Wine & Global Weirding, Canadian Wine and New Regions with Brian Freedman

Oct19th

Introduction

As a wine lover, what can you do to help mitigate the impact of climate change? Why do many experts consider the phrase “global warming” a big marketing mistake? How is climate change pushing the boundaries of where great wine comes from?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m interviewing Brian Freedman, wine and spirits educator and author of Crushed: How a Changing Climate Is Altering the Way We Drink.

You can find the wines we discussed here.

 

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Giveaway

Three of you are going to win a personally signed copy of Brian Freedman’s terrific new book, Crushed: How a Changing Climate Is Altering the Way We Drink.

 

How to Win

To qualify, all you have to do is email me at [email protected] and tell me that you’d like to win the bottle. I’ll select the winners randomly from those who participate.

Good luck!

 

Highlights

  • What surprised Brian about the impact of climate change on the world of spirits?
  • Why do many experts consider the phrase “global warming” a big marketing mistake?
  • How does climate change disproportionately impact those who can least afford it?
  • Why is a long-term planning horizon essential in the wine industry?
  • What does it mean for a wine to “channel the ineffable truth of a vineyard”?
  • Which rich, complex aromas and flavour notes can you expect from Kutch Pinot Noir 2016?
  • Why do I especially love Sperling Vineyards Speritz Pet-Nat of the various Pet-Nats I’ve tried?
  • What fascinating long wine history exists in the Judean Hills, Israel?
  • How does Shiloh Secret Reserve Petit Verdot 2018 highlight the diversity and range of the Israeli wine industry?
  • Why is it so important to keep an open mind about wine?
  • How is climate change pushing the boundaries of where great wine comes from?
  • How will Crushed help you to broaden your palate?
  • What impact has Brian seen with climate change on Canadian wine?
  • What’s Brian’s prognosis for the future of the wine industry?
  • Who are the two people Brian would most want to be able to share a bottle of wine with?
  • Which inspirational wine message would Brian put on a billboard?

Key Takeaways

  • I loved Brian’s practical tips for what we can do, as wine lovers, to help mitigate the impact of climate change.
  • I agree with him that the phrase “global warming” is a big marketing mistake. Global weirding is much better in describing the extreme weather events we’re experiencing around the planet.
  • I found Brian’s insights into how climate change is pushing the boundaries of where great wine comes from fascinating.

 

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About Brian Freedman

Brian Freedman is a wine, spirits, travel, and food writer, restaurant and beverage consultant, and wine and spirits educator. He regularly contributes to Food & Wine, Forbes.com, Whisky Advocate, and SevenFifty Daily, and has contributed to Travel + Leisure, The Bourbon Review, and more. He also hosted wine and spirit pairing segments on the CNN Airport Network. Freedman has traveled extensively throughout the world and the United States to experience the food, drink, and culture for his work. He lives outside of Philadelphia.

 

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Transcript

Brian Freedman  0:00  

It’s not global warming. It is Global Weirding. On Valentine’s Day weekend of 2021, there was this freak ice event that barrelled across Texas for like nine or 11 days. I mean Texas is supposed to be like hot right. And it didn’t get fruit because of a deep freeze. That’s weird. The people in the wine and spirits industries are some of the most forward thinking, realistic, but optimistic people. And I think that the wine world is going to help lead the way into a future where we learn we’re not changing climate change, but how to survive it, how to make the most of the current situation that we find ourselves in and take heart in that.

Natalie MacLean  0:53  

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? 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 203. As a wine lover, what can we do to help mitigate the impact of climate change? Why do many experts consider the phrase global warming a big marketing mistake? And how is climate change pushing the boundaries of where great wine comes from? You’ll hear those tips and stories in Part Two of my chat with Brian Friedman, who has just published his first book Crushed: How a Changing Climate is Altering the Way We Drink. 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 on a personal note, before we dive into the show with the continuing saga of publishing my new wine memoir Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking too Much. In addition to friends and family, several lawyers also reviewed my manuscript line by line to ensure there was no cause for concern. My memoir explores several legal issues, including defamation and copyright. Experts in these areas gave me great insight into the law as well as to specific approaches and remedies to avoid any issues. Now, memoir is a personal narrative. But it also involves others to tell the story. So as mindful of keeping the perspective my own with phrases like, in my opinion, especially when others may differ. They’re entitled to their own opinions as well as to writing their own memoir to express them. But beyond this instead of say characterizing someone’s actions or speech, I shared how I felt. For example, I would change the sentence He talked about me like I was a wicked witch to I felt like a wicked witch when I heard him talk about me. It’s a subtle change but it makes the revised sentence indisputable. By the way, these examples aren’t actually in the book. You’ll have to read it to find out which ones are also avoided interpreting the intentions of others are reading their minds, which of course is impossible even though we often do it in our everyday lives. I took out any sweeping generalizations and stuck to facts and events that were documented. Concrete details are always more interesting anyway. Compare the statement She was always nagging me with This was the fourth time today she reminded me to brush my hair. I’ll share more of these legal beagle tips next week. Here’s a review from Gail Herndon, a beta reader from Washington DC. “What a memoir. Natalie tells her story with great vulnerability and brutal honesty from her marriage, divorce and foray into dating and finding love again, as well as the unrelenting work drama that unfolds simultaneously and somewhat mysteriously in the wine world. Highly educated and accomplished before her enterprise into wine writing, her interactions with misogynistic colleagues are simply shocking and left my mouth agape. Yet these stories are sadly relatable. Natalie’s humour and grace are evident throughout and no doubt contributed to her addressing her attackers with poise. Spoiler alert, she does come out all the stronger and wiser. Big cheers to supporting women in wine. Natalie’s story is well worth a read. Five stars”. Thank you, Gail. I posted a link to a blog post called Diary of a book launch and the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/203. This is where I share more behind the scenes stories about the journey of taking this memoir from idea to publication. If you want a more intimate insider seat beside me on this journey, please let me know that you’d like to become a beta reader and get a sneak peek at this manuscript, email me at [email protected] Okay, on with the show.

Natalie MacLean  5:52  

Was there something that surprised you when you’re researching or writing the book? Something someone said or something you discovered that you didn’t know before?

Brian Freedman  6:01  

Yeah, two things. The first one was, and most of the book does focus on wine. but I do have a chapter that focuses on primarily American whiskey. But it touches on gin as well, to a certain extent. What surprised me with the world of spirits was just how much climate change is impacting not just small farms, where they’re growing you know heirloom grains, but also the large commodity operations and how climate change is affecting the production of those grains, the pricing of those grains, how they’re being grown. I was talking to one of the master distillers he was with Sazerac, giant company. They have you know lots and lots of brands under their corporate umbrella. And he’s, among other projects, in charge of their gin production. He was telling me that because like an ill timed storm hit somewhere in Asia, Southeast Asia, the year before and it was like the gravity of the storm was very much likely attributable to climate change, right. You know he couldn’t get certain botanicals that he needed for his gin, and he had to literally scour the planet in order to get those botanicals to make the gin that he needed. And you don’t think something like that is going to happen, but it’s true.

What’s the old you know if a butterfly flaps its wings in Australia it can cause a tornado in Kansas, right. It’s the same thing. If a storm hits at the wrong time in the wrong intensity in Asia, it can affect the gin in your glass in Toronto or in Philadelphia. The other thing that surprised me was that climate change is not affecting the places that you wouldn’t necessarily expect it to in the predictable ways. Okay, we all talk about global warming. And I forget who said it, someone far smarter than me,  so I’m not going to claim it was me. But they said that the big marketing issue that the people who for years have been sounding the alarm their big marketing issue that they sort of messed up with in the beginning was calling it global warming, because climate change is doing a whole lot more than making stuff hotter. That’s certainly part of it. But I was talking to Julie Kuhlken and she is the co owner of Pedernales Cellars in Texas Hill Country, fabulous wine coming out of Texas. And one of my chapters is on Texas wine. And we were having drinks one night in Texas. And she said, Brian you know she said for me it’s not global warming. It is Global Weirding. I said my goodness you’re right. Yeah, it is Global Weirding. Yeah, and she’s right.

And it turns out my Texas chapter is about the fact that we were there. And we were at the tasting room of Ron Yates. Ron is this fabulous, fabulous producer. You know he’s in the high plains. He’s in Hill Country. And we’re looking at the estate vineyard outside the window. And so Ron it’s like you got all your fruit off. This was like last September, October. I said, you got all the fruit. There’s no fruit. There’s no dropped fruit like that’s great. Must have been a good harvest. He said, what harvest? What are you talking about? Turned out I don’t know if you remember this, Natalie, but that was on Valentine’s Day weekend of 2021. There was this freak ice event that barreled across Texas right for like nine or 11 days whatever it was. Temperatures in Texas plummeted well below freezing. There were deep freezes. There were I mean people had billions of dollars worth of damage. And the vines because of this freeze in his estate vineyard. Because of that they didn’t produce fruit and the ones that did they had budbreak was so late. It never would have gotten to ripening in time anyway. So we got no fruit off of that estate vineyard. He was able to source from other producers and make wine. But I thought I mean Texas is supposed to be like hot right. It’s Texas. And he didn’t get fruit because of a deep freeze. That’s weird. Yes, I gotta tell that story.

And the other thing that was not a surprise but you know it’s something that always bears repeating. Natural disasters always harm worst the people who can least afford it, right. And talk about it in the book when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, right. It’s gotta be 18 years ago at this point I think. You know if you had money in there were plenty of stories and reporting about it at the time. And afterwards, people with money were able to leave, go to hotels and higher ground, get out of New Orleans. The people who couldn’t afford that who already inherently lived in places where maybe the infrastructure wasn’t as good, they didn’t have the opportunity or the option to leave. They were the ones who suffered most. Well, if we look at climate change, as one of the biggest natural disasters that just keeps on unfolding year after year, the people who can least afford it are going to be the ones who are most impacted. So I focus on this one producer, Johan Reyneke in South Africa right. And in South Africa like it isn’t so much else to the world, but you know in South Africa it’s obviously magnified because of the horrible history of apartheid. What happens with climate change? You know, if you have all the money and you own the winery, you own the vineyards in the land, you’ll probably be okay. You can ride it out. But what if you’re a farm labourer, right? But then if climate change really causes a problem so what Johan does, and like so many other great producers in South Africa, is they’re now trying to leverage their work the land of the wineries that they have to sort of help, you know, communities that for so long didn’t have the opportunity to and you know give people a sense of ownership have more control over their futures. So there was a lot of surprising you know reporting for the book was fascinating and upsetting.

But the one thing I learned, and Natalie, I think you’re going to be able to agree with me here and vouch for this. The people in the wine and spirits industries are some of the most forward thinking realistic but optimistic people. And if you know I genuinely think that the wine world is going to help lead the way into a future where we learn how to we’re not changing climate change at this point right but how to survive it, how to make the most of the current situation that we find ourselves in. And I take heart.

Natalie MacLean  12:33  

Yeah. They have a generational kind of planning horizon. You have to if you only have one harvest a year. Unlike beer you know where you can make multiple beer batches, you have to think long term and just the you know the capital costs tied up in everything. It’s why so many family wineries you know make the right decisions. Definitely underscoring and agreeing with you. They have that long term planning horizon. And also, I’ve heard certain winemakers describe themselves as pathological optimists. I mean you have to be when you’re just get this one shot, everything rides on it, and then oh well maybe better luck next year if it doesn’t work. You have to have that fortitude to keep going in a business like this where it’s so high stakes.

Brian Freedman  13:18  

So a winemaker once said to me, I’m kind of jealous of chefs because you have a bad night, one night in the kitchen you find yourself in the weeds that’s awful. That really stinks. You got the next night. The one after. As a winemaker in a career, a long career 45 – 50 chances to do your thing. It’s a very different mindset.

Natalie MacLean  13:39  

It really is. So we should make sure we taste the wines you’ve got. And I’ve got two so when are you starting? Which one are you starting with?

Brian Freedman  13:48  

Oh, let’s start off. Let’s go sort of later to Richard right. Sure. We’ll go in order. So let’s start off. I have Kutch 2016 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. What do you have?

Natalie MacLean  14:01  

I have the Sperling Vineyards from BC pet-nat. I’m not trying to be trendy but I just thought maybe we’ll try this since we’re talking about different wines and influences. Love a good pattern that, yeah, see how this one goes. But I’d love to hear what you think of your Kutch Pinot Noir as well.

Brian Freedman  14:22  

Well you know for me this is the kind of wine, and look the world of wine is also full of preconceived notions and misapprehensions. So you know so often I’ll hear people say often when I’m overseas oh no, no, no, I can’t drink California wine. Too fruit driven. Tastes like there’s residual sugar and all these all these stereotypes. And my answer is last I checked California is giant. So like that entire stretch of land from like Mexico to Oregon. You don’t like any of that? Because that’s interesting. You’ve tasted at all? How do you have the time. So you know for me this is the kind of wine where you know Jamie has this amazing ability to channel the – wait for a pretentious phrase you ready – the ineffable truth of a vineyard. I like that. But you know he finds a way to translate what the vine is experiencing in its patch of land into the liquid in the glass. And I love the fact that you know and I’ve talked to him about this before. You know if one vineyard is growing in gravel that’s 100 million years old and another vineyard has soil that’s 200 million years old and is this kind of composition because a glacier made a right instead of a left at the end of the last ice age, he finds a way to really express those differences from vineyard to vineyard. Now this is the Sonoma Coast bottling. So this is really a snapshot of the nature of that part of California. And I love that with this wine. I need to hydrate.

Natalie MacLean  16:00  

By all means.

Brian Freedman  16:03  

I love that this wine. There is certainly you know there’s beautiful fruit. We don’t want to miss that right. But at the same time, there is a floral note. There’s the seam of minerality running through it. It’s structured but it’s so elegant. It’s energetic. To me this is a delicious Pinot Noir and it’s a delicious Pinot Noir from a very specific and important part of the world. How about you? How’s that pet-nat?

Natalie MacLean  16:33  

I love this. I haven’t tasted like lots and lots of pet nats and I found those I’ve tasted a good percentage of them were just very strange but that’s just me. So I’m trying to of course you know as a writer, a critic, you try to judge it for what it is. This is absolutely delicious. This Sperling Vineyards pet-nat it’s bready and yeasty in a good way. There’s good floaty bits and stuffing in there which I love to see because it’s almost gotten more textural element to it but it’s just beautiful like as an aperitif or maybe anything but like a lot of things like roast chicken, whatever seafood, be wonderful. It’s from the Okanagan Valley and British Columbia.

Brian Freedman  17:12  

I like local wines coming out of the Okanagan Valley.

Natalie MacLean  17:15  

Ann Sperling, who owns this winery and Southbrook in Ontario, is a real leader for biodynamic and organic farming in our country. And she also created the world’s first appellation for Orange wines.

Natalie MacLean  17:30  

So she’s got quite a history. She’s a rock star, literally.

Brian Freedman  17:35  

So I’m gonna have to get my hands on some of those.

Natalie MacLean  17:37  

Yeah, it’s really worth trying. Alright, so do you want to go on to your Taber?

Brian Freedman  17:41  

Taber. No so actually today we have Shiloh. Shiloh is another leading producer in Israel. This is the Secret Reserve Petit Verdot 2018. This is interesting. This is from the Judean Hills appellation. And I say it’s interesting because first of all, when I was there some colleagues and I we rode all terrain vehicles through the vineyards, we planted vines. But the amazing thing, the amazing thing is we stop at one point and their winemaker, this amazing man named Amichai Luria. We stopped at one point and he says look over there. What’s over there?  It was an ancient stone grape press in the middle of the vineyard that’s 1000s and 1000s of years old. Wow. So like they’ve been growing grapes and making wine in this place where he’s growing grapes and making wine for 1000s of years right. It’s amazing to me. This region really highlights the fact you know we think of Israel you know Middle Eastern, around 50% of the country technically could be classified as desert. But Israel also has a long, beautiful Mediterranean coast. It has mountains, there’s another wonderful producer. And they’re growing grapes like where there’s like forests up towards the mountains, right. So there’s lots of different terroir is there. The Judean hills, we’re sort of talking between the Mediterranean and Jerusalem, so we’re getting some of those Mediterranean influences here. We’re having these ancient ancient soils. And this wine for me, this is Petit Verdot, right. This wine for me is so what I love here is you have that generous purple and blue fruit. I mean there’s certainly this wonderful sense of concentration here. But it is very driven by terroir. There is a deep core of minerality here on the palate. There’s a sense of spiciness through the finish. It’s a wine that has years and years of evolution to come. And for me this highlights just how much diversity and range is happening within the Israeli wine industry. What’s your second?

Natalie MacLean  19:55  

Ah, I have an orange wine. Again not trying to be trendy but it’s from Traynor Estate here in Ontario. And it’s surprising me as well. I haven’t tried that one before. This is a great little boutique winery in Ontario. And it’s got a real pika sort of orange Clementine. I’m probably influenced by the colour, but I still get that orange zest from it. And just it’s dry and refreshing. We’ve got some stuffing in that one too. So it’s very interesting.

Brian Freedman  20:24  

Stuffing is good, that means like it’s like the monks with bread right during fasting season. You can survive on Orange wine with floaties alone.

Natalie MacLean  20:31  

Yeah, exactly. I love to see unfiltered wine.  I always find they just again have that nice texture to them as well. But yeah fantastic. We’ll have to link to all of four wines in the show notes. So I’ll come back to you sent me the names of the wines but I’ll make sure we have links to them as well, just if people are listening to see if they can get them in their local areas.

Brian Freedman  20:54  

Yes, yes, it’s worth looking for. And it’s I think one of the things with climate change that I learned this reporting on the book is climate change is really shifting where great wine is produced and can and will be produced, right. So I think you know those of us in the wine business, we always say keep an open mind, right. Don’t get stuck in that wine rut saying I only drink such and such a grape from such and such a country or region or appellation. The wine world is huge. And the wine world is fascinating. And climate change is pushing those boundaries right. One of my chapters in Crushed is about South America obviously Chile and Argentina, two very, very different countries right. So I want to put that out there. I’m not saying it’s you know well South America, Chile and Argentina are exactly the same. Very different. But what’s interesting is in both countries, as things are getting warmer and weirder you know, producers are moving higher up into the Andes, right. The Andes to the east of you’re in Chile, to the west if you’re in Argentina. I’m doing the map in my head you know but they’re also moving further south into Patagonia.

Natalie MacLean  22:07  

Right, where it’s colder. It’s the other hemisphere.

Brian Freedman  22:11  

Yes. And there’s regions in Patagonia where 20 – 25 years ago you know people thought you’re not even going to get a decent white wine crop. And now people are producing fabulous Pinot Noir there. So you know keep an open mind. That’s true. That’s I think you know this book is not all doom and gloom. Look, clearly I think we’re all seeing that climate change is a very real and pressing problem. But this book also shows that there is hope. And if there are people in any industry who are going to help us see that way forward and navigate that path, it’s the folks who are making wine and I think that’s really important to note.

Natalie MacLean  22:53  

And for us to support them as wine consumers. But I love that because you know the book isn’t a downer. It’s also a message of hope. But it’s also a message of opening up your palate and your perceptions to the diversity to the changing diversity. Like I love that point that you’ve made a couple times. Don’t just think oh I only like Pinot from even the Sonoma Coast. It is great Pinot, but guess what you know things are changing. So think maybe there’s another region opening up that will give you that kind of taste that you love already but you just don’t realize it because of how things are changing.

Brian Freedman  23:30  

Exactly. Right. Exactly. The world of wine has always been appealing to so many people because it affords you the opportunity to explore, right. Yes. And now in a world of climate change, perhaps counter intuitively, it is forcing us to not sort of hunker down in our own little Venice bubble but to expand what we’re tasting and what we’re you know opening up with lunch or dinner. Let’s say there’s no vintage in a certain place because of frost or because of fire or smoke team, so you don’t have the opportunity to drink that wine from that place that you always loved. Use that as a chance to explore other regions and other producers and to support them because supporting the people who are doing the right thing and trying to help find that way forward is more important now than ever. And let’s be honest, it can be some of the most delicious homework you can ever possibly do.

Natalie MacLean  24:28  

Yeah, exactly. You can feel good about having something tasty. And do you have any notions? Is there anything specific about Canada that you foresee happening or that you see happening now? I mean we’ve talked a lot about the trends, but is there anything about Canada that you see for wine and climate change?

Brian Freedman  24:47  

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Also, yes. You know Canada and I’ve noticed this among American consumers that I speak with. I do a lot of you know consumer facing tastings and events as well. And you know like you were saying in the beginning with your son, you didn’t want to give him at three years old a beautiful ice wine and make them think it’s liquid candy, right. For a long time, Canadian wine was if not synonymous with ice wine it was taking up a great chunk of the bandwidth in the American market at least among the preponderance of consumers. I find that changing now. And I think the dry red and white wines are every year they seem to reach a new high, a new level of quality and expressiveness. So I think there’s this amazing overlapping. Do you remember Venn diagrams from geometry class as a kid? The circles overlapping. So for me, that Venn diagram of the quality is just getting better and better every year and it was high to begin with.

And also the accessibility. I find that more and more retailers are stocking them on their shelves. Not a huge range yet but I’m noticing there’s more and more restaurant wine lists. You know it just takes one great sommelier to sort of crack open a wine list and start introducing guests to the amazing wines of places like Canada. So I think that that Venn diagram overlap is at a very good place right now. So we’re seeing more and more of them and they’re better than ever. I do think also because of climate change you know in the Southern Hemisphere like we said you get further south into Patagonia and you’re able to grow wine. And by the way, that’s a weird linguistic tic that people in our line of work have. Grow wine,  It always reminds me of like there’s vines and bottles with caps and labels they’re just growing there on the right. But you know growing wine implies that you know the liquid in the glass is inextricably connected to the vine whose roots are sunk into the land. You’re growing your wine, it’s not a product created in a factory.

So that’s happening further south in the southern hemisphere. Here in the northern hemisphere further north I mean, there’s really compelling wines being made in Northern Europe. One of my chapters is on the amazing sparkling wines in England. Yeah, in southeastern England. So I think that Canada I wouldn’t be surprised if you know, in the next few years, we hit that inflection point where they become a really important part of wine lists of retail programmes. They’re important now for people who know to look for them and the folks who were hand selling them. But I think the quality is just too good for it to remain sort of if not a secret than sort of slightly under the radar for much longer. I think there’s really good times coming for Canadian.

Natalie MacLean  27:38  

Absolutely. I agree. And there’s more and more investment here too from European winemakers who are looking for these new regions as they sort of diversify their own portfolio investment wise.

Brian Freedman  27:49  

It’s smart money. Smart money to do that.

Natalie MacLean  27:52  

Absolutely. All right. So what’s your prognosis then for the wine industry? Are you. I mean you’ve said people in it are optimistic. But what do you foresee in the future as it relates to climate change in wind five years out, 10 years out, longer if you want?

Brian Freedman  28:10  

I think that there are going to be certain places that are unfortunately going to have to learn to live with and somehow mitigate the risk of certain natural phenomena, which are clearly being driven by climate change. He talked about wildfires in California used to be there was a fire season. Now the fire season is more or less all the time, right. It’s the question of will the fires hit after the fruit is in or before the fruit isn’t, right. I think that certain things like that are going to have to, it’s just going to become an expected part unfortunately of that vintage cycle, year after year. In certain years, there are going to be no fires that are giving you pressure from the smoke and the flames and all that and those are going to be wonderful years right. Then there are going to be years where it’s going to be a problem. So you know I think that’s a major impact of climate change. I will say also one of the things that is fascinating to me is the grape varieties that are getting planted in regions that for a long time were associated with one grape or several grapes. That is going to have to shift and in some places it really has right. Bordeaux, for example, you know not all that long ago they officially allowed the introduction of a handful of other grape varieties in Bordeaux blends. You’re not going to find that in Chateau Margaux. That’s not legal. But you know in your Bordeaux blends you will find other grape varieties that are maybe a little bit more conducive to these new conditions. Maybe there’ll be budding a little bit later which will stave off a lot of the risk of early spring frosts right because remember not global warming, Global Weirding. You’ll have other ones you know where they’re going to have to rethink what grows where. This is a natural marker let’s call it of wine regions around the world as they mature. And what I mean is, and I’m sure you’ve seen this to Natalie, is that you know newer wine regions, the knee jerk reaction is to say well the market is going to support people love Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Chard, Sauvignon Blanc maybe not taking into account what your microclimate what your soil is going to make best. And then once a region gets to a place they have the confidence they have the know how and understanding then they say you know maybe Cab isn’t our best bet here. But we can make a pretty darn good Tempranillo or a Carménère or whatever it might be. So this moving to grapes that movement to grapes that are not just historically better for a place given its terroir and microclimate.

But now, as climate change is happening, those discussions I think are happening more and more. And maybe before you grew up Pinot Noir and now your average temperatures are getting too warm. Maybe it’s just getting a little warm for Pinot. Maybe you start experimenting with some more southern Rhone varieties or whatever it might be. So I think that’s going to be forcing some change. But I think that’s good right. I mean what makes the wine world so interesting, that just didn’t notice. None of us want to drink the same wine all the time. That’s why you know I love the fact that this 2018 from Shiloh was gonna taste different than their ’17. It’s why this ’16 from Kutch is gonna taste different than their ’15 or ’14, there’s a sense of interest and excitement and tension there. And I think the world of wine people are willing to make those changes. So it’s not going to be easy. There will be turbulence along the way as I saw at Ron Yates Estate vineyard with no fruit whatsoever last year, but he was able to make some great wines you know just with different fruit. So I think it’s going to be fascinating and delicious and occasionally heartbreaking. But I have faith in the future. Yeah, despite what’s happening.

Natalie MacLean  32:11  

You would have to you know. Winemaking is like live performance. There’s something exciting about watching even a ballet or whatever is your preference. Because you know, the dancer might soar or flop on the stage. Wine is like that it kind of, has that live element to it. Like it can be great. It can be really bad. That’s right, that adds the edge.

Brian Freedman  32:32  

For sure, there’s beauty. There’s beauty in that imperfection.

Natalie MacLean  32:35  

There is. Common humanity as well when you can identify with it. Alright, lightning round because the time is flying here. It’s amazing great conversation. So if you could pick someone living or dead to have a bottle of wine with who would it be? And why?

Brian Freedman  32:52  

Oh, wow. I would say. Alright, can I get two answers? You give me that? Of course. Alright, good.

Natalie MacLean  32:58  

It’s a table. You could see different people around the table.

Brian Freedman  33:01  

Oh my gosh, yeah. Okay. So I guess the two people that I know that I would like to have at my table I would say my grandfather and my grandmother. My grandfather, Charlie, he passed away in 2012. He was this great Bon Vivant, loved his wine, loved his champagne. And my mom’s mom, my grandmother, when she passed away I think I was 14 years old. So I was a kid. I would like to open a bottle of wine with them at a table. Now that I am an adult now that I am in my career I think that would just be the most amazing conversation with them. And I would want to share all the joy that this world of wine has brought me with two people who were so influential in my life. The other person that I would like to share a bottle of wine with and you know I’m sure we would argue and I don’t even know if we’d get along. But I think like most young people, when I was in university you’re influenced if you want to be a writer and you want to see the world. The first time I read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, I thought this guy. This guy, right? And of course, there are so many other issues to unpack around Hemingway right. But he did like his wine. He did like his wine. And it was very influential to me. His books were very important to me at a time in my life when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Sure. I don’t think I could keep up with him. I mean that guy could drink. But I think that would be a really interesting conversation. I’d like to have that over a bottle of wine,

Natalie MacLean  34:35  

Oh that’s great. Some Rosato. Go watch the bullfights or something.

Brian Freedman  34:39  

Right, exactly. Exactly right.

Natalie MacLean  34:42  

And if you could put up a billboard in downtown Philadelphia, what would it say?

Brian Freedman  34:46  

Fix our potholes, please. It’s like parts Philadelphia it’s like driving on the moon. It’s unbelievable. I’ve had hubcaps come flying off of my car because I hit a I hit a pothole that likeyYou could see the southern hemisphere through there. It’s unbelievable.

Natalie MacLean  35:03  

Well that’s practical I was expecting an inspirational one message, but why not start with potholes?

Brian Freedman  35:07  

All right, I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you an inspirational wine message. Ready? Yes. Drink something you haven’t had before. Yes! And if you can drink something you haven’t had before, especially with other people who haven’t had it before, that’s like the recipe for conversation, and commentary and argument and all those wonderful things that happen when you share a bottle of wine. So drink outside the box. There’s too much out there, right. What do we get are four score and 20 years or three score and 20 years whatever the old biblical thing is, however many years we get on this earth. Why would you drink the same thing all the time? So try something new. Once a month get a bottle of something you haven’t had.

Natalie MacLean  35:47  

Absolutely. That’s a good note. That’s a good toast there. So is there anything we haven’t covered, Brian, that you’d like to mention? I’m going to ask you of course where we can get your book. But anything else?

Brian Freedman  36:01  

Yeah, I would say when you are popping the cork, or cracking open if it’s a stelvin closure from a bottle of wine, think about what went into getting that wine into your glass. And I’m not saying be maudlin and start, you know we’ve all seen it in the movies, I like to think about all the people who aren’t here anymore when they made the. Okay fine right. You want to do that, great. I’m not drinking with you, but fine. But think about you know how amazing it is like we live in a time where we have access to a wider range of wines from a broader swath of planet Earth more affordably than at any other time in history. So think about how miraculous that is. That you and I are sitting here, Natalie, you’re in Canada I’m in Philly, I got a great bottle of wine from Israel, great bottle of wine from Sonoma Coast. You have two amazing you have an orange wine and a pet-nat from Canada. That’s wild that we can do this. So think about how lucky we are to have that and take advantage of it. Think about that sense of camaraderie of the memories that get made when you do share a glass of wine with someone and maybe think about how in these very challenging times, these unprecedented times with climate change, how that’s affecting this liquid in our glass. Maybe just give it that extra little thought because that matters.

Natalie MacLean  37:31  

That’s great, Brian. Wow, way to bring it to a close. You must be a writer.

Brian Freedman  37:35  

One day. One day.

Natalie MacLean  37:40  

Alright so where we can get you book? I assume it’s on all the major retail sites that you would expect. Amazon, Barnes and Noble Indigo all those places.

Brian Freedman  37:49  

Wherever books are sold, you can get the book. Yeah, go online type in Crushed: How a Changing Climate is Altering the Way We Drink and it’ll pop up. You know and I hope people take away from the book what we were just talking about that is obviously things are changing, and it’s scary, but it is also a time of great innovation, and hope.

Natalie MacLean  38:12  

And I have it here and just a reminder, you can win one of three copies of Crushed: How a Changing Climate is Altering the Way We Drink. And Brian, do you have a website or a way that you connect with people online? Maybe it’s a social media channel?

Brian Freedman  38:27  

Yes. So you know, my website is BrianDFreedman.com. But your best way to get in touch with me is to find me on social media. On Instagram, it is @FreedmanReports. So @FreedmanReports I think like most of us you know, Natalie as a writer, I think one of the most important part of our jobs is procrastinating. You know procrastination, it’s really easy when you start scrolling on your social media. So send me a message, send me a DM, I will absolutely get back to you. And you’ll be helping me procrastinate. So you’re doing me a solid health care

Natalie MacLean  38:59  

Okay, we will put links to all of that your book, your social media, your personal website. Brian, I wish you all the best with this new book that’s just out now. Congratulations on writing it and on tackling such an important subject and pouring your heart into it. So cheers. I raise my glass to you.

Brian Freedman  39:18  

Thank you. Cheers. It’s been an honour talking to you. This has been great. Thank you.

Natalie MacLean  39:22  

Thank you, Brian. All right. Bye for now.

Natalie MacLean  39:29  

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Brian. Here my takeaways. I love Brian’s practical tips for what we can do as wine lovers to help mitigate the impact of climate change. Two, I agree with him that the phrase global warming is a big marketing mistake. Global Weirding is much better in describing the extreme weather events we’re experiencing around the planet. And three, I found Brian’s insights into how climate change is pushing the boundaries of where great wine comes from very fascinating. In the show notes, you’ll find my email contact, the full transcript of my conversation with Brian, links to his book and website, the wines we tasted, and where you can find the live stream video version of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube Live every Wednesday at 7pm. You’ll also find a link to my free Ultimate Guide to Wine and Food Pairing. That’s all in the show notes at NatalieMaclean.com/203. Email me if you have a sip, tip, question or I’d like to be a beta reader of my new memoir and [email protected] You won’t want to miss next week when I chat with James Atkinson, host of the Australian podcast Drinks Adventures. In the meantime, if you missed episode nine, go back and take a listen. I chat about whether vegan and vegetarian wines are better for you with as recipes of BC’s Summerhill winery. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.

Unknown Speaker  40:57  

Our vineyard in Kelowna is certified by Demeter as a biodynamic vineyard. It has extra rules above and beyond organic. So organic is sort of the baseline, which means that there’s no synthetics being used basically. And then there’s guidance on things they want to see about soil preservation and biodiversity and things like that. But biodynamics really codifies that you have to have at least 10% of your farm given over to nature habitat. And we have I think like 20 or 25% of our farms that’s wetland. We have a dry land. We have habitat. And then you really view the farm as an ecosystem. You integrate animals and animal manures and you really focus on making your own fertilisers from things you grow on the farm. We make a horsetail tea for mildew control. We make large amounts of compost. And we add these herbal preparations to the compost to aid processes of decomposition. We spray basically a bacterial broth all over the farm that aid the life force if you will in the soil, but basically the soil food web.

Natalie MacLean  42:02  

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. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a wine from an emerging region like England.

Natalie MacLean  42:28  

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 NatalieMaclean.com/subscribe. Meet me here next week. Cheers.

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