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Unreserved Wine Talk

237 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


151: You Had Me At Pét-Nat: Gripping Wine Memoir by Rachel Signer

How are natural wines different from raw or clean wines? Why do natural wines provoke furious debates in the wine world? Why will you want to read our guest’s new memoir that’s hot off the press (pun intended)?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Rachel Signer, who has just published a gripping, addictive memoir, You Had Me at Pet-Nat.

You can find the wines we discussed at



How did a trip to the Loire Valley give Rachel the impetus to start her magazine?

What was it like to meet one of the most famous natural winemakers, Nicolas Joly?

What role does sulphur play in winemaking?

How does ageing differ for a no-sulphur-added wine?

Why was living in Spain a life-changing experience for Rachel?

Do you need formal training to be a serious wine professional?

What is Rachel’s approach to wine self-education?

What are Rachel’s top tips for getting the most out of your visit to a wine region?

Why does natural wine provoke such strong debates in the wine world?

How is Rachel helping bring new people into the world the natural wine?

What makes the natural wine world a movement and a culture?

Which criteria does Rachel use for natural wine in her magazine?

How did a wild bus ride on a Georgian wine trip lead to Rachel meeting her winemaker husband?

Why aren’t Rachel’s wines certified organic?

Why does Rachel always have her copy of Ernest Hemingway’s memoir with her?


Key Takeaways

I usually summarize my take-aways, but today I’m going to share some reviews of Rachel’s new memoir with you as I recommend it highly:

"From Paris to Australia, Signer takes us on a gripping journey to reclaim her sense of self through the medium of the natural wine she loves so much. You Had Me at Pét-Nat is a reminder of the importance of rebirth, the restorative power of love, and the invigorating gifts of nature. A must read for bon vivants and explorers alike."
— Victoria James, author of Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America's Youngest Sommelier

"I lean more toward Champagne than Pét-Nat, but Rachel Signer’s addictive memoir drew me deep into the world of natural wine and into the company of its eccentric, obsessive and hedonistic citizens. Ultimately, though, it is Signer’s personal journey, her search for love and identity, which makes this such a compelling and moving book."
—Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar

“Signer… takes readers on a movable feast… In this love letter to not only natural wines but also the community and ethos that sustain them, Signer shares her wine experiences, from working in a restaurant and wine shop to wine journalism and harvesting grapes, emphasizing both the traditions and environmental impact of vineyards and wine production…Her extensive journalistic experience shines through, and readers will learn never to look at a glass of wine again without considering the people pouring their hearts into every bottle.”

"You Had Me at Pét-Nat was like my favorite bottle of wine; I consumed it in one sitting. Dive head-first into the natural wine world with Rachel Signer to discover why these wines will deepen your pleasure as you meet the witty oddballs who make them. This is also the story of how one woman found healing and love when she finally let go of who she thought she should be and started living fully, wildly alive, as much as the wine in her glass."
—Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White, and Drunk All Over and Unquenchable!


Watch Party

Join me for the debut Watch Party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live-streaming for the very first time on Zoom on Wednesday, November 17th at 7 pm eastern.

You can save your spot for free right here: I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.

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?



You could win a one-year subscription to Pipette Magazine, a gorgeously illustrated magazine about natural wines.


How to Win

All you need to do is comment on one of the posts on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn before 7 pm EDT on November 17th.

I’ll select the winner randomly from those who participate. You get a bonus entry for every wine-loving friend you tag and if you re-share this post in your stories.

Good luck!


About Rachel Signer

Rachel Signer is a wine writer originally from Virginia, now living in South Australia. She’s written for numerous publications, including The Guardian, Vogue and Eater. She’s also the publisher and founder of Pipette Magazine, an independent magazine about natural wines sold in over twenty countries. She makes natural wines with her husband in the Adelaide Hills under the labels Lucy M and Persephone Wines. Her fabulous memoir, You Had Me at Pet-Nat, has just been published by Hachette Books.



To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit

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