Toasting Etiquette + How Instagram & TikTok Have Changed Wine Education with Dr. Clinton Lee author of Master the Art of Manners



Did you know that there’s a polite way and a rude way to clink wine glasses when toasting in some cultures? Are you curious about great pairings for truffles or caviar? Why have Instagram and TikTok exploded in popularity as a way to learn about wine?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Dr. Clinton Lee, Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Wine and Spirit Institute.

You can find the wines we discussed here.


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  • What’s the most common misconception about wine etiquette?
  • Is there a “right” way to toast with wine?
  • Which particular wine customs would you observe in different cultures around the world?
  • How have globalization and technology impacted the world of etiquette and manners?
  • Why does Dr. Lee view his content as a bridge between people?
  • Which videos have elicited the biggest responses from Dr. Lee’s audience?
  • Why does Dr. Lee swirl his wine eight times before tasting?
  • Which aspects of Vinoscenti Vineyards Alla Famiglia make it particularly interesting?
  • How can you pair Gewürztraminer with food?
  • What can you expect from the tasting experience of Kacaba Vineyards Susan’s Sauvignon Blanc and Bocale Montefalco Rosso?
  • What do you need to know about pairing wine with truffles and caviar?
  • Why does shellfish clash with red wine?
  • Which philosophers would Dr. Lee want to share a bottle of wine with?


Key Takeaways

  • I found it fascinating that there’s a polite way and a rude way to clink wine glasses when toasting in some cultures. Also, in certain places, it’s bad manners to pour your own wine.
  • I enjoyed hearing Dr. Lee’s pairings for truffles and caviar.
  • It’s amazing how Instagram and TikTok have exploded in popularity as a way to learn about wine.


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About Dr. Clinton Lee

Clinton Lee is the Executive Director at Asia Pacific Wine and Spirit Institute, a WSET Diploma Graduate & Wine Educator & Speaker. He is the author of Master the Art of Manners, which will be published later this year. He is an internationally recognized intercultural etiquette expert, wine and spirit educator and judge. Dr. Lee has been featured in the media around the world and is recognized as a social media influencer with over two million followers on several platforms. He is also the host of the Wine Buzz podcast.




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Dr. Clinton Lee (00:00):
Even when you are toasting. I’ll use an example. So I have two glasses here. This is person A, this is person B. Person A is of a higher standing in community or in business. And having to respect hierarchical order is very important in the east. So when you are toasting, this person B must never have their glass higher. It would be disrespectful and it would be unintentional, but it would be recorded that you’ve caused this person to lose face in public. So you often see this person, I respect you more so they’ll go down and then this person will go down and that person keep…

Natalie MacLean (00:44):
Lowering the glasses.

Dr. Clinton Lee (00:45):
And I’ve literally seen people on their knees, Natalie.

Natalie MacLean (00:55):
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 229. Do you know there’s a polite way and a rude way to clink glasses when toasting someone in some cultures? Are you curious about great pairings for truffles and caviar? And why have Instagram and TikTok exploded in popularity as a way to learn about wine? You’ll hear those tips and stories in Part Two of my chat with Dr. Clinton Lee, a wine social media influencer with over 2 million followers. You don’t need to have listened to Part One from last week first, but I hope you’ll go back if you missed it after you finish this one. Now, a quick update on my upcoming memoir Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much.

So my publisher and I have just published a companion guide to my memoir, and it’s for book clubs, wine groups, and individual readers of the book. It has lots of discussion questions, plus tips on how to organize an informal wine tasting as well as wines from the book plus more along with the links to my latest tasting notes and food pairings. And I must say it looks beautiful. The publisher had the design team a custom cover as well as formatting the interior pages beautifully. Those who’ve seen it believe that we could charge for it, but we’re not. So you can get this guide for free at I’ll also link to it in the show notes.

Here’s a review from Alain Shanzi, an early reader from Ottawa “Sadness, joy, anger, bewilderment, a rollercoaster of emotions as we follow Natalie on her voyage of self-discovery and affirmation as she deals with heartbreak, rediscovers love, finds her voice and takes on the misogynistic wine establishment. Those cowards don’t know what they’ve unleashed quite the ride. Personally, I was aware of some of the issues in the industry, but not the scope of the problem that such influential people could behave in such an inappropriate way. Left me gobsmacked. There is no place or time for this sort of behavior and it needs to be confronted at every turn by all of us. My favorite part, I like her writing style, the humor and how she intersperses it with wine tidbits here and there. This is more than a book for her and that shows in a very good way. Five stars”. Thank you, Alain.

In the show notes at NatalieMacLean/229, I’ve posted a link to where you can pre-order the book online now no matter where you live. This is also where you’ll find all of the juicy bonuses you get when you pre-order the book, as well as the book club guide. Okay. On with the show.

Natalie MacLean

So what do you think people misunderstand about manners in etiquette in general, but then we’ll narrow it down to wine etiquette.

Dr. Clinton Lee (04:47):
Through the social media that has been very popular and I’m very thankful for the support that I’ve had. I do read, I would say a very high percentage of all the comments. There are of course those you get frivolous comments and then you have more of the serious ones. But there is a common thread through most of them. And one of the themes that comes across is, oh, it’s old fashioned. I want to drink any old way I want to drink. It’s my wine. I paid for it. And I will drink it the way I want to. Well, that’s perfectly fine in private, I would say. But when you’re drinking wine, wine is a very social activity. People enjoy it for the wine itself, what’s inside the bottle, what that bottle represents. For someone who’s born in 1985 and they are presented with a 1985 bottle.  Oh, that’s the year I was born. They would say.

Oh, I remember what happened that year. What was the weather like? It’s a talking point, number one. And you could be swilling and drinking the wine in any manner you want, but perhaps  again not everybody behaves in the same way. So even when you are toasting. I’ll use an example. So I have two glasses here. This is person A, this is person B. Person A is of a highest standing in the community or in business and having to respect hierarchical order is very important in the East. So when you are toasting, certainly with someone from the East, this is A who’s higher level. B, perhaps not of the same level. When you toast this person, B must never have their glass higher,

Natalie MacLean (06:41):

Would be disrespectful.

Dr. Clinton Lee (06:42):
Disrespectful. And it would be unintentional, but it would be recorded that you’ve caused this person to lose face in public. So you often see, oh, this person will come down. No, no, no, no, I think you should be. I respect you more. So they’ll go down and then this person will go down and that person

Natalie MacLean (07:00):
Keep lowering the glasses.

Dr. Clinton Lee (07:02):
And I’ve literally seen people on their knees, Natalie…

Natalie MacLean

Doing this?

Dr. Clinton Lee

… at banquets.

Natalie MacLean (07:08):
Oh my goodness.

Dr. Clinton Lee (07:08):
Yes. It’s like…

Natalie MacLean (07:11):

Dr. Clinton Lee (07:11):
… the honour to pay for the bill that they rush there. And you’ve seen people engage in fisticuffs to say, oh, no, no, no, I’ve got to pay. Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Natalie MacLean (07:21):
Really? Oh my goodness. Have you seen another sort of wine cultural or etiquette tip that you can share with us?

Dr. Clinton Lee (07:27):
You mean in terms of toasting?

Natalie MacLean (07:29):
It could be toasting. It could be anything else related that we might not be aware of. Not so much pour a third, a glass level or whatever. But that toasting is really interesting, the lowering of the glasses.

Dr. Clinton Lee (07:41):
The lowering of the glasses would be one. Another one I would say is if you happen to be involved with anyone from Korea and after you’ve toasted. And let’s say, I clearly would want to give you more respect, Natalie. So instead of drinking it like that, I would use my one hand that’s not holding the glass, turn away from you and drink it so you don’t see me drinking in front of you.

Natalie MacLean (08:09):
So you’d shield the glass, for those who are listening on the podcast. Yeah. Okay.

Dr. Clinton Lee (08:14):
And I would turn my face away from you.

Natalie MacLean (08:17):
Okay. Would you do that with food as well?

Dr. Clinton Lee (08:20):
No, just when you’re drinking.

Natalie MacLean (08:21):
Just the wine and why not with food? But with wine, you’d do that. Do you know?

Dr. Clinton Lee (08:25):
Well I think it’s rather impractical with food all the time. You’re turning, but with wine.

Natalie MacLean (08:30):

Dr. Clinton Lee (08:31):
It’s a lot easier.

Natalie MacLean (08:33):

Dr. Clinton Lee (08:34):
So these are some of the customs that you go through

Natalie MacLean

That’s a good one.

Dr. Clinton Lee

And some customs, you know, would never pour your own wine. Certainly maybe in the western world. Would you like some more wine, Natalie? I’d pour for you and then I’d pour for myself. Certain countries I would pour for you, meaning that I’m politely asking you to please pour the wine for me because it’s bad manners for me to pour my own wine.

Natalie MacLean (08:59):
Interesting. Okay. Wow, I love that. So fascinating. Let’s go back to social media, which we’ve touched on. You have a massive following. So how many followers do you have on Instagram and TikTok?

Dr. Clinton Lee (09:13):
Well, clearly it’s over 2 million plus. We don’t keep a count on it after we hit the 2 million plus. We focus on the content. We focus on what the audience is looking for. And whatever questions that they pose to us, we make great and concerted effort to answer them. And we do get a long list of videos that they would like.

Natalie MacLean (09:36):
Oh, really? So they’re always interacting with you, asking questions and that’s the basis for your content answering their questions.

Dr. Clinton Lee (09:43):
It’s part of, it’s part of, and there’s certain themes. I like to keep the content fresh, like what’s happening in the world, what are we looking at? And also the audience, it’s very important. And one of those aspects is the one sector that of our followers, they are not familiar with certain cultures or etiquette. And in my book for my research, there were certain factors that I attribute to this difference in thinking. I would ask the viewers and also the listeners next time you are in a situation bear for a minute or even a few seconds there are 8 billion people living on this planet. There is a seven generations living together for the first time at the same time. We individually represent 0.000000000125.

Natalie MacLean (10:42):
Is that we as in Canadians?

Dr. Clinton Lee (10:43):
No, as an individual.

Natalie MacLean (10:45):
Oh, as an individual. Sorry. Yes. Okay.

Dr. Clinton Lee (10:47):
Yeah, as an individual. North America, that’s USA Canada, we only represent 5% of the world’s population. 5%.

Natalie MacLean


Dr. Clinton Lee

Yeah. If you look at demographics for the next 10 years, the influx of Asian, African, Latin American will be in excess of 85% of the world’s population. It’s not practical to expect everyone will follow the 5% population, especially with globalization. When you’re traveling, you need to be aware for business and personal, how do they behave? How do they eat? Not everyone’s going to shake your hand. Some will bow, some will put their hands together like in Thailand or in India they would say [inaudible] or they will bow like in Japan. And do you have your hands by your side or in front of you? All these things come into play. So you need to deal with generational. Now, generational, like the millennials, the Gen X, the Gen Z, this instrument, this phone.

Natalie MacLean (11:54):
I’m looking at the phone, the smartphone, yes.

Dr. Clinton Lee (11:56):
That has changed the entire thinking and format of how people behave. It is because they can, at snap of the fingers, they can get information about literally anyone, anything in a flash and a blur. That wasn’t available before. So generational change you have, depending who you interact with – and  this is my advice –  depending who you interact with, just be aware that if they are belonging to an older generation. Every day they are seeing the world that they grew up in disappearing. They fear what’s happening in the future. You think about ChatGPT, you think about AI. Just Facebook for some people is very difficult. And yet for the younger generation, this was the umbilical court. They’ve known nothing except to have that. So I think if you understand the generation, then you understand effects of the immigration and then the technology. You are now starting to appreciate how etiquette has changed, not only through geographical, but also through generational.

Natalie MacLean (13:06):
And so how are you appealing to multi-generations on TikTok and Instagram? Because you must be with the kind of followership you have. Are you gearing certain videos for Gen Z and others are for Baby Boomers? I mean, how are you doing that?

Dr. Clinton Lee (13:20):
As I said, it’s the followers. And I like to see the content that we produce with my entire team is one of being a bridge where the bridge to create the understanding of what the younger generation and let’s say the Boomers. What do the Boomers expect? Because you’re going to have to deal with them for at least another 10, 20 years. And the younger generation, you are setting the new parameters for yourself. So I always say to the viewers and listeners, your time will come. Life is a circle. You are young now, you’ll become adults, and you will grow old. So how you treat the elderly now will be how you’ll be treated when you become older. So the content is there as a conduit, as a bridge, as a channel, so that both generations, all generations, all people have a way to realize, oh, this is how I grew up. Now I understand why they do this in this particular country or why did that generation do that? You see, it’s very different.

Natalie MacLean (14:30):
Yes, yes. And what have been the three most interesting posts or videos that you’ve done that have elicited the most feedback and response? The most popular topics when it comes to wine?

Dr. Clinton Lee (14:42):
Oh, to wine.

Natalie MacLean (14:44):

Dr. Clinton Lee (14:45):
To wine. I think one of the things that I don’t do is I don’t pick up a bottle of wine and I will say to, or I’ll share my views. You can share the facts for sure. Let’s say this is a bottle of wine from Italy. The grape is x, y, z. It was made with oak. There’s a vanilla taste, there’s a hint of coconut. So perhaps it’s American oak that they used. As wine professionals, there’s certain markers and identifiers that we know about. I find that you have to reach a certain level to truly appreciate that. So in terms of the wine that I found was the order, everything in life has an order. So, it’s a very clearly comical example, but as men if we’re going to shave we don’t dry shave and then put it on the shaving foam. After you’ve put the shaving foam, then you would shave, and then maybe you put after shave there. There’s a certain methodology.

So when you’re tasting wine, you’re not going to taste sweet wine first and then go to red wine and then bubbly, and then go to a white wine. So I think that was one of the more popular videos where I suggested, you know, have light before full-bodied wines, you have white before red wines, you have dry before sweet. And I always suggest going from left to right because most flights are created as we know, as professionals, you have your lightest wine and your driest wine always starting from the left. And wine flights generally start from left to right. Yeah. So

Natalie MacLean (16:22):
Because you always want to drink up sensorially.

Dr. Clinton Lee (16:25):
Yeah. So that was video relating to wine. But if you’re talking about etiquette, I think the one would be the one about how to eat your bread to lunch or a dinner. Oh if you’ve given us, you know, often get the complimentary bread with the butter and how would you eat the bread? And that one garnished 14 million views. It was reported in and from Australia to New Zealand to Scotland, England, South Africa. And one of the headlines said etiquette master lets you know that you’ve been eating your bread incorrectly all these years. Doing it all wrong.

Natalie MacLean (17:07):
Doing it all wrong.

Dr. Clinton Lee (17:09):
And I say to you, if you want to eat your bread in a certain way, do so. But just be aware that others may not, and it may give them a different impression of you. And if you couldn’t care less how they think about you, then that’s up to you. But in the majority of cases, people do care.

Natalie MacLean (17:27):
And how should we eat it?

Dr. Clinton Lee (17:28):
Well, if you go to my video and social media collection, you’ll be able to see. But you would take the piece of bread, put it onto your plate, and then you would use your butter knife and place the butter onto your plate. And having done that, tear your bread into a small mouth size piece, butter that piece of bread only, and then pop it into your mouth, enjoy it. And when you’re ready for another piece, tear off another mouth size piece as opposed to lathering it with butter in one huge slice, picking up the whole slice and then biting into the piece.

Natalie MacLean (18:06):
Tearing it off with your teeth. Right. Great. I learned that one later in life. But everything is a language that conveys who you are. So I think if we care about that.

Dr. Clinton Lee (18:18):
So let me ask you a question, Natalie.

Natalie MacLean


Dr. Clinton Lee

So you know you said you’ve learned that. What’s your impression when you see someone just picking up the slice of bread in its entirety, lathering it with butter, using the common butter bowl and lathering it on, and then picking up the entire piece and eating it.

Natalie MacLean (18:39):
Well, my first response is empathy. That’s where I used to be. But my second response is someone needs to help this person. I mean, if they care at all with perception or whatever. It makes more sense, too. I mean, you’re not going to get butter over your mouth because you’re not chawing away at a big piece. But I came from a very simple family on the East coast, and not that all families are like mine, but we didn’t dine out much. So I didn’t get to those finer manners of dining out until I got into the wine and food world. Even to properly holding your knife and fork. We were always sort of very casual. So as I became aware of it though, I appreciated that. I didn’t feel like it was a platform for snobbery, but I thought I think you can make refinements in all kinds of ways. For me, I was a dancer for years. So it’s refining your technique over and over so that you have a better performance. And again, not the dinner’s performance, but I think there is an art of enjoying that can be elevated with some of these techniques.

Dr. Clinton Lee (19:42):
I think that’s a great word. Elevate.

Natalie MacLean (19:45):
Yeah, absolutely. Well, speaking of elevating, why don’t we taste some wine? Because I know that you have a couple bottles there, as do I. So I would be very curious as to which wines you’ve chosen and why. And let’s give them a taste.

Dr. Clinton Lee (20:00):
Well, my first wine that I have, it’s a white wine and it’s from Vinoscenti Vineyards here in B.C.. It’s a local wine. And so I decided I choose New World Wine. And it is a blend of terrific Riesling and Gewurztraminer which I find interesting  because Gewürztraminer is the lowest acidity in white wines and Riesling is the highest. And both come from the sort of floral base. So it’s very aromatic. And the name itself à la familia to family I find very intriguing, welcoming, and inviting.

Natalie MacLean (20:40):
Oh, that’s terrific. And how does it taste, if you want to give us your thoughts on how it tastes. I’ll pour mine for sound effects.

Dr. Clinton Lee (20:51):
So I normally like to give the swirling eight times.

Natalie MacLean (20:55):
Why is that?

Dr. Clinton Lee (20:55):
Well, I do it eight times because for Asians it’s a superstitious number. It’s an auspicious number. It rhymes with growth. So I like to give it eight times. It gives it enough time. And it’s a very welcoming number, eight.

Natalie MacLean

I like that.

Dr. Clinton Lee

So that’s what I like to do.

Natalie MacLean (21:14):
Well then certainly, as they say, volatilize the esters in the wine. We do want to get the wine moving to smell it for sure. Get the aromas up in the glass.

Dr. Clinton Lee (21:24):
When I’m doing tasting, I like to use these ISO glasses because they’re very versatile and I find the bulb is bigger here. And at the rim it’s narrower, so it captures the aromas. So I’m getting crisp, citric, green apple, lime, hint of white flowers. It’s quite a young vintage. Let’s give it a taste.

Natalie MacLean (21:47):

Dr. Clinton Lee (21:58):
Definitely has that floral, lychee. And I’m even getting it on the palette. Good acidity, not as searing as a pure Riesling, but not as dull as Gewurtz. A lot of acidity coming out, which is good when you’re pairing with food as you know.

Natalie MacLean (22:14):
Absolutely. And the thing about Gewurztraminer I mean, Gewurzt means spice and a lot of people default to saying that’s the perfect pairing with spicy food. Now this might be an exception because you do have the Riesling offering acidity, but do you think that is a classic or a good match Gewurztraminer and spicy food? Or is something.

Dr. Clinton Lee (22:32):
I think it’s a difficult match.

Natalie MacLean (22:35):
Yeah, I think so.

Dr. Clinton Lee (22:35):
On a personal note, I find that Gewurztraminer, because of the lack of acidity, of course the Gewurzt it’s German for spicy and Traminer is the village where this grape originated from in Italy northeast. So Gewurztraminer. But because of the lack of acidity, I find it’s a rather difficult wine to pair. I find if you are going to pair food with Gewurzt, your food should be somewhat a little bit more acidic. So if you’re going to have fish and chips add a lot of lemon to your fish. You might get more of a balance. But that’s why this Riesling, as you mentioned, with the Gewurtz it allows you to have that balance of spiciness. But I would tend to go more for Riesling for spicy foods and perhaps a little bit off dry, just to counter the spiciness maybe around, I would say even at 13, it’s a little too dry for s spicy food. Certainly if you use Citron peppers, Indian food, it’s quite different. But certainly Thai. I would say, I’m sure you’ve had many different wines, but I’d say anywhere in between 11 and a half and 12 and a half. More in between 12 to 12 and a half alcohol by volume, we give that off dry. That would be what I would recommend.

Natalie MacLean (23:50):
Absolutely. That sounds terrific. And I’ll just show you the one I’ve been sipping on as well, which is Kacaba from Ontario and a Sauvignon Blanc. But I find it very floral. And I should just note for those who are listening that I’ll put links to these wines in the show notes in case you’re interested in finding them. But yeah, it’s a nice light wine that has that sort of lime, blossom more floral than I expect from a Sauvignon Blanc which usually for me is herbal, classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. But I quite like this one.

Dr. Clinton Lee (24:20):
Well, I’d like to try it one day.

Natalie MacLean (24:22):
Yes, absolutely. And I yours. What is the other wine you have with you there?

Dr. Clinton Lee (24:26):
On the red wine, I’ve chosen Bocale. This is a Rosso.

Natalie MacLean (24:34):
So from Italy?

Dr. Clinton Lee (24:35):
Yeah, so it’s from Italy. It’s from a region called Montefalco.

Natalie MacLean (24:39):

Dr. Clinton Lee (24:40):
And Montefalco is the center of the grape. As you can see, I’ll show you here. So you see it’s sort of shaped like a little container because in Italy the word sort of bocale is container. So during the harvest time in the ancient terms, and even today, people within the village can go to the winery or go to the olive farm and they will take their little container and it’ll get filled up. And then they’ll be charged accordingly. And that is what they call the bocale, the sort of mouth of it. But what’s interesting is this particular bottle that I chose is from the Old World, from Italy, from a region called Umbria. And Umbria is the only landlocked province in Italy. And Montefalco is the center of the grape called Sagrantino. Now Sagrantio is the most tannic grape. It’s not Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s not Nebbiolo. It’s Sagrantino. And if you have a pure Sagrantino bottle, it will last you easily 25, 30 years plus.

Natalie MacLean (25:52):

Dr. Clinton Lee (25:52):
And in certain parts of Italy from certain producers, a Sagrantion wine, a wine made from this grape is what they call the three generational wine. Because you buy it not for you to drink, it’ll be too tannic, nor for your children, but for your grandchildren.

Natalie MacLean

Wow, that’s great.

Dr, Clinton Lee

And this one, this Rosso has Cabernet Sauvignon blend. And being from Italy, you’ve got to have Sangiovese.

Natalie MacLean (26:20):
Of course.

Dr. Clinton Lee (26:21):
Yeah. Yes. So it’s got Sangiovese, Sagrantino, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Natalie MacLean (26:26):
Sounds wonderful. Look forward to hearing what you think.

Natalie MacLean (26:30):
I’m going to pour my second wine, which is actually from B.C.,  while you’re sipping on that one. I’ll just show the camera. But also for those who are listening Vanessa Vineyards, which is the V series. An d it’s very floral wine as well. But let’s go back to you, Dr. Lee, if you are finish sipping there.

Dr. Clinton Lee (26:52):
I have indeed. It’s on the nose. This is, it’s a 2017.

Natalie MacLean (27:02):
So its still youthful.

Dr. Clinton Lee (27:03):
It’s still youthful. Definitely. I’m getting some dark fruit and red fruits on the nose. I’m even getting a little bit of that classic Sangiovese, that sort of touch of herbal spice and on the mouth feel it’s medium. But what’s interesting is the tannins are still quite grippy. So you’ve got that, you’ve got the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Sagrantino sort of mellows it out. Just a hint of that licorice.

Natalie MacLean (27:32):
Right. Would you decant this?

Dr. Clinton Lee (27:34):
I would actually.

Natalie MacLean (27:36):

Dr. Clinton Lee (27:36):
Even though it’s a blend and it’s had six years, I think this would make it more appealing. But this would go well with any roasted pork, steak. The specific way that the Italians make it very versatile. So it’s an Old World Wine. It has some very classic grape varietals. And I’ve had the great fortune of visiting this particular winery. The owner of this winery used to be the ex-mayor of Montefalco.So his name is Valentino Valentini, exceptional gentleman. And I was held a great deal of respect for him because during his tenure as the mayor of Montefalco, he was also responsible for securing funds to leave a lasting legacy in the town and area of Montefalco a museum which visitors today will be able to see. So you’re not only getting the culture, the very unique grape, but the history is now for generations to come and wonderful. I think that’s what wine is also part of. It’s the history and etiquette.

Natalie MacLean (28:48):
Absolutely. It’s all wrapped in there. And would either of these wines pair well with truffles or caviar? You have specialty courses on both of those delicacies. And if not, what would you pair say with truffles? We’re talking the fungi kind, not the chocolate kind, and caviar.

Dr. Clinton Lee (29:06):
I think this would go well. They’ve got the Rosso. If it was this particular glass, I would say yes, it would go with the truffles and like a beef carpaccio with slithers of truffles coming out. If you were to take the pure a 100% Sagrantino, my sense is it might be overwhelm that the taste of the truffles and the carpaccio. I wouldn’t go for a full 100% there. So certainly in that sense, this red. I think the white, I think that À La Familia will go with the truffles, and that would be a good pairing to go for a good Burgundy or a Oregon Pinot, or even Central Otago in New Zealand. I think they would match well. And we’ve got some great wines in Canada as well.

Natalie MacLean (29:54):
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. And what would you pair with caviar?

Dr. Clinton Lee (29:58):
Caviar? Well, I would say Champagne.

Natalie MacLean (30:01):
Oh yes.

Dr. Clinton Lee (30:01):
Would be one. It depends which champagne, of course.

Natalie MacLean (30:05):
Which one would you pick?

Dr. Clinton Lee (30:06):
Well, I recently was having a.  I gave a presentation and the one that I chose was BilleCart-Salmon Champagne, which just paired superbly. It was like a supermodel walking down the ramp and just the clothing was elegantly swaying with each stride. And that’s how it felt when you were tasting the beluga. So as you know, you’ve got Sevruga, Ostera, and Beluga, and each one has a different taste field. They’re very unique. It’s like a grape, so the size, the shape, the flavour. But I was matching the Beluga with the BilleCart-Salmon. It was a sort of classic.

Natalie MacLean (30:49):
A classic champagne. Yes. So beautiful. The Rosé. Yes.

Dr. Clinton Lee (30:53):
So would this À La Familia work with it? I think there’s enough acidity, but perhaps you would want to go. It could but I think it would match more with the Ostera.

Natalie MacLean (31:03):

Dr. Clinton Lee (31:05):
The red. No, I would stay away. And of course there are others that enjoy caviar with straight vodka.

Natalie MacLean (31:13):
Ah, yes, that’s true. And what is it in caviar and perhaps other seafood dishes? Is it the iodine fighting with the tannin and red wine? Is that why they clash?

Dr. Clinton Lee (31:24):
In part of my studies, certainly when you’re dealing with seashells, any seafood with shells, there is that chemical reaction of the tannins with the shell, which gives you that metallic taste in your mouth. It’s a little bit like for those who may have tried Zopiclone that sleeping tablet, which some people like to take when they’re going on long haul trips. When you wake up in the morning with that, you have that metallic taste. And that’s why red wines don’t go well with shellfish. And it’s not something that I would recommend with caviar.

Natalie MacLean (32:00):
Wow. Oh my goodness. Such a vast education and so many great tips. I can’t believe how quickly this time has gone, Dr. Lee. So I want to get to a couple of questions before we round up. There’s just so much I would like to ask you.

Dr. Clinton Lee (32:16):
Well, just before we move on, I just want to share with you. Our caviar. So we have caviar truffle cigar courses and they’ve proved immensely popular.

Natalie MacLean

I’ll bet.

Dr. Clinton Lee

We have some world-class Champagne and caviar participants and guest speakers, and they’ve taken all our courses. And our courses have been taken from as far away as Mendoza and Santiago in South America, to Singapore to Hong Kong, and all across the United States and Europe. So it’s all online.

Natalie MacLean (32:50):
Oh, that’s fantastic. And that specialization, I mean, it’s just who doesn’t want to dive into caviar and truffles and Champagne?

Dr. Clinton Lee (32:58):
Well I’ll just share a quick story with you.

Natalie MacLean (33:00):

Dr. Clinton Lee (33:01):
One of our fans wrote, they sort of sent on social media sent a message. They said, thank you very much. Whenever I traveled on Emirates first class and they would give me the caviar, I wouldn’t know how to eat it. So I would slide the door so they wouldn’t see me, how I ate it. But now, after taking your course and watching your videos, I feel much more confident. And that warms my soul because part of what you and I do is to share our experience, educate. And in turn, we are equally we feel by the comments that come back it’s reciprocated. We learn as well. Our base is broadened.

Natalie MacLean (33:41):
Absolutely. And to deepen someone’s pleasure because now they have confidence, whether it’s to experiment or not to close the door when they’re eating caviar, to simply enjoy it.

Dr. Clinton Lee (33:51):

Natalie MacLean (33:51):
They’ll have to take your course to find out how to eat caviar correctly. So is there anyone in the world that you would love to share a bottle with? living or dead? Who would that be and why? And more importantly or just as importantly, which bottle would that be?

Dr. Clinton Lee (34:07):
Well, it would be, I’ve always had the deepest respect for philosophers as opposed to a singular person. It might be Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, maybe Machiavelli and Confucius all put together. Because I think you have this vast reservoir of highly intellectual individuals whose works and writings have permeated through the centuries and millennia. And yet today we are still affected by them.

Natalie MacLean (34:39):
That’s true. That’s true. Their legacy remains.

Dr. Clinton Lee (34:42):
And in what wines? I think Romans would drink wine with their food or they’re somewhat diluted. The Greeks would have their wines after their meal, that’s why it’s called symposium. And they would go and lounge out. And then I think Confucius would be a little bit more circumspect and he might have more of a sweeter palate. So Machiavelli, I think it would depend on what the company and the food they had. So given let’s say it was some meats perhaps some duck, I think they all ate duck anyway, a Pinot Noir I think would go well. Although Aristotle, he might go for his lamb. So I think one should have a variety, maybe two, a heavier red and a lighter red.

Natalie MacLean (35:31):
Well then they could debate which pairing goes well and have some sort of dialectic and come to a conclusion. But I think you would have to remind Machiavelli not to pour his own wine. He would think that’s expedient, but you would say no. no. That’s not how it’s done, Machiavelli.

Dr. Clinton Lee (35:45):
That’s true. That’s true. The Prince. The Prince.

Natalie MacLean (35:48):
Yes, exactly. Exactly. All right. So is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to go over? I’m going to ask you for your website and your socials and all that sort of thing, but is there something else you wanted to mention as we wrap up?

Dr. Clinton Lee (36:04):
Yeah, thank you for that opportunity, Natalie. It’s been a real pleasure being on your show and I do follow it and I listen with great interest. I would like to share to our viewers and listeners that you may believe that what you do is not important, but it is. It’s very important. And it contributes to the fabric of our society singularly and also collectively. If you can just be aware that we are living in a world with many different generations and different viewpoints and how they grew up. And if you can consider just two points: what situation are you in? And what is the environment? So as a quick example, you could be in a particular country where you’re in the city, that’s your situation, and you are meeting more refined, sophisticated individuals because that’s the environment. You’re in a business meeting. Now, you could have the same situation but in a rural setting. The environment is quite different but you’re in the same country. So just remember what situation and what environment and what you do is very important and show tolerance towards one another.

Natalie MacLean (37:24):
Lovely. What a great gift of parting advice that I love that. Thank you. I, too, have enjoyed this. Dr. Lee, where can we find you online?

Dr. Clinton Lee (37:34):
Well, online our website is and APSWI stands for Asia Pacific Wine and Spirit Institute. That’s an acronym. A P S W I dot com. And on the social media platforms, you’ll find us under apswiwine. On YouTube, it’ll be apwasi channel.

Natalie MacLean (37:58):
And we’ll put links to all of that in the show notes. And then your book. Is it available yet for pre-order or will that come later in the year?

Dr. Clinton Lee (38:06):
It is available for pre-order, and I am delighted to say that it is racing up the charts within the top 100 on the Amazon. That’s terrific. It’s only available in hard copy. The North America release is, I’m told, in September, and the global release is in October, but you can buy it right now. And it covers aspects within the book of what you can do to make yourself more approachable? What are the key elements that you need to consider? And then there’s sectors on how to meet, how to greet, the wining aspect, the dining aspect, and of course the business arena that you’ll be in and how to deal with the different situations. You certainly will walk away more confident.

Natalie MacLean (38:56):
Yes. It sounds wonderful, and it is it Mastering the Art of Manners.

Dr. Clinton Lee (39:00):
Yes. Mastering the Art of Manners.

Natalie MacLean (39:02):
By Dr. Clinton Lee.

Dr. Clinton Lee (39:04):
Yes. From Page Street Publishing. And my distributors are MacMiillan.

Natalie MacLean (39:09):
Oh, there you go. Great distributor. That’s great. Well, congratulations on the launch of that and its imminent success and already climbing the charts. That’s terrific. And we’ll link to that, too, in the show notes, Dr. Lee.

Dr. Clinton Lee (39:21):
It’s a real pleasure having been on your show, Natalie, and thank you very much for that.

Natalie MacLean (39:26):
Well I raised my glass to you, but if we do what you suggested both of our glasses are going to be out of the frame soon. Thank you so much, Dr. Lee. This was wonderful. I really enjoyed our chat.

Dr. Clinton Lee (39:39):
It’s been an immense pleasure and your vibrant personality is not only bubbly, but warm. And thank you for all the sincerity.

Natalie MacLean (39:48):
Well, thank you, Dr. Lee. That’s wonderful. Cheers.

Dr. Clinton Lee (39:51):

Natalie MacLean (39:53):
Okay, bye for now.

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Dr. Clinton Lee. Here are my takeaways. Number one, I found it fascinating that there’s a polite way and a rude way to clink glasses when toasting in some cultures. And it’s almost funny that people can go down to their knees trying to out polite each other. Also in certain places it’s bad manners to pour your own wine. Number two, I enjoyed Dr. Lee’s pairings for truffles and caviar. And number three, it is amazing how Instagram and TikTok have exploded in popularity as a way to learn about wine.

In the show notes, you’ll find a full transcript of my conversation with Dr. Lee, links to his website and social media channels, and the video versions of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube live, and where you can pre-order my memoir online now, no matter where you live, and get the free book club guide. That’s all in the show notes and Email me if you have a sip, tip, or [email protected]. If you missed episode seven, go back and take a listen. I chat about going inside the world of wine with Bianca Bosker, author of the bestselling book, Cork Dork. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.

Bianca Bosker (41:22):
One of the things that was really revelation is the fact that many of these high-end restaurants are judging you even more than you’re judging them. They’re Googling you before you come in. They’re keeping extensive logs on what you order, your pet peeves, personal preferences, your relationship to the restaurant. If you spend a lot of money, you could be a wine PX, which is short for person extraordinaire. If you’re a temper tantrum, you might be an HWC, which is short for handle with care. Or  SOE which a sense of entitlement. On the surface, it can seem perhaps mercenary, but they are businesses. I mean, liquid keeps restaurants liquid.

Natalie MacLean (42:03):
I’ve heard it said that the sommelier doesn’t sell the bottle to the customer. The sommelier sells the customer to the customer, not in a manipulative way, but I see you and I think this is you with the wine. And of course, the old adages customers will eat you poor and drink you rich.


Natalie MacLean

If you like 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 I chat with Chuck Kramer, host of the Mr. California Wine Podcast. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a lovely floral Gewurztraminer.  You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Meet me here next week. Cheers.