafugata – is in a Sicilian winery. It means fugitive women, Donnafugata, fugata, fugitive. The vines are planted in the volcanic rock of Mount Etna which is still an active volcano. So those people know the value of life and so on. But I thought a woman on the run, and she’s on the hot seat, so volcano. I thought that’s a perfect pairing for my situation, and I wasn’t attempting to trivialize the issues. But I think you absolutely need humour even in the darkest times and they say, is it comedy is pain plus time.
So someone reading this memoir might say, oh my God, how can you even joke about anything in here? But I’ve got the lens of time to pull back and put it in perspective. And I think even when you’re watching a horror movie – not saying that this memoir is a horror movie – but you need that comic relief that to breathe and to give that release of tension. We need that in life. We need it in books.
Kara Ferreira (26:47):
I think you walked that balance really beautifully.
Calla Bischoff (26:50):
Kara Ferreira (26:51):
Like we said. We were crying, laughing. I actually, I have to admit, I have not finished the book only because I hate e-readers and I’m waiting to have a physical copy to read that last third so I can curl up with a glass of wine on the couch and truly savour it.
Natalie MacLean (27:03):
Okay. Well, spoiler alert, there’s a happy ending. I want people to know that.
Kara Ferreira (27:08):
Perfect. Well, I am really looking forward to it.
Calla Bischoff (27:11):
I’m so excited. I am just like. I’ve read it but I’m still going to purchase my own physical copy as well.
I do better at e-readers than Kara does, but I just think I just want your book and the only books on my bookshelf behind me are wine books. To be honest with you, I’m a voracious reader having been an English lit major. But that’s why I got an e-reader because I was like I live in a studio apartment in downtown Denver. I don’t have a lot of places to put things, but all the books I have are ones that have been very special to me from back my English lit days, or my wine books and stuff like that. So I can’t wait to add yours to my collection. I
Natalie MacLean (27:49):
Would be happy to send you both personally signed book plates as well as any of your listeners who buy the book. I’ll happy to mail you book plates. And if people are curious about the book, I’ve also got some juicy bonuses, some online private tastings and so on for those who purchased the book at WineWitchOnFire.com.
Calla Bischoff (28:09):
I love it.
Kara Ferreira (28:10):
I’ll be doing that.
Calla Bischoff (28:11):
So our last thing before we wrap up with you.
Kara Ferreira (28:14):
Is there anything else that we have not touched on before we get to the last question?
Calla Bischoff (28:17):
That you would like to discuss? This is your platform.
Natalie MacLean (28:19):
Oh, well, thank you. The only other thing is I do have a free companion guide for book clubs and wine groups. So there’s discussion questions about the book, but there’s also tips on how to organize your own informal wine tasting, and that’s also at WineWitchOnFire.com.
Calla Bischoff (28:33):
We’re super excited that you, one, reach out to us to be on this podcast.
Natalie MacLean (28:37):
I love your podcast.
Calla Bischoff (28:39):
We felt like you did something right that you’re listening to our podcast.
Natalie MacLean (28:42):
You guys are great. As I said, I love the interaction. I love your approach. It’s smart, yet informal. It’s really terrific both of you. Well done.
Calla Bischoff (28:51):
I think that’s that way that we’re trying to change the industry too. I mean, to kind of full circle it back around before we go into our last icebreaker, there is it’s not that they’re dying off because they’re still alive, but there’s a large portion of the industry that has created it to be this way that is retiring at least. A lot of the people that we’ve found difficulty with being a woman in the industry, or if people of colour have had issues, a lot of those people have done this to the point where they’re at retirement age. So we’re welcoming in a lot of new, younger, more open-minded people to the industry. So it’s a slow process, but it is happening.
Natalie MacLean (29:29):
Sure. Just like those vines and the renewal and the new season and bud break. There you are. You are millennial grapes, you.
Calla Bischoff (29:38):
Have you prepared two truths and one lie for us?
Natalie MacLean (29:41):
Yes, oh yes.
Calla Bischoff (29:42):
Yes. Okay. This is where Kara and I try to guess if we’ve gotten to know you well enough throughout this thing.
Natalie MacLean (29:48):
Drum roll. Okay. I love this. What fun. Okay, so here are the three things. I’ve been stung by a jellyfish. I was in a commercial for breakfast cereal when I was seven, and I’ve never had a cup of coffee.
Calla Bischoff (30:02):
She says she drinks tea a lot in the book.
Kara Ferreira (30:05):
Well, she did mention we didn’t touch on it, but you’re a super taster. I think I’m a super taster.
Calla Bischoff (30:10):
I am a bad taster.
Kara Ferreira (30:11):
I don’t know where to go get tested.
Calla Bischoff (30:12):
I’m the opposite of a super taster.
Kara Ferreira (30:15):
Okay. So yeah, that one could very well be true.
Calla Bischoff (30:18):
Coffee could be, because she does talk about how she started drinking tea first.
Kara Ferreira (30:21):
I’ve been stung by jellyfish is so random though.
Calla Bischoff (30:24):
It’s random, but that could be the kicker and breakfast cereal. I mean, she was performing a lot as a dancer.
Kara Ferreira (30:30):
You are highland dancing in a commercial. I’m going to go with jellyfish as a lie.
Calla Bischoff (30:37):
You know what? I think I might go with jellyfish too, because there’s not any mention of any beach vacations in your book.
Natalie MacLean (30:46):
Okay, ladies, good guess. But no. So I grew up, Nova Scotia and my mom, we were in Cape Breton.
Calla Bischoff (30:53):
That’s on the water. It’s on the water. [laughter]
Natalie MacLean (30:56):
I’ve been stung many times.
Calla Bischoff (30:59):
That’s directly on the water, dammit. Calla. [laughter]. Jellyfish doesn’t get a lot of Canadian culture.
Kara Ferreira (31:04):
I thought jellyfish was more warmer water though.
Calla Bischoff (31:08):
I guess. Yeah.
Natalie MacLean (31:12):
There are. The white ones don’t sting, but the red ones do.
Calla Bischoff (31:15):
Calla Bischoff (31:17):
Is that a wine allegory there? No. Just kidding.
Natalie MacLean (31:20):
No, but I could probably weave it back if we keep going.
Kara Ferreira (31:22):
I’m going to go with coffee, then.
Oh, you switching.
We’ve already lost, but
Calla Bischoff (31:29):
Then I’m going with breakfast cereal, Kara. Okay, give me one.
Natalie MacLean (31:34):
Well, I’ve never had a cup of coffee. That’s true. The commercial for breakfast cereal. That’s just a dream that never came true. Sad and broken,
Calla Bischoff (31:44):
Don’t worry. You might be able to be in a breakfast cereal commercial one day. If anyone from Cheerios is listening right now [laughter].
Natalie MacLean (31:52):
The breakfast of champions, Chardonnay and cornflakes.
Kara Ferreira (31:54):
That’s something specific though. Why were you dreaming of being in a cereal commercial?
Natalie MacLean (31:58):
Because when you guys said, we’re going to do two truths and a lie, I Googled “how can you play two truths and a lie and win”?
Kara Ferreira (32:05):
She’s such an overachiever.
Natalie MacLean (32:08):
Make sure it’s not the last one. The lie isn’t the last one. Say it with conviction. Be specific. So they think that…
Calla Bischoff (32:15):
Natalie MacLean (32:16):
My God, I can’t even let this go.
Kara Ferreira (32:19):
So funny. I think we’ve gotten almost everybody else’s.
Calla Bischoff (32:23):
No, we failed.
Kara Ferreira (32:24):
No, but we’ve done pretty well. [laughter].
Calla Bischoff (32:26):
No, I’m just trying to think of her.
Kara Ferreira (32:33):
No, I think two Shepherds we got.
Calla Bischoff (32:36):
No, we failed at that. Did we? She said that she speaks donkey and we’re like, she has donkey. Yeah. She’s like, no, I don’t nay it. Then what are you guys talking about?
Kara Ferreira (32:47):
But her, it was the languages that she changed the number. Okay, fine. Maybe we’re not amazing. But that said, this is the one that I feel like we’ve been completely just…
Calla Bischoff (32:54):
Most of our ones, we had two of my favorite bartenders in Denver come on to talk about root cocktails and the idea of the six classic cocktails, and they’re dipshits and I love them so much. They’re two of my closest friends, but they’re like, I’ve never been to a nude beach or I’ve been to a nude beach twice. And they’re like, no. The lies that I’ve actually been three times. Like, God, seriously.
Natalie MacLean (33:17):
Splitting hairs. Yeah.
Calla Bischoff (33:18):
Yeah. That’s how enjoyable they can be.
Kara Ferreira (33:21):
I’m so impressed that you Googled how to succeed in two truths one lie.
Natalie MacLean (33:24):
It’s kind of sad. You would think I’d learned from what I wrote in my memoir. Stop being a damn perfectionist and competitive. But no, it continues actually.
Calla Bischoff (33:34):
I mean, this has just been so amazing to have you on today and we really appreciate you. Before we sign off, would you like to say anything else?
Natalie MacLean (33:43):
You No, but don’t tempt me. WineWitchOFire.com. There we go. I would love to hear from your listeners and they’re welcome to join me on my podcast too, but this has been so fun. Kara, Calla. We should do this in person with wine.
Calla Bischoff (33:56):
We will come visit you a hundred percent. Just tell us when.
Natalie MacLean (33:59):
You’ll find me and hunt me down.
Calla Bischoff (34:01):
Seriously. This will actually be fun. We’ll see how many listeners we actually have when they actually respond to this. No, I’m kidding. Yeah, let, thank you. Thank you again so much, Natalie, for joining us. Our sendoff is go double fist yourselves, orgasms and alcohol. Orgasms and alcohol.
Natalie MacLean (34:23):
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoy my chat with Calla and Kara. In the show notes, you’ll find the full transcript of my conversation with them, links to their website and podcast, the video versions of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube live, where you can order my book online now no matter where you live, and links to my four upcoming wine tasting and book launch events. That’s all in the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/252. Email me if you have a sip, tip, question or if you’ve read my book or are in the process of reading it at [email protected]. I would love to hear from you.
If you missed episode two, go back and take a listen. I talk about that taboo subject, the buzz of wine. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
This was the alarming headline in a recent health study. No amount of alcohol is safe. What it was published in The Lancet, one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals in the world. My first thought was, no, say it ain’t. So. My next thought was, I need to ask my doctor friends about this. Turns out that the study has several flaws. What a relief. It’s been proven in the past that moderate drinkers who have one glass of wine a day live longer than those who don’t drink at all. There was also criticism published in the medical community about the alarmist headline and how the numbers and statistics were presented. The best advice I got, stress is a bigger concern when it comes to both longevity and heart disease. The biggest killer I was told. Relax, drink moderately, and try not to stress out about this study.
If you liked this episode, please email or tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wines tips and stories we shared. You won’t want to miss next week when we chat with Jane Lopes, a sommelier, author, and wine importer. Her first book was a personal and educational guide to wine called Vignette: Stories of Life And Wine in a Hundred Bottles. Jane’s second book, How to Drink Australian, co-authored with her husband, Jonathan Ross, has just been published. She’ll join us from her home in New York City.
Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Maybe a wine that gives you a slight, enjoyable buzz. You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full-bodied 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.