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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


130: Restaurant Wine Lists Post-Pandemic with Vinepair's Zach Geballe Part 1

What was it like being a sommelier at one of Seattle’s most prestigious restaurants as the pandemic started to unfold? How have restaurants and wine lists changed to re-emerge in a post-pandemic world? How are sommeliers pivoting in the wake of the pandemic?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Zach Geballe, co-host and producer of the VinePair podcast as well as the founder of Disgorged Wine.

You can find the wines we discussed at


  • Why was Zach fascinated with restaurants and food as a child?
  • What was Zach’s experience with Seattle’s Dahlia Lounge?
  • How does Zach see restaurants and wine lists changing in a post-pandemic world?
  • Which types of restaurant customers does Zach expect to decline because of the pandemic?
  • When did Zach first realize that it wouldn’t be business as usual for 2020?
  • How did Zach combine his twin loves of journalism and the restaurant industry?
  • How did the Disgorged and Vinepair podcasts get started?
  • Why has Zach’s multi-passionate nature been especially important in the past year?
  • How are sommeliers pivoting in the wake of the pandemic?
  • Why are wine jobs often the first to go in hard times?


Key Takeaways
  • I also agree that we’ll see far fewer restaurants in the downtown cores and big cities that relied heavily on customers from business travel. I wonder what eateries will replace them, if any?
  • I agree with Zach that counter-service is going to be a big part of the post-pandemic dining landscape. And maybe that’s the answer for the downtown cores.
  • While this will help keep wine prices more reasonable and more restaurants above water financially, I’m concerned about what that means not only for servers and other staff, but also for sommeliers. Will we lose many of these experts who can help us discover so many terrific, new wines and new pairings? I hope that they’ll be able to pivot to new jobs in the hospitality world.


About Zach Geballe

Zach Geballe is a Seattle-based journalist and educator focused on the beverage alcohol industry. He is the co-host and producer of the VinePair podcast as well as the founder of Disgorged Wine, a wine education and events company in Seattle. He is a Certified Sommelier and has over 15 years of restaurant industry experience, most recently as the wine director for Tom Douglas Restaurants in Seattle, Washington.


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, June 2nd 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?


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

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