You’ve seen the headlines: “The Legendary Study That Embarrassed Wine Experts Across the Globe” and “Wine-tasting: it’s junk science.” These articles, and many others, address the notion that experienced wine drinkers, be they sommeliers, winemakers, or other professionals, struggle to produce consistent results when blind tasting — particularly when subjected to certain tricks or confounding factors. However, since it is clearly not the case that all wine is interchangeable, how do we determine what makes wine good or bad?

That’s what Adam Teeter, Erica Duecy, and Zach Geballe dive into in this week’s VinePair Podcast, prompted by a listener question: “Can we objectively determine what makes a wine ‘good?’” If so, are blind tastings and wine competitions the best way to go about determining that? We cover all that and more on this week’s episode.


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Adam: From Brooklyn, New York, I’m Adam Teeter.

Erica: from Jersey City, I’m Erica Duecy.

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

A: And this is the VinePair Podcast. What’s going on today? How are we doing? Feeling OK?

E: Yeah. Doing alright. It’s getting cold here, but that’s our weather topic that some people complain about.

A: I didn’t even notice. I thought it was warm, but anyways …

Z: Well, when you never leave your house, the temperature doesn’t change a whole lot.

A: No, but I mean, you guys get into anything cool recently? I know we always talk about at the top now what we’re drinking, but before we get into that, is there anything else on your minds, or do we just want to get right into talking about drinks?

E: Man, it’s been work and drinks and moving. So I don’t have much beyond that.

Z: Yeah. I’ve been grappling with, and Erica I’m curious about your thoughts on this, I’ve been grappling with whether to take my son trick or treating this year. He’s just over 2. So he’s not really old enough to anticipate Halloween.

We did it last year, but he didn’t really know what was going on and it’s not like he could eat candy this year. We would maybe give him a tiny little bit, and I’m sure he would enjoy some of it, but it’s a really shitty year to talk about going to other people’s houses and knocking on the door.

A: Are they allowing it?

E: I don’t know if places are able to forbid it, really. But I think that I’ve seen some advertising for festivals and these things are just going to be packed. And so I think we’re going to skip it this year and we may do a little backyard thing with some friends, but I think it’s just going to be very small. And, I think we’re just going to recycle last year’s Halloween costumes for the kids.

Z: Yeah. I mean, again it’s the privilege of having a kid this age, he doesn’t know what he would be missing out on yet. So if there were a year where we weren’t doing anything, I don’t think he would really care. We had a costume picked out, so we’ll dress him up in that. And I don’t know. Maybe we’ll go for a walk. I think there are people talking about ways to do socially distanced trick or treating. And I think if I had a 7-year-old that might be more of a thing that I felt I needed to do for them. ‘Cause they would probably not appreciate missing a Halloween, but with a 2-year-old, we’ll just start at 3, I guess.

E: Yeah.

A: Yeah. And that’s not my problem, but I am wondering if I’m supposed to have candy at my apartment, but I think our building is forbidding it. So I have no idea. Our buildings, they’ve been very careful. So I don’t think I’m going to see much of that this year. And then all the parties are not going to happen. So that’s a bummer. So I’m just gonna watch scary movies and try to freak myself out.

Z: Do you need any help freaking yourself out in 2020, man? Just turn on the fucking news.

A: No, I mean yeah. There’s “freak yourself out” in a way that’s fun to be scared, then there’s “freak yourself out” to be really, truly scared. I’m already really, truly scared. I mean, I don’t even want to think about this fucking election anymore.

I just want it to be over, obviously in a positive way. So yes, I’m freaked out in that way already. But I would rather just watch some scary creepy shit and think about that and go back to a time when that was the thing we were scared about. This idea that zombies could roam the Earth. So instead of the one that’s in the White House As we call them: The good old days, the good old days. Yeah. What are you guys drinking, though?

E: I just this week published a piece on VinePair that was about the Pinot Noir revolution in New Zealand. The central Otago Pinot Noirs that were actually the wines that I mentioned in last week’s podcast, really made me fall in love with wine.

So, I was sipping through some of those, and the top contender for me was Rippon, which is this beautiful winery right in Wanaka and it’s on this incredible lake. It’s one of the most photographed vineyards in the world. And the family there has been making wine for many generations.

It’s the Mills family Nick and Jo Mills are the winemakers and it’s incredible. I think if you saw this place online you would be blown away, but the family has been farming vines there for three generations. And it’s biodynamically farmed, it’s without irrigation on its own rooted vines.

I mean this wine that I’m drinking, which is their mature-vine Pinot Noir, is dense and precise. It’s got these incredible layers of flavors that evolve. It’s just this beautiful, beautiful wine. And it’s an example of one of the wines that I talk about that has really been a benchmark in the revolution of Pinot Noirs in Central Otago.

A: Very cool. Zach?

Z: Well, what have I been drinking? I think the thing that I’ve been drinking the most lately has been a lot of California Zinfandel. For some reason, around this time of year, fall into maybe the beginning of winter, is a time when I really start to transition into these more robust red wines, but Zinfandel to me, good Zinfandel has this characteristic where it’s definitely red wine. It’s pretty powerful. Some of them are pretty high in alcohol, but they have this interesting, fresh quality to them. That feels like a fall afternoon to me. And I dig it. And so, I think probably mostly some combination of Ridge, Turley, and Rafanelli ’cause those are the ones I tend to buy. But there are other great producers out there and when I got into studying wine, it was one of the things that you could get on a blind tasting exam and I was always, “Oh, Zinfandel who cares?” and a lot of other things that I thought, when I was younger and maybe more of an asshole, I’ve come back to and been like, what? I really actually like Zinfandel. It has a place and I enjoy drinking it from time to time.

A: Cool. So in the course of the last week, I on two separate occasions at two different bars, wound up ordering the Jungle Bird. And it’s a delicious cocktail and I’ve rediscovered it. I was like wow, how have I not had this more often? And I think it’s one of those cocktails where if you’re trying to understand tiki, it is just one of the easier ones to make.

It’s five ingredients. So it’s, it’s super simple, right? It’s Campari, rum — I mean, specified Jamaican, but whatever – simple syrup, lime juice, and pineapple juice, and it’s just absolutely delicious. And so, yeah, it’s just so funny that that happened to me twice in one week. And I was like well, why haven’t I been drinking this more? So I would encourage everyone else to drink more Jungle Birds. It also made me feel like I wasn’t stuck in New York, worrying about numbers rising. So that was also nice. That was also really nice.

So as we get into today’s topic, Zach, we had a little listener email recently that piqued our interest and made us talk about what we’re going to talk about today. So you wanna give a little summary?

Z: Absolutely. So thanks to Matt, for listening first of all, and then emailing us, which you all can do [email protected]. and his question was basically he’s seen these various stories — we’ve all seen these stories from time to time — that pop up on, whether it’s, social media, a publication we frequent, whatever, that essentially make some claim about one of two related things.

One is, “Oh, some study shows that wine professionals can’t tell the difference between good or bad wine in a controlled setting.” Or alternatively, “Oh, people who are rating wines for competitions; if you pour them the same wine twice, they’ll give it two different scores.” Or at least there is no strong correlation that if you have them taste the same wine multiple times, that they will give it the same score over and over again.

And, all of these pieces get at a fundamental argument, I suppose, which is that wine professionals are full of shit. And as to the wine professionals, I’ll be honest: For me personally, there’s a natural instinct to be a little defensive in these settings. And people are taking shots at what I do for a living in one form or another.

But, I think that it does raise a very interesting question that I think we’ll probably get to in a minute, which is, well, how do we decide if wine is good or bad? What is it? What is that about? And so I think maybe we can start by talking a little bit about these questions and these examples, and then we can each talk about what makes a wine good or bad to us. ‘Cause I think there’s room for different interpretations.

A: Yeah. I mean, so first of all, I’m not a professional. I’m an enthusiast or someone who’s interested, and loves wine, but I feel like that’s where a lot of this can get tricky. I think there is a lot about most things when it comes to food and drink that are subjective.

Do I think that it’s very easy to be able to tell something that’s mass-produced or just not well made? Yes, I absolutely do. I was just having this conversation earlier today with another writer, I think being able to pick out when something is definitely unbalanced or just bad when you’re judging a food competition, you’d be like you just didn’t follow a recipe.

You “overcooked the beef”-type thing right? That’s easy. And I think there is something to that. I do think, though, I’ve been in situations where I’ve watched wine competitions and things, judges judge things differently two times. And I think that I’ve been involved in conversations where there’ve been massive arguments between those judges in terms of what constitutes something as being good.

And every time the people never agree. There always seems to be a lot of subjectivity, which I don’t think is bad, which is why we’ve always said at VinePair you need to find a wine merchant you trust or another wine professional you trust. If you’re looking for someone to help you with discovery, follow what they like because it may be very different from what someone else likes.

And that’s OK. Unless you’re at a place where the one person at the top’s palate has been decreed to be the palate everyone is supposed to follow, which, we know was true with Robert Parker at Wine Advocate. We know to some extent it’s pretty true at Wine Spectator with Marvin Shanken’s palate.

But for the most part, it’s very subjective. Even among tasting groups in terms of what people’s palates say and what one person likes over another. So I don’t know. That’s why these studies are always really funny to me because of course people are going to have different opinions.

E: Yeah I’d say from my perspective, I think that you could break it down. So there’s the technical side of wine and winemaking, and that would be having high-quality grapes, but that’s some combination of vintage, the terroir where it’s planted, and probably the vintage conditions.

So, I think I’ve seen a quote somewhere from Mondavi, who said you can never make great wine from mediocre grapes, but you can make mediocre wine from great grapes, or something like that. But the point being that you have to have the good material to create a great wine.

You can’t ever start out with bad material, bad grapes, and end up with a fantastic wine. It’s just not possible. So, you’ve got high- quality grapes, that’s a threshold. And then I think there’s great winemaking, so winemaker’s skill. And when winemakers were focused on making a wine that really expresses a sense of place, I think those wines, to me, stand out.

So those are the tangibles. And then I think the intangibles are this style or this X factor of wine, which is very personal. It’s the reason that some people collect first-growth Bordeaux wines, while others are coveting the grand crus of Burgundy. People just like different styles of wine.

Both of them are super-high-quality wines, some of the best wines in the world. but some people look for opulent wine. Some people look for mineral-driven wines. Some people want wines that are precise and detailed. Other people want power. So these are all qualities in wine that some love and others like.

And in a competition setting, you can really see that come through. So in a lot of the competitions that I’ve judged, you may be trying 60 wines in a day. And there’s no question that there’s some palate fatigue and after a while, things are starting to really, taste alike and then you’re looking for the outlying wines but do those outliers denote quality? I don’t know.

So there’s a lot of questions in that. And I think one successful thing I’ve seen competitions do is to have six or eight tasters tasting through the same flights of wine, and the top and bottom scores are thrown out. And then there’s a discussion with all the other judges about the numbers that remain.

So what number can you get to? Let’s say it’s judged, someone gives it a 90 and someone gives it an 84 and the 84 isn’t budging. So, sometimes you’ll go back and forth. You can go back and forth for a while defending the different attributes of that bottle.

And then sometimes it’ll get taken out of the room and they’ll say OK, you guys are done. This room can’t come to an agreement and it will be taken to a different team of tasters. So I think that’s one successful way that I’ve seen of mitigating that bias. But yeah, I mean there’s a huge amount of subjectivity in wine that is the beauty of wine, frankly.

Z: Yeah. Well, I think Erica, your example of competitions, ’cause I’ve judged a number myself, too, is a really good one and an important thing for our listeners, especially those who maybe don’t have as much personal experience with that to take note of, is blind competitions, in my opinion, are pretty much worthless.

A: I agree. I’ve judged plenty.

Z: And the honest truth of it is, Erica has given a very, very, professional, explanation of how these things are handled. But honestly, a lot of the competitions I’ve been a part of, it’s “Here is your day-long slate. Here are hundreds of wines potentially, or at least a hundred wines.”

A: Yeah when you said 60, Erica I was like, “Whoa, that’s a very good number. I’ve judged 300 in one day.”

E: That’s too much.

A: Way too much. But they don’t want to turn anyone away who wants to pay to submit. So anyways, sorry, Zach?

Z: That’s OK. No, no, you’re bringing up good points. One of them is that many of these are pay-to-play competition in the first part.

And the second part is, as Erica said, as we’ve all said in one way or another on this podcast and previous ones, wine, as with all things drinks-related, is inherently, at least largely, subjective. And I do think, and maybe we’ll come to this in a minute, that there are some objective criteria that can to some extent delineate bad wine from good wine.

But frankly, a lot of those things are hard to distinguish. In the context of a wine competition, the things Erica talked about, the provenance of the grapes, whether wines are made in an organic way or made from organic grapes or, what labor practices the winery uses.

I mean, sadly those things don’t often or always translate into the glass, especially blind. And so, I think informed buyers and consumers, and frankly journalists, should be aware of those things in most settings. But the point of wine competitions or wine judging is to strip all that away and just put the wine in the glass and have you rate them.

And again, I don’t really know what the point of it is, right? Because, and this comes back to something that I came to when I was working as a sommelier, and became a very important thing for me when I talked to and trained servers, and talked to guests frankly, which is: Everyone wants to know, Oh, what’s the best wine?

And I mean that whole concept is to me ridiculous. And you think about it and in many of the other aesthetic pursuits that we take on, I mean, who says, what’s the best painting on the planet? You can say well, such-and-such van Gogh sold for the most money at auction, but I don’t think any of us would say, that’s a criteria that we want to stick to.

There are the most expensive wines on the planet. I don’t think those are inherently the best, we could say. There are the rarest wines on the planet. Again, I’m not sure those are the best. There could be a wine that gets the highest score in a review setting or in a judgment setting.

And again, I don’t think those are particularly inherently good because the beautiful thing about wine is we don’t have to pick just one, right? You can drink lots of different wines in a given day, in a given year, in a given lifetime. And when we get too fixated on, well, is this better than that? To me, you lose the point of the whole thing. Again, it’s just if you only could look at one painting for the rest of your life, it would be a really shitty life. Thank God we’re not stuck with that.

A: At least it might be a painting that you like, right? So maybe it’s the wine you like. I think your painting example is a really good one. So I learned something recently about the gallery world and I never knew this, and I think that it’s really applicable to wine because I find people can understand.

I think a lot of us really understand that we don’t understand art. Right? And that there are some people that claim to in certain ways, whatever. And a lot of people feel intimidated by art. I never realized that there are some painters who are at this point on the market selling, let’s say a million dollars apiece, right, that are not considered to be serious enough to ever be shown in a museum. And that sometimes that’s a career choice that an artist has to make. Right. Make art that is serious enough that museum curators take it seriously, but maybe collectors don’t because it’s not pop-y enough or it’s not, in the style of the day right now.

So they don’t make that kind of work. They make work that shows their sense of place, if you will. But they’re not ever going to sell for millions of dollars, or maybe it’s going to take a long time throughout their career until they get there. Whereas there are certain people that immediately come on the scene, and make millions of dollars.

The market throws them up, up, up, up, up. We know lots of wines that that’s happened to, too. But there’s people that just never think that artist is serious and that artists may, or may never have a major show or if they do it may come only because eventually the market’s just so robust.

And the example for me is Murakami. Right? The market’s just so robust that finally the Brooklyn Museum decides to do a show. Because they feel, well, now we’ve got to bring people in because they’ve all heard about this person. So I think that that can happen as well in wine.

Just because a bunch of people are excited about it, doesn’t mean it’s the best wine. It means that there’s a bunch of people that will tell you about it. There could be other people that aren’t excited about that wine. And one of the things — could also be a podcast we title “What’s Wrong with Wine Competitions?” but, I mean it is interesting, first of all, I’ve never been in a wine competition where one personality doesn’t dominate the table. Usually, it’s the person who is either the MS or whatever, that everyone just defers to. And I don’t mean dominate, they can be “bullyish,” just that people start deferring to them because that’s just what happens, and group-think takes over the table usually most of the time.

And also there’s always disagreement about what was a flaw and now may not be a flaw, right? There’s a lot of people that still very strongly believe that brettanomyces are a flaw. And then if that’s on the wine that the wine should get scored poorly. There’s now other people, because of the explosion of natural wine, that think that that is an acceptable characteristic and that it adds to the complexity of the wine.

And I’ve seen fights breakout. Among people who’ve been like, I don’t agree with you. You’re wrong. The winemaker allowed a flaw to come into the wine, the wine is flawed. The wine should be sometimes thrown out. And then the people who say, no, this is adding complexity. This wine to me is a 95. So I think that just illustrates that it’s very hard.

And when we start saying, this group likes when these things happen, and these scores happen, it can be very difficult. Which is why I think the only way that it works is when it’s one individual critic or one individual person and you’ve come to trust them. Right. So you tend to agree with their palate and you bought other things that they’ve recommended.

And then you’re like, OK, cool. So for example, Keith, our tastings director, I like what Keith likes to drink and everything that I’ve ever had that he’s rated well I thought was absolutely delicious. So I’m going to keep trusting the things that he recommends, but you could find someone else that is a polar opposite of Keith and recommends things that Keith never recommends, and follow that person instead. And I think that’s more of what’s true in terms of when you’re looking at wine scores or wine reviews, than just thinking that one person’s — Keith’s 100 must mean that everyone else would agree that the wine’s at 100.

Z: I also think an important point to remember here, and this question I specifically wanted to ask Erica, is setting and context are hugely important for how we enjoy wine and that, to come back to the question that Matt posed at the beginning, some of these studies, not so much judgings, but either actually scientific or quasi-scientific studies are trying to get at, can people actually distinguish between things? From a sensory perspective, wine, in particular, is something that is so sensitive to the context in which you enjoy it. I mean, Adam, you and I did a podcast a while back about, talking about glassware and whether that shit mattered. And I think we mostly said no, but if you get your wine served to you — and I’ve had this experience and Erica I’m wondering if you’ve had it — if you go to one of these sensory labs where people are learning about wine more academically, you can do these things where you get wine poured to you in a black glass. So you can’t tell the color of it at all. Or you can get wine served to you in a room that they’ve completely purged of any smells. So there’s literally nothing in there. There’s nothing else in there that you could get confused by. Or you can get wines with various extracts added to them that affect that smell or taste. Have either of you ever had that experience?

E: I haven’t tried that in a sensory lab, but I have sipped out of black glasses before just to see what it would be like. And from my perspective, I think it is very reliant. Trying two wines, one in a black glass, and one in a glass where you can see through. I think our brains function in a way of — we’re very predictive. So you look at a glass of red wine, for example, and you’re already thinking of red berries, blackberries. You’re thinking through the different flavors that you’re about to encounter.

And when you’re just sipping from a black glass, you can be smelling it, but then you’re questioning what you’re smelling. So you’re wondering if really those things were there. When you see it in the clear glass you’re pretty sure that it’s there. So then you feel much more confident in making that assertion about what’s in the glass. Because no matter what, if you go with whatever the characteristics of red wines are there is no wrong answer. Everyone tastes a little bit of something different. And if you were to say, no, no, no, this is all red fruit. This is raspberry and currant and whatever. And someone else was oh, no, no, I’m getting plums all the way. It’s not like someone would tell you that you’re wrong.

A: Right.

Z: I agree. And I think also, to that point, this comes back to this whole question of these attempts at disproving wine expertise, no one drinks wine out of a black glass in a dark room for pleasure.

So I mean, this comes back a little bit to a gripe that I have in general, which is: There are some objective things that you can say about wine and maybe some things that I think that most people would say are hallmarks of quality, versus maybe not hallmarks of quality, but so much of this is experiential and driven by everything else around us and our enjoyment or lack of enjoyment of a wine is driven, not just by what’s in the glass, but who we’re with what we’re eating. If we are eating, how hungry or how tired we are, are we angry already? All this other stuff is so important to our experience, not just with wine, of course, with almost anything.

But to say that because you can fool people through whether it’s opaque glassware or misleading scenarios or all that stuff like of course, right? None of us are a sensory machine. We are not designed to be able to consistently respond to the same sensory stimulus the same way. Life would be very boring if we did that. So again, I think that there’s an attempt in these things to discredit the idea of expertise and look, a little bit of taking the piss out of wine professionals is fine, we can be a pompous group in general. So I don’t mind that, but I do think that it’s important to still note that that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any difference between wines. Wines are different things and there are different levels of quality. And some of that quality is objective in some sense. Some of it is maybe aesthetic or even political.

You might consider organic wine to be an important thing to champion because of what it means for the future of agriculture on our planet. And you might be willing to say that an organic wine is inherently better, even if taste-wise it’s indistinguishable. I think I would maybe make that argument, frankly, but again, to come to this idea that because you can trick people it means that there is no such thing as expertise is, I think, silly. Even if many of the applications for that expertise are, I think, also silly.

A: So I agree with you, but I think we have to also wonder why is there this obsession amongst other publications – usually not publications that write about spirits, wine, spirits, et cetera, but among the Buzzfeeds of the world, et cetera, to publish these articles about how so-and-so got tricked.

And I think what it comes down to is that there is this lack of — something we can all learn — there’s this lack of willingness amongst professionals in a lot of areas to admit when they are wrong or just aren’t really sure. Or, maybe could see someone else’s preference compared to theirs.

And because that doesn’t happen that often in a lot of industries where someone is paid to be an “expert,” people want to go after them. So that’s why it happens so often. I mean, I think about, I think we’ve talked on the podcast, Zach, about that one sommelier on Instagram a few years ago, who had posted a bottle, a very famous bottle of wine. And someone said they were pretty positive that it was a counterfeit. And the somm responded, “Don’t tell me, I’ve drunk so many of these wines” and it was DRC. You know what I mean? They could have just written back, “Hey, that’s a really interesting point, I’ll have to look into it.” or “Not sure, it definitely tasted like it to me, but you could have a point.” It turns out, actually, that later on someone realized that they saw the markings, and it was one of the counterfeit ones. But it’s just that unwillingness to just say, “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m wrong,” or “I totally see what your opinion is,” as opposed to saying, “Oh, I can’t understand why you like that. This is just not good.” I think that that is why other publications and other people want to see some of those personalities taken to task. ‘Cause it’s a fun environment to say so you don’t know everything. So stop making me feel shit about it.

E: Right. And I think the key thing for our listeners to know is that good wine is wine that you like. And as a professional, I find a special joy in finding the best value wines. So when I find Carignan wine from Broc Cellars in Berkeley, Calif., or something made from somewhere on the coast that delivers for under $20, I’m way more excited about sharing that with people and getting people excited about that wine, then I am about a $100 Barolo. It’s just a more exciting find for me to be like, “Here’s an amazing value. I love it. I hope you’ll love it.” And that’s, I think that’s where the joy of wine comes for me that maybe doesn’t come for other people. Because I dunno, I’m just not a trophy-hunter type of wine drinker. I do love to try good wines, but I just don’t think that, as a writer, as an editor, I get as much joy out of recommending expensive bottles. I just don’t.

Z: Yeah, and I think this is actually one last good point to come back to why there’s always such interest in terms of upturning the apple cart in wine. And it’s that we already have done that. The hierarchies that existed in the world of wine 40, 50, 60 years ago have largely been overturned. I mean, not necessarily price-wise because as Erica mentioned earlier, first-growth Bordeaux, grand cru Burgundy, those wines still sell for more money than basically anything else out there, maybe some Napa Cab, et cetera.

But from the consumption side and from where most people are oriented, which is not the collection market, the world of wine is much bigger than it used to be. The established hierarchies are much less meaningful in a lot of ways. And someone like Erica can legitimately reference and recommend a pretty obscure southern French variety — or actually maybe technically Spanish variety, from a place in California that most people have never heard of. And consider it to be on par with or better than a very famous wine region in Italy. And I don’t disagree with Erica at all. I think the point, though, is that when you have this world of, or lack of an established hierarchy, you have a lot of people who want to step in and say, “Ah, allow me to be the expert. Let me be the one who will reimpose hierarchy.” And a lot of people recoil against that. They don’t want to be told by someone who they don’t know and don’t trust that they’re wrong, and they want to continue to enjoy what they enjoy.

And that makes wine professionals, obviously, an area where people are already sensitive to the idea that they don’t know what they’re doing, because that’s something we all hear more than anything else from wine drinkers, it’s that they’re concerned they don’t know what they’re doing. So anything that helps level that playing field for them, I think is going to get clicks. It’s going to get us to talk about it. Does that make sense? And I get it, but I also agree with what Erica said, which is in the end, you as a wine drinker out there need to decide what you’re in this for.

And if you’re in this for enjoyment, then take everyone’s recommendations with a grain of salt. Or like Adam said, find a reviewer or a professional whose palate you seem to align with and try multiple people’s suggestions. Maybe you don’t like Carignan and you don’t like Erica’s recommendations, and maybe you prefer someone else’s. That’s cool, too. But I think what it comes down to is just, there’s so little point in just blindly following someone’s lead without fact-checking. But you can fact-check, or you can address these questions critically without dismissing the whole idea that anyone knows anything.

A: Exactly. It’s OK if you’ve been told that everyone loves Riesling that’s in the wine community and you don’t. That’s OK. And you shouldn’t be made to feel bad if that’s the case. That’s your preference. I feel we should be encouraged to like the things we like and get to explore those things in wine more, because that’s what’s going to make for a better wine community. As opposed to everyone being told that we have to gravitate to these core wineries or these core regions or whatever. And that that’s just the way, because that’s just going to continue to leave people out.

Z: Definitely. Absolutely.

A: All right guys. Well, this has been another very great conversation. I can’t wait to talk again next week. And for everyone out there, like Zach said, we love getting these emails. They’re great conversation starters for us. And oftentimes, they do turn into the topic of focus on a podcast. So please email us at [email protected] and let us know what you want to hear about. And Zach, Erica, I’ll see you here next week.

E: See you then.

Z: Sounds great.

A: Thanks so much for listening to the VinePair Podcast. If you enjoy listening to us every week, please leave us a review or rating on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show. Now, for the credits. VinePair is produced and hosted by Zach Geballe, Erica Duecy, and me, Adam Teeter. Our engineer is Nick Patri and Keith Beavers. I’d also like to give a special shout-out to my co-founder, Josh Malin, and the rest of the VinePair team for their support. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you again right here next week.

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