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The Black Wine Guy Experience

Where music, food, wine and life collide.


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  • 156. Pouring Over Pages: Lettie Teague's Life in Wine and Wordz.

    01:34:54
    Welcome back to "Beats Vines & Life," where the melodies of music, the enchantment of wine, and the narratives of life converge. I'm your host, MJ Towler. Today, we uncork the essence of wisdom and wine with a very special guest: Lettie Teague, the renowned wine columnist for the Wall Street Journal and multi-time James Beard Award winner. This episode delves deep into Lettie's intriguing journey from a liquor store to the lustrous halls of wine-writing prominence. We get personal as Lettie reminisces about her early years working in her parents’ shop and the invaluable lessons learned under the mentorship of wine maven Roberta Morell. Despite a rocky start in wine wholesale, Lettie's admiration for the industry's assertive salespeople set the tone for a storied career. Our conversation turns the pages of the downward spiral magazines faced during the 2008 economic downturn, highlighting Lettie’s lament on content diversity, all while she honors the craft of journalists with a touching anecdote about her path to the Wall Street Journal. Lettie gives us a peek into her Rolodex of celebrity wine projects and the award-winning "Educating Peter" series, sprinkled with lighthearted banter about Napa extravagances and columnist budgets. We move on to the challenges and silver linings in the wine industry, from millennial accessibility to the joy of sharing a bottle regardless of prestige. Lettie shares her childhood memories, her Midwestern roots flavored with Gallo pink chablis, and her grandmother's influence on her writing dreams. We also throw in a dash about our fondest dining traditions and Coach Popovich’s unique connection to the wine world. Touching on the digital age's transformation of content consumption and the importance of informed curiosity, Lettie delivers anecdotes with a bold, robust finish – true to a fine wine’s character. Whether you're a wine aficionado or someone intrigued by the stories behind the label, there’s a pour of knowledge for you in this intimate tete-a-tete with Lettie Teague.Get ready to savor the blend of life experiences and fine wine on today's episode of "Beats Vines & Life." Cheers!A Massive THANK YOU to LETTIE TEAGUE!!!To learn more about Lettie, click the link!Follow Lettie on IG!____________________________________________________________Until next time, cheers to the mavericks, philosophers, deep thinkers, and wine drinkers! Subscribe and give Beats Vines and Life a five-star review on whichever platform you listen to.For insider info from MJ and exclusive content from the show, sign up at blackwineguy.comFollow MJ @blackwineguyFollow Beats Vines and Life @beatsvinesandlifeThank you to our sponsor, GrenacheFest. The Second Annual Grenache Festival in Walla Walla, Washington, will be held on November 8th, 2024. It will feature a seated comparative seminar, followed by live music, food, plenty of Grenache wines, and tons of fun.For more information, go to GrenacheFestFollow GrenacheFest on IG GrenacheFest

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  • 155. From Minnesota to The Mosel: Jenna Fields' Story of Riesling and Resilience.

    01:38:39
    Welcome back to another episode of Beats Vines & Life, the podcast where melodies meet Merlot, and the rhythms of life blend with the bouquet of the vine. In today's special pour, we raise our glasses to the indomitable spirit of Jenna Fields, the maven of German wine, who turned a flood of challenges into a vintage of success. From her unassuming beginnings in Eagan, Minnesota, to the aromatic vineyards of Germany's Ahr Valley, Jenna's journey is as complex and compelling as the Pinot Noir we'll be sipping on today with our host, MJ Towler. We'll uncork the story of how a business card and a fateful decision not to work at Target, but to dive headfirst into the intricate German wine market, paved the path for Jenna's remarkable ascent.Join us as we swirl through her tales of resilience in the aftermath of a natural disaster that ravaged the vineyards she so dearly champions. With each sip, we'll explore Jenna's evolution from nanny to president and founder of a company that today represents over two dozen top wineries, painting the canvas of the American wine scene with German hues.MJ and Jenna will also engage in a pairing as unique as a Riesling with Thai cuisine, delighting us with stories of Michelin star ambitions, the challenges of transportation logistics, and the warmth of familial bonds in this intoxicating world of wines. So find your favorite spot, pour yourself a glass, and let's delve into Jenna Fields' rich life and passionate pursuits. This episode is for those who love the stories behind the labels and the people who pour their hearts into every bottle. Uncork and tune in to the symphony of Beats Vines & Life.A Massive THANK YOU to JENNA FIELDS!!!This episode’s wines: 2015 Meyer-Näkel Pfarrwingert Spätburgunder AhrTo learn more about The German Wine Collection, click the link!Follow The German Wine Collection on IG!____________________________________________________________Until next time, cheers to the mavericks, philosophers, deep thinkers, and wine drinkers! Subscribe and give Beats Vines and Life a five-star review on whichever platform you listen to.For insider info from MJ and exclusive content from the show, sign up at beatsvinesandlife.comFollow MJ @blackwineguyFollow Beats Vines and Life @beatsvinesandlifeThank you to our sponsor, GrenacheFest. The Second Annual Grenache Festival in Walla Walla, Washington, will be held on November 8th, 2024. It will feature a seated comparative seminar, followed by live music, food, plenty of Grenache wines, and tons of fun.For more information, go to GrenacheFest
  • 154. From Vines to Vinyl: Aaron Jackson’s Life in Notes and Tannins

    01:26:23
    Welcome to another episode of "Beats Vines & Life," where the rhythm of music meets the richness of wine culture. Today's episode features a special and insightful conversation with the innovative winemaker, Aaron Jackson. Join us as we uncork the story behind his unique wine blend, “The Trespasser” which started in 2010, and his journey from a passionate youth to an established name in the wine industry.Aaron shares his excitement for the ever-evolving winemaking process, the highs, the challenges, and the way climate change is stirring the pot. He invites us all for a toast and a trip down to their winery in Tin City, Paso, while relishing the deep, enduring connection between wine and its connoisseurs.Host MJ Towler dives into Aaron's technique, philosophy, and passionate drive that led him to specialize in the Petite Sirah variety. Alongside discussions on blending artistry and winery challenges of today, Aaron's tale serves as a beacon for aspiring young entrepreneurs in the industry.So pour yourself a glass, settle in, and let the blend of conversation and discovery flow. This is "Beats Vines & Life," and we're about to taste the stories that make wines—and life—truly extraordinary.A Massive THANK YOU to AARON JACKSON!!!This episode’s wines: 2021 Aequorea Pinot Noir San Luis Obispo     2021 Aaron Wines “The Trespasser”     2021 Aaron Wines Petite SirahTo learn more about Aaron Wines, click the link!Follow Aaron Wines on IG!____________________________________________________________Until next time, cheers to the mavericks, philosophers, deep thinkers, and wine drinkers! Subscribe and give Beats Vines and Life a five-star review on whichever platform you listen to.For insider info from MJ and exclusive content from the show, sign up at beatsvinesandlife.comFollow MJ @blackwineguyFollow Beats Vines and Life @beatsvinesandlifeThank you to our sponsor, GrenacheFest. The Second Annual Grenache Festival in Walla Walla, Washington, will be held on November 8th, 2024. It will feature a seated comparative seminar, followed by live music, food, plenty of Grenache wines, and tons of fun.For more information, go to GrenacheFestFollow GrenacheFest on IG GrenacheFest
  • 153. Dane Curley: The Artist Shaping California's Wine Scene One Label at a Time.

    01:23:49
    Welcome to "Beats, Vines, & Life," the intersection where rhythm meets the grape and individual stories blend into the rich tapestry of life. I'm your host, MJ Towler, coaxing the culture from the creatives and the passion from the producers all over a shared bottle of the finest vintages. In today's episode, we're uncorking a special blend of conversation with the multifaceted Dane Curley — an artist, a designer, a man who paints the stories of wines onto the very labels that grace their bottles.Dive in with us as Dane takes us through his personal journey — from the Southern California waves to the ivied halls of New England's educational institutions. His story is a cocktail of surfboards and fine art, mental health advocacy, and a familial lineage of ingenuity. He's a man whose trajectory from Orange County to a Central Coast maverick exemplifies the freedom and accountability of the entrepreneurial spirit.We'll swirl around tales of artistic burnout, triumphant career pivots, and that unique anxiety that comes with waiting for your creations to face the world. From Dane's early days of comic book sketches to his current wine label wizardry, it's a tale of personal growth, geographical transitions, and the unrelenting pull of a creative life lived fully.So pour yourself a glass of that Turtle Rock or Saint K and join us on this tour through the notes of Dane's palette — a story as rich and varied as the varietals we adore. Buckle up for anecdotes of football dreams that gave way to art school realities, and get an insider's peek into role of social media in Dane's vibrant career.A Massive THANK YOU to DANE CURLEYThis episode’s wines: 2020 Turtle Rock Willow’s Cuvee     2021 Saint K. Gravesend     2021 Herman Story “Made” To learn more about Dane's Art, click the link!Follow Dane on IG!Follow DSC Designs on IG!____________________________________________________________Until next time, cheers to the mavericks, philosophers, deep thinkers, and wine drinkers! Subscribe and give Beats Vines and Life a five-star review on whichever platform you listen to.For insider info from MJ and exclusive content from the show, sign up at beatsvinesandlife.comFollow MJ @blackwineguyFollow Beats Vines and Life @beatsvinesandlifeThank you to our sponsor, GrenacheFest. The Second Annual Grenache Festival in Walla Walla, Washington, will be held on November 8th, 2024. It will feature a seated comparative seminar, followed by live music, food, plenty of Grenache wines, and tons of fun.For more information, go to GrenacheFestFollow GrenacheFest on IG GrenacheFest
  • 152. Sipping on Sustainability: Family, Innovation, and the Quest for Quality Wines at Jada Vineyards.

    01:00:07
    Hello, wine enthusiasts, and welcome back to another stirring episode of The Black Wine Guy Experience. Today's show takes us into the heart of Paso Robles as we swirl, sip, and savor the story of Jada Vineyards. Joining us are none other than the dynamic duo of the vineyard, General Manager Josh Messina and head winemaker Nate Hall. They share with us an intimate glimpse into their journey from Nate's mentorship under Josh to taking the bold leap into winemaking decisions that shape the landscape of the vineyard today.In this episode, we'll uncork the anecdotes and advice they would give their younger selves, revel in the fun of our wine game, and plunge into the rich nuances of their celebrated 2021 Hell's Kitchen wine blend while also touching upon the emotionally charged decision to sell the family vineyard.From inspiring family values to the intricacies of organic and biodynamic farming, Josh and Nate distill their experiences and aspirations into every bottle of wine, leaving us with a taste of the future of winemaking. We'll also explore the personal triumphs and tribulations along the way, including the imminent arrival of a new addition to Nate's family.Finally, we raise a glass to the end of an era, as this episode marks the final pour for The Black Wine Guy Experience. But fear not, we'll toast to new beginnings with Beats, Vines, and Life.So, pour yourself a glass and let's dive into the incredible saga of Jada Vineyards with your host, MJ Towler. Cheers to great wine and even greater stories on this week's The Black Wine Guy Experience!A Massive THANK YOU to JOSH MESSINA, NATE HALL & RIBOLI FAMILY WINESI!!!This episode’s wines: 2021 Jada Vineyards Hells Kitchen     2021 Jada Vineyards Jersey GirlTo learn more about Jada Vineyards, click the link!Follow Jada Vineyards on IG!To learn more about Riboli Family Wines, click the link!Follow Riboli Family Wines on IG!____________________________________________________________Until next time, cheers to the mavericks, philosophers, deep thinkers, and wine drinkers! Subscribe and give The Black Wine Guy Experience a five-star review on whichever platform you listen to.For insider info from MJ and exclusive content from the show, sign up at Blackwineguy.comFollow MJ @blackwineguy
  • 151. From Trader Joe's to Tasting Room: Exploring the Craft of Winemaking with McPrice Myers

    01:38:41
    Welcome back to another episode of The Black Wine Guy Experience! I'm your host, MJ Towler, and today's episode is about an incredible journey from the ball fields of LA to the vineyards of Santa Barbara. Joining us is none other than Mac Myers, a maverick in the wine world known for creating wines of exceptional balance and value.In this episode, we'll dive into Mac's early years, swapping the glove for a corkscrew as a devastating injury shifted his path from aspiring pro athlete to wine prodigy. We'll venture through the aisles of Trader Joe's, where a young Mac's curiosity for wine was uncorked, and follow his palate awakening beyond burgers and fries to a zest for pairing vibrant vinos with heartwarming home-cooked meals.From Mac's self-taught winemaking beginning to becoming a fixture in Santa Barbara and Paso's wine tapestry, we're uncorking the details on some of the most dynamic blends—Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah—and the story behind the flavorful 2023 release that reflects a harmonious blend of passion, place, and persistence.Get ready to hear about the highs and lows of carving out a niche in an industry filled with as much character as the wines it produces. Discover Mac's playful perspective with a game of 'slap, lick, fondle' that will change the way you look at grape varietals.Pour yourself a glass, and let's get into the grit, grapes, and glory of winemaking with the remarkable Mac Meyers on Episode 151, right here on The Black Wine Guy Experience. Cheers!A Massive THANK YOU to MCPRICE MYERSI!!!This episode’s wines: 2023 Beautiful Earth Rosé Paso Robles  2021 McPrice Myers Altas Viñas Red Wine SB County     2021 McPrice Myers Sel De La Terre Grenache     2021 McPrice Myers Paper Street Vineyard Cuvée     2021 McPrice Myers The Estate Vineyard Cuvée     2021 McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth Cabernet SauvignonTo learn more about McPrice Myers Wines, click the link!Follow Mac on IG!____________________________________________________________Until next time, cheers to the mavericks, philosophers, deep thinkers, and wine drinkers! Subscribe and give The Black Wine Guy Experience a five-star review on whichever platform you listen to.For insider info from MJ and exclusive content from the show, sign up at Blackwineguy.comFollow MJ @blackwineguyThank you to our sponsor, GrenacheFest. The Second Annual Grenache Festival in Walla Walla, Washington, will be held on November 8th, 2024. It will feature a seated comparative seminar, followed by live music, food, plenty of Grenache wines, and tons of fun.For more information, go to GrenacheFestFollow GrenacheFest on IG GrenacheFest
  • 150. Unleashing the Gypsy Spirit: Vailia From’s Journey into the World of Winemaking

    01:26:40
    Welcome back to The Black Wine Guy Experience! I'm your host, MJ Towler, and today we're pouring a full-bodied episode with an extraordinary guest, Vailia From, a trailblazing winemaker who has carved her own path in the wine industry with Desparada Wines.Join us as we uncork Vailia's remarkable journey—from her early days working in steakhouses in La Jolla to that fateful moment circling wine job ads with a roommate and diving into the art of telephone sales at Gerhardt Wines. Vailia shares her struggles and triumphs, including work in Canada's tightly controlled wine market, her transformative backpacking adventure in Central America, and the start of her very own wine business alongside her husband, known for Herman Story Wines.We get personal as Vailia recalls childhood luxury experiences that shaped her, the powerhouse influence of her grandmother, and her commitment to embracing both the glamor and grit of winemaking. Taste the passion as she discusses her Bordeaux-style wines, the process of creating her provocative labels, and the importance of mentorship within the wine community.We'll also be toasting to the diversity of her craft, from the highly anticipated Cab Franc-based wine to her tantalizing new venture into sparkling wine with the brand scarab. With candid discussions about the industry, environmental consciousness, and her global inspirations, this is an episode where every sip tells a story.So pour yourself a glass and settle in for a flight of stories and insights with one of the most dynamic figures in the Paso Robles wine scene. It's time to experience the synergy of life, legacy, and the love of wine with Vailia From, right here on The Black Wine Guy Experience. Cheers!A Massive THANK YOU to VAILIA FROMI!!!This episode’s wines: 2021 I Block Chardonnay  2022 Vela Sauvignon Blanc Chelle Mountain Vineyard  2021 Axis Petit Verdot  2019 Chelle Mountain BDXTo learn more about Desparada Wine, click the link!Follow Desparada on IG!Fostering: A Memoir of Courage and Hope Book____________________________________________________________Until next time, cheers to the mavericks, philosophers, deep thinkers, and wine drinkers! Subscribe and give The Black Wine Guy Experience a five-star review on whichever platform you listen to.For insider info from MJ and exclusive content from the show, sign up at Blackwineguy.comFollow MJ @blackwineguyThank you to our sponsor, GrenacheFest. The Second Annual Grenache Festival in Walla Walla, Washington, will be held on November 8th, 2024. It will feature a seated comparative seminar, followed by live music, food, plenty of Grenache wines, and tons of fun.For more information, go to GrenacheFestFollow GrenacheFest on IG GrenacheFest