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The world of wine doesn't have to be intimidating. Wine-afficionado Sam Benrubi invites you on a weekly wine journey with The Grape Nation. No snobbery here, just a palatable trip through the world's vineyards, their keepers, journalists, authors, importers and more. Try some great wine with Sam and his guests and get tips for enjoying the best wines from the weekly "Wine List" and "Wine Sip." The Grape Nation...We Bring Wine to the People.
 
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New York’s own Annie Shi attended private school, Yale University, and moved to London to work in Finance at JP Morgan. So, the question is, and I am sure her parents asked many times, what the hell are you doing in the restaurant business? Annie is a partner, the GM, and Beverage Director at Soho restaurant King. King is run and staffed by all wom…
 
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Eliza Christen and family made their way to the United States. Eliza attended the Univ. of Illinois and found her love for hospitality and wine in culinary mecca Champaign Urbana. She traveled the world to work harvests in Italy, Australia, and Oregon and is studying for her wine certifications. Eliza has worked at the Meado…
 
Tiffany Britton is the proprietor and winemaker at Brainstorm Cellars in West Richland in Washington state. She started Brainstorm with her partner Eric Williams in 2020. Their goal is to do wine differently, making it fun, easy, and delicious. Tiffany is also the President of the Alliance of Women in Washington Wine, an organization dedicated to a…
 
Poet turned sommelier turned poet, Amanda Smeltz left Pennsylvania to study at Marquette in Milwaukee. She stayed in Milwaukee, one of the world’s great food and wine capitols to learn hospitality before returning to New York. A longtime Brooklynite, Amanda worked at groundbreaking Roberta’s in Bushwick, Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, a…
 
Camille Riviere was raised in Paris and the Loire Valley. She fell in love with wine at an early age, so like any good mom, she enrolled Camille in wine classes. She interned, worked, and studied her way through France. Camille made her way to the United States working at Morrell and Frederick Wildman learning the business side. Her realization and…
 
After growing up around a restaurant family and finishing college in Maryland, Jaimee headed west to pursue the arts. Jobs at Locanda and RN74 in SF changed her course, where she found her love for wine. Jaimee traveled to intern in Europe, went on to assist Pax Mahle, started her eponymous wine label, and was made winemaker of storied Stony Hill V…
 
You can’t talk about wines from the Priorat region of Spain without recognizing the impact the Perez Family has made in the last four decades. Sara Perez is the wine maker and owner along with her family of Mas Martinet, one of the five founding wineries in the Priorat. Sara farms organically, is a magician with the Garnacha and Carignane grape and…
 
Eric Asimov is the Chief Wine Critic for the New York Times. Hs tenure with the newspaper goes back to 1984. His column on wine appears Wednesdays in the Food Section of the Times. His monthly Wine School column enlightens and invites you to drink and discuss wine with him. He has published numerous books and guides including “How to Love Wine: A M…
 
Pascaline Lepeltier is truly one of the most respected sommeliers in the world. As a Master Sommelier she has received numerous awards including the Un des Meilleurs Ouviers de France. Born in the Loire Valley of France, it is no secret of her love for Chenin Chenin Chenin. She is a true evangelist of natural wines and also makes Chepika wines with…
 
Born on the east coast, Dustin Wilson headed west to make his mark in wine at Frasca, Little Nell, and RN74, eventually heading back east as Wine Director of 3 Michelin starred 11 Madison Park. Dustin packed in working the floor to pivot towards wine retail creating Verve Wine in NY, SF, and now Chicago. He has raised money for No Kid Hungry throug…
 
What can I say about Raj Parr that hasn’t been said before, Raj is the greatest uncertified Sommelier in the world with the most revered palate. His career in hospitality spans the Fifth Floor, the Michael Mina Group including RN74 and his Bibi Ji. He is the award-winning author of “Secrets of Sommeliers and most recently, “The Sommelier’s Atlas of…
 
Nicole Rolet grew up in New York City and Milan to an American mother and French Italian Dad, surrounded by food and wine. After graduating Vassar, Nicole got herself deep into finance, politics and think tanks, eventually putting that all aside to pursue her love of the land and wine. She joined her husband Xavier to restore an historical priory a…
 
Laurence Feraud grew up at her family winery in the Southern Rhone of France. She returned in 1987 after studying wine and business to join her dad, Paul, and work with him at their storied Domaine du Pegau in Chateauneuf du Pape. In 2005 Laurence took on full oversight and winemaking at the winery. Laurence has extended the family holdings, creati…
 
Rutger de Vink is a tough as a Marine and as soft as a glass of Merlot. His family made their way to the United States from the Netherlands while a teenager. After leaving college to join the Marines and then working in telecommunications, Rutger pursued his love of agriculture with a wine apprenticeship and trips to Bordeaux & California. He was d…
 
Heini Zachariassen hails from the Faroe Islands and grew up in Denmark, attending college in Copenhagen. He became a software developer and serial entrepreneur. Heini founded Vivino in 2011 with Theis Sondergaard. Today Vivino is the world’s largest online marketplace and most downloaded wine app driven by a community of 50 million users, over a bi…
 
Brits, Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew found a bond in wine that would lead them to create a wine magazine, two restaurants and a book to talk about it all. Dan had a successful career in the music business while Mark became a Master of Wine and worked at a leading London wine merchant. Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew are Noble Rot Magazine, Noble Rot Wine…
 
Jane Lopes has graced our microphones a few times to discuss sexual harassment in the wine industry, multiple issues at the Court of Master Sommeliers and her life through her book “Vignette”. Jonathan Ross is a Master Sommelier. He worked as Head Sommelier at Eleven Madison Park before following Jane to Australia to work with the Rockpool Group. W…
 
Nate Ready is a former Master Sommelier. He worked the floor at Bobby Stuckey’s Frasca in Boulder and the French Laundry in Yountville before heading north to find a small working farm in Hood River, Oregon. Hiyu Farm is a biodiverse environment where Nate grows over 100 grape varietals, fruits, vegetables and raises animals. He is a true permacult…
 
Napa Valley native, Tegan Passalacqua cut his teeth in the Rhone, New Zealand and South Africa before literally planting his roots in California. Tegan started at Zin Zen Masters Turley Wine Cellars in 2003, and is currently working as Head Winemaker and Vineyard Manager. He launched his own Sandlands Wines with wife Olivia in 2011 working with a m…
 
Martha Stoumen did not grow up around wine, but connected with the soil during a trip in college to Italy, studying agriculture. She was drawn to the vineyards and thus began a Vigneron’s view of winemaking. Martha received a Masters at UC Davis and went on to apprentice with some of the best winemakers around the world including Giusto Occhipinti,…
 
Far from wine country, Maggie Harrison was born in the Midwest and pursued a career in International Relations and Conflict Resolution…well that didn’t last long. Maggie made her way out west to pursue a career in wine. She landed a job with quirky and legendary Sin Que Non winemaker Manfred Krankl, as his assistant for 8 years. Along the way she s…
 
Philippe Andre grew up around fine dining at his parent’s upscale restaurant in Evanston, Illinois. He worked every job in the restaurant, eventually hitting the floor and creating a wine program, becoming their first Somm in 18 years. After almost a decade at the restaurant, Philippe left the family business to pursue a career in wine, first trave…
 
Jean Gonon is a second-generation wine maker with the soul, knowledge and experience of many more years. Jean, along with his brother Pierre are the proprietors of Domaine Pierre Gonon in St. Joseph in the Northern Rhone of France. The purity and distinctive character of their wines, achieved through great terroirs, a strong commitment to farming a…
 
Jay Boberg had a long career in the music business. He was a co-founder of IRS Records, think R.E.M. and Black Sabbath and Presient of MCA/Universal. His love for wine led him to Nicolas Jean Meo, part of the legendary Meo-Camuzet family in Burgundy. Jay's business acumen and Jean Nicolas' winemaking skills helped launch Nicolas-Jay in the Willamet…
 
Joshua Greene has been the Editor and Publisher of “Wine and Spirits” magazine since 1986. In addition to writing feature stories and commentaries for each issue, Josh and staff taste thousands of wines annually. Josh is also the critic for the wines of the Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Portugal, Rioja, Australia, New Zealand and Sout…
 
Sarah Fernandez got into wine and hospitality only a few years ago. She has worked at Shoji, Niche Niche and Special Club in NYC. A Graduate of Cornell University, she also spent many years in research at Jacobi, Mt Sinai, and NYU Hospitals. She currently works in wine retail at Depanneur in Brooklyn. Jane Lopes returns to The Grape Nation and also…
 
Out of the gates of Louisville, Vanessa Price got her first taste of wine at a local winery. She made her way to New York to study acting, music and film, then ultimately to follow her passion for wine and hospitality. Vanessa worked at various restaurants, helped open a wine bar, and worked in wine import, sales, and education. She dedicated herse…
 
Joel Gott grew up around wine in California, he is a fifth-generation winemaker producing his wildly popular eponymous Joel Gott wines with from California, Oregon, and Washington with his wife Sarah. Joel, along with his brother Duncan also run Gott’s Roadside Stand, a legendary food stop in Northern California. Joel is a busy guy these days expan…
 
Quebecois David McMillan is considered one of the most innovative, successful and interesting restauranteurs in Canada. He along with his partner Fred Morin are Proprietors of multiple Montreal restaurants including Joe Beef and wine bar Le Vin Papillon. Legendary for his bigger than life eating and drinking, David now is more inward appreciating l…
 
New York City’s own Ariel Arce is the proprietor of Niche Niche, Airs Champagne Parlor, Tokyo Record Bar, and Special Club. Ariel is a thought leader, tastemaker, influencer and has been tagged as “The New Guard of New York Dining”. She has created a convivial, laid back and affordable neighborhood hang with a focus on wine, Champagne, education, m…
 
You can’t talk about natural wine in the US without Zev Rovine being in the conversation. Waiter turned wine distributor, Zev starting importing wines back in 2008 from small estates that are terroir driven, practicing low intervention and organics. He is the proprietor of Zev Rovine Selections, importing wine from over a dozen countries and 140+ w…
 
Rupert Symington is a fourth-generation port maker from a family of British and Portuguese origin dating back to the late 1800’s. Rupert was educated in England and worked in finance there, making his way to San Francisco before returning to the family business in Porto and the Douro in Portugal. Rupert is the CEO of Symington Family Estates, overs…
 
Bi-Coastal Patrick Cappiello has been in the wine biz for almost thirty years, and he ain’t an old guy! He has been an award-winning sommelier, restaurant owner, wine importer/distributor and now the owner/winemaker of his own wine label in Sonoma County, Monte Rio Cellars with partner Pax Mahle. Patrick crafts wine from grapes in the spirit of old…
 
Victoria James is an award-winning Sommelier and Beverage Director at Michelin starred Cote Korean Steakhouse in NYC. Victoria’s road to success was not an easy one as documented in her new memoir “Wine Girl” The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier”. It is an intense story of a childhood plagued by poverty, neglect…
 
Delia Viader was born in Argentina and made education a priority. She spent her formative years in Europe bringing her PHD from the Sorbonne to the US to further pursue business and wine studies at MIT, Univ. of Calif. Berkley and Davis. Delia got into the wine business in Napa, Calif. In the early 1980’s and was one of the first women winemakers i…
 
Houston born Zwann Grays headed north to work for People magazine in NYC and Miami eventually morphing to a career in wine getting her chops at the retail level and at a wine importer in New York. She followed her love for wine into the restaurant biz and worked at Anfora, Bouley, Terroir, and Estela to name a few. Zwann Grays is now the Wine Direc…
 
Born and raised in California, Krista Scruggs eventually made her way east to Vermont. Along the way she worked her grandfather's farm, took a job with a big wine company, worked harvests in Europe, and cut her teeth at La Garigiste. Krista is a true Vigneronne. She is at the forefront of the "New American" wine revival, working with hybrid grapes,…
 
Alessia Antinori is a 26th generation winemaker at Marchesi Antinori. The Antinori family has been committed to the art of winemaking for over six centuries since 1385, and is one of Italy’s oldest and biggest family run businesses. Alessia holds a degree in Viticulture and is Vice President of the family winery alongside her two sisters Allegra, A…
 
Houston and DC based Julia Coney is a wine writer, wine educator, speaker, consultant and activist. Her wine writings also address the intersection of race and wine. Her work has been featured in prominent wine and mainstream publications. Born out of necessity, Julia Coney founded Black Wine Professionals, a resource for wine industry employers an…
 
Miguel de Leon is a restaurant and wine professional of color living in NYC. He has worked his way through some of the finest dining rooms in the country including Chez Panisse, Momofuko, Casa Mono and Per Se. Miguel is currently the General Manager and Wine Director at Pinch Chinese in Soho. Miguel’s advocacy, allyship, and voice have become an im…
 
"Brooklyn’s own Billy Durney grew up to follow in his Dad’s footsteps. After a long career in private security, Billy left to pursue his love of BBQ. As a kid he got a whiff of that burning BBQ wood at his Grandma’s house and later in Texas. He opened Hometown BBQ in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 2013, and the rest they say is history. He later opened Red …
 
Saskia de Rothschild, is the youngest person to currently lead a first growth Bordeaux estate, her family’s Chateau Lafite Rothschild, and is the first female chairwoman of Domaines Barons de Rothschild. Fourth generation winemaker, Dr. Laura Catena is the managing Director of Bodega Catena Zapata in Argentina. Laura was the first guest to appear o…
 
Canadian born Marco Pelletier studied engineering but pursued his love for wine, eventually heading to France. Marco was head Sommelier of some of Paris’ best restaurants including Tallivent and Epicure at the Hotel Le Bristol in. Marco left the 3 Michelin Star world to open Vantre, a Parisian wine bar with an extensive wine list and an emphasis on…
 
There is a generational change taking place in wine in California. Senses Wines is the dream of three childhood friends from Occidental, California, Chris Strieter, Max Thierot and Myles Lawrence-Briggs. The west Sonoma Coast winery partnered with acclaimed winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown to make exciting Chards, Pinots, and now some Cab Sauv. Will H…
 
Ryan Zoidis and Benny Bloom travel the world blowing some of the hottest riffs with legendary funk band, Lettuce, they are the Shady Horns. The Shady Horns have also played with Chaka Khan, the Wu-Tang Clan, Phil Lesh, and Aaron Neville to name a few. Eric Benny Bloom hails from Rhode Island and now resides in Colorado. Ryan Zoidis hails from Portl…
 
Born and raised in Barbaresco Italy, Gaia Gaja is a fifth-generation winemaker. Along with her siblings and iconic father Angelo, she oversees the family’s legendary winery Gaja in Piemonte. Gaia represents a generational shift at the winery that dates back to 1859. Gaja has also been making wine in Tuscany and Bolgheri for over 20 years and now ma…
 
Yannick Benjamin is a Sommelier in his native New York. Yannick refused to let a life-changing accident alter his dreams of college and his love of wine. He is the Co-Founder and Director of Development for Wheeling Forward and their event “Wine on Wheels”, coming up in NYC on Saturday April 4th. Yannick is soon to open his new restaurant, Contento…
 
Laurent Ponsot and Erwan Faiveley are amongst the most revered winemakers in Burgundy. Laurent left his eponymous family winery after 36 years to start Laurent Ponsot Wines. Erwan Faiveley oversees his eponymous family winery, Domaine Faively, one of the largest Burgundy producers making quality wines at all levels. Laurent and Erwan were interview…
 
Cathy Corison has been making wine for over 4 decades. She was the first woman winemaker-proprietor in the Napa Valley at her Corison Winery located in the benchland of the valley since 1987. Her focus has been Cabernet Sauvignon and her sought after wines are alive, powerful, elegant, aromatic, complex and long lasting. The Grape Nation is powered…
 
I was recently in Florida at the Naples Winter Wine Festival benefitting the Naples Children and Education Foundation. I had the opportunity to sit with the best wine people from around the world. This episode is the Bordeaux show. I talk to Nicolas Glumineau, the winemaker and General Manager at Pichon Comtesse and Alfred Tesseron, Proprietor of C…
 
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