What makes someone a wine influencer? Why is there so much uproar in the wine industry about celebrity wines and influencers? How did heavy drinking become such an entrenched part of the wine industry? Do you sometimes feel you drink too much wine?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Devin Parr, Founder and Managing Partner of Devin Parr & Associates.
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- What makes someone a wine influencer?
- Why is there such frustration towards wine influencers from the traditional wine community?
- How can we bring a sense of inclusion to the wine community?
- What would Devin like to see from wine influencers?
- How can wine brands improve their relationships with influencers?
- Why is awareness such a critical part of marketing?
- Do we drink too much in the wine business?
- What’s it like doing wine press tours?
- How did such a heavy drinking culture develop as “the way we do business”?
- What is Devin’s opinion on mommy wine memes?
- I agree with Devin that an influencer is anyone who actually influences opinion on wine, not just those with official certifications. There’s a role for many voices, particularly in the wine industry.
- She makes such a great point: we don’t drink wine in a vacuum. Wine is part of our broader lifestyle. I just wish more media trips would incorporate that. That’s why I stopped going on them altogether.
- And yes there have been times when I know I’ve consumed too much wine, though usually, this has been at home not at an industry event, thank goodness. But I think it’s something the wine industry needs to address more openly as do we all who love wine and want to keep it a part of our lives.
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I think of an influencer truly as being anyone who actually influences opinion on wine. - Devin Parr Click to tweet
There’s a level of condescension that exists in the wine industry that’s incredibly frustrating. - Devin Parr Click to tweet
Sometimes you have to move beyond your own ego but also just open yourself up to be vulnerable and to be corrected and hope that someone does it kindly. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
It’s on the brand who is bringing in an influencer to set the parameters and set them properly and really negotiate that contract. - Devin Parr Click to tweet
About Devin Parr
Devin Parr is the Founder and Managing Partner of Devin Parr & Associates, a PR, marketing and content agency for the beverage, travel, and tourism space. She holds a level 3 WSET certificate and in 2017, was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers. She’s written for Bottlenotes, WineCountry.com, NapaValley.com, Sonoma.com, The Plum, The Gourmet Insider, and others, including her own popular blog. Devin earned her B.A. in Political Science and Economics at UC San Diego and she joins us now from her home in Southern California.
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Devin Parr 0:00
There is a level of condescension that exists in the wine industry. When you talk to everyday wine consumers who aren’t scholars of wine, they’re frustrated by it. There’s a reason people feel afraid to share their thoughts on wine; there’s a reason they feel intimidated in a restaurant to they order wine; there’s a reason they find it elitist and scary. It’s supposed to be this product of pleasure and inclusion and bringing people together so let’s not make it this scary beast.
Natalie MacLean 0:26
Absolutely. It’s one of the first things that I had to get over in starting a podcast. I’ve been writing about wine for 20 years; I still had to get over what if I say something wrong? You have to move beyond your own ego, but also open yourself up to be vulnerable and to be corrected, and hope that someone does it kindly rather than the other way.
Devin Parr 0:42
I mean, Natalie, I’m sitting here, body tense, clenching myself in case I say something wrong about wine. The wine industry loves to beat people up. Let’s not do that anymore. Yeah, inclusion call in.
Natalie MacLean 1:00
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 127. What makes someone a wine influencer? Why is there so much uproar in the wine industry about celebrity wines and influencers? How did heavy drinking become such an entrenched part of the wine industry? And do you sometimes feel that you drink too much? Our guest this week has answers for you. Well, on at least those first three questions, plus lots of great wine tips and stories. I’ve got a bonus for you in addition to this podcast. I’d love for you to join me in the première watch party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live streaming for the very first time on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube tonight (May 5, 2021) at 7pm. Eastern. I’ll include a link where you can sign up for the Zoom tasting for free in the show notes. The video will show you the pictures and other visual elements we discuss on this podcast. And I’ll be jumping into the comments on all four platforms as we watch it together so I can answer your questions in real time. It’s like the Netflix version of the podcast! Plus, you can talk to me and ask me questions as we watch it together and you can also see what other people thought of this conversation and the answers to their questions.
I want to let you know that you can win one of two tickets to an exclusive virtual wine tasting led by our guest that also includes two bottles of premium wines that will be shipped directly to your home. These tickets are priced at $135 each, and enable up to six participants per household to participate. We’ll be giving away two tickets, one to each of two different winners. All you need to do is comment on the social media posts that I created about the contest. Just pick your favourite platform, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and comment on my post before 7pm tonight (May 5, 2021). In the show notes, you’ll find a link to these posts, the full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class and where you can find me on Zoom, Insta, Facebook and YouTube live every Wednesday on video at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/127.
Now on a personal note before we dive into the show, we’ve been in lockdown now so long, but sometimes I wonder if I’ll have to relearn how to socialise the way, you know someone who’s been in an accident sometimes needs physiotherapy to walk again. I know that’s very melodramatic, but as an introvert I naturally gravitate toward being on my own. And so you know being forced to do that more during the lockdown hasn’t been as hard on me as it has been on more extroverted people. Still, I wonder what happens when everything opens up again. Will getting together, even with friends, feel like a disruption of my perfectly solitary patterns? How about you? Do you think about this too? Okay, on with the show.
Natalie MacLean 4:55
I’m sure part of what you’re saying applies to our next area, but another area of loathing it seems in the industry, are social media influencers. So let’s, first principles, do our definitions. First, what defines a social media influencer? Why an influencer versus sort of traditional wine journalists or media for you?
Devin Parr 5:15
I think of an influencer truly as being anyone who actually influences opinion on wine. So if you are a journalist who is also an influencer in the space, then that works. I think their traditional definition of an influencer is someone on say, Instagram or Tiktok, or social media, who uses that platform to promote wine, wine travel, wine brands, whatever it is, a wine lifestyle, through imagery, short captions, video. And so it’s a highly visual medium, which lends itself to wine if you think about it. I mean, the landscapes in Wine Country are just stunning. And the bottles are gorgeous, and the sound of a cork popping, and it’s a great platform. But there is yes, there is this frustration in the wine world for the wine influencer.
Natalie MacLean 6:06
So there’s obviously, probably, again, a protectiveness at stake here from the serious people who’ve studied the subject. Is there anything else going on in terms of prompting the backlash? I mean, there’s been some serious backlash against certain wine influencers. I don’t know when it was a few months ago, there was a hashtag going around, “I’ll beat myself, but wine ****. And so what is that? What’s driving that?
Devin Parr 6:34
So there is a level of frustration that certain wine influencers don’t actually have wine credentials, and often will post information that is actually incorrect. I think I read somewhere that like, we store wine on its side, because if we don’t, it gets corked, or something like that. And I’m grossly butchering that. But there was frustration from people like students of wine or even just serious wine consumers were like, that’s not even actually correct. So I know you have 50,000 followers, but maybe don’t spread misinformation about the wine world. Again, there is a belief in the wine community that influencers don’t actually know about wine, and they are detracting from the serious wine writers out there. Journalists, in particular, feel frustrated by it, like, I’m not getting invited to press trips, or I am getting invited to press trips and pitched, but getting crowded out by the influencers, who are there by virtue of their 100,000 followers.
Natalie MacLean 7:30
Devin Parr 7:31
And you know, just posing in a vineyard with a sexy bottle is not necessarily communicating information about the wine.
Natalie MacLean 7:36
Yeah, exactly. Well, you quoted Tom Wark, who published an article and you said, wine writers are generally trying to tell a story, whereas wine influencers are trying to get the right light, something like that,
Devin Parr 7:49
Which I disagree with, I think, a picture tells a story
Natalie MacLean 7:52
So worth 1000 words,
Devin Parr 7:55
Right. Why do people spend so much money on advertising? It’s a gorgeous photo that’s designed to be aspirational in many ways, or to communicate a story in a picture. So yes, I think there is a cohort of influencers who perhaps lack proper wine training or the knowledge, but I don’t necessarily want to write off wine influencers, categorically, because there are plenty of wine consumers who don’t actually need to know the story of the vineyard and the family and the oak programme again, and the you know, how the vines are trained. They really just want to drink the stuff. So because the story or the background and the science exists doesn’t necessarily mean that that is what’s selling the wine to every consumer, we all need different things.
Natalie MacLean 8:44
Absolutely. Yeah. And I think just in terms of how we deal with influencers, even if there is something incorrect, I think it could be more of a, as they say, “Call In culture” rather than “Call Out” rather than shaming them and pushing how about inviting them in, in a kind way and saying, this is you know, the accuracy or whatever, but not in, like a public shaming.
Devin Parr 9:09
You know, it’s like there is a level of condescension that exists in the wine industry that’s incredibly frustrating. And when you talk to everyday wine consumers who aren’t scholars of wine, they’re frustrated by it. And there’s a reason people feel afraid to share their thoughts on wines; there’s a reason they feel intimidated in a restaurant to order wine; there’s a reason they find it elitist and scary. And it’s like the only beverage out there that people are scared by. And it’s supposed to be this product of pleasure and inclusion and bringing people together. So let’s not make it this scary beast.
Natalie MacLean 9:43
Absolutely. It’s one of the first things that I had to get over just in starting a podcast. I’ve been writing about wine for 20 years. I started the podcast about a year and a half ago. I still had to get over “Like, what if I say something wrong? What if I get an appellation wrong or whatever” It ‘s like some times you have to move beyond your own ego, but also just open yourself up to be vulnerable and to be corrected and hope that someone does it kindly, rather than the other way.
Devin Parr 10:10
I mean, Natalie, I’m sitting here like, body tense, clenching myself, in case I say something wrong about wine, right? Like the wine industry loves to beat people up. And it’s, let’s not do that anymore. Yeah, inclusion, “Call In”, exactly all about that. And let’s not forget that there are plenty of wine influencers out there on social media, who have strong wine backgrounds, and who have their WSET level three, or level two, or they’re Somms, they have blogs on the side, like, Can we not write them all off?
Natalie MacLean 10:41
Devin Parr 10:43
I’ve worked with plenty. And they’re great to have on press trips. They’re fun, they’re engaging, they ask questions, they want to tell the stories. And I think that’s the spirit of inclusion and sense of fun and passion and enjoyment that we need.
Natalie MacLean 10:58
Exactly, exactly. And you know, I don’t know, have you ever read the books of Brené Brown, US based Brené Brown. She writes about vulnerability and shame. And she talks about the quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “That it’s not the man in the sidelines, (which at the time is using all male words, but that’s okay.), not the people in the sidelines who heckle, it’s the man in the arena that’s getting grit on his face and blood and whatever that matters.” And her opinion is, if you’re not in the arena, if you’re not trying, if you’re not opening yourself, vulnerably, then I don’t want to hear from you. You know, I don’t care.
Devin Parr 11:28
I love to hear That
Natalie MacLean 11:30
Yeah, I love it, too. And it’s something that gives me courage, you know, to get out there because online, it is the arena, especially online social media. And so it’s great in many ways to connect, like to be able to do these virtual chats, and to share it on social media channels and bring more people in. But it comes with the other side, too. And so I think the only defence is vulnerability these days. It’s just in that “Yeah, you know what, I’m not perfect, I don’t know everything, even after 20 years, and it’s like, just tell me or whatever.” But anyway, so you can unclench there. This is not, or have a drink, whatever.
Devin Parr 12:10
At least I know where Switzerland is now.
Natalie MacLean 12:14
Exactly. Thank goodness. But that’s great. That’s disarming to even just put it out there. So there are some downsides to influencers. What have you seen or read about that can be sort of less positive, aside from inaccuracies about wine? Other things when it comes to influencers?
Devin Parr 12:37
Yes. So I work on the PR side as well. So I write about wine, but I also work with clients and promote their regions and their brands and do marketing. And I’ve worked with my share of influencers. And it’s not everybody, but yes, there are some who I think earn influencers a bad name by doing it for the free product, or the free trips. I get a lot of calls for personal favours. And you know, we all do that. Everybody wants to call in a favour and everyone wants to sort of drop a name and I get it. But I do get a lot of calls about “Can you set this up for me for a personal visit in exchange for a story or not a static post, but like an Instagram story”, or I’ve had people behave really, really badly when I’ve hooked up winery visits, where they get drunk, or they bring their friends and they sort of earn themselves a bad name. And it’s embarrassing for me. And it sort of puts me in a bad light. But it’s the exception rather than the norm. But I think it has caused frustration in the wine world. So you know, I think it’s important to, as an influencer, really view yourself as a wine professional, if that’s what you are going for. Less personal asks, being respectful, not stopping everything to fix your face and get the right light, especially if you’re working with other journalists who are there and not necessarily doing that. I think there are ways to get around it. But yeah, there’s some bad behaving people
Natalie MacLean 14:01
In every barrel; in every bunch
Devin Parr 14:03
Yeah, right. But it is not limited influencers by any means.
Natalie MacLean 14:07
No, even wine journalists; 20 year veterans can misbehave. So is there a way for the wine industry to deal with influencers? Because they are like you and I hear this from wineries. They are deluged with requests for samples and everything else. How do you deal with all of this from an industry perspective? Is there I don’t know; I doubt we can get into certification; but is it just word of mouth or an informal registry? What? What is the way to deal with this?
Devin Parr 14:39
I mean, it’s on the brand who is bringing in an influencer to set the parameters and set them properly and really negotiate that contract, even if it’s an informal contract with an influencer to say, here’s my expectation. Here is what I would like in exchange for; here’s the agreement when you come on my property, then we expect a static post, a blog post, three photos that we can then use, you know, whatever the contract is, or whatever the agreement is, so that the brand can always tie it to ROI. And I think that is, at the end of the day, what we’re all looking for is the ROI on that exchange. And you know, the same thing for the PR, like I have to constantly defend, on media, to my clients to say, here’s what this actually means. So, yeah, it’s just it’s on the brands to really outline expectations, and then go from there to decide whether or not working with an influencer is right for them.
Natalie MacLean 15:31
It must be hard to tie like even with influencers or say an Instagrammer, who has whatever, 50,000 followers or more, it must still be a challenge to say because she (and they tend to be mostly female) posted this, we got x sales, like it must be hard to tie it together. I mean, can you? At all?
Devin Parr 15:57
I think marketers have an easier time with it, because they can actually should embed things and kind of track conversions better. But when it comes to influencers and publicists and PR people it is tricky, and we can quote impressions data all day long, but does it necessarily translate to sales conversions? So I think when you look at a programme over time, you can track things like the tone that’s being used, the mentions, you know, are we moving the business forward long term and looking at any relationship with an influencer? Or a publicist? I think it has to be viewed long term? What is the trajectory here? But I know there are some very smart gals in the wine industry, who are working on this very problem, right now.
Natalie MacLean 16:40
So is there any details you can share yet? Or that makes me curious.
Devin Parr 16:45
I don’t know that I can formally share any details. But I had a phenomenal conversation with a gal named Rachel Woods, if anyone wants to Google her in the wine space, who is working on, she’s sort of like a data nerd, she comes from Facebook. And, you know, we had this great conversation. She’s working with an influencer, Wine with Paige, as well, to solve this problem. And we’ve been having some really interesting conversations about ways that influencers can better, sort of, I guess, merchandise, their offerings in terms of real trackable ROI. And I think it applies to PR people as well.
Natalie MacLean 17:19
Absolutely. It’s one of those softer things, and yet, it’s vital, because we know the marketing cycle, or even funnel, the sales funnel starts at the very top with awareness, and then moves to liking and so on. And it’s only at the bottom that you get to purchase and repeat purchase. But it has to start with that awareness, which is where PR, and perhaps Instagram and others play such a vital part.
Devin Parr 17:45
Well, if you ask any of your friends, What makes you pick a certain bottle of wine? How do you pick your wines? and a lot of my friends will say, Well, I base it on your recommendations, or I see someone mentioned something on social media and, and I go from there, or they pick it by the pretty label, or whatever it is. You know, for the most part, the average consumer isn’t digging into the wine ratings in Wine Spectator, not that those don’t have an incredibly valuable place.
Natalie MacLean 18:07
Oh its true
Devin Parr 18:10
Peer to peer is super important.
Natalie MacLean 18:13
Peer to Peer is very important. And I find or at least, when I published my two books, people often told me that they had heard about it, say in three different ways, like from a friend, then they saw maybe a display in the bookstore, but then they saw a TV interview or something, but it was that third hit, or whatever, that finally said, I should I should look for that. And so, again, these tools are in that toolkit. And it’s often a combination of things before the person actually moves to buy or to whatever try.
Devin Parr 18:44
Yeah, I mean, I think any smart brand, will understand the role that social media, traditional media, marketing, public relations, all play and a really comprehensive programme that encompasses all of those pillars is sort of a winning bet.
Natalie MacLean 19:01
Yeah, absolutely. So the third area I want to talk about, because I’m sure a lot of people, both inside and outside the wine industry, you don’t have to be inside the wine industry to wonder. I’m sure we’ve all had the thoughts. Am I drinking too much wine? And you wrote an really interesting piece about people in the wine industry, whether they’re writers or retailers. I mean, there’s just so many different jobs you can do within the wine industry. Are they drinking too much wine? And has it become sort of a way of doing business? Maybe you could tell us a little bit about that.
Devin Parr 19:38
So I found myself, I think it was maybe two years ago, I was on back to back to back to back trips, press trips, sales trips, business trips, where I just found there to be an excess of consumption. And don’t get me wrong. I love to drink. I love it. Wine is my business. It’s my passion. And I do drink wine every day and it’s part of my lifestyle. But I just found I was getting up and doing a tasting, and then having wine at lunch, and then another tasting and then another tasting. And then we were having cocktails before dinner, and then, you know, a cocktail at dinner and then a bottle of wine at dinner. And then oh, we all have to go out for drinks after. And I kind of felt like, this is a little much. Like, and there was a pressure to do it. Like if you decided you were done and you wanted to go to bed after dinner it was like you got shamed.
Natalie MacLean 20:28
So you likened it to college hazing or whatever. It was almost ritualistic, that you couldn’t be the party killer, the buzzkill
Devin Parr 20:36
Right, and then you’re expected to wake up the next morning and start all over again at 8:30am with this presentation, this wine tasting. It just feels like a lot. And I don’t know that it’s all necessary.
Natalie MacLean 20:47
Right? But the people would ask, Aren’t you spitting? Or, you know, did it still affect you? Or is there real also drinking involved in addition to tasting?
Devin Parr 20:57
Yes, so at trade tastings and professional tastings. I mean, I always, always spit and it’s to avoid getting inebriated. But it’s also to keep my mind fresh so that I can taste properly. But you know, I’ve been on certain press trips where no one is spitting, or you know, few people are spitting. And certainly at lunch, when the wine is served, you’re not spitting, that’s part of your lunch. And then you have the cocktails. So even if I took all the daytime tasting out, it’s still the wine or the cocktails with lunch. It’s still the drink before dinner, it’s still the wine at dinner. And then it’s still the cocktails after, which is fine every once in a while. But when you’re sort of doing rinse repeat on that day after day, and I think a lot of people in the industry look at it as a must, Like you need to go do this because it’s earning business. It’s making those connections. I found myself wondering like, is it though? Is this really closing the deal for me? Whether it’s a story or whether it’s the sale? Does this need to happen? And I think when we are looking at this Sober Curious movement and the dry January’s and the low/no alcohol options out there, I think they kind of go hand in hand. Like we got to be careful.
Natalie MacLean 22:05
Right? Yeah, they’re flip sides of two extremes, as you observe. I have to agree, like, you know, I’ve been on wine tours. And they do start early in the morning. And you know, dinner is scheduled at 10pm
Devin Parr 22:19
Oh, God, yeah. Especially in Europe. You’re like, oh, you’re not eating until 1030 at night?
Natalie MacLean 22:24
No, exactly, and you get to the dinner. And the winemaker would be like, insulted if you weren’t trying the wines. But then over dinner, there are no spittoons. Like while you’re actually eating, and they’re serving the wines. And yes, you can just say no, but just sitting there looking kind of glum or not drinking. I mean, they’re watching what you’re doing too, if you’re drinking, but I almost found some of those agendas, so tightly packed, to be a form of violence. Like it was just an assault, a physical assault, from even sometimes starting as early as seven in the morning, and going to tasting after tasting, you know, and I know those trips are expensive, if you’re sponsored by a winery council, I get that. And I want to get as much out of it as possible too, I want to review as many wines as I can, I want to write as much as I can based on that, because, you know, I want a good investment of my time. But there was no time even to go for a walk. It was insane.
Devin Parr 23:19
Yeah, I will never forget a press trip I did through all of Spain. And it was one of my favourite press trips of all time. But I remember staying out one night until five in the morning for those like you had to have the gin and tonics from this place, and after dinner and, and then the next morning, we were scheduled at a cooperage for like seven in the morning or eight in the morning, and it’s like, if for anyone who doesn’t know what that is, like, we listened to hammering and sawing of barrel making and everybody was hung over. Kill me now. But you know, in the same way that I do my virtual tastings, I love seeing people, like regions and wine regions. So the tourism side and the wine side coming together to create an itinerary that incorporates elements of other things like wellness, you know, like let’s schedule in yoga, or a spa treatment or a walk or whatever it is, so that people don’t feel quite as assaulted to your point by the barrage of wine and barrel making.
Natalie MacLean 24:22
Absolutely, because stories can be written about visiting the region. And that’s not going to be just drinking or eating. It’s going to include those other activities because everybody wants that sort of full experience of a region.
Devin Parr 24:34
Well, I always say we don’t drink wine in a vacuum. Wine is part of our broader lifestyle. We drink it while consuming entertainment or you know, wellness or business or whatever it is. It’s cooking, it’s part of something bigger.
Natalie MacLean 24:48
Absolutely. I love that. The wine industry of course, and maybe more largely than that, the beverage alcohol. You’re selling a product that is alcohol so of course you’re going to meet and try the product, but why do you think it has gone to this excess? Is it because the wine industry or the beverage industry attracts people who want to drink to excess? or Why do you think it’s become the norm to go to those extremes to do business?
Devin Parr 25:15
I think it sort of represents; and again, it’s that symptom of the bigger problem; it represents an old school view. So if anyone’s ever watched Mad Men, you know, everyone’s having cocktails at 11, it is a very male dominated culture and they’re pouring the scotch, you know, to have a meeting at 10am. And I think the wine industry is traditionally male dominated. It’s changing now, but it has been. And there was this old school notion of this is how we do business. Man, when I was a sales rep in New York, that was how we did business. I think it’s changing. And there is a movement to introduce more moderation in a more feminine way, for lack of a better way of putting it. If anyone’s familiar with A Balanced Glass (https://abalancedglass.com), it’s a community to talk wellness in the drinks business. And, and so I’m thrilled to see that movement happening. But I think it does tie back to just the old school way of doing business. And that doesn’t just apply to wine. I think it applies to business in general. And in a traditionally male dominated industry that was it. And you’re sort of expected to keep up in particular, as a woman, who’s trying to prove herself
Natalie MacLean 26:27
Right, you don’t need to have another hurdle, as you said, in making your gender more pronounced, that you can’t keep up with the boys, as you say. But again, you get those two extremes. So you’ve got this old way of doing business. And yet, the flip side, sort of the puritanical side of even the wine industry came out, at least for me, when you know what my first book was called Red, White and Drunk All Over. But it was a poke at trying to be irreverent about wine, but also, I went to many regions, like tasting and drinking wine. So that was the title. But there was a backlash against the title saying you shouldn’t be promoting this. And, you know, I wasn’t trying to promote immoderation, but there was almost a puritanical reaction from the wine industry itself about that title. And yet you have the excesses, these two extremes, again, that you talk about in some of your pieces. It’s interesting why more of it can’t come to a centre of moderation and mindful drinking and whatever. But maybe that’s hope for the future.
Devin Parr 27:32
Look at all the rules and regulations in the US wine industry that are a result of prohibition. Right?
Natalie MacLean 27:38
That’s true, we’re still living with that. What do you think about all the wine memes? The wine mom memes I should say, like, the mommy juice, referring to wine and things like that. What’s your take on that?
Devin Parr 27:51
I’m fine with it. And I live for memes. And sometimes I communicate with my husband like only in memes. I’m fine with it. What I don’t like is the backlash against those memes. Because I’m a mom of two little boys and I drink wine. And I’m not a train wreck. I get up and do my job. I don’t need it to live and get through the day. And but you know what, I do get through a lot of incidents with my kids by like, Oh my god, someone pour me a glass. So I sort of take offence to it being used as a pejorative, I guess, because I’m a mom and I drink wine and I get overwhelmed. And yeah, I need a drink sometimes to deal with it. But it doesn’t mean I’m a train wreck. And I think sometimes there is the implication that you’re a train wreck. If you’re sort of thought of as a wine mom, and it’s dismissive. But I think the memes are funny and kind of legit.
Natalie MacLean 28:45
Absolutely. I have forgotten to share photos. I want to do that. I know we’re heading into overtime here.
Devin Parr 28:53
I could talk wine all day. Yes, we just need a glass. It’s like crack of dawn here, but
Natalie MacLean 28:58
It’s right at 7:30am your time right now.
Devin Parr 29:00
I think it’s 530 somewhere, right?
Natalie MacLean 29:05
Its got to be. Can you see the picture now?
Devin Parr 29:07
Yeah, me in a tank.
Natalie MacLean 29:09
Where are you in this picture? Besides in a tank? Where are you?
Devin Parr 29:14
So one of my very favourite clients in the whole world is the region of Temecula Valley, Southern California Wine Country. And that photo was taken at Peltzer Winery in Temecula, where they had brought in some brand new tanks and I was like, I gotta get in this thing.
Natalie MacLean 29:29
Oh, good. I’m glad to hear it’s new because don’t people die of CO2 or something
Devin Parr 29:33
It had never been used. Yes. This was like, brand spanking new.
Natalie MacLean 29:36
I love that, guaranteed quality right above your head
Devin Parr 29:39
A little essence of Devon.
Natalie MacLean 29:41
There you go. I love your sense of humour. Here you’re tasting. Is this in Temecula or somewhere else?
Devin Parr 29:45
Yes, that is actually in Temecula at South Coast Winery. We were creating, Well, I wasn’t, but I was sort of getting to participate by tasting. We were creating a wine blend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the region. And so that was me tasting one of the components there?
Natalie MacLean 30:01
Where is Temecula? Like can you situate it? We all know where San Francisco is Napa and Sonoma north. I assume you’re going south, but kind of where is it?
Devin Parr 30:10
So Temecula Valley is about an hour outside of San Diego, north east. It’s in Riverside County, but it is within a one to two hour drive of literally every major Southern California city, so like an hour from Orange County, hour from San Diego, hour from Palm Springs, two hours from LA. So it’s a great region.
Natalie MacLean 30:28
And do they specialise kind of in the same grapes like Syrah, Cabernet, Chardonnay that are sort of well known in warmer regions of California?
Devin Parr 30:38
Yeah, it’s a Mediterranean climate that’s moderated by the Pacific Ocean through this big gap in the mountains. So it actually gets quite cold at night and in the mornings and in the afternoons. I mean, they do a lot of great Mediterranean varieties. Syrah, Sangiovese, Barbera, Vermentino, Grenache
Natalie MacLean 30:53
Oh, well, lots of Italian too. Okay, this is your wine tasting, I assume.
Unknown Speaker 30:58
I think that’s me at SommCon. Doing a seminar there. All right. Cool.
Natalie MacLean 31:05
All right. Cool. And is this a pairing? Oh, its the San Diego Wine and Food Festival so you’re pairing guacamole? Dimsum?
Devin Parr 31:15
That was just yeah, that was my Temecula crew at the San Diego Bay Wine and Food festival; I’ve been with those gals forever. Having some fun,
Natalie MacLean 31:24
Fun. Do you have a favourite pairing tip for guac or dimsum? Or thyme?
Devin Parr 31:28
Oh, goodness. Well, you know, I always love the aromatic whites for sort of spicy Asian and exotic cuisine. Guac, you know what, I’m not gonna lie. I’m going to crack a Corona, or a beer of some sort. Like, I just have to. Thyme, you know, those herbs I love like an earthy red. Something like a Rhône blend or like a poopy Gamay or something.
Natalie MacLean 31:53
Okay. love those descriptors and you’re into wellness. What are you doing here? kickboxing?
Devin Parr 32:00
This is so bizarre, but at the tender age of 40. So I think last year, I took up karate. I’ve always had the secret desire to be a ninja, like it really is. It’s bad. There it is. Yes. That’s my husband, my kids.
Natalie MacLean 32:17
Devin Parr 32:18
And my oldest son started taking karate and I watched, I was like, You know what, I’m going to do this. And yeah, working toward that black belt.
Natalie MacLean 32:26
Your kids are adorable. There they are. Oh, my gosh. You’re working toward a black belt? Well, and look at them. They’re into it too. Green belt. Where’s that? Midway through?
Devin Parr 32:37
So that last one was a blue-white belt? It’s getting there.
Natalie MacLean 32:43
Devin Parr 32:44
A couple more years.
Natalie MacLean 32:46
Oh that’s great. Are you a runner as well?
Devin Parr 32:48
I try to do it all. I mean, I don’t do it all well, but I think it’s my way of sort of balancing my food and wine lifestyle that I feel a lot better about that glass of wine if I get out and move my body and it helps with my anxiety and I sleep better. So yeah, that was me after a run. My husband is like an incredible competitive runner and does ultra marathons and marathons. So, you know, I don’t necessarily keep up. have you guys ever done the May doc marathon
Natalie MacLean 33:14
Have you guys ever done the Médoc marathon in Bordeaux?
Devin Parr 33:15
No, but that sounds amazing, if I didn’t have to actually run the marathon.
Natalie MacLean 33:19
Exactly. You get to run through, I don’t know 23 of the greatest Châteaux and they have wines out at the stations as the runners go by, you can partake. So it’s pretty amazing. Yeah,
Devin Parr 33:30
I’d finish 10 hours later,
Natalie MacLean 33:33
Staggering across the finish line. I love this photo. And that’s one of your sons obviously.
Devin Parr 33:39
Yes, that is at an airport lounge. I literally like cannot fly without having a glass ,whether it’s six in the morning or 10 o’clock at night. So he was photobombing me as I was enjoying the joys of travelling with small children.
Natalie MacLean 33:57
And speaking of that, is this him?
Devin Parr 34:00
No, that’s my youngest son when he was just born. So he’s five now, but you know, living the vineyard life. That was at Robert Renzoni vineyards and I took him out and he was not thrilled but I was; apparently I thought it was funny.
Natalie MacLean 34:15
That’s so sweet. Oh my goodness. And what is this? Are you a baker?
Devin Parr 34:18
That is me in my house in Italy, I don’t have a house in Italy, but when I lived there I was renting a place, making pasta from scratch.
Natalie MacLean 34:26
Devin Parr 34:27
Look at my brown hair.
Natalie MacLean 34:30
That’s great. Very authentic. Is that in Italy?
Devin Parr 34:34
No that’s my mom; met me at the Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, taking a cooking class together. So that’s one of my biggest passions: cooking. And you know that kind of goes hand in hand with wine but
Natalie MacLean 34:45
Devin Parr 34:47
And so does she; she’s incredible.
Natalie MacLean 34:49
Fantastic. And this must be at a wine show with Temecula wines.
Devin Parr 34:54
Yeah, that was that a Wine Spectator event and I was spreading the Temecula Valley gospel
Natalie MacLean 35:01
Devin Parr 35:02
Natalie MacLean 35:02
Those are great Devin, really great. We’re going to wrap up because this has been a fantastic, thank you.
Devin Parr 35:09
Natalie MacLean 35:10
Absolutely. Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention before I get to where we can find you online?
Devin Parr 35:18
Oh, my gosh, um, I would love to see anybody join me for virtual tastings, of course. And I think, you know, not to shameless plug, but I work with some cool brands doing them. And we always try to incorporate an element of lifestyle. So I’ve got one coming up. I’m working with two gals from the Toronto Symphony, and they’re doing a performance and we’re pairing wines with the classical music. We’re bringing in chefs and they’re really fun, and like I said, I’m a big believer that wine is part of a broader lifestyle. And I think everything I do tries to live up to that.
Natalie MacLean 35:50
Great idea. So where can we find you online?
Devin Parr 35:53
My website is Devinparr.com. And on Instagram, I’m @thesocalwinegal. Those are the places I live.
Natalie MacLean 36:06
Awesome. And just a reminder to everyone watching or listening. Devin has generously offered two tickets, premium tickets to one of her virtual tastings. And all you have to do is pick your social media platform of choice and post about a wine. Tag me so I make sure to get you into that contest. Thank you, Devin. Thank you for that. And for this wonderful conversation. This has been absolutely terrific.
Devin Parr 36:30
So fine, like I said I could sit here all day. This is great. Thanks so much, Natalie. I really appreciate it. Great way to start my day.
Natalie MacLean 36:40
Absolutely. Take care. Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed part two of my chat with Devin par. Here are my takeaways.
Number one, I agree with Devin that an influencer is anyone who actually influences opinion on wine, not just those with official certifications. I believe too, there’s a role for many voices, particularly in the wine industry where we need them
Two, She makes a great point; we don’t drink wine in a vacuum. Wine is part of our broader lifestyle. I just wish more media trips would incorporate that. That’s why I stopped going on them altogether.
And three, yes, there have been times when I know I’ve consumed too much wine. Usually this has been at home rather than at an industry event, thank goodness. But I think it’s something the wine industry needs to address more openly and talk about, as do we all, if we love wine and want to keep it as part of our lives.
Just a reminder that you can win one of two tickets to an exclusive virtual wine tasting led by Devon, and that includes two bottles of premium wines that will be shipped directly to your home. All you have to do is comment on the social media posts that I created about the contest before 7pm tonight (May 5, 2021). I’ll select a winner randomly from those of you who participate and you get a bonus entry for every wine loving friend you tag or if you reshare, the post in your stories. In the show notes you’ll find a link to these posts, the full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, and where you can find me on Zoom, Insta, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm including tonight. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/127. You won’t want to miss next week when Ron Hunt, host of the All About Wine podcast, interviews me. Ron is a winemaker, cellarmaster, vineyardist and tasting expert. I absolutely loved chatting with him about my experiences in the wine industry. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 25 go back and take a listen. Wine expert and yoga master Morgan Perry and I chat about pairing wine and yoga. Go figure. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
Unknown Speaker 39:09
Because I come from a wine marketing background and also my personal beliefs are really to be socially responsible. That comes first before everything. So we actually don’t drink any wine during the yoga class. We just drink at the end. But we are learning about the wine during the class. So how it works is a 45 minute flow. I will teach you maybe 20 wine facts. So I actually taught at a vineyard today. And we went through class to learn about Chardonnay. I gave them about 20 facts about Chardonnay and they’re holding poses that are kind of easy to pose. So if you’re a yogi, you’ll know where to chair pose, you may argue with me about if that one’s easy to hold, downward facing dog. Sometimes I have them in child’s pose if I’m talking a little bit longer. So those kinds of poses where I can give you a quick fact. And then we move through a vinyasa so that we keep their bodies moving, but then they’ll pause for a fact.
Natalie MacLean 40:08
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the tips that Devin shared. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week.
Natalie MacLean 40:29
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