12 of the best wine podcastsBy Lauren Eads
Let’s face it, we could all use a bit of light-hearted entertainment at the minute, whether it’s to take our minds off ever-concerning news coverage or bust boredom from being unexpectedly stuck indoors. What better way to plug in and tune out for a brief moment than with a podcast?
The number of podcasts available has exploded in recent years, with the number of listeners getting a weekly fix of audio entertainment reaching 144 million in 2019, according to Edison Research.
Offering content on everything from parenthood to film, TV and, yes, wine, they offer a brilliant medium that takes your eyes off a screen, with an ever growing number of personalities choosing to launch their own podcast.
Here, we round up the best wine-focused podcasts currently on the air, covering everything from winemaking and wine education to blind tasting and celebrity stories. Best of all, they are free.
All of the following podcasts are available either though your web browser, Apple or Android device. Just search for the title.
Click through for our pick of 10 of the best wine-based podcasts…
Wine Blast by Susie and Peter
Who’s the host: Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW
Top featured guests: Justin Howyard-Sneyd MW, Alex Hunt MW
Best for: Everyone, from wine pros to novices
Brand new from MW husband and wife duo Susie and Peter is Wine Blast, a “fast-moving show” in which the pair “bring wine to life (with a smile) via interviews, provocative chat, travel, food, gentle bickering, tips, competitive wine-offs, a quirky wine A-Z and your questions.”
Certain to be a hit, this podcast takes a magazine-style format and is jubilantly buoyant and upbeat. Don’t expect to be too bogged down in wine speak or theory, but revel in it’s relatable, entertaining and light-hearted tone, with marital disputes over wine a given.
Topics already covered include ‘Wait, wine can be a career?’, as well as commentary on how to support the hospitality trade and country-specific wine survival guides.
A glass with…
Who’s the host: The ever-affable Olly Smith
Top featured guests: Jose Pizarro, Alex James from Blur, Marco Pierre White, Pink
Best for: Lighter listening, perfect for the commute.
The wine podcast to the stars! Each episode UK wine personality Olly Smith shares a glass with a celebrity and chats about everything from wine to their careers and everything in between. It’s a lighter take on wine, and necessarily lighter on the jargon and theory.
Pop star Pink was an early contributor in 2017, spilling the beans about her Two Wolves wine brand produced from her vineyard in Santa Barbara. Since then Olly has welcomed the likes of Dawn French, Prue Leith, Jay Rayner and Sir Michael Parkinson onto the podcast. Well worth a listen, although Olly appears to be taking a break, with no new episodes released since June of last year. Still, plenty of content to catch up on.
I’ll drink to that
Who’s the host: Former sommelier Levi Dalton
Top featured guests: Jasper Morris, Esther Mobley, David Hirsch
Best for: US-based wine enthusiasts due to the stateside slant, but not exclusively so.
A long-running podcast that has racked up hundreds of episodes since it launched in 2012. It sees Dalton welcome distinguished guests from the world of wine – including winemakers, sommeliers and writers – into his living room for an in depth interview, delving into everything from the sommelier trade, winemaking, the business of wine in an informed and insightful manner.
Dalton himself is a former sommelier who has worked at restaurants including Restaurant Daniel, Masa and Convivio in Manhattan, and also contributed articles to publications including Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit and Eater.
Guild of Sommeliers podcast
Who’s the host: Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth
Top featured guests: Oz Clarke, Rajat Parr, Michael Brajkovich MW
Best for: The thinking man’s wine podcast. Serious wine chat for professionals and aspiring sommeliers alike
Get your wine geek on with the Guild of Sommeliers podcast. This one is hosted by Geoff Kruth MS, who has been hosting the podcast since 2011.
Expect in depth chats on winemaking, blind tasting, oxidation and distillation with some of the biggest names in the biz.
Who’s the host: Lawrence Francis
Top featured guests: Tamra Kelly-Washington, Lenz Moser, Dirk Niepoort
Best for: Industry insiders
One for the industry, Lawrence Francis’ Interpreting Wine podcast focuses on the latest trends in the drinks and hospitality industry, and is typically more trade than consumer orientated, and tends towards the US scene.
Founded in 2018, it’s a relative newcomer to the wine podcast scene, but has carved out a niche for itself, and more than 100,000 listeners across 89 countries, according to Francis. Expect on air blind tastings and lively conversation with growers, importers, sommeliers, chefs, bar owners, winemakers and writers.
Italian Wine Podcast
Who’s the host: Wine writer Monty Waldin
Top featured guests: DB’s very own Patrick Schmitt MW, Joe Fattorini, Lamberto Frescobaldi
Best for: Italian wine enthusiasts
Dedicated to Italian wine, the Italian Wine Podcast was founded by managing director of Vinitaly International Stevie Kim in 2017, and is hosted by wine writer Monty Waldin. The podcast offers weekly episodes covering the Italian wine industry, featuring interviews with winemakers and critics, and hones in on specific regions of Italy, such as Sardinia.
Waldin was the first writer to specialise in organic and biodynamic wines, interpreting the method as a “tool for terroir-driven wine, not a religion”. His mantra when approaching the Italian Wine Podcast is “to educate, inspire, and empower its audience with frequent updates and high-quality information.”
Unreserved wine talk
Who’s the host: Journalist Natalie MacLean
Top featured guests: Madeleine Puckette, Clark Smith, Mike Veseth
Best for: Novices to aficionados
In Unreserved Wine Talk host Natalie MacLean takes a no holds barred approach to wine chat, covering everything from wine pairing with cannabis, the highs and lows of airline wine and what a billionaire looks for in a wine, to asking the question do wine scores matter?
MacLean is a journalist, and her inquisitive, investigative nature shines through in this entertaining podcast featuring candid conversations with some of the industry’s most colourful characters. She also leaves a lot of herself in the podcast, dedicating intermittent episodes to reflecting on her own position in the trade, and what it’s like to be a woman working in a still largely male-dominated field.
Wine for normal people
Who’s the host: Elizabeth Schneider
Top featured guests: Monty Waldin, Gaia Gaja, Greg Lambrecht (founder of Coravin)
Best for: Er… normal people?
Hosted by writer Elizabeth Schneider, Wine for Normal People was launched with the aim of creating a podcast “for people who like wine, but not the attitude that goes with it”. “I translate wine into normal terms that you can relate to through the podcast, blog, awesome online classes, and acclaimed corporate wine events”, she writes about her acclaimed podcast, which has since been turned into a book.
It gives two fingers to the snobbery that can surround wine, while remaining intelligent and insightful. “We talk about wine in a fun, straightforward, normal way to get you excited about it and help you drink better, more interesting stuff.” Cheers to that.
Mr Wine Guy
Who’s the host: Michael Gallagher
Top featured guests: Bruce Neyers (Neyers Vineyards), Wesley Steffens (Correlation Wine Co.), Stephen Kent Mirassou (Lineage Wine Co.)
Best for: Winemaker insights
The Mr Wine Guy podcast is hosted by Michael Gallagher and his wife, Jennifer. Unlike other podcasts, which cover a multitude of areas, the Mr Wine Guy podcast focuses specifically on winemakers, with Gallagher making it his mission to bring you the story of who made the wine and their individual journey to becoming winemakers.
Lively and entertaining, it is slanted toward the US, so expect lots of winemakers from California.
The James Suckling podcast
Who’s the host: Wine critic James Suckling
Top featured guests: Brunello 2015, Alsace 2019, Spain 2019
Best for: Label spotters and fine wine fiends
Wine critic James Suckling has now stepped into the wine podcast ring, launching The James Suckling podcast in 2019. The series focuses on wines from a multitude of regions, including Italy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile, and Argentina, but is not exclusively fine wine focused. As Suckling says, “we are always open to and looking for surprises”.
Having tasted 22,000 wines in 2018 alone, Suckling decided to launch the podcast as a platform to discuss his discoveries and share conversations with many winemakers he meets on his travels. The episodes tend to release on average at around one a month, with the last focusing on 2015 Brunello, “a fairytale vintage”.
UK wine show
Who’s the host: Chris Scott
Top featured guests: Lenz Moser, Matteo LunellI, Sarah Heller MW
Best for: Anyone with an interest in the UK wine trade
As the name suggests, the UK wine show focuses specifically on the UK market, and is hosted by Chris Scott. It’s racked up hundreds of episodes with some of the trade’s most influential names since it first launched in 2006. Over the years, Scott has interviewed everyone from winemakers and consumers to critics and sommeliers, each with their own take on the ever evolving UK wine trade.
Scott himself was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, and worked in the vineyards in Canterbury before settling in London and eventually setting up ThirtyFifty – a wine education platform.
The Three Drinkers
Who’s the host: Colin Hampden-White, Helena Nicklin, Aidy Smith
Top featured guests: McGuigan wines, of course!
Best for: A good laugh and convivial glass of wine
Brand new, McGuigan Wines has announced its support of The Three Drinkers first podcast series “Bring A Bottle”, hosted by drinks experts Colin Hampden-White, Helena Nicklin and Aidy Smith. The trio already have a ‘Three Drinkers’ TV series on Amazon Prime, and will now be taking their trademark banter onto the airwaves with McGuigan.
Each 20-minute episode with offer listeners a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the trio’s drinking secrets, what grinds their gears and the oddities they’ve encountered during their careers as drinks journos and TV presenters.
Over the course of the five episodes McGuigan Wines will also be giving one winner a three-month supply of its wines.