Podcasting recently got its drivers license – it’s been around since about 2004. Today, there are over 1 million podcasts (so . . . about half the number of native grapes in Italy). There’s a podcast for literally everything – from Star Wars Minutiae to Nanotechnology to, well, something called Counting Worms (it’s not what you think!).
Not surprisingly, when I tune into a podcast it’s almost always wine related. In fact, almost two years ago I posted about my favorite wine podcasts. (Some of these you’ll also see below, but unfortunately – some are now defunct.)
But like choosing a bottle to have with dinner, the range of wine podcasts can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Are you in the mood for a Washington Syrah? A classic aged Burgundy? Or maybe something that smells like a fresh cut garden hose? Fear not! I’m here to give you the lowdown on the wine podcasts in my current rotation. Hopefully one (or more!) will speak to your personality type – so pour yourself a glass and tune in to whichever of these sounds like you:
Best if You Like to Root for the Underdog: Decanted.
Being from Washington state, I feel like we’re constantly overlooked in the wine world. Thankfully, Decanted’s Dave and Sandi are doing their part to change that perception by sharing stories of some of Washington’s top wineries like Kiona Vineyards and Passing Time. Decanted is a relative newcomer to the podcast scene (their inaugural episode was February, 2018 – literally just as I was moving away!) I met Dave and Sandi at last year’s Auction of Washington Wines and am looking forward to our paths crossing again soon!
Best if You’re an Uber Winegeek: GuildSomm.
Out of this entire list, the GuildSomm podcast is probably the only one where I’d recommend having some degree of wine knowledge to fully appreciate. That being said, host Geoff Kruth does manage to make even the most mundane sounding topics (like Faults, Reduction and Oxidation) worth tuning into. However, GuildSomm isn’t a press play and zone out type of podcast. These episodes require a bit more attention, so I usually have paper or my phone handy since I’m constantly making note of something to research further. These podcasts are released about once a month, but as a self-admitted uber winegeek myself – I wish they were more frequent.
Best if You’re Obsessed with California Wine: The Winemakers.
Want to know the latest in California wine happenings? Tune into The Winemakers. These guys have talked to everyone who is anyone in Sonoma Valley and they’ve covered a range of issues related to the State as a whole – such as the invasion of the cannabis industry, the devastating wildfires and rolling blackouts during harvest.
Plus, since they actually ARE winemakers – they share a lot of information about what really goes on in the cellars. Personally, I’m incredibly thankful for this since my biggest wine study weakness is basically all things wine science. The guys have been around since May, 2017 and are very consistent in their nearly weekly episodes – admirably, even during COVID (they’ve switched formats to Zoom so as to maintain appropriate social distancing requirements). Oh, and this is also the best podcast if you want to hear yours truly make my podcast debut – check out episode 147 around the 42 minute mark 😉
Best if You’re More Interested in the People Behind the Wine: I’ll Drink to That.
Sometimes, we focus so much on what’s in our glass that we forget about all the amazing people that actually made the wine. Levi Dalton is the OG of the wine podcast world – and it shows. He’s polished, doesn’t interrupt his guests (ahem – other hosts should take note!), and he manages to pull stories out of people like nobody else. I listen to IDTT to gain a more personal perspective on the wine world and bring some color to my wine studies. Levi is getting close to his 500th episode – and I don’t see him stopping anytime soon!
Best if You’re a Sarcastic News Junkie: VinePair.
I’ve been obsessed with these guys since they released their first podcast in July, 2018. Their banter is smart, snarky, educational and entertaining. They’re not afraid to say it like it is (prime examples include Pay to Play is Killing Drinks Journalism well as Rules for Not Tipping Like an Asshole – which has been changed to “Jerk” on their website . . . but, obviously, I think the original title is much more suitable).
Since early March, VinePair has featured a series called “Covid-19 Conversations” – discussions on the pandemic’s impact on various facets of the hospitality industry. Listening to this series is an ideal way to stay informed – yet not fall into a downward spiral of despair like many other news sources tend to do to you (please tell me that’s not just me!!).
Best if You’re a Wine Student: Matthew’s World of Wine and Drink.
Matthew Gaughan is a current Master of Wine student with a fantastic podcast that’s tailor-made for wine students. Each episode is usually under 30 minutes and provides a thorough, yet to the point, overview of the wine topic de jour. Matthew’s podcast has been an invaluable resource for my WSET Diploma studies – after I’ve finished studying a region, I’ll sit down with my outline and listen to his episode on the same region to make sure I’ve covered everything I might need to know. Most of the time, we’re in sync. Like with our blind Yellowtail Chardonnay call . . .
Best if you Love the Somm Series: The Somm TV Podcast.
A relatively recent addition to the wine podcast scene – launched almost a year ago by the SOMM Films team. The podcast has already covered a number of hot topics in the wine world – including tariffs and natural wine. And it’s a great tie-in with their TV subscription. If you’re a fan of the SOMM documentary series, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate the recurring appearances by familiar faces like Brian McClintic and Fred Dame. I should say that I’m pleased to see that they’ve recently brought in more female guests since unfortunately, much like the Somm movies, this platform tends to be very male dominated.
Best if You’re Just a Wine-Loving Normal Person: Wine For Normal People.
Sometimes the wine world can be intimidating with all its lingo and exclusivity. If you’re someone who just wants to learn about wine in a non-snobby way – Wine for Normal People is for you. This was one of the very first wine podcasts I ever listened to, and I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. Host Elizabeth Schneider knows a shit ton about wine – but thankfully she doesn’t feel the need to engage in a lot of “wine speak.” And the banter between her and her co-host husband “MC Ice” is endearingly entertaining.
Best if You Love a Deep Dive on One Specific Subject: Interpreting Wine.
If you really want to wrap your brain around a wine related subject – Interpreting Wine is definitely for you. Lawrence Francis started his podcast by highlighting Spain’s often overlooked wine regions. Recently, he’s turned his focus to some very in depth explorations of topics such as the Willamette Valley (episodes 380-399), Sherry (episodes 325-333) and the Austrian wine industry (episodes 355-364). Interpreting Wine also has some incredibly informative episodes that helped me with my WSET Diploma exam preparation – check out 263 and 264 on Sparkling Wine, and 353 and 354 for Fortified Wines. Lawrence is insanely consistent with his podcasting – having only started in September, 2017 he’s already on episode #408! And he has an incredible voice! 😉
So there you have it – nine podcasts to match with your wine personality type. Hopefully the above list will help you sort through the myriad of “bad bottles” that are on the podcast market – some of which consist of not much more than a couple of boozy hosts chatting about wine with horrible audio and lackluster content. Please let me know if you find something you enjoy tuning into!