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Unreserved Wine Talk

262 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


247: Soul-Searching German Riesling with Terry Theise, Author of What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking

Are you curious about the soul-searching nature of German Riesling? Why is Riesling the best wine for tasters to train themselves to improve their skills? Why shouldn’t you approach a new glass of wine with anticipation?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Terry Theise, a much-respected expert on and importer of boutique wines from Germany, Austria, and Champagne.

You can find the wines we discussed at



Three of you are going to win a personally signed copy of Terry Theise's terrific book, Reading Between the Vines. To qualify, all you have to do is email me at and tell me that you’d like to win a copy. I'll choose three people randomly from those who contact me. Good luck!



Why is it important to find a passion outside of your work?

What are some of Terry’s most memorable moments from his childhood years in India?

When did Terry rediscover his passion for beautiful writing?

What is the relationship between wine and language?

How did Riesling become Terry’s North Star?

Why is Riesling the best way for an amateur wine taster to train themself?

How does Terry differentiate between petrichor and minerality?

What does it mean to “arrive at the rim of wine without expectations”?

How does the dynamic interaction between taster and wine enhance the experience?

Why does Terry say that wine keeps him humble?

What kind of mistakes are often made in wine tasting?

What are some of the tricks of the trade for guessing how long a wine will last?


Key Takeaways

Terry’s passion for German Riesling reignites my own: it is both under-valued and sublime

He makes some excellent points on why Riesling is the best wine for tasters to train themselves to improve their skills.

He makes a wise point that those of us who are passionate about our work need to have other things for which we have an equal passion to maintain balance.

I like his mindset when approaching a new glass of wine without anticipation or expectations to allow room for surprise and delight. If only we did that with people, too.


Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live

Join the live-stream video of this conversation on Wed at 7 pm ET on Instagram Live VideoFacebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video.

I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?

Want to know when we go live? Add this to your calendar:


About Terry Theise

Terry Theise is a much respected expert on and importer of boutique wines from Germany, Austria, and Champagne. He has published two bestselling books—Reading Between the Wines and What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking: In Praise of the Sublime. His articles have appeared in The World of Fine Wine and other magazines. Terry has also won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional, Wine & Spirits Man of the Year Award and Food and Wine magazine’s Importer of the Year Award.





To learn more, visit

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