On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” with Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, hosts Adam, Joanna, and Zach chat about a few things they’re thankful for in the world of drinks this year. Plus, the three discuss what gifts they’re hoping to receive (or self-gift) this holiday season. Tune in for more.

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Adam Teeter: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.

Joanna Sciarrino: And I’m Joanna Sciarrino.

Zach Geballe: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.

A: And it’s the VinePair Friday Podcast. And the day that the United States kicks the sh*t out of England. That’s right people, it is U.S. versus England. 2 p.m. Eastern. If you’re listening to this and you’re on the Pacific Coast, that would be 11. Yes, I can do math. You’re welcome.

Z: What time is it in Hawaii, Adam?

A: I don’t know. Hope you put some money on the game like I did. Let’s go. Yeah, I put some money on the game and I got a little bet with Tim. Tim’s picking Senegal as a sleeper to win the whole thing. Really? Yeah, because they did win.

J: They won in the past.

A: Yeah, they won the-

Z: Added news for Tim that their star player is out for the tournament, but whatever.

A: Wait, really?

Z: Yeah. Sadio Mané, as we’re recording this, it has been announced that he will miss the entire tournament. So a bummer for Senegal.

A: I’m glad I didn’t pick Senegal. I’m so glad I didn’t bet on Senegal. Anyhow. Anyways, so it is Black Friday. I hope you, everyone had amazing Thanksgivings and we thought we’d take this episode to chat a little about things we’d like to buy for ourselves in the drinks kind of space this year. And also things we’re thankful for. So, Zach, what about you?

Z: Well, I’m going to pretend that I’m a caring and generous person and start with a thing I’m thankful for and then we can get to the parts of things that I’m looking to buy or have bought for me. I think that’s a sort of overarching thing that I thought of that I’m thankful for this year. It’s 2022, and if I’m wrong on this in specific places, please let us know, [email protected]. But I think this is a year where by and large, we avoided some of the really kind of heinous, not heinous as in wrong, but just really difficult harvests throughout the wine world. We didn’t have the really big forest fires here in the United States that have plagued the industry over the last few years. A pretty good year throughout most of Europe. Individual places definitely had some struggles, but you didn’t have the kind of catastrophic hail and frost that you saw in some places. Again, individual regions aside where some of this did happen. And I mean, I’m glad because I like wine. I like there to be a lot of quality wine out there on the market. But also because there, there’s been a lot of probably accurate and appropriate concern about wine in the face of climate change. And I don’t mean that one year with less difficulty than usual is like, “Oh, everything’s going to be fine.” But I do think that sometimes it’s important for a lot of places, a lot of regions to have years of harvest where they don’t just get kicked in the teeth over and over again and for no other reason than to give people morale. I think the thing that I had been struck by over the last few years in talking to winemakers and producers kind of in all kinds of different places is there’s a lot of people who were really feeling unsure if they wanted to continue in the wine industry. And that’s not just because of climate-change issues, Covid, supply chain, all that stuff was, were real stresses on, of course not just the wine industry, but for people in that industry where it’s already somewhat precarious just by nature of it. For them as a collective to have a year where I think people generally feel good about quality, good about yields, good about the what, the potential profitability of their enterprises. That is something I’m thankful for, because there have been too many ends of years where it’s like, “Oh sh*t.” Burgundy down 50 percent. Bordeaux down 35 percent. Napa, possibly no vintage because of smoke. It’s just one of those things where you read those stories, you live in this space and you just like, well, will there ever be, will we get to keep drinking wine in the future? And I hope so. I like wine. So that’s the thing I’m thankful for.

J: There’s always hard seltzer.

A: Yeah, there’s always hard seltzer.

Z: There is always hard seltzer. Can we get some wine-flavored hard seltzer up in here?

A: Yeah man, Merlot. Merlot-flavored hard seltzer. You haven’t heard about it yet. It’s coming. Joanna, what about you?

J: Well, not to be lame or anything, but I feel like more personally for me, what I’m grateful for this year is all of the opportunities I’ve had to learn a lot about this space. I’ve gone to a number of different conferences. We just got back from Wine 2 Wine fairly recently and that was a really cool experience for me. Charleston, Atlanta, I was in Mexico at some point this year, just learning about the drinks industry in a way that I hadn’t in the past. So I’m super grateful for that as it hopefully makes me better at my job. But also to get to work with a lot of people who are just really knowledgeable in this space as well as writers, obviously my colleagues. It’s such a vast, vast space and learning across spirits and beer and wine especially, is a little daunting sometimes. So excited to continue learning, but really grateful for what I’ve gotten to learn so far.

A: That’s a good one.

J: Is that so cheesy?

A: I love it.

J: Sorry.

A: I love it.

J: What about you Adam?

A: I, well first, thankful for another year of people supporting VinePair, which is awesome. Reading us, listening to us, giving us amazing feedback. It’s always appreciated even when it’s negative feedback.

J: No, truly. Truly.

A: It’s always helpful, which is awesome. I also — I’m thankful that there continues to be really interesting people doing really interesting things in this space. So there continue to be these really cool stories that we get to tell people. Making delicious stuff that we get to try.

J: Hot dog straws.

A: Yeah, hot dog straws. I mean, I do want to say, though, I’d say that there’s two things that I’m the most thankful for. It’s a tie.

J: Okay.

A: I don’t know if you guys can guess them.

J: Just so much gratitude.

A: There’s so much gratitude. Actually three.

Z: Actually one of them has to be Joanna, the other has to be me.

A: Yeah, well that goes without saying, guys. I mean come on. If it would be the, it goes without saying. Yeah, if you…

J: Say World Cup anything, I’m going to leave right now.

A: So one would be the Dirty Shirley. Two would be the vodka water and three would be natural wine. Those are my three things because they just have so much material. Oh so much material. And I would just say thank you for these things because it’s just great to learn to be told that this is the thing that everyone wants to drink. So good. It’s just so good. I mean I just got a press release today that someone’s making another Dirty Shirley can cocktail. I’m like, no, it’s over.

J: Low cal.

A: Stop. At least the Espresso Martini is a thing. There are people drinking it. The Dirty Shirley was just a troll by The Times for page views. I hope they got a really good advertiser. I hope they fulfilled a great campaign on that one ’cause come on. But no, I do think that there’s a lot of fun stuff to talk about all the time. So yeah, I’m very grateful for those things. Now let’s talk about commerce.

Z: Yeah, something Adam really cares about.

J: Yes, it is Black Friday after all.

A: Did you guys do Black Friday?

Z: No.

J: Like never ever.

Z: What do you mean by “do Black Friday?”

A: Do you trample people at stores?

Z: Trample people at the local mall? No.

J: Trample people at the local mall.

A: Come on. It only happens once a year at one Walmart. Okay. It doesn’t happen everywhere. It always seems to be a Walmart. It’s funny! For a TV.

J: It’s tragic.

A: I know it’s bad. I don’t mean that it’s funny. Human tragedy is never funny. It’s just like, what are people doing for a TV? But I’ve done it once or twice at night with-

Z: Like Thanksgiving night?

A: No, to the next night on Friday night. Go when the stores are still open after hanging out during the day or something to an outlet in Lancaster. That’s something to do.

J: It’s just what you do in Lancaster.

A: I love Lancaster. I think it’s a really great place. But yeah, they have a lot of outlets because it’s a lot of tourism to see Amish people.

J: Okay.

A: Yeah. But is there one fun wine-, spirits-, or beer-related gadget or glassware or even bottle that you really want this year?

J: Oh.

A: Zach?

Z: This is always such an interesting question for me because I generally am anti-gadget. The one gadget that I’ve wanted over the last however many years I have now is a Durand, which is a kind of wine opener, which is designed for older bottles of wine, which I do open from time to time, both professionally and personally. In general, I’m not a huge, like I said, not a big fan of gadgetry. Not to say that some of it can’t be nice and useful and maybe even fun. But I do think that one thing that I have been realizing is missing in my life, to some extent that I’ve been sort of like, well, do I really want to go buy this or ask someone to buy for me is I do want some sort of way — I want to mess around more with my cocktails at home with, I want to smoke them. And I’m not a huge fan of, like I said, I can’t tell if for my own sake if it’s I’m going to find a gimmicky or not. But there’s something about the way, I don’t know, a smoking gun or whatever you use to infuse cocktails with it. Because both Caitlin and I really like and have had some cocktails, some smoked cocktails that we really like and it feels like something that would be perhaps worth doing at home. It just feels like, am I really going to be willing to do this more often enough to make it worthwhile? And I haven’t really decided yet, but it’s on my mind.

J: You should get a little cloche and you should get a culinary torch. I don’t think you should get a smoking gun.

Z: Yeah.

J: You’ll have find wood.

Z: I have a culinary torch already. I mean, trust me, I like to burn things when I intentionally, unintentionally whatever.

A: What about you Joanna?

J: Gosh, I feel like when I think of this holiday, I think of it more for buying gifts for other people.

A: So what do you want to buy for someone?

J: I really got to get my sh*t together, because I don’t know. I feel like the holiday has really crept up on me this year. And I don’t have any sense of what I need to get people.

A: Out of nowhere land.

J: But for myself, I do really want nice wine glasses.

A: Me too.

J: The ones that we have for the office are really nice.

A: That’s what I want too.

J: The Gabriel glasses and they have a set of three that you can get, I think. They’re three, I think. Or maybe I’m thinking of a different brand. Anyway, nice wine glasses.

A: I like the Gabriel glasses.

J: Yeah. They’re really nice.

A: The universals are really nice. Yeah, that’s one of the things I want. I think. Yeah. Also, I’m also not a gadget person. I’m not into the gadgets when it comes to wine, beer, and spirits. I just am not, and I feel like there’s always a new gadget for the holiday season. And I’m lucky that I’m past the point. I think now that I actually do this professionally, I’m less likely to get that gift from friends or family than when I was, everyone was like, “Oh, Adam just really likes wine. So that’s an easy thing to get him.” Now they’re like, “Oh, he probably already either gets this or it was sent or something.” So I’ve dodged the gadget bullet.

J: You know what bullet I haven’t dodged, though?

A: What?

J: The wine tea towel bullets. I get so many of those now.

Z: Like wine-themed ones that just have bottles of wine?

J: It’s wine o’clock.

A: Popping bottles.

Z: And they’re always bad. They’re never good. They’re cheap.

A: They’re never good. Sh*tty towels. Why does everything, does all that stuff around drinking have to be so bad? All the wine o’clock signs and the T-shirts. And don’t get me wrong, when we had the really active store, we sold it because they sell. The wine socks. If you can read these, bring me a glass of wine. People love that stuff. But it’s never been for me. It’s never been for me. It’s not my thing. I’ve never been into the aerators and stuff like that, the express. I don’t know. Maybe I can get a blender and just hyper-decant some stuff. But it’s never been my-

J: A Vitamix.

A: Just a Vitamix. Just to hyper-decant wine. Yeah. So I don’t feel like I need anything. I just want nice glasses. I have glasses but they’ve broken and I’m ready for a new set.

J: And what about bottles?

A: Gosh. Well, you can never go wrong with Barolo.

J: Sure.

A: Yeah. I’m happy with the bottles that I have in my collection. I could always use other great wines. But there’s not one specific bottle I’m yearning for.

Z: There wasn’t a spirit you lost in the great closet collapse of 2022 that you want back?

J: Yes.

A: I could always use more interesting gins.

J: Oh, gins?

A: I can always use more interesting gins. I’m not drinking a lot of brown spirits right now.

J: How come?

A: It makes me feel gross.

J: Yeah.

A: Gives me a headache.

J: It gives him a headache.

A: It’s bad. I think I’m having a weird allergic thing to it. Yeah. I’ll get a headache after one glass of whiskey.

Z: Are you allergic to getting older? Cause that’s what’s happening here.

A: Don’t say that, you guys. I’ve got a whole new face care regimen. I’m very excited about trying to unlock the fountain of youth because I’m very young.

J: Some more gin.

A: Yeah. I like gin.

Z: Is that the face-care regimen, just gin to the face?

A: No. No. I’m consulting my wife on my skincare.

Z: It’s the botanicals. They do a lot.

J: Botanicals.

A: She’s like, “Adam, wow. At your age you’re now trying to care about your face.” I’m like, “Yeah, let’s do this.”

J: It’s never too late.

A: It’s never too late. But yeah, no, I mean, do you guys have any specific bottles? You’re like, yearning for? Like Joanna, you’re just like, “Oh, if anyone can find me that Eagle Rare. That’s all I need.”

J: No, I think, I don’t know. I think about, well, we’re starting to release our really good bottle guides for the end of the year, so trying to mine those for gift ideas.

A: Yes, those are great. Our Top 50 Wines.

Z: Yes. Top 50 wines, spirits. We have a lot of great best bourbons for gifting, that kind of stuff, which I think is really useful for now. But no, nothing that…

A: I have to have this personally. And I also find with gifting bottles to other people, it’s like the one time when it needs to be a wine or a spirit I know they know, right? Yeah. It’s really hard, I think, to give someone an obscure thing, that this is the time to not give something obscure. In terms of wine. Yeah, sure. They don’t have to know the producer, but it needs to be a Burgundy, a Bordeaux and Napa cab. That’s sort of what people know. You can’t be like, “And here is a Cabernet from Washington State.” Sorry, Zach, I had to do that on purpose, but you know what I’m saying?

J: You’re going to love it.

A: You’re going to love it. I swear. Actually no, I think people do probably know Washington State wines.

Z: And I think it’s more like here’s here’s a Pelaverga from-

A: Exactly.

Z: Call back to the last episode. Like that I think is trickier to pull off. Unless the person is really, you’re really convinced that it’s just the ideal wine for them. I think it’s right. It’s definitely a time for the classics, for things that are well known.

A: And it’s the same for spirits, right? You have to know brands people know. You can’t be like, here’s a craft bourbon. I swear it’s good.

J: Well, unless you have somebody who’s into that. Last year we gave Evan’s cousin a bottle of Larceny bourbon and he was really into that. But that’s something that I don’t even think they have in Canada. He was into it.

A: Yeah. Yeah. So anyways, happy holidays to all. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Happy Black Friday. Did you say Happy Black Friday?

J: I don’t know, man.

A: Enjoy Black Friday.

J: Good luck.

A: Good luck out there. Good luck out there. Hopefully by the time you’re listening to this, the U.S. has kicked the sh*t out of England.

J: Oh, you’re going to eat your words.

A: We’re not supposed to win. They’re really good.

J: Two episodes.

A: Whatever. Tim McKirdy, I want you to know right now, we own you. Okay? We own your country.

J: Oh my God.

A: This is our time, Tim. This is our time. It’s coming home to the U.S.

Z: Adam, how many members of the U.S. men’s national team can you name?

A: Zero, dude. Zero.

Z: Nothing like pure jingoism. I love it.

A: Yeah. I mean zero. What is it? It’s, what’s the sport even? I forgot. I blacked out. Anyways, have a wonderful Black Friday and we will see you back here on Monday for the holiday rush.

J: Have a great weekend.

Z: Sounds great.

Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.

Now for the credits. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Washington, by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all of this possible, and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team, who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.

Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.