Cover art for podcast Unreserved Wine Talk

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


221: Châteauneuf-du-Pape Makes Wine from Stone with Blood From A Stone's Adam McHugh

How did one man make a complete career pivot from working with dying in hospice care to living among the vines and writing about them? Why is French oak so treasured and so expensive? Which historical events led to the development of what we now know as the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region?

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!



What’s it like being a hospice chaplain?

How did wine help Adam to connect and become more grounded?

How did Adam find the balance to lighten - but not trivialize - the serious topics he covers in Blood from Stone?

What was it like to transition out of being a hospice chaplain?

Why is grieving an essential part of many life transitions?

What’s the difference between change and transition?

How did a trip to France inspire Adam to turn his love for wine into a career?

What’s behind the book’s title, Blood from Stone?

How were the iconic rounded stones found in the Rhone region formed?

Which historical events led to the development of what we now know as Châteauneuf-du-Pape?

What are the multiple meanings behind the term “blood of the vine”?

Why is Adam fascinated by the process of fermentation?

Why did France plant the forests that have now become the source of some of the most prestigious oak barrels?

Why is French oak so treasured and expensive?


Key Takeaways

I loved hearing how Adam made a complete career pivot from working with dying in hospice care to living among the vines and writing about them, especially his insight into the renewal and the miracle in the phrase “blood from stone.” The ancient connection between blood and wine was interesting as was his observation that grief is not just about big losses like death. We grieve lots of smaller things throughout the course of our lives.

I also found his discussion of why oak from different forests in France creates different seasonings for wine. The tighter the grain in the oak, the more subtle the impact in the resulting wine. Then fermentation unlocks a lot of aromatics we revel in with wine.

The history of the popes and the development of the Chateuneuf-du-Pape region were also intriguing.


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

Educational emoji reaction


Interesting emoji reaction


Funny emoji reaction


Agree emoji reaction


Love emoji reaction


Wow emoji reaction


Listen to Unreserved Wine Talk


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens