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Unreserved Wine Talk

238 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


222: Wine and Religion + Santa Ynez Valley with Adam McHugh

What did John the Baptist, Dom Perignon and Saint Vincent have in common when it comes to wine? What makes the vineyard of Clos de Vougeot in Burgundy so fascinating? Why should you consider visiting the wine region Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Adam McHugh, author of Blood from Stone: A Memoir of How Wine Brought Me Back from the Dead.

You can find the wines we discussed at



Three of you will win a personally signed copy of Adam McHugh's terrific book, Blood from Stone: A Memoir of How Wine Brought Me Back from the Dead. 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 do French and American oak impart different notes?

Historically, why were more Catholics than Protestants involved in winemaking?

What makes the 100+ acres of Clos de Vougeot so interesting?

Why was the wine négociant system created?

Which major contributions did the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon make to the wine world?

How did John the Baptist become the patron saint of cellar masters?

What’s Adam’s take on the ongoing debate between geologists and sommeliers?

Why should you consider visiting the wine region Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County?

What are Adam’s top tips for getting the most out of a visit to Santa Ynez?

What was Adam’s hope in writing Blood From Stone?

Which unpopular wine belief does Adam hold?

What’s Adam’s favourite wine book?

Why is the Coravin Adam’s favourite wine gadget?

Which disastrous Shiraz wine pairing did Adam serve at a dinner party?

What’s the best way to pair a very tannic wine with food?

Which Julia Child recipe is at the heart of Adam’s current favourite food and wine pairing?

How has John Steinbeck inspired Adam as a writer?

What coffee message would Adam put on a billboard?

What can you expect from Adam’s book Blood From A Stone?


Key Takeaways

I loved how Adam wove in the stories of John the Baptist, Dom Perignon and Saint Vincent as they relate to wine. I agree with him that wine can be a spiritual thing apart from its religious associations.

Clos de Vougeot in Burgundy is such a storied vineyard. I’m glad he included it in his book.

The Santa Ynez wine region in Santa Barbara County is on my radar to visit next. It’s incredible that over 80% of the wines from Santa Ynez are made by family-owned wineries that make less than 10,000 cases yearly.


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 Video, Facebook 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 Adam McHugh

Adam McHugh is a wine tour guide, sommelier, and Certified Specialist of Wine. He is the author of The Listening Life and Introverts in the Church and a regular contributor to Edible Santa Barbara & Wine Country. He lives in California's Santa Ynez Valley.



To learn more, visit

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