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Road to Wine Expert

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Follow host Brian McCann as he interviews people whose wine experiences dramatically changed their lives. You'll learn how better understanding of wine can make an impact in your own life.


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Follow host Brian McCann as he interviews people whose wine experiences dramatically changed their lives. You'll learn how better understanding of wine can make an impact in your own life.



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Rich Frank - Founder of Frank Family Vineyards

Rich Frank, founder of Frank Family Vineyards, shares his story of how wine changed his life. Rich's first tastes of great wine while traveling the world led him to Napa where he's faced multiple challenges including starting out, fires and selling wine during pandemic. Remember to support your favorite wine producers, and buy and drink great wines made by great people. This episode was edited by the talented James Gralian — and features music from the following...


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The Wine World Has a Sexual Harassment Problem

This episode is not a normal Road To Wine Expert episode. It’s an episode where I talk about my thoughts and feelings related to some heavy topics. It’s probably not best to listen to this one with the kids. Also, the topics covered here may be sensitive to certain listeners. I’ve titled the episode and listed details in the episode notes as such. But I want to be fair to everyone, and make it clear that you do not have to listen to this involuntarily. If you’re unsure, it’s probably best...


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James Cluer - On What It Means To Be A Wine Expert and Starting a Wine Business

-->Subscribe to the Road to Wine Expert Podcast --> Episode Transcript Click Here /// About this episode October 9, 2020 marks the four year anniversary from my first wine education course. James Cluer's wine education company, Fine Vintage, was the program provider for WSET Level 1 which I took in Chicago. The program would be a catalyst for my own wine journey, so I thought it would be fitting to republish my conversation with James as it highlights what it takes to create a wine...


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Napa and Sonoma: Travel Tips for Your First Wine Trip

As I was getting ready to release this episode, Napa and Sonoma, along with the rest of California were hit by more fires. Support your favorite winemakers—buy and drink California wine. If you'd like to support those affected by California wildfires, you can find causes to donate to here: In this episode, I answer some of the most common questions for planning your first trip to Napa and Sonoma. Both places had a huge impact on my wine...


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Cal Fussman - Revisited - The Unedited Original Interview

--------- Living with the Road to Wine Expert Summit and now podcast is like living with a time capsule. Or maybe more appropriately a high school yearbook. Every so often, I can go back to listen to the knowledge my guests shared and see where I was in my journey. For those new to the podcast, these interviews were originally recorded as part of the Road To Wine Expert Summit: a 10 Day virtual conference with 34 interviews from varying voices in the world of wine and spirits. The...


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Erica Blumenthal and Nikki Huganir - Yes Way Rosé

Nikki and Erica created Yes Way Rosé, a lifestyle brand that has skyrocketed with success. Looking at their journey in the past two years, that even seems like a bit of an understatement. Yes Way Rosé now has wine of the same name that can be found virtually everywhere. They are living proof that "wine experts" come from all walks of life. One of my favorite parts of their story is that they weren't looking to create wine, but rather interested sharing wine and having fun. Success is a...


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Steve De Long - De Long Wine - Wine Maps and Wine Grape Varietal Table

Steve De Long is a great guide to have by your side in the wine world, because after all, it can be scary, overwhelming and complicated place. If you're on any journey, it's important to know where you are going and have a map to help you stay the course. Steve can help you do exactly that. He makes some of the finest wine maps in the industry today. Funny thing though, I didn't meet Steve because of his wine maps initially. I met him because of his Wine Tasting Notebook. Before I learned...


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Randy Smith - The Wine Writer - Covering Central Coast Wineries and Winemakers

Randy Smith is better known as The Wine Writer across the internet. He focuses his blog on winemaker, wineries and other people based in the Central Coast. Beyond telling great stories about the wine industry, Randy does something admirable which is niche down into a very specific region. With the wine world being so large, I think many people struggle with where to begin. This is something I talked about with Chappy Cottrell during on our podcast episode. If you're like Randy, then...


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George Taber - The Judgement of Paris

George Taber is the author of the Judgement of Paris, his extended version of the three paragraph article in TIME Magazine. As the only reporter to cover the 1976 Paris tasting, George's reporting of the event sent shockwaves throughout the wine world. In this epic head-to-head battle, Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet went up against White Burgundy and Red Bordeaux. California came out on top. The rest, as they say, was history. I was fortunate enough to sit down with George two years...


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Richard Hemming - Master of Wine - Writer, Consultant and Educator

Richard Hemming is a fantastic wine writer. He is also a pretty fantastic wine musician. What is a wine musician? I'm glad you asked. After going down the Richard Hemming rabbit hole, you'll find yourself listening to his fabulous Wine Grape Variety Song. He wrote that while studying for his MW, and it clearly paid off. Richard is now a Master of Wine, he write for Jancis Robinson and has a personal blog that's worth following if you enjoy his sensibility, charm and humor like I do. A...


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Thomas Monroe - Division Winemaking Company - @winestache

Thomas Monroe is more than just a mustache (@winestache on Instagram). He is the co-owner, co-winemaking and co-founder of Division Wine Making Company based in Portland, Oregon. Thomas went from the "financial cube game" to winemaker. It's a journey that we all envy, especially because he makes delicious wines. To learn more, visit: The following songs were used in this episode: Funky Souls by...


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Richard Betts - Scratch and Sniff Guides - Sombra, Astral, An Approach to Relaxation, My Essential Wine - @yobetts

Richard Betts has a laundry list of achievements and accolades. He makes wine: An Approach to Relaxation and My Essential Wine. He makes spirits: Sombra Mescal and Astral Tequila. He passed the MS Exam on his first attempt, the ninth ever to do so. My favorite project Richard has ever done is the Scratch and Sniff Guide to Wine. This book was cornerstone to my wine education, and, I dare say, it got me my first wine job. It's simple, elegant and genius. And if you love books, help us get...


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Elliott Clark - Apartment Bartender - @apartment_bartender on Instagram

If you're passionate about cocktails, wine and booze in general, it's impossible not to get inspired by Elliott Clark. His Instagram feed is a cultivation of deliciously handcrafted cocktails made guessed it...his apartment. Even though his drinks look beautiful and his photos are stunning, it's his unpretentious attitude and belief that anyone can make better cocktails at home that aid Elliott in inspiring others. Elliott Clark has built an amazing following as The Apartment...


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Ray Fister - Life Between The Vines

Ray Fister is not an amateur. Ray has over 40 years experience as an audio engineer and got into the podcast game before it was cool, trendy and barely a sensation. There's something about that kind of wisdom. That's what I remember most about my interview with Ray. His advice is like that of an old friend. It's not cutesy, but a reality check that slaps you in the face. I had such a great time talking to Ray. In fact, he gave me over an hour of his time, so there is about 20 to 30...


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Elizabeth Schneider - Wine for Normal People

Elizabeth Schneider is a hero of mine and likely yours too! Despite my never-ending quest to become a "wine expert," I started out as a normal person who loved wine. If you happen to fall in that camp, then you probably already know about Elizabeth's hit podcast, the aptly named, Wine for Normal People. Elizabeth is a champion of making wine easy to understand and accessible to everyone. While there's dozens of episodes I love, my all-time favorite is her episode on Champagne. It's a great...


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Wanda Mann - The Black Dress Traveler

Wanda Mann is the embodiment of all things wine should be: fun, happy, engaging, laid back, conversational and loved by my Mom. I have to laugh as I say that last one, but it's a fun little story. As you might expect, my Mom was a huge fan of the Road to Wine Expert Summit. Having not heard of Wanda prior to her interview, she said that Wanda was someone she wanted to have a glass with because she her personality and enthusiasm was so infectious. As a result, I've played telephone between...


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James Cluer - Master of Wine and Founder of Fine Vintage Ltd.

If you listened to my episode of the podcast, you have a general idea of how I came to meet James Cluer. James is a Master of Wine and the founder of Fine Vintage, which served as the Approved Program Provider for my WSET Level 1 class. WSET Level 1 served as a huge boost to my confidence in the early days of my wine career. While James wasn't the instructor, his team members made for a great day that would prove pivotal in my wine career. It was this early experience that would lead me to...


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Wine Education - 6 Different Wine Experts Share Their Opinions and Journeys

We tackle wine education in this episode. If you're new to the Road to Wine Expert, this is going to be a little bit different. Instead of hearing from one individual, we are going to hear clips from several interviews. Our guests have diverse backgrounds have a number of different certifications. Together, we combine their thoughts and feelings to answer some of the questions surrounding wine education and certification. You'll hear from Elizabeth Schneider, Richard Hemming, Wanda Mann,...


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Brian McCann - Time to Flip the Script

Welcome back to Road to Wine Expert. This episode is going to a little different. First, let me introduce myself. I am Talia Goodman, the Road to Wine Expert Podcast Manager. I work alongside Brian to deliver you fresh wine content each week. For this episode, I got to flip the script and ask Brian questions about his journey to becoming the wine expert he is. From working at Vin Chicago to completing the first three levels of the WSET, Brian worked his way through the wine industry and...


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Bianca Bosker - Author of Cork Dork

Bianca Bosker and her book, Cork Dork, serve as this wonderful bridge between people inside and outside the wine community. Everywhere I go, I run into people who rave about it. If I tell a stranger that I work in the wine industry, one of their first questions is, "Have you read Cork Dork?" I'm so grateful to Bianca because her book came out around the same time that I was working on the Road to Wine Expert Summit and my next move in the wine world. Bianca is insightful, bright and...