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Unreserved Wine Talk

236 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


154: Pairing Books & Bottles, Organizing Wine Tastings

What do great books and great wine have in common? Why does it feel like the wine changes when you taste the same vintage years later, apart from it maturing (and possibly you as well)? How can you pair books and bottles? How can you organize an informal wine tasting with friends or your book club?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Sam Hiyate on his podcast, Agent Provocateur.

You can find the wines we discussed at



Which Niagara wine pairs well with haunting books that stay with you long after you finish them?

Why don’t I recommend The Handmaid’s Tale wines?

How can you pair Nasty Woman wines?

Which bottle would I bring on a boat with a tiger?

What can you learn from revisiting old bottles and books you loved?

Why should you host a wine tasting party or wine club?

How can you maximize your budget and selection for a wine tasting?

What are my best tips for creating the guestlist for your wine tasting?

How can you help your guests drink in moderation at a tasting party?

What are horizontal and vertical tastings?

What types of themes can you try at your wine tasting?

What’s involved in a blind tasting?

Which type of stemware works best for multiple types of wines?

How can you prepare appropriately for expectoration?

Which characteristics should you look for when tasting wine?

What’s the best technique to use for tasting wine?


About Sam Hiyate

Sam Hiyate worked at the literary magazines, Blood & Aphorisms and The Quarterly, in the 90s. He ran the edgy micropublisher, Gutter Press, from 1993 to 2002, as publisher. He launched the literary division of The Lavin Agency in 2003, where he built a list of clients and did his first deals.

Sam’s projects for the agency have been in various categories, including memoir, literary and commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction and graphic novels. He’s looking for works of all categories with distinct and compelling voices. He loved to discover and help new writers prepare their works for the market, and to help them build a career with their talent.


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

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