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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


193: Iconic Wisconsin Cheeses, Wine & Beta Readers with Author Joy Ribar

Why is Wisconsin the most famous state in the US for its cheeses and what do they produce? Which iconic, delicious Wisconsin cheeses should you try? What is a beta reader and why would you want to become one?


In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Joy Ann Ribar, author of the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery series.


You can find the wines we discussed at



Three listeners are going to win a personally signed copy of Joy Ann Ribar's fabulous mystery books set in wine country.


How to Win

To qualify, all you have to do is email me at and tell me that you’d like to win a copy.. I’ll select the winner randomly from those who participate.

Good luck!



What’s Frankie Champagne’s favourite type of wine?

Which surprising insights has Joy discovered in her wine research?

Why should you consider Wisconsin for your next visit to wine country?

How did Joy end up doing over 80 events online and in person to promote her Deep Lakes series?

How big is the Wisconsin cheese industry and why are the number of dairy farms on the decline?

Which iconic and innovative Wisconsin cheeses should you try?

What are some of the fun celebrations you can participate in around Wisconsin during Dairy Month?

What’s a beta reader and why are they important?

Why are beta readers still essential when you have a professional editor?

What’s behind the recent rise in reading and popularity of book clubs?

Why are stories such a catalyst for deep conversation?

Which aspects of my upcoming memoir did Joy connect with the most as a beta reader?

What can beta readers do beyond reading?


Key Takeaways

I had no idea just how much cheese Wisconsin produces and the range and variety of cheeses. Seven thousand dairy farms, wow.

I love Joy’s suggestions for which cheeses we should try from the state. I’d love to try the cave cheddar with its earthy notes and compare it to traditional British cheddar. I’d pair the cheeses with a firm cabernet or vintage port.

I hope our beta reader discussion will encourage you to become one. Just let me know.


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 Joy Ann Ribar

Joy Ann Ribar pens the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery series at home in central Wisconsin. Joy’s life history is a cocktail of careers, including news reporter, paralegal, English educator, and college writing instructor. Her hobbies include baking, exploring the outdoors, and wine research. Joy infuses this mixture into her main character, Frankie Champagne, adding a special blend of sass and humour. Her writing is inspired by Wisconsin’s four distinct seasons, natural beauty, and kind-hearted, but sometimes quirky, people.

Joy holds a BA in Journalism from UW-Madison and an MS in Education from UW-Oshkosh..She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Blackbird Writers, and Wisconsin Writers Association. Joy and her husband, John, someday plan to sell their house, buy an RV, and travel around the U.S. spreading good cheer and hygge!

Joy is currently working on the next mystery in the Deep Lakes Cozy series: Deep Dire Harvest, coming in 2022.



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


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