Tech is Transforming Wine with the Wine School Dropout’s Tanisha Townsend



What makes wine and technology such a perfect pairing? Why should you try online wine classes? How is technology empowering wine consumers?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m being interviewed by Tanisha Townsend on her podcast, Wine School Dropout.

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  • How did I go from high tech to wine writing?
  • Why do I find the pairing of wine and tech to be fascinating?
  • What has changed about wine and the internet since my first article was published 20 years ago?
  • Why are food and wine pairing classes so popular?
  • What are some of the unexpected benefits of online wine courses?
  • Which new creative intersections of wine and tech am I excited about
  • How is technology empowering wine consumers?
  • What advantages are there to using my mobile wine app?
  • Why do I love podcasting?
  • What makes a great podcast guest interview?
  • What can you expect from my upcoming third book?
  • Where do the concepts for my books start from?
  • Which wine do I love to pair with my favourite snack?

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About Tanisha Townsend

Tanisha Townsend is Chief Wine Officer of lifestyle agency Girl Meets Glass. She leads wine classes and tours in Paris as well as online. She also hosts the podcast, Wine School Dropout. Her goal is to empower people with advanced knowledge of wine and spirits to build confidence in their tastes and make choices when buying wine.



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  • 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, and other country-specific Amazon sites;, and other country-specific iTunes sites; and



Natalie MacLean 0:00
I do think that you can have a wonderful wine on its own and a dish that you love. But when you combine them, there’s some sort of magic that happens in your mouth when it works that you could not have if you were just drinking the wine just eating the food and you don’t say she ate so quickly. You go back to the wine, you go to the food, you go back to the even if it’s champagne and potato chips, I can eat a whole bag of chips that way. I have a whole bag. Exactly. You’re my kind of woman. Tanisha so for so many reasons. I think that’s why food and wine pairing really draws people. My course specifically is called the get wine smart course. A full body framework to pair buy and taste wine like a pro and the real emphasis is on the pairing

Natalie MacLean 0:52
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine. D love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places and amusingly awkward social situations. Oh, 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 161. What makes wine and technology such a perfect pairing? Why should you try an online wine class? And how has technology empowered wine consumers? You’ll hear those stories and more during my chat with Tanisha Townsend, on her podcast, Wine School dropped out. Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show, great news, the deal is done. My agent and I were in talks right down to the wire the day before Christmas Eve. And we had to decide between two terrific publishers. One offered a two book deal which is a really strong vote of confidence in an author’s career. Personally, I felt overwhelmed committing to another book before this one is even finished. Both publishers have amazing editors. But the one we went with is absolutely brilliant. His name is Russell Smith, and he is a columnist for The Globe and Mail now for 20 years covering arts and culture. He also hosted the popular CBC radio programme about language called and sometimes why he stopped creative writing for the Masters of Fine Arts degree programmes at the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto, and published eight books, several of which were nominated for the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award among others. Oh eight get a sense of why I decided to work with him. He has a really great vision for this memoir. Plus, he really gets the premise. It’s a little bit like dating when someone just gets you and you don’t need to keep explaining yourself. Russell is the acquisitions editor at Dundurn press, Canada’s oldest and largest independent publishing house. In 2019. Three venture capitalists who made a lot of money in high tech bought the company. So this is a traditional publisher that also has a future forward outlook. And since the high tech industry is part of my story, I think that’s also a great match. So why not go with my previous editor, who is now head of Doubleday and imprint of Penguin Random House, out, here’s what she had to say. Having worked with Natalie, I know how much she brings to the table. And I think there’s a significant potential readership for her memoir. I don’t see an obvious editorial match in my group, at least at the moment. So to be practical about it, I don’t think it would make sense for us right now, between maternity leaves and pending changes. It wouldn’t have a natural editorial champion here. And it’s only for that reason that it’s not a natural right now for Doubledays consideration. Timing is everything, publishing, maybe traditional, but it’s undergoing some oceanic changes right now, especially with the pending merger between Penguin Random House and Simon and Schuster. And here’s the thing, editors can love your book, but they cannot make the yes no decision alone. They have to present it to an acquisitions committee. That includes members of marketing, sales, publicity, finance, and so on, and convinced them to say yes to a project. That’s a minimum of a $50,000 investment, apart from any advances the author gets, and we’ll talk about those in another episode. Another Canadian publisher said, I’ve taken this one to the team, and we think there’s going to be a big audience for it, but we’re not likely to be the right publisher for it. Usually when we tackle memoir we try to include an overt political, or sociological aspect to it. Best of luck to Natalie, though, I think this will make quite a splash. Already. earlier that week, we had several US editors interested in the book, one really went to bat for it last, I’ll share with you what she said. So you get more insight into this process. I love the writing in this memoir and was pleased that my team did as well. Natalie has such a witty voice and an incredible talent for connecting with readers. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. After much discussion with my team, however, I’m sorry to say I wasn’t approved to move forward with an offer. Everyone agreed with me on the many credits for the book, but ultimately, we struggled to land on a solid positioning that we believe will stand out in the category.

Natalie MacLean 5:54
By the way, the memoir category is huge. So that’s a valid point. Anywho you’ll find a link to a blog post called Diary of a book launch, where I share my behind the scenes stories about the journey of taking this memoir from idea to publication in the show notes at Natalie Maclean comm forward slash 161. If you want a more intimate insider seat beside me on this journey, please let me know if you’d like to become a beta reader and get a sneak peek at the manuscript. Email me at Natalie, and Natalie I’d also love to hear from you if you’ve discovered a fabulous new wine we should know about a tip that would help us enjoy wine more. Or if you have a question for me. In the show notes, you’ll find my email contact and a link to the post Diary of a book launch a full transcript of my conversation with Tanisha. A link to her website and podcast. 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 every Wednesday at 7pm That’s all in the show notes at Natalie Maclean comm forward slash 161. Okay, on with the show and just a note that the music for Tunisia’s podcast is Licenced under Creative Commons and you’ll find that link in the show notes

Tanisha Townsend 7:31
Hello, and welcome to these bonus episodes of one school drop out. It’s the summer and while we’re out of school, per se, we had one school drop out want to share a summer in wine with you. In this mini season. You hear about some cool things happening in the wine world. Think of this a little like summer school and we’re back in session. Enjoy Natalie MacLean is the host of unreserved why Tom, and was selected as one of the best drinks podcasts by the New York Times and she offers popular online wine and food pairing courses at www Natalie Both of her books read white and drunk all over a wild soul journey from grip to glass, which is actually one of the first one books I read when I was starting on my journey. And also unquenchable. A tipsy quest for the world’s best bargain bottles were chosen as Amazon’s best books of the year. Natalie has many accolades named world’s best drinks, journalists at the food Media Awards Won for James Beard Foundation journalism award. She’s the only person to have won both the MFK Fisher distinguished writing award from James beer, and the M. F. K. Fisher Award for Excellence in culinary writing from the depth of the school PHEAA International. I gotta admit, I fangirl a little bit in the beginning. But then we started talking about wine and tech, and my two words collided, I started into a groove. You know, I can talk about those subjects all day long. I pulled myself together to bring you this conversation with Natalie Maclean.

Tanisha Townsend 9:19
Hello, Natalie, how are you?

Natalie MacLean 9:21
I’m fine. Tanisha How are you doing?

Tanisha Townsend 9:22
I’m good. Thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak to me for my podcast. For the people who don’t know who you are, you can give us a quick introduction of yourself.

Natalie MacLean 9:33
Well, I’ve been writing about wine for about 20 years. So I’m an older vintage, but still, you know, ageing? Well, I hope. But I was in the high tech world before I got into wine. And I would have never thought that they would overlap. But magically they did. The head office of the company that I worked for, was in Mountain View, California. It’s now the campus of Google. It was a supercomputer company. So I started making my weekend. johnse up to Napa and Sonoma and got a real taste for wine. So they started to meld together at that point. But it wasn’t, as I say, until I went on maternity leave that I was in a sleep deprived state to think that I should start writing about wine. And I always joke with my son, yes, you drove me to drink. But he knows he knows that I’m not serious. But anyway, so while on mat leave, I pitched a story wine on the internet, which 20 years ago was real news. They took that and it went from there, I started writing about wine regularly did not go back to my high tech job, and have loved it ever since.

Tanisha Townsend 10:35
Okay, I love that, which is a great segue into what we’re going to be talking about how wine and tech go together. So it’s interesting that you started off in tech since I started off in tech as well. So we definitely have in common when you first started writing, and not quite sure, if you were going to leave tech or what was going to come of it? Did you already kind of think that it could mash together or it could melt together? Or you just like, You know what, I just want to do this, let’s do it.

Natalie MacLean 11:01
First of all, I was drawn to wine itself. I didn’t even like beer, whiskey, or anything growing up. So it wasn’t until my late 20s that I actually got into wine after I graduated from an MBA programme finally had some money. And so exactly, and the fact that couldn’t cook so my then husband and I would go out to restaurants all the time, which I absolutely loved. And wine was very much part of that experience. So First came the love of wine, then came well, I’ve always had a love of writing just not the confidence to think I could actually earn a living writing. So I got practical, got the MBA had a mother who said make sure you’re always financially independent, because you never know. So I did all of that went into marketing in high tech. So anyway, once I went off on maternity leave, and I thought, well, I need to keep my brain alive. I’ll pitch this article. And that went well. I started to think yes, I think there are more intersections between wine and tech than just Okay, who’s selling wine online right now? I do think that these two worlds seemingly opposite, you’ll know Tanisha in the tech world, it’s fail forward fast, like make mistakes, correct. And iterate. And in the wine world, it’s like, let’s make changes every 1000 years. So, so funny, because it’s true. Yeah, exactly. So think, oh, my gosh, could you get two more different worlds. But I think the Venn set or the intersection is fascinating. When you can take an old world culture product, and give it the support of new technology. That’s where the magic is. And we’ve seen it online social media, podcasts, everything else where people are learning about wine online courses, like those I teach. It’s just an explosive growth in how people learn about and buy wine and all other facets of their wine appreciation education are being assisted these days, by technology. Really, I love the pairing.

Tanisha Townsend 13:01
And one could opinion now that all on one class, can I want to get back to that your first article was about wine and the internet. And you said that was some years ago? Based on what you wrote them and the ideas and thoughts then how do you think things have or have not changed as far as wine in the internet today,

Natalie MacLean 13:23
so many things have changed back then websites were pretty much brochure aware. So let’s take the little pamphlet we have about our winery, and just slap it online. It was very much reading about a winery reading about a wine. And what’s evolved since then, of course, is a lot of online commerce and people feeling secure enough to buy wine online, secure enough to learn about wine online, through courses and so on are thinking that it’s even doable, that has changed the evolution using the tools more effectively and productively. You know, you go back to when television became popular. But at first television shows were just adaptations of radio shows. All they did is took the old medium, and sort of plunked it on the top of the new technology, not really using the new technology to its fullest potential. But of course that comes with time and you learn the strengths and unique features and abilities of the new technology before you I think make full use of it. So that happened with wine on the internet for sure. I think wine lovers, wineries and so on, need to make sure that even with the new technology, that’s still an interactive conversation, you don’t lose track of that the old world of visiting the tasting room and having those deep connections. You can do some of that online if you use the technology in the right way.

Tanisha Townsend 14:47
I totally agree. I truly believe that. I mean COVID Yes, it was terrible is and it’s still wreaking havoc on places and things like that, but some of the things that it’s done for technology and forcing people to appreciate it, implement it adapt to it, I think that is something that has really accelerated due to it.

Natalie MacLean 15:09
It has it has it’s like a forcing function where I think, you know, it’s brought the future forward 10 years at least, especially in the wine world, where it just would not have happened without COVID. And I agree with you. COVID is bad in so many ways. But there are some bright spots in terms of the changes in encouraged and people got through that mind block of, yeah, I can buy wine on online safely, I can learn about it in a class, all of this sort of thing. And now I hope that we’ll continue to have sort of a hybrid, so that wineries or courses, whatever, will continue to offer the online option, because there’s just so many advantages for people who can’t travel, mobility issues, and so on. I hope they don’t abandon the online, because they’ve already invested the learning the time, the infrastructure, the funds, and I hope we go forward with a hybrid of in person and online in the future.

Tanisha Townsend 16:03
Absolutely. It’s nice to have so many things accessible and available to you that weren’t available before. And the two biggest things that I think of are thinking about buying wine itself, and then being able to learn about why it’s not like I’m just reading a book about wine online, there are actually classes that exist that you can take, they can teach you things about why, which leads me into some online food and wine pairing classes. I know, you do other classes besides just food and wine pairing, but that’s one of your big and popular ones. Two questions. Why do you think that’s like your most popular? And then also what kind of things do you cover?

Natalie MacLean 16:46
So I think food is far less intimidating than wine. So we don’t need any vintage charts to choose our cantaloupes. We’re starting to care more and more where the food is grown, of course, but it just doesn’t get into that complexity of wine and all of the Appalachians and the years and ageing and all the rest of it. I found when I start with the food first people are less intimidated. So let’s start with a dish you love whether it’s roast chicken, or whatever. And then let’s from there, find a wine to pair with it. People find it so much more approachable and accessible and practical, because that’s the question most people have, when they open a bottle. It’s always nice to enjoy wine on its own. But, you know, you’re usually opening it with dinner with friends. And so those pairings do come into play. And that’s why I think that that topic is the most popular. It’s the one I focus on. There are so many different pairings that we cover in my course, you know, from spicy hot dishes to vegetarian to seafood to your different grilled meats. And definitely cheeses is a whole other world there. But I think that’s where the passion is, and the practicality and the pure hedonism because I do think that you can have a wonderful wine on its own and a dish that you love. But when you combine them, there’s some sort of magic that happens in your mouth when it works that you could not have if you were just drinking the wine just eating the food and you don’t say she ate so quickly. You go back to the wine and go to the food, you go back to the even if it’s champagne and potato chips, I can eat a whole bag of chips that way. I have a whole bag. Exactly. You’re my kind of woman Tanisha. So for so many reasons. I think that’s why food and wine pairing really draws people. My course specifically is called the get mind smart course, a full body framework to pair buy and taste wine like a pro. And the real emphasis is on the pairing.

Tanisha Townsend 18:47
And also the thing is, it’s something that people don’t feel excluded from sometimes people can feel excluded from some wine courses, because they’re like, Oh, well, this one is too expensive. Or I can’t necessarily find this one. You’re talking about this region. But let’s food and wine parent, literally everybody eats like we all think so sadly, you can think about okay, you don’t eat me. All right, vegetarian, okay, you eat cheese you eat, you know, you eat. So there is something in it for everyone. And it is very approachable.

Natalie MacLean 19:21
Absolutely. And even the wines themselves Tanisha. Like, I recommend wines at different price ranges. And that you can find locally no matter where you live. And that’s why I do have students from all over the world. A lot of them are in North America. But you know, I still you know, the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, even some in France, because I try to make the wines very easy to find in your local liquor stores. And that is important to people, but it’s easy to do. But if you’re in sitting in a physical class, you’re going to give the wines that the professor has poured, which may or may not be to your liking. Or you could ever find it I mean Yeah, exactly. That’s true. Yes.

Tanisha Townsend 20:10
What has surprised you about teaching these courses, whether it’s a parent that you found or something about teaching, learning, or even just something that your students will surprise you.

Natalie MacLean 20:21
It’s kind of like some of the same surprises I got from writing the two books that I wrote. It’s how people use the course, or you know what they make of it, because as a creator, and even a course, instructor, guide, whatever, you have a vision in mind for what you’ve produced, but your students are going to make of it what they want. I’ve had a lot of couples, husband, wife, wife, wife, husband, husband, treat it like date night. So they’ll take my course yeah, and they’ll do it together. And they only have to pay the one course fee. So I’m not regulating that for sure. But they can’t do that with a physical course. And you know, for those with children, they’re not trying to find parking, and a babysitter, and so on. So they love the flexibility of it. And then another few people have told me that they bring over friends, and stream my course, because all of the videos are also recorded, you can go at your own pace, you got lifetime access, and all that. Plus I do live tastings so that they’ll take the recorded tastings and stream them up on a big screen or their television or even setting on the iPad on a dining room table. And use it as a guided tasting, where they’ll stop and start the video and all the friends are tasting the wines that they brought together, and commenting. And then they’ll press play again and get me to Yap Iran and then stop again, taste and comment. I just found that interesting. Because those were use cases I hadn’t even thought of when I created the course because I just wasn’t thinking that way. So those are pleasant surprises. I love how people use the course to suit them. I love the group that we’ve created with these online courses.

Tanisha Townsend 21:59
That’s the cool thing. Because maybe just in your own town, your own city, you wouldn’t be able to find this community or always be able to get there due to timing and whatever, whatever. Yeah, but with it being online or with things nabbing online, you have access to it whenever wherever you can take it with you like okay, I can watch it here friends, or you know, if I go somewhere else, and you know, like, oh, well, you know what, let me check out this before I go to dinner. Let me check this out one module out right quick maybe to help me out before I get to dinner. That is something that I love about how things are now moving online, and it’s becoming a lot more popular. And also even logistically for us as being one educators, we don’t have to find a physical location to rent out and have this space like, Okay, we need a space for 10 people. Okay, this time, 15 people to set up all the glasses, let’s get on paper. Let’s have everything set up. We don’t have to do that. All we have to do is put on some lipstick and a shirt. Yes. Yep, comb our hair a little. And we could do it. I love that intersection of online classes with why. Now this is one question that I’m just kind of going to throw at you. Since we’re talking tech. What is something we mentioned buying one online? And then online classes? What are some other wine technology that you’d heard of recently, that you’re kind of fascinated by are really interested in?

Natalie MacLean 23:20
Well, you know, we were talking about this today, Sean unreserve. Wine, talk my podcast, because you have such a great background in tech. And artificial intelligence definitely intrigues me how they’re using AI, to maybe detect fraud and fakes in wine, or to enhance the Wine Experience, gosh, knows where they’re going to go with this. Like if it’s going to be virtual reality. I’m not sure if that’ll work or not. But who knows. But just the explosion of new technologies. I am excited to see where that goes, including non fungible tokens, you know, NF T’s? Yes. I can’t wait to see how those technologies used in the world of wine. And I think it could be a real service to reduce the number of fakes and fraudulent bottles, especially for collectors, more expensive wines, but even everyday wines, because fakes and frauds hurt the business. So I think there’s just some remarkable possibilities ahead.

Tanisha Townsend 24:18
I’m trying to come up to speed on really getting a handle and understanding in Ft. Yes, what that means and how it can be used in the wine industry. And then also on some of the AI technology, I actually drink a bottle of wine over the weekend. And it has an app that you can download, and then you fold it over the bottle and then like the label comes alive, it’s things climbing off the front of the label and moving around. And if you turn it to the back label, then it gives you an option of tasting notes, food and wine pairings and just other fun information. And I’m like, oh, yeah, this is kind of cool. I like this aspect of

Natalie MacLean 24:55
it. Yeah, I think that’d be interesting. Even if you’re at dinner with friends or at a restaurant Like being able to do that and get some backstory on the line might be a good conversation starter.

Tanisha Townsend 25:05
And it also gives the consumer the option to, like the information is in their hands. They don’t feel like I have to ask this I need Google searches, or how can I figure this out, this gives them all the information that they need. So they can do whatever they want with it. Same with, you know, your online classes. And with the smartlabel, you have the information available to you now. Now you can do what you want. And I think people really like having the access the availability, and just to decide on their own. Okay, how do I want to engage with this? When do I want to engage with it, and being able to do so on their own

Natalie MacLean 25:42
time? Absolutely. And that that was exactly my motivation for launching mobile apps. They’re not AI, but they do scan the front label. And it gives you immediate access to my reviews and other reviews on the app. Or you can scan the back barcode. So it’s got two leaders on it one’s optical label, and the other is barcode reader. And people just find that so helpful, because I think, again, going back to the stigma of why no one wants to ask a question, they don’t know what to ask the sommelier or the wine liquor store staff, they want to seem silly or stupid or not knowing. But you know, that’s ability to just scan and get all the info on that wine, food pairings, tasting notes, other wines that are like this real time inventory and stocking your liquor store, put it in your virtual cellar, all of that we bundled into the mobile apps that we have. But again, it’s to be your pocket sommelier to put the power in your hands, and not to have to ask, even though I think asking liquor store staff, and sommeliers is one of the best things you can do. And again, if you can merge that technology with the human interaction, that’s the sweet spot.

Tanisha Townsend 26:50
Yes, if they can come up to you, you know, they have the app on their phone. And they’re like, Okay, so I just found out this man can talk to someone from the staff to ask a couple of questions based on information that they’ve gotten. That’s also a fantastic thing. And again, makes them feel a lot more comfortable to exactly be able to arm people with at least a few words that they can use to speak to the sommelier or speak to, you know, the wine shop. Yes, like that. So if your mobile wine app one, what is the name of it? Can you tell them,

Natalie MacLean 27:22
it’s just under my name. So if you search the Apple Store, or Android, so it’s for both platforms, under my name, Natalie MacLean, wine reviews, but even just my name will bring it up. That’s how you’ll find it. It’s free. And yeah, you can download it. And you’ve got all these different features, shopping lists, wish lists, your personal seller, all the rest of it, you can do all of that within the app.

Tanisha Townsend 27:48
So you are very busy woman.

Natalie MacLean 27:50
Yes. I’m an insomniac.

Tanisha Townsend 27:52
Right, so you writing articles, doing online wine courses, you have an app, your podcast, and reserved wine talk was selected as one of the best drinks podcast by the New York Times. Yes. Tell us a little bit about your podcast how you started that?

Natalie MacLean 28:11
Sure. I started it in late 2018. So I thought I was late to the game. But as you know, Tanisha podcasts are just exploding. And I absolutely love podcasts as a medium. I always listen to podcasts. And I toyed around with it back in 2008. But I just didn’t really get on to the RSS feed, you know, actually launching it into Apple. And so even pre I’m gonna sound ancient again. But before podcast, I would listen to satellite radio at night, and I would hear the BBC blow in and out over the Atlantic, depending on the weather patterns. I’ve always loved radio, to me, the voice is so expressive. And when you’re just listening to someone’s voice, you really activate the theatre of your mind. And it’s intimate where, you know, our voices are only millimetres away from your brain. Yes, you know, you get the emotion and the inflections and so on that you won’t get just by reading text. And yet, I think there’s a lot more engagement than, say, watching the visuals. So all of that drew me to creating a podcast. And then what keeps me going is interviewing interesting people like you, I love digging into your story. And then exploring as we did you know, the Paris wine bars and all of that, and you’re but also your backstory of how you got there because I think what we’re most interested in as human beings is stories, people’s stories, how did they get there? And how does potentially, my story as a listener relate to the person I’m listening to being interviewed, like, what can I take away whether it’s learning about wine, or perhaps they made some decisions and life decisions? Maybe I can learn from that. Or maybe I’m even thinking of getting into a wine career. So There’s all sorts of reasons. But I think it’s that fundamental love of listening to stories that brought me to podcasts and keeps me going with them.

Tanisha Townsend 30:09
The thing about podcasting, too, that’s different, especially when you’re doing an interview style, like how we’re doing now, the story can change. It’s not like if you’re writing you just okay, you know what you’re writing about. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. And then it has to follow this certain path. But when you’re talking, when you’re having a conversation, it can go in different directions. But it still all makes sense. You can uncover some new things, then go down another rabbit hole, so to speak, and then come back, and then go down another one. But it all makes sense. And people are still fully engaged.

Natalie MacLean 30:44
And just like, you’re eavesdropping, too sometimes, like, you know, I love it when I can listen to someone that I’d never get to talk to, on somebody else’s podcast. But I’m sort of like a fly on the wall listening to these two people. So interesting. And I feel like I’ve sat down with them personally. So I love that.

Tanisha Townsend 31:01
Also, you just have a great voice, like your speaking voice is just great. Like, you know, sometimes you’ll hear some things you’re like, oh, I don’t, I don’t want to listen to that too long. But no, boy, is fantastic for podcast.

Unknown Speaker 31:13
Thank you. Thank you.

Tanisha Townsend 31:15
Did you find that it was kind of a nice natural progression from writing articles going into podcasting?

Natalie MacLean 31:23
Yep. Because the signature throughout is storytelling. So whether it’s the books, the magazine, articles, podcasts, even in the online courses, you know, trying to tell stories, too, because that’s what we remember, a list of facts, and one’s gonna remember that are going to be hard pressed unless you’re studying for a professional certification. But if you can embed the learning on a story, the mind will remember that always remember, Madame Uchiko from Champagne invented riddling, she, you know, drilled the holes in her kitchen table and what was rattling all about to disgorge the sediment? In my mind, it’s hung on that story, as opposed to what is riddling? What are the processes you know, here’s the 36 steps. And remember it more when they’re embedded in stories,

Tanisha Townsend 32:10
stories and also visuals so for me, it’s all Can you show me a picture of something? Do you have a little video of this and by video that can mean you just put a bunch of pictures together? Sure it on a timer through some music in the background then like I’ll remember it. It really it really stuck for me when I visited champagne saw the bottles there and you can touch them and you can play untwist them you know yourself. Yeah, then like all you’re not going fast enough. But Master Riddler used to rebel 700 bottles every hour.

Natalie MacLean 32:42
Carpal Tunnel, right? Yeah, blow

Tanisha Townsend 32:44
my wrist out at the first week like I’m done. Like, I’m fine. Is there a worker’s comp for this?

Natalie MacLean 32:50
No, you just get more champagne.

Tanisha Townsend 32:54
Okay, and then you won’t even know and dulls the pain? Yeah, exactly. But back to unreserve Wind tall where you interview various guests about various wind topics and tell stories and things like that. Do you have some favourite guests that you’ve interviewed?

Natalie MacLean 33:09
Hmm, yes. Well, first, you would be top of the list. Nisha? Of course, of course. But you know what about that interview? So we’ll talk about a few others. So I interviewed Charles back from South Africa wine maker there. And he’s just so hilarious. I also had him in my book, red, white and drunk all over. He just has such a great sense of humour and storytelling. He wrapped his personal story around why he got into wine. He has this goat herd. You might have seen his wine labels. They’re rather cheeky. So he has the goat father and goats to Rome. So he was so smart. He is so savvy. So when the French authorities wanted to sue him for copyright infringement. He took a busload of all his vineyard workers down to the French Embassy in Cape Town, and they presented the the French ambassador with some vacuum sealed goat droppings for the French ambassador’s garden. They handed him goat poop. And they were singing all kinds of songs and so on. And then Charles says, I don’t know how they heard about it. But CNN showed up. Wink wink, and they started broadcasting it and it gave him so much publicity. The French authorities backed off because it looked like they were being bullies. Whether or not that was true, I’m not commenting, but but he got so much publicity. And then he told me as we were talking, you said, but it’s sort of died down now that the French authorities backed off but if there’s anything you could do to stir it up again, I’d really appreciate it is a really great so I love I love love, love guests like that who can share those kinds of stories and again, you still get the wine learning out of it.

Tanisha Townsend 34:58
Absolutely. Continue on your storytelling, you are going to be telling stories in a third book. Yeah,

Natalie MacLean 35:07
yes. Yes, ma’am. So, my first two books, if I may, were more like travel adventure story. So that was red, white and drunk all over. You can see how serious Yeah, yes, very serious. Okay. And then second one was unquenchable tipsy search for the world’s best bargain wines. So they were told in first person with stories like Charles back. But the third book that I’m working on now is quite different in that it’s a memoir. And it’s from one slice of life. It’s kind of a behind the scenes look at being a woman in the world of wine. We talked on that on my podcast, but also, I think, some surprising insights for people who love wine and always thought, wow, what if I could make my passion, my hobby, my career and actually get paid for it? This sort of takes you into that world, of what it’s like, what it’s really like, and you know, there’s ups and there’s downs, but my stories from one very eventful year of my life, that’s going to be the basis of it, but you’ll still learn about wine, I hope and be entertained.

Tanisha Townsend 36:10
When it comes to you writing your books. How do you get the ideas to even start to say, Okay, this is what I want my book to be about.

Natalie MacLean 36:18
I think it was an evolution from the approach I took for magazine writing, it’s like, let’s find someone really interesting. Usually, it was a winemaker who didn’t pay attention to his PR person and said things he or she probably shouldn’t have said on the record, and had a colourful personality, May good wine, that was a prerequisite wasn’t all about marketing and guffaws so had that combination like Randall Graham and California body dude. He’s one such I mean, he has experimented with so many things. In winemaking it’s fascinating. Some of them were just a bit nutty, I think, but others proved to be great for the wine. So the ideas for the books come from the people, I always start with people first, who do I want to interview? What is it about? Where are they? And then how can the various interviews and stories thread together for one sort of narrative arc, if you will, if it’s a book?

Tanisha Townsend 37:17
Now, I do want to pop back right quick, because I didn’t get this part when we were talking about food and wine pairings. Do you have a favourite food or wine?

Natalie MacLean 37:26
Yes, but it’s very unusual. So if unusual, okay, yeah. So in Canada, we have ketchup chips. I don’t know if you have ketchup chips in Paris. Yet it sounds like an abomination. I know. But I have a weakness for ketchup chips. And I thought they’d be really sweet and therefore a bone dry Rosae would not work. I’m always trying bad pairings. So I can warn people, you know, my liver for their liver, my palate for their palate. It’s all about self sacrifice, as you know Tanisha so I was trying to catch up chips with Rosae and it actually worked the ketchup chips weren’t as sweet as I thought. And the Rosae had this sort of strawberry raspberry flavour. That was a nice dovetail with the catch it was weirdest thing but it’s my favourite pairing. Now, if you don’t have access to catch up Chips than any chips will do. I think just about because I think Rosae is one of those universal wines that can go with so many different dishes. It’s got the flavour of red wine, but not the heavy oak than the tan and in the alcohol.

Tanisha Townsend 38:31
Maybe you can just get regular chips and put ketchup on them. You

Natalie MacLean 38:34
could Yeah, you could. Yeah, I don’t know how that would work. Yeah, ketchup, I was surprised to learn has more sugar per volume than ice cream. And that’s why I was thinking chips would be really sweet and ruin the wine. But this worked

Tanisha Townsend 39:05
I have some rapid fire questions for you. We did not go over these in advance because I want it

Natalie MacLean 39:13
goodness knows what you’re gonna get here. Tanisha

Tanisha Townsend 39:16
but these are easy. These are easy ones. Okay, cheese or chocolate. Ooh, cheese, cheese. Ice cream or gelato? Ice cream. Call or text?

Natalie MacLean 39:31

Tanisha Townsend 39:33
Podcast Series or Netflix series?

Natalie MacLean 39:36
Oh, that’s a hard one. But I’ll go with podcasts. I have to be oil.

Tanisha Townsend 39:40
Right. Beach or mountains. Mountains. Rooftop barbecue or backyard barbecue. Oh, like rooftop rooftop.

Natalie MacLean 39:52
Rooftop rooftop. Yeah.

Tanisha Townsend 39:53
Okay, now this one may be a little tougher. Okay. Would you rather go without your phone for weak or without the internet for a week?

Natalie MacLean 40:03
Oh my, I guess I’ll give up my phone because I can get online and check my email. It’s so pathetic.

Tanisha Townsend 40:10
You can do anything. You just have to stay home. You just have to stay home for a week.

Natalie MacLean 40:14
That’s true. I’m an introvert. So I do that. Yeah, so just give me my internet. Please don’t take that away.

Tanisha Townsend 40:21
Yeah, yeah, if I’m on my phone, like I use so much for directions, right? Oh, I don’t know how. That’s a tough one. But you have to go online to figure out where you were going and like write down the directions. And yeah, take that paper with you. And you go out and if you make a wrong turn, and it’s like, oh, no, yeah, we’re. So I’d have to go back old school like that and write it down on a piece of paper and just walk down the street like, Okay, I think it’s this way, I think it

Natalie MacLean 40:52
could be adventure and adventure. Getting lost could be a story. If you’re not in a herd. That’s true. It’s true. Yes.

Tanisha Townsend 41:01
All right, Natalie, as we wrap up, is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention and share with us?

Natalie MacLean 41:08
I don’t think so. Tanisha. As you know, I’m going to offer your listeners my templates, so I just thought I’d show them I have these food and wine pairing templates. They’re free for anyone who wants to get them at Natalie forward slash school, in honour of Your Name podcast. So people find these quite helpful in the kitchen or wherever they are the templates.

Tanisha Townsend 41:31
Okay, well, where can people find you online?

Natalie MacLean 41:33
Sure. Everything is at Natalie So that’s Na, ta li, E. M, AC Lea So you’ll find my podcasts, the books, the courses, everything else, wind reviews, mobile apps, you can get links to them there as well.

Tanisha Townsend 41:51
Perfect. Well, thank you again, so much for talking to me talking with us. And why school dropout, we’d loved hearing about your story, how you meld wine and tech, online classes, food and wine pairings. And we know you prefer cheese applicaitons

Natalie MacLean 42:09
That’s right. And Tanisha I can’t wait. Someday we’re gonna go to one of your favourite wine bars in Paris. We’re going to have a glass of wine and some cheese, maybe compositae. Yeah, something like that. Yes. Yes. And I can’t wait for that. So thank you. I love chatting with you. Thank you so

Tanisha Townsend 42:25
much. All right, everyone, that’s a wrap

Tanisha Townsend 42:35
this podcast was produced by Studio Ecenter hosted by me Tanisha Townsend, our executive producer is Laurie Martinez. Our sound editor is Louise raw or Lopez Levi. Our thing was done by Gabrielle Damaso music is by Mackay beats our art is by Tiffany delune. Follow us at Wine school drop out on Instagram. And check out Oh chintan For full transcripts of this and every episode of the show. See you next week

Tanisha Townsend 43:15
have you been dreaming of sitting in a wine bar in Paris again? Well, why not purchase the e book 75 in the 7575 wine bars to visit in Paris. All of my wine bar recommendations and pictures in one place. tonnes of photos of the City of Light, classic or natural wines. Big girls are sin teens. We’ve got all tastes covered in this wine Guide. For purchase visit my website www dot grow meats and select 75 in the 75 wine guide.

Natalie MacLean 44:10
Well there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Tanisha. In the shownotes you’ll find the email contact the post Diary of a clutch. A full transcript of my conversation with Tanisha. A link to her website and podcast. How you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. You’ll also find the live stream video version of these conversations on Facebook and Youtube every Wednesday at 7pm That’s all in the show notes at Natalie forward slash or 161 Email me if you have a sip tip question or want to be a beta reader of my new memoir at Natalie and Natalie Maclean calm. You won’t want to miss next week when I chat with Lawrence Francis, host of the interpreting wine podcast with more than 430 episodes $300,000 downloads in 150 countries. In the meantime, if you missed episode 56 of this podcast, go back and take a listen. I chat about champagne with the restaurant guys, Mark Pascal and Francis shot. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. So you go into a restaurant, you sit down this daunting wine list, it’s a tome, what do you recommend? First of all I look at what kind of joint Am I in? Is this a Lassie place that has some staff who are going to be why knowledgeable could be a sommelier could be the wine dude. But if there’s somebody there that I think really does know the list, I’m going to ask that person, the person who works in the restaurant always knows his or her wine list better than I do, because chances are they’ve tasted the wine on the list, let’s hope they have. And then if there’s really no one in sight, or no one’s coming forward, in terms of who knows the list, I’m going to look for regions I may personally be familiar with, or what is this restaurant specialising in is, if it’s an Italian restaurant, I’m going to look at the Italian list because it’s going to match the food most likely, but also let’s hope they have a special passion for the wine from that country. So I’ll narrow it down further to that. And then of course, I’ll stay within my price range. And that’ll help with that.

Natalie MacLean 46:23
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 sparkling wine, celebrate 2022

Natalie MacLean 46:48
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 Natalie Maclean comm forward slash subscribe, maybe here next week. Cheers.