Our guest this evening is a former university professor of literature with a Ph.D. in linguistical philology, and a respected scholar of Shakespeare and Chaucer.
He is also a Certified Wine Educator and has taught wine classes at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Delaware, Drexel University, and Rutgers University.
He’s also the author of eight books, including his most recent, “Wine: The Source of Civilization” and he joins me live, now, from his home, just south of Atlantic City in New Jersey: Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club John Mahoney!
What drew you to this story in the first place? Where were you? Why were you intrigued?
What did you do next?
Tell us in a nutshell what this book is about?
What was the most surprising insight you discovered while writing this book?
What’s the most interesting thing that someone has said about your book?
What advice would you give to your 30-year-old self?
What’s the best piece of wine advice you’ve ever received?
What is the worst advice people get about wine, other than the usual such as needing to be an expert to appreciate wine or there’s a perfect pairing for every wine and dish?
What was something you were wrong about as it relates to making wine?
Which winemaker do you admire most in the world? Why specifically other than he or she makes great wines, is attentive to terroir etc?
What’s the most useful wine gadget you’ve come across? How did you discover it?
If you could share a bottle of wine with any person, living or dead, who would that be? What would you ask them?
Please give our viewers one wine tip that they can try this week to increase their wine savvy.
Where can people buy your book?
How can people best get in touch with you or find you online?
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Wine: The Source of Civilization
Man did not settle from nomadic travels to build cities and civilization, and then develop wine. Mankind stumbled onto wine by accidentally tasting naturally fermented grapes, and then changed from being hunters and gathers into farmers and ranchers so he could grow, produce, and enjoy wine whenever he wanted it. It was wine that was the catalyst that created civilization.
What people are saying…
“Nothing evokes spirituality, history and commensality better than wine, and no one tells the tale of this substance better than John Mahoney. From the tablets of Gilgamesh to the tables of modern China, Mahoney knits and weaves historical context with sensory engagement. He not only provides the nuances to thoughtful understanding, he clearly demonstrates wine’s connection to the fundamentals of social life. An essential read!” — Charles Feldman, Ph.D., Fulbright Scholar, Montclair State University.
Another classic Mahoney effort, painting a convincing picture of the importance of wine in human social development, using a creative and entertaining blend of history, philosophy, theology and viticulture. It will incite thought and debate for years to come! — Joseph A. Fiola, Ph.D., University of Maryland This new thesis by the ever productive John J. Mahoney sheds new light on the role of wine in civilization. For the lovers of this historic liquid, this book is a journey into where the passion of wine began and how we all got to where we are now. — Gary Pavlis, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Wine for Intellectuals
A Coarse Guide into the World of Wine for Intelligent People
Bright people want to expand their lifestyles by adding wine to their cultural activities. Wine for Intellectuals answers that need. This book reveals how simple matching wine to food can be. It explains how to get good value wines and teaches that intelligent wine drinkers are more concerned with what’s in the bottle than paying outrageous prices for famous labels. Learn how to read wine labels, what wines to cellar, the differences between Old World vs. New World styles, how to handle sparkling wines and the essence of terroir.
Wine for Intellectuals is the most complementary gift you can give to anyone who wants to live healthier and better, and even provides a chapter of conversation starters. This is a must read for every wine lover. It’s a book that you’ll be proud to be seen holding.
What people are saying…
“John Mahoney’s Wine for Intellectuals is an essential read that follows the philosophy that wine has only one purpose: to give pleasure! Mahoney’s wit and wisdom come through on every informative and fascinating page.”
Sharron McCarthy, Banfi Vintners
“This book captures what it’s like to sit next to John Mahoney and talk about wine in all its complexities from the dirt to the delight.”
The people I took to Greece for the Dionysian below the Parthenon.
John J. Mahoney is a Certified Wine Educator and a Literature Professor. He is Chancellor of the Dionysian Society International, a member of the American Wine Society, a Chevalerie du Verre Galant (Knights of Cognac), President of New Jersey Club Zinfandel, Director of the Tri-State Wine College, and the voice of “Weekend Wine Tips.” A respected scholar of Shakespeare and Chaucer, he uses classic educational techniques when teaching about wine. He hosts corporate wine seminars, and is presently the World Ambassador for the Grand Vin wine glass series for Chef & Sommelier.
Former Professor of English Literature and Language: B.A., M.A., Ph.D., (Linguistical Philology) and a C.W.E., i.e., International Certified Wine Educator (40 years wine teaching experience) (46 years of in-class educational experience)
St. Augustine Prep, Richland, NJ 1968-1974 and 2000-2014
Vineland High School 1974-2000
Cumberland County College 10 years – 1980’s into 90’s
Stockton State College 1 year
Montclair State University 2015
Stockton University “Wine Fundamentals” 2017
*President of “Promotional Wine Consultants,” a national teaching/research company for wine merchants and restaurants (PWC)
*Voice of the “Weekend Wine Tips” on NJ radio stations. Broadcast covering three states: 1995 to present (17 years)
*Director of the Tri-State Wine College. Taught wine classes for 38 years.
*Chancellor of the Dionysian Society, International, Director of New Jersey Club Zinfandel, and a member of the American Wine Society, and the international, Society of Wine Educators.
Holds the prestigious certification of CWE (Certified Wine Educator) issued through the Society of Wine Educators : Was the 16th person in the world to earn it.
Has Written Wine Articles: for the Restaurant Magazine, Women’s Journal, Atlantic City Weekly, Dark Horse Magazine, Lifestyles Magazine and internationally, for The Epoch Times of New York, and many more…
*A Chavalerie du Verre Galant, i.e., the Cognac Knighthood in France.
Television: on NBC with Wine & Food Lifestyle Ads and on the Hitzel a la Carte
TV wine spots. NBC 40 Restaurant and wine shop commercials – 5 years
New web site: johnjmahoney.com to learn about cellaring wine.
Ambassador for the Grand Vin series of Wine Glasses from Chef & Sommelier USA, China, Russia, France and Dubai
*Corporate wine seminars all over America and reviews about 2,500 wines a year.
A Wine judge for several state and regional competitions.
Wine spokesman for Special Wine Events at the Hilton Casino and Resorts International Casino (Atlantic City) and other nationwide restaurants
Confrerie de La Chaine Rotisseurs and L’Order Mondial
Former Sales Representative for Maximum Distributors and International Wines and Spirits
Head of reviewing committee for “John Mahoney Selections” for Vandrea Wines: Importers & Distributors.
Author of four books of Poetry and Essays: Wine of the Muse, Summer Tides and Cinnamon Thyme, Symphony of Season, The Year.
Author of Every Bottle Has A Story, 2012; a collection of Short Stories all using wine as a key element in the plots with each in a different author’s style like Hemmingway or O. Henry.
Recently published, Mystic Isle, 2014; another collection of Short Stories based on the types of people I learned from when learning to be a stonemason during the 1960’s.
A current wine book called: Wine for Intellectuals, 2017 Released: Jan. 2017.
Newest wine book is: Wine: The Source of Civilization Release: August 1, 2018
Taught wine classes for the University of Pennsylvania, University of Delaware, Drexel University, and lectured for the wine course at Rutgers University and did the three-credit Sommelier Course at Montclair State University, NJ. Most recently taught the first wine course ever at Stockton University, Atlantic County, NJ
Natalie: 00:00 All right folks, now I usually start with some questions to
intrigue you, but tonight I am going to read some quotes that
have been written about our guests books,
Natalie: 01:18 So here we go. Just to let you know, kind of the the interesting
debate and discussion we’re going to have tonight, nothing
evokes spirituality, history, and dining together better than wine
and no one tells the tale of this substance better than John
Mahoney from the tablets of Gilgamesh to the tables of modern
China. Mahoney weaves together a historical context with
sensory engagement. He not only provides the nuances to
thoughtful understanding, he clearly demonstrates a wines
connection to the fundamentals of social life. It is an essential
Natalie: 02:25 All right, so our guest this evening, uh, let me tell you about
him. So impressive. He’s a former university professor of
literature with a Ph.D. in linguistics, linguistical philology and uh,
he is a respected scholar of Shakespeare and Chaucer. He’s also a
certified wine educator and has brought our, has taught wine
classes at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of
Delaware, Drexel University, and Rutgers University. He’s also
the author of eight books, including his most recent just
launched this month, a wine, the source of civilization, and joins
me live now from his home in just south of Atlantic City in New
Jersey. Welcome to the Sunday separate club. John Mahoney.
John: 03:39 Hello Natalie. Welcome. I’m very happy to be here with you.
Natalie: 03:42 Oh, this is terrific. I am so looking forward to our chat here,
John: 03:48 your weather’s been so fine because South Jersey is at this time
of year is filled with our Canadian friends and I just heard a
couple of them talking the other night about how nice it was
back home, but it’s been I’m thinking 92. We spent over
Natalie: 05:10 sort of what led you to this story. Now your book is wine, the
source of civilization. There it is. What got you started on that
track? You’ve written eight books, but what triggered the idea
for you for this book?
John: 05:23 Well, a book is currently out is called wine for intellectuals,
which is a fun book because you’re not supposed to be a genius.
People have been intimidated to pick it up, Natalie, but you’re
supposed to say I just got into wine and I want to learn all I can
as quickly as I can. So it’s written like a conversation over the dinner
table, right? And the idea that you could start with no
knowledge about wine but slowly move into the top 20 or even
15 percent of knowledgeable wine people throughout the
world. And at the end of each chapter, it kind of summarizes
with literal notes saying what you should, what you should
really know to enhance your life. That’s all it comes about. You
know, not to be pretentious, you know, a good book of mine, I
want to actually plug it right now.
John: 06:04 A friend of mine has written ed mccarthy wrote wine for
dummies, but you know, if you’re sitting on a jersey beaches or
the shore during the summer or riding in a subway or on a bus,
if you feel more comfortable holding a book, this wine for
intellectual than wine for dummies. So I’ve heard that from so
many people instead. I like both books, John, but I like to be
seen holding yours. So maybe they put his inside of yours and
sometimes they’ve done that. They’ve read them both and they
looked for cross references and people that read this. Um,
that’s how I actually came about. Some former students, young
people. I’m so pleased that young people were getting into wine
away from the traditional shot and beer mentality that we think
about doing it at the, of the college age students. Now I’m
beginning to ask me questions about, well where did this come
John: 06:46 Who was the first person that made wine? So it was students
questions that maybe begin researching it and as they start to
research and I found out that I was taught that civilization had
established itself, you know from saying Babylon or Egypt. We go
back to the time of Christ, that’s 2000 years. Everything else is
bc and everybody thought don’t wine was 3000. Then they said,
well no, it’s probably 4 or 5,000 years old, but two places
established that that was incorrect. The University of Toronto
and the University of Pennsylvania and this, you know, in one of
the Ivy League schools in the states, both of them did research
and found out that it’s well over three, four, 5,000 years old.
They’d proven and actually have done scientific testing to prove
that wine production is probably seven and a half to 8,000 years
old. Wow. My research took it further and I’m saying that we
started with wine right after the last ice age.
Natalie: 07:43 Wow, okay. We are going to get to that because that is an
intriguing question and I know everyone is enjoying this already,
John, so I’m just going to take a moment to encourage people to
share the video and let others know this is going to be a
fascinating discussion and even better let them know why we’re
talking about wine right to its roots. So why would they want to
join us here tonight? Um, and as you know, at the end of every
conversation I draw for a winner from our previous
conversation. So you’re going to find out tonight at the end of
this chat who is winning that really cute yoga top. We talked
about what wine and yoga last week and at the end of next
week’s conversation will be drawing for a signed copy of John’s
book. So that will be something amazing if you’re sharing and
commenting on this one. And one other thing to keep in mind, if
you want to take this a step further, I do offer a free online
video class. Just go to nataliemaclean.com/pro. And I will teach
you how to taste like a pro and also how to pair wine and food.
That’s an important part. All right John. So to the ice age now
into the ice
John: 08:56 wine or they a chilled wine. Tell us how did you make the
connection about wine? Just a being discovered or first day. Just
after the ice age out. Being ignorant. I know that’s the first thing
you have to face up to it. And if you never faced up to that, you
never learn anything. My Dad, God bless him, was born and
born in Ireland. I’m first generation, American men. When you’re
dealing with so many people from Canada. I always hate to say
American because we are all Americans. North Americans,
aren’t we? I’m just like, before when you did, you know, Celsius.
I really wish there are only three countries left that are still on the
Fahrenheit aspect. And when I’m traveling somewhere, I
really wish this country, which would switch over to it. We tried
it a backdoor in Jimmy Carter’s era, but there was a lot of
reluctance to it.
John: 09:41 So I use a little poem for all when I’m, wherever I’m traveling
with friends and teach me about wine and stuff and I always tell
them, I say, I don’t know, I don’t understand the numbers. Was
it 90 today or something? They said it was 15 or it’s going to be
30. And I said simple 30’s, hot 20’s. Nice. and 10 is cold Zero was
ice. Yeah. And you can fit them right in, you know. And I actually
did it when I was down South Africa last year and so when I’m
traveling I do that on that. And what I found was having been
ignorant about a lot of things, open your mind, you tend to
listen a little more. Um, my son and I were in Africa and going,
we did a lot of stuff in Egypt and then we went to Kenya and
Tanzania and I stumbled onto something really fascinating.
John: 10:26 neither are big wine producing countries, but they do produce
wine in both Kenya and Tanzania that we never get the
opportunity to taste and they really weren’t bad. But we were
right on the equator in Kenya. And I was talking to one of the
Masai, you want a young Masai and these. I said he was talking
about how the vines had helped him as he was growing up
learning about directions. And I said, I’m completely lost at this.
I’ve never heard of this before. You know, he said, oh no, you
know, you said like the Karelia effect about water and Canada
and the stage if you flush a toilet or pull the plug from a sink
how runs clockwise. But if you’re in Australia or South Africa,
the water runs counterclockwise. I said I’m very familiar with
that. And he says it has to do with the fluids.
John: 11:10 And I said, yes, but how does that make you find your way
home? He said, we would go out and find wild grapevines and
if they’re curving in one direction, we know we’re north of the
equator and if they’re curving in the opposite direction. And so
ever since I came back, I was doing some research in Chile and
Argentina last year and I watched the way the tentacles in the
vines grew around the wires. And I mentioned this to their
viniculture and he said, I’ve never paid attention to that. And
one of them actually works in Sonoma County at the same time.
You would do one season in North American and one season to
South America. And I said, yeah, because everything that has to
do with fluids direction, go curl, curl it. I found that really
fascinating. And in that beginning to open up all kinds of things
like, you know, yeah man, first drank wine with why and then I,
then you find the legends,
Natalie: 12:01 right? You’re right. Absolutely. Absolutely. And let me take a
moment just to welcome, Lee has joined us. And, so is Alex
Cameron. Hello? Alan was was ice wine the first one. Good joke.
The joke. Elaine Bruce says, great topic. Can’t wait to hear Dr.
Mahoney’s point of view on everything online. She’s from
Calgary by the way. So. Okay. So you discovered that and what
was your next step in writing this book? You, you figured out
the association or the close proximity? The Ice Age and. Yep.
John: 12:39 A lot of my friends were all taught the same thing I was at wine
became a product of the civilization. We know their stories and
amongst in the middle ages, we know the Romans. I mean if you
actually got into viniculture and you started doing research, it’s
always curious about where did it start and then the first things
I found were legends and tales that came through teaching. You
know when you’re. When you’re teaching Beowulf and all in the
middle English or old, that’s an old English, actually. So when
you go back to Beowulf and then you find out, well that’s
nowhere near as old as in, you know, the Babylonian legends
which came from the Canaanites and the Hittites and they all
had stories about wine, but the Persians had stories about how
it was always accidentally found. They talked about a legend of
gem set who was a maiden who was so distraught with your
light that she’s started fermenting.
John: 13:29 These grapes are fermenting there and she thought they were
poisoned. That’s one of the original legends and she just drank it
to end her life and slept like a baby and he woke up refreshed
the next morning and all the rest of the court had found out
about it and they found out that this, the natural yeast on
grapes will ferment wine no matter how mediocre it is, but it
will turn grape juice into alcoholic wine. Right. You know, so, I
assume then that she, our ancestors must have found that even
earlier. So I started talking to many of my professor friends
about the economy and they said, no, no, no. Civilizations
develop and the rewards and Bronze Age came along after
the Stone Age. And then the wine was there. And I, I said to him, no, I
think it was just the other way around. We were happy being
hunter gatherers, right?
John: 14:17 Especially from the man’s point of view, a male point of view.
We went fishing and hunting every day. No women could care
to children and cleaned the cave, lit the fires, did all that fun
stuff. And then we stumbled on probably in a crevice in rock
somewhere where grapes had fallen naturally fermented and
out of thirst or just out of curiosity and they tried it. And my
assumption is that that had to happen right after the last ice age
because vines were prolific all over North America. And we
know. Talk about Leif Erikson mean the first of all, first one
again here and calling the area middleman. No. Yeah, that was,
you know, almost 500 years before Columbus. And so the, the
early hunter gatherers became so fascinated with this that it
forced them to say if we want to keep doing this. And they
learned very quickly that when the grapes were harvested and
then crushed the naturally.
John: 15:08 Well they didn’t know about yeast, but they knew that it would
naturally metamorphose into this liquid that had more of a kick
and it would give them spiritual inclinations and, and the all
relaxed more and you know, and they came in just at probably
at the same time that music was being involved. I just did some
research on these mammoth flutes they found in German caves.
There were 35,000 years old music, had an initiate very, very
early to, well couple that together with wine and you just got
getting people to say I’m tired of roaming and following the
bison, if we stay right here, we can plant grape vines. As soon as
that happened, you know, Natalie, then now had something to
trade. So the neanderthals for beginning to fade out,
chromagnums We’re taking over and remember the
neanderthals, we’re tool users, but they did not modify stones.
John: 15:59 All the research seemed to show that they use tools, unlike
most of the other animals, but they’d never changed them. Only
our incromega ancestors modified or split their stone or split
the flint and made a sharper knife and did things with it. And
now they had to go get other things leading into the bronze age.
So they had a commodity, whichever, a little tribe, whichever
little community had fermented wine, had something to trade
to get the things they need it. It’s commerce began to become
very, very rapid know because they had a commodity. People
Natalie: 16:31 Yeah, absolutely. And so what happened after that? What, what
was the next step in your, as you were researching this book,
kind of that triggered the idea and it all makes sense as a thesis.
So how did you expand on that? Where, where did you go next
John: 16:46 I put it together chronologically and then I everything I’ve found
trace back to the Black Sea in the Caucasus mountains and I
said, well, what? During Marco Polos time they always had
these in western Turkey all the way down to the Middle East
heading towards India in China. And I found, I thought you
started finding pieces of literature and most literature is based
on some of you that actually happen. You know what most of
the Christian is read. The Old Testament Christians would use it
or read the Old Testament about Noah and Noah landed his ark
on a mountain top, which today is north central Turkey, right.
Any. And it says an one first thing he did with the Atlanta was
playing the vineyard and I thought, gee, that’s fascinating
because why would they go? What, what wouldn’t you
mention? Anything else about building a house you’re doing,
doing something else.
John: 17:35 Why? Why did he pick that? And over the years I have found
that almost all literature, all these tales are all based on
something that actually happened. You’re probably wasn’t
enormous flood because as you get into literature you find not
only the the Jews had the tails and flood, but they pick that
story up when they were captives in Babylonia. The Babylonian
has had that tail at least a thousand years before Judaism
moved back towards Palestine area and they began to tie it
together. That’s where they also brought back story in the book
of job entails and different, different ideas. So much of our
western, modern, New Testament is basic. Basically a
fundamental to the Greek diner. Easiest, you know, coming in
the mother’s son, the idea that rejuvenation idea. So I actually
do a whole chapter on wine and theology. Not to make anybody
devoid of any theology, but just saying the stories that they use
to help you understand in theology. Go Way, way back.
John: 18:37 Then I began to visit these areas and I visited Bulgaria and
Romania about six years ago. I talked about wine and working
for doing and surprisingly everybody on the western shores of
Bulgaria said no, they were well aware of the fact that their
ancestors had brought it from the eastern shore. So I had to go
to the Republican Georgia, right. And that whole area. And then
doing more research. Armenia in eastern Georgia was called
and totally. And you find this in the ancient writing even defend
in the phoenicians who came before the Greeks referred to that
as the ancient ancient times. Right? But they’re all made
references to carrying wine. So the finish has been the first ones
to carry the grape vines all the way around. So I’m saying to
myself, so 5,000 years ago, 3000 BC, I said they were all wine
was a major commodity and luckily they carried it in clay and
flora. So, and that’s,
Natalie: 19:37 Georgia is famous for it and it’s kind of their resurgence now.
These orange wines and natural wines, the actual clay,
John: 19:48 and they haven’t, that had ended. I tasted them, you know, ,
you know, I like history and awful lot, but theI’m not a big fan of
the orange wine because it’s white. White juice should be
extracted. We moved from the waste and in my own opinion,
but other people tend to like that. And I, I accept everybody’s
opinion because I always felt that there’s wine for every
purpose. I’m drinking are Rose while we’re talking with you, but
because you’re such a special wine person,
Natalie: 20:15 North America, I’ve opened a little bottle of bubbly to celebrate
South African, little South Africa. Nice. And we’ve got pictures
were showing pictures as we talk of you in South Africa as well.
So John, I’m just going to take a moment and encourage people,
if they’re enjoying this conversation, to share this video with
your friends, family, other wine lovers, and tell them why they
might be interested in this. Even if this is after the fact and
you’re watching the video replay, please do share because we
won’t draw until next week for a signed copy of John’s latest
book, wine, a source of civilization. All right. So, tell us about
some other chapters in the book, John. Like what else are you
exploring? There’s just so many stories in this. It’s so rich to
unpack. What else surprised you? What was kind of the most
surprising thing you learned in
John: 21:09 almost everything? Almost everything. Natalie, because you
come in, but I really, really the most important thing that
surprised me was there’s no doubt in my mind to the University
of Toronto and University of Pennsylvania being able to do a lot
of spectrograph and, and a lot of actual archeological scientific
research and documentation of dating the great pits. So they
found in these first little communities, remember that you were
hunter gatherers. We come out of the case and we stopped
following. We build little wooden huts. No, we started growing
stuff. So we planted grapevines at the same time. You could
plant maize and other things too. And now we had a better food
supply, which means the population increase. So it goes from a
little, a little cluster of hops into a small village. A village grows
into a city. I was surprised to find out the first day he was
actually in Turkey, you know, could tell who yak.
John: 22:03 I found so many languages, so many words that he couldn’t find
it and it’s amazing how some of them were, are transferrable
back through different languages so that for city are they
referred to it because and the Babylonians all referred to this
ancient city. And then that ancient city, they became
prosperous because they were able. And then we’re going,
we’re leaving to stone age now and going into the bronze age.
And they knew that the first few things they made with copper
worked even some of the copper containers, but they began to
ferment or wine with. But the minute they mixed it with tin, it
can have bronze. Oh No. That was the advent of the bronze age.
But that meant, you know, it was bronze. I found in, in Cyprus it
was bronze that I found in England, surprisingly, which means
these ancient people had the trait, something to get their 10 to
mix with their copper to make bronze.
John: 22:57 And I’m talking about these ancient civilizations talking about
what they thought were ancient civilizations, but a simple enter
into your question, what, that they went through all this. I said
really at the end of the last ice age from 25,000 years ago to
just, you know, from, from 30,000 years ago to about 15,000.
Then it slowed slowly warmed again. So we came out of the
cave is 10,000 years ago and I said 10,000 years ago seems so
long. But I came to the conclusion the, our whole time span, our
connection back to the Roman empire is just a nanosecond time
of existence of mankind and things keep changing so rapidly. I
know that my grandchildren are always, they just take all this
high tech stuff for granted. Right, right. You know, we’re in,
there’s words. I was just talking to some students two years ago
and then none of them had ever seen a typewriter,
John: 23:50 Your college students. I’m talking about college students, and
they said, no, we just know we use a word processor on our, on
our computer. So I was thinking about all the things that
changed so quickly. How do you truly begin to get this? You
know, when the. Why did the Greeks Call Italy and it’ll take you
go lay in the flood it with vines because the Persians had taken
them there. So I’ve slowly become in the last year I said like my
book, wine, wine for intellectuals gives you the fundamentals
and you know, basic basic things that you really want to know
and hopefully to open your mind up and so wine, the source of
civilization is supposed to start some conversation, conversation
around a dinner table conversation at a dinner party. You get
some people together on a Saturday afternoon. I know
everybody watches your show.
John: 24:38 Always does little wine gatherings. Thank you. Call everybody
and say, okay, everybody bring a a Pinot noir. It can be from
east coast, west coast, or your, you know, everybody bring a
Merlot, a European or North American and we’ll do a little
comparison and contrast there, the way he learns things and I
said I wanted this book to have enough information so people
can say if wine was really this old or this great came from. Yeah,
from some place else. I just have so much that I want to learn
and like I got fascinated in the classroom teaching shakespeare.
I know that’s part of your background. And how did you segue
over from Shakespeare to wine? A wine lover and. Oh No. I
know. I drank simple vase of wine. I’d grab was the young guy in
construction. I drank beer like most young, 18, 20 year olds.
John: 25:29 And then the more students I had no more lecturing. I get on it.
Every time I would come across a character. So John Falstaff,
right? The fourth part. One or two night. we’ll have you have 20
students in hand. 20 hands go up dot. What’s that? Okay. Sac is
a nickname for Sherry. Why did he call it Jerry? Oh, okay. You
know, and I had to start looking at it as information up because I
wasn’t educated that we, North America tends to name wines
after the grapes, whereas Europe named them from the
location. Something as simple as that. Right now I would come
back and say, don’t be confused if it says Bordeaux. It comes
from Bordeaux. You don’t have to know it’s cab from Merlot,
Cabernet Sauvignon, you know, there’s actually six, seven,
right? But five. And it was, they know, some little information is
important, but it’s not what makes you fall in love with wine. It’s
the people to drink wine. So the object of wine to source of
civilization is people from all different fields, truck drivers and
brain surgeons to kind of read through it and say, where do I fit
into this? You know, enormous timespan that John Mahoney
says. It’s just a nanosecond, which makes her lace even seems
so much shorter. So we, we say don’t waste a single minute. I
Natalie: 26:44 or grabbed the bottle, not just the day, but the bottle. Alan
Cameron says, John, you’d be great as the head of the United
Nations bringing together people from all over the wine or all of
the world through wine. What a sweet man. Love your passion.
What is your favorite wine pairing with that bubble? You’re
John: 27:09 This is Simone Sig. from Helen Bosch, right? In South Africa.
Yeah. And I tend to store every meal with bubbles. I joke with
my wife and I told you prior to the show and we were just
casually talking about an or an anniversary coming up, you
know, and I, I live right relatively moderately. I never made a lot
of money and it was nice until my, my wife said I don’t care for
sparkling wine. In one day she drank some French champagne
and she said this is really nice and now for the last 20 years my
whole economic situation hasn’t been the plea that because my
wife fell in love with sparkling wines, especially champagne.
Natalie: 27:46 Right. But you’re still going to hold onto her because it’s been
50 years old.
John: 27:49 Yes. Yes. This coming week 19, we were married in 1968 and
her 10th anniversary of looking at. I started wine very early and
I was able to put them away. So good for you. Calling myself a
wine missionary and trying to not sell wine but to have people
enjoy wine because it’s tied in with music, art, literature. It’s, it’s
a, it’s a liquid that makes people be gregarious and that’s what
you want to do. I was fortunate enough to grab a bunch of
wines then. So as I said to you earlier, every year on our
anniversary, for the last 35 years, I’ve opened a bottle of wine
from the year we are married and ironically in whatever
restaurant or in a New Jersey has led a Byob, bring your own
bottle. And and even when I’ve gone to places that don’t, I
say this is an anniversary wine, they’ll, they’ll ignore or reduce
your corkage fee because because of custom, I mean they’d be
foolish not to. Right? Inevitably, Natalie, there’s always
somebody else in the restaurant. I’ll send the waitstaff around
and say, ask if anybody else was, was married in 1968. Half the
time we found people that were born in 96. So I set a glass over
and we’d hear something from their birth year. Supposed to do.
Natalie: 29:04 Absolutely. That is bringing people together that common
salady bringing people together through food and wine. I’m
least Deborah, Deborah from BC. Sorry. I’m tongue tripping
here. Who has joined us and says, I need this first book though
the wind for intellectuals. But you also need the second book.
Lee’s Elaine. Bruce says, awesome idea. I’m having a Pinot Noir
party tonight. And Elaine asks what variety was first? Was
identified first for wine.
John: 29:37 Okay, that’s, that’s really, really good. In My, in the second
chapter of this book, I go all the way back. There was a,
probably the most prominent writer and was columella. He was
one of the Roman writers or for famous writers that were
agricultural writers come. And Ella was so good about what,
what type of grapes should go and what soil, which one they
would let you throw up a tree, which one had to be on a steak
at his stuff came from bc area and his writings were used all the
way through the middle at matter of fact. And then the end of
the end of the Middle Ages, all his instructions on wine growing.
So the chapter starts in here when they first found the grape
vines and they, before they had developed Ventas Vinifera,
that’s the one had been, this is the genius. Vintage furniture is
the Chardonnay cabernet cab franc as a species that we tend to
like and Canada and the United States, even some parts of
Mexico have indigenous grapes are our southern states, have a
ventilator, rural conduct.
John: 30:36 We have a riparian which, which means along the riverbanks or
there’s a whole series of different names. Labrusca is the wild
tree growing one. That’s like concord, Niagara, right? So they,
they just are, they’re okay for making wine, but you’re much
better for making jam. Whenever I drink a concord wine, I want
a peanut butter sandwich. I know right there, right? Because it
was because of Welch’s grape jam which started a 100, you
know, a quarter mile from where I’m living in the city. A city of
Vineland, New Jersey is where wealth is great. Actually first
began before they moved upstate New York by the Cinder lakes.
So in essence, I explained how they began to stumble along.
There’s two different species and what they found was there
like holly trees, they have to have a male and female plant. And
today, without getting too scientific into the whole thing, the
early, our early ancestors were able to cross and blend a lot of
these to develop Venice Vinifera.
John: 31:33 So, so some of them had certain names that you could trace
back, like there’s a great. That came from Lebanon. It probably
came from southern and Talia 6,000 years ago, a thousand
years ago. That, because that’s where the finishes were. There
was a great, they think ended up in Switzerland and is today the
modern finance rate making that one an LLC can probably trace
trebbiano back to that too from from Italy, so tracing them back
goes to the area, but it also mentions that Egyptians mentioned
vintage years in King Tut’s tomb. They had, they found
containers and four are labeled year four, five and nine, so
they’re not sure if it was. It had to do probably the adventures
were according to each pharaoh, so they would change
constantly, but the Egyptians have more and if you get into you
start getting into wine, you start looking into the Egyptian
writings. They provided more information and literally anybody
about growing, planting, storing. They were the first ones
because it was the Romans that learned from the Egyptians that
the wines age and a mellow out and they get and more
palatable. I had never known that before I had done this
research. I know I like older wines as I get older, you know, I
think we both really mellow.
Natalie: 32:51 That’s great. And speaking of that, John, what is the oldest wine
you’ve had or one of the older wines that you have lately?
John: 32:59 I have, I just had, this is a 1937. She had to overhaul. Wow.
Because a friend of mine was born in 37. I could never afford it.
Nowadays I was able to have it. But if you’re like Pinot Noir,
she’s doing pinot noir. Getting an award tonight in 1949 was a
spectacular year of French Burgundy. We had this as an old
space. The bone once we used to book from the, from the
hospital So this was purchased at auction auction? Yes. Yes, This
is Pinot noir that everybody’s trying to imitate. This is bottle
bottle number 81 out. Was surprised to find. So,
Natalie: 33:40 and this is just a segway that is natural. You have a special
gadget to open old bottles that might have a dried cork,
John: 33:47 right? I’m, I’m, you know, wine has so many gadgets and I
always tell people invest in bottles, investment bottles, not
devices, just just, uh, just, you have a decent corkscrew. But
because they have so many old ones, my wife for my birthday
last year, it got me this Doran a corkscrew and it’s really, it was
worth every penny even though, because I do, when I open old
bottles, the cork split, none of the average corkscrews or long
enough to go through old Barolo or Barbaresco or Bordeaux
quirks. Right? And this one separates and you screw in, you
screw into regular, like it would be a regular helix from a regular
corkscrew, but there’s no flames or handle the poured out.
Then you put the Osteo perpendicular to it because they can’t
push the court down. Amateur can slide this down. No trouble
at all. Even if the court is 50 or 60 years old. I opened a chateau
bowl about five months ago from 1900 and when we pulled the
cork up soon as me,the Osu off it was stolen this and we started
to slide it off and it just crumbled into 10,000 pieces in their
hand that we had this little device. I’ve found because if you’re,
if you’re going to have older ones, and even if you’d like young
fruity wines right now, the wind down from the year you were
married or from the date of your first children’s birthdays and
things like this.
Natalie: 35:14 Yeah, absolutely. See how they taste.
John: 35:16 Yeah, and I always tell people, you know, you don’t need a cold,
wet, dark cellar. And where I live in New Jersey, we’re always
highly humid. It, he made it a fly and most of us have sellers
because we’re in far enough from the coast. I built racks along
my northern wall because that was the one that suits the cooled
off the flowers in the summertime. I’ve had some friends who
build. I said, Oh, you should have built on the other side of your
basement because that side is surprisingly little cooler. Put your
oldest wines in the floor and they’re younger ones a little higher
because there’s a difference of seven to 10 degrees between
the floor of your basement and the ceiling of the basement and
leave them in the dark laying on your side. And 10 years go by.
So quickly and all of a sudden no, somebody’s coming over and
you say, Hey, let’s have this 10 year old Pinot noir and a Barola
Absolutely know that I had learned that from some older
people, you know,
Natalie: 36:13 and now you’re passing it along. Thinking on. Yes, great advice.
I’m deb. San Martino says Ola from Vernon, Deb, deb, in BC
loves the cover of your book. Why? And the source of civil
John: 36:26 The back part actually starts earlier and he’s just standing up
holding a berry and then a little close to your very old grapevine
before he’s holding a wineglass baseline is they know it just
Natalie: 36:40 Yeah, absolutely. Ian Duff has joined us and Elaine Bruce is
saying, wow, what wines that you’re tasting is amazing. So I’ve
totally lost the script here, John, because we’ve had such a great
conversation, but maybe a few quick questions.what advice
would you give to your 30 year old self, especially when it
comes to wine?
John: 37:03 As I said, first of all, I’m flashing back at that time. The first thing
I would do is buy two bottles of each wine is. I really like it. I
don’t have to run back to the wine shop for another one. If I find
it that somebody says, Gee, it’s a little dry or I’m not quite used
to it. It gives me an opportunity to lay it down. Young people
tend not to want to store an age wines and I always always say
in my first book, I always say, you know, you only need 18
bottles of wine to be called a wine collector. Thousand or 2000
or 5,000. Right. And I started a long time ago. So as I said earlier,
I’m in the process of drinking my wine cellar, so when I go out
with people or when we get together for things.
John: 37:43 You said one of your friends just said they’re doing a peanut in
the war study than I. and so I would say I’d be able to get into a
20 year old Pinot noir, no French burgundy or even the
California one and say what happens to them when they
change? So that was, that’s the first thing, the second bit of
information and it took me a long time to learn. This was never
just drink one glass of wine when we don’t, I don’t. I tend not to
finish a bottle at night and I always have a third of it leftover. I
pumped the air off and the next night that goes in glass number
one and my new bottle goes in glass number two until my wife
and I having dinner or if my children are down from New York or
friends are over, everybody has two glasses in front of to
compare and it’s not, you know, it’s not a 2015 bordeaux versus
a 2010 Bordeaux it could be a Bourdeaux California cab or it
could be an Italian keyonte versus a Amarillo from long island.
John: 38:41 And I just, just so they’re different because so many people are
intimidated when somebody says, oh, I smell like this is a rose.
And I always get, I always get a little bit of a wild unripe
strawberries from the Granche that’s in this particular grape.
Anything. How do you get that? You know, where does that
come from? I say, well, the Europeans grew up smelling things,
smelling the spice. their parents are always saying this, we don’t
do that, so we have to concentrate on it. But if you do it with a
group, all of a sudden people started saying, oh, I smell that I
can take. And it just changes your whole life. So I always say
drink two wines together. Absolutely. I like that theory. And one
other little trick I like to, while we’re talking to people, they’re
doing a Pinot Noir party tonight.
John: 39:26 If you could have, if you could pour a glass before everyone gets
there or even though they’re an intake the same bottle and put
it in a refrigerator for awhile or even in the freezer and drink the
same wine, one at room temperature and one cold, especially if
they’re novices, because too many people in the western
hemisphere, our usage, we know we in the British event had tea
and promoted too around the world from China and India, but it
was North America that made ice. So we grow up drinking over
cold iced tea. Oh No, soft drinks were ice oriented, so when you
try to get new young wine drinkers who drink a mellower cad at
room temperature, they say, well, I like my stuff cold. Right? So
if they drink that Pinot noir at room temperature and it’s soft
and their mouth and then they drink the coal one without going
into the long molecular ways of tannic assets are as you lower
temperature, the only asset that’s you know, and highlight it
and enhance this tannic acid.
John: 40:27 So Cole, a cold red wine dries your mouth bitter, whereas a
room temperature one is permitting the tannic acid to
intermingle with tarraic and citric acid and all 35 acids. So they
say, oh, I really liked this. It’s not as cold as I thought, but it’s not
puckering back in my mouth. Right. Fascinating. That’s a great
little trick I say for young people say, you know, try cold one in a
warm one and you’re going to learn so much faster. Absolutely.
That is fantastic. Wow. Not just history, science, science. Yeah,
that’s what happened. You know, I guess I said I had students,
they asked me what was Sir John False after drinking before
when I mentioned the or that and so many quotes. Hemingway,
I remember in a class one time I was actually covering for
another teacher and they were doing Edgar Allen Poe’s Cask of
Amontillado says, what’s this?
John: 41:18 I said, well, it’s Spanish and you know, it’s a yacht with a double
l and it’s pronounced a montyado. What is that? I said, that’s a
sherry. Okay, well to share. I said, this is a drainage comes from
Spain and I got into fortification and all of a sudden the bell rang
and I realized, you know, we talked a little bit about Poe’s, story
of revenge right now and the whole purpose. That’s a great
story because the idea is to be able to do something and not to
be able to get away with it. That’s what he does and he bricks
the brick to the victim in a wall right down to the cellar with the
sharing and that’s the way I was always taught and then. But I
was a visiting teacher for my friend, I said, but if you guys want
another point of view on their story, how does the story end?
John: 42:04 And one young lady said, he’s in the, he’s in the confessional
100 years later, he got away with the whole thing. I said, no, he
didn’t he always telling you how he murdered this guy and now
he’s in the confessional because he’s been tormented all his life
and you know, and then one kid burst out. I got to read this
story. We were, supposed to have read it already just another
way of looking at things. Absolutely. I love that. And I just want
to say that I’m Alan Cameron says you, John are in my top three
guests and rising of all time. I’ve done 80 shows. So that’s high
praise indeed. And Pete held in who’s in New York and a
previous guest, fantastic. Would be in the top three as well. Uh,
he was asking how it was that a 1900 talbot, John. He was
looking at the bottle.
John: 42:52 You’re taking up there? Yeah, I had an when I was holding my.
When was holding it? Here was a 37 overall. The 1900 that I
gave that bottle to the friend that one of the hosted the dinner.
That was a talbot? Yes. Okay, perfect. Wow. I hadn’t picked up a
number of bottles and 19, 89, 1900 and auction in New York.
They were relatively inexpensive and then when I bought them
my wife said, are you crazy? You know, you know, because
they’re first time I really spent over $100 for a bottle. Right. Of
course when the millennium came along in the year 2019 in
1900, we’re changing to the 2000. All of a sudden the 19
hundreds exploded and price and I’m not an investor. I don’t
buy wines and sell them by wanting to drink and share with
friends. So that night we know. I think we, I, I think when the in
2000 was the first one we did and it was a cause.
John: 43:52 That’s general 1900 that we get into year 2000. That was held
beautifully and 19. And you start researching vintages 1900 was
the sister year, like 2009, 2010 Bordeaux. I, they’re both
excellent. And they’re called sisters in one gets a little more
pressured and the other 18, 99 and 1900 had perfect weather
conditions. Everything was blind and plus they were making big,
heavy, tannic wine. Sam. So if you’re willing to let this wine lay
there in a cold, dark place, you know, and it was written, uh, the
one I had was record 30 years ago to top up the. Yeah. A lot of
people that get an older wine, they say is your record wine
every 25 years. And there’s, there’s professional people that will
do that, right? No strength your core and top it off with this
similar juice, you know, anything about it. A shot glass full of
juice so that you’re not really affecting the, affecting the whole
Natalie: 44:49 Yeah, absolutely. so Marie Bell, Vinny Cunningham says she
can’t wait to try your strategy. And Lisa says, great advice. I
smell everything and people think I’m crazy. I cut a melon today
and I said though, I know, I know what it smells like, but actually
, until you smell it, you actually don’t. Joanna Cortel says, I love
the two glass strategy. and Alan Cameron is loving this. Elaine
Bruce says I could listen to him for a whole seminar I bet it’s
fantastic, isn’t it? The advice just goes on. It’s not just limited to
your book, you know, so much including the weather for 1900
John: 45:28 That ironically, what happens is when you start learning about
different wines and you start to build a little cellar, you actually
start checking. No. Why? Why was 1945 so great, the vineyards
were devastated during World War II was over, right? And, and you
find that, well, you know, 45 was kind of like a diocese
rewarding to people for finally finding peace. And again it was
perfect sunshine, the perfect amount of rain. So 1945
Bordeaux’s were still, I think still considered 29 and 45. Still
considered some of the greatest wines ever produced.
Natalie: 46:02 Wow, that’s fantastic. John. there are a few questions I want to
ask you as we are running out of time, but um, if you could
share a bottle of wine with anyone living or dead, who would it
be and why?
John: 46:16 Who is your bottle? I would, I would probably share I’d like to
share a bottle of wine with Louie Pastore because he was the
one, you know, a North America destroyed our house as long as
we had sailing ships very quickly. the full Oxford died, but soon
we got steamships and we could get some North America back
to you or quickly the little bug that destroys the vines, how to
change the lives spread around Europe. You story things and
Louie Pastore really was the one who did all the research on this
If I couldn’t get, I couldn’t get Thomas Jefferson. He was busy.
Thomas Jefferson, who was the third American President, and
I’m a great wine advocate. I always say Thomas in the states,
Thomas Jefferson, nothing else had happened until Ronald
Reagan came along and whether you like his politics or not,
what he really did as an American president was he changed the
wine cellar in the White House. Before that, it was all French.
After Ronald Reagan came in, he made wines not only from
mostly from California, but also North American wines, so I
know he had some ice wine from Finland, vineyards in Toronto
in the white, has a whole selection of wines from northern
Mexico in Baja, but mostly the United States in all of Canada.
You know, so.
Natalie: 47:35 Well, didn’t Jefferson say no nation is drunken where wine is
cheap and affordable Sounds like that, right? We’re wine is
cheap because it’s wine is the slow relaxation versus your rum
and vodka and everything else.
John: 47:49 I don’t knock people about the drink, hard spirits. I always try to
tell them. I grew up in an age when everybody was instructed to
have a Martini or Manhattan prior to dinner and I always said,
Europeans drink. They’re hard alcohol after the meal is the
Mars. The brain. I said we’re the only place in Canada and
The United States was the only place in the entire world. They drank
hard alcohol prior to that, so I always say start with a sparkling
wine now. It’s only 12 percent alcohol and it and that’ll refresh
your palate and hit the whole thing in. I cover a lot of
interesting stories in, in no wine the source of civilization
because it’s supposed to create a conversation. That’s where I
really want. But yeah, definitely have.
Natalie: 48:37 So John, this has been quite the conversation, so as we wrap up,
tell us where we can get your book. Can we get it online? Yes.
That’s the easiest.
John: 48:46 Barnes and nobles in bookstores. Sometimes they have to, reorder
them, but one of my earlier books is still available called
every bottle has a story. Now you use your little short stories
written in a style of different authors. Took me nine years to
write this as small as it is, and this is nine 99. I won’t let my
paperbacks go over $14, 99. And any money that I make from
writing because I’m retired from another professional version,
this scholarship money, every school I’ve made from all goes
into scholarship money hoping to, you know, to help future
people enjoy their lives a little bit better through education. So
Amazon.com is the quickest, easiest way to do it. That’s the
simplest thing, you know.
Natalie: 49:29 Okay. Awesome. Amazon.ca in Canada or at indigo chapters, I’m
sure Has it? That’s another chain for us up here.
John: 49:38 Well JohnMahoneydrinkswine.com where I, because I’m older
and I’m drinking my cell or another, not all old wines that I tend
to review a wine. I’m of a few reviewers that always mentioned
the percentage of alcohol. Yes, I agree that’s important. I think
so. I think I remember when Zinfandel overall, 13 and a half
percent, and now the ones from Lodi or 16, 17, 19. We’re
creeping up there. Exactly. Exactly the same thing. They’re using
hybrid yeast to get that. So. So wine is food. It’s a liquid part of
me. That’s how I start all my talks. Right. It’s supposed to quote
Benjamin Franklin who said, you know, after the fifth fork full
your mouth gets a doll, one is supposed to refresh your power
and make fork full. Number six tastes just as good as that first
fork full was. So that’s why I drink wine every night, every single
night. Read more about him for sure. Mahoney drinks, wine
back, calm, it just flashes on and they tend to show you the
bottle. My photography isn’t always as good as your work, you
know, but the label of the bottle and give you information
on it and a number of points. But if we’re all, everybody’s
watching this show and I really appreciate the compliments, but
we all are now have joined the aspect of being wine
missionaries to share all this information we’ve learned with our
friends having another wine party.
Natalie: 50:56 Amen to that. Thank you so much. Such a delight. Thank you so
much for spending part of your Sunday evening with us. And I’m
sure there’ll be lots more comments. They’re still coming in
great stories and wish you all the best with all of your books.
And we’d love to chat with you again. I hope so. I hope we can
get together all. Take Care, John. Bye Bye. Bye. Bye Natalie.
Okay, cheers. Okay folks, sorry, I’ve got a blind, a light coming in
over here. So I’m just going to move this back here. I just have a
few announcements as always, to wrap up our evening together.
Wasn’t that great? I mean, oh my goodness. He has a wealth of
information. I love, love, love, love the storytelling. So, as
always, we’re going to announce last week’s winner, someone
who shared the video.
Natalie: 51:46 So let me just remind you, even if you’re watching the replay
video replay if you take a moment to share our video tonight
and comment, let others know why you’re sharing it. Um, you
could win next week a signed copy of John’s book, wine, a
source of civilization. So now I’m going to draw for last week’s
winner. Um, but also if you want to take things to the next level,
you can sign up for my free online wine video course. How to
taste wine like a pro at that URL. nataliemaclean.com/pro. We
also get into wine and food pairing, which I know everyone
loves. All right folks, so drum roll, please. Thanks to Alan
Natalie: 52:32 There we are so for her sharing comments last week during our
wine and yoga pairing chat, which was phenomenal. I’m the
winner is Janine Edwards Hog and she does teach yoga. So I,
when I look at the shares, I take out an often people who have
shared the past, I put all the names in, I draw, it’s random. She
teaches wine and yoga here in Ottawa. So it is a coincidence,
but, then I come round again so everybody gets put back into
the hat after I’ve cycled through and everyone who has shared.
So keep sharing and if you’re watching the video replay, you
have a chance to win next week a signed copy of John’s book.
Thank you as always for spending part of your Sunday evening
with me. I really appreciate it. I hope you enjoy the rest of your