Wine 101: Wine Podcasts

We’re switching writers today with a post from Sarah Machielsen, one of our valuable interns here at My Wine Canada. Sarah coordinates many of the social media and marketing initiatives and would describe herself as a bona fide wine newbie.

Entering the world of wine can definitely be intimidating. Attempting to learn the wine varietals, the grape varieties, the wine regions, the vocabulary – oh the vocabulary – it can be overwhelming. So naturally, I tried to find resources to help me learn the most, in the least amount of time possible. Enter: wine podcasts.

I know what you may all be thinking – “the best way to learn about wine is just to drink it!” Indeed, that is what I’ve been doing since I started working for My Wine Canada, but using podcasts to complement my “on-the-job-training” has been extremely helpful.

So - why a podcast? It’s a non-taxing, easy way to learn about wine and I can listen to it while doing many other things. Also, podcasts are generally free and cover a variety of topics. Here are three of my favourites, and they all happen to be based out of the US:

Wine for Normal People (WFNP) has everything you want to know about wine and is done in a friendly, digestible way. WFNP is hosted by sommelier Elizabeth Schneider and her “normal” (i.e. not a wine expert) husband, M.C. Ice. They do shows on regions, grapes, pairing ideas, wine tasting etiquette, which I should have listened to before my first tasting - you name it, they’ve got it. Keep an ear out for Ellie – their Welsh terrier that can sometimes faintly be heard barking in the background.

I’ll Drink to That is an interview-style show where the host, former sommelier Levi Dalton, and featured guest, current sommelier Erin Scala, interview well-known wine industry folks. While less informative than WFNP, I find it truly fascinating to see the interesting paths that some people take to end up in the wine business. Prime example? Featured guest Erin Scala, who travelled around the world playing drums for various bands, tasting native drinks from around the Caribbean and Brazil (before it was her job), and hitchhiking to see some of the vineyards between Florence and Sienna. Tune in – you'll learn a lot about the wine industry and you’re sure to hear some interesting stories.

The Wine Crush is a playful podcast hosted by Laura Lawson, sommelier and wine industry veteran. If you felt that the first two options didn’t have enough humour and witty banter, this podcast may the one for you! Lawson has a light-hearted dynamic with everyone on her show and has a great approach to wine; as she mentioned in an interview with Creative Loafing, Lawson believes that you should "drink what you like, not what you're told.” Informative and fun, this podcast is a winner!


An adopter of the best bits and pieces from the places she's lived, Sarah Machielsen is a self-proclaimed lover of Canadian wine, French food, and British banter. You can find her on Twitter: @SarahMachielsen and Instagram: @Sarmach.

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