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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


139: Wine Scores, Pairings and Writing with Master of Wine Vanessa Conlin

Why did I resist scoring wines for the first three years I wrote about them? How do you go from submitting an article to a local publication to publishing your first book? Why aren't press trips to wine regions all they're cracked up to be?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm being interviewed by Vanessa Conlin on the Wine Access Author Series.

You can find the wines we discussed at



How did I go from writing an article for a local publication to publishing my first book?

Why do stories make such a great medium for you to learn about wine?

How did I get access to prestigious vineyards and wineries while researching my first book?

What’s it like to interview A-listers in the wine world like Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson?

How can you choose the right wine critic for you to follow?

What’s it like working undercover in a wine store and as a restaurant sommelier?

Which undercover moment transformed my understanding of service?

Which wine regions am I looking forward to experiencing?

Who are some of the most fun and interesting people I’ve interviewed so far?

Why do I avoid going on press trips?

What types of stories can you look forward to in my upcoming book?

Which tip can you use to find great bargain wines?

How can food and wine pairing help you to get more comfortable with wine?

Which food is the most difficult to pair with wine?

What type of wine is the easiest to pair with a wide range of foods?

Do you need to be an expert to enjoy wine?


About Vanessa Conlin MW

Vanessa Conlin MW is the Head of Wine for Wine Access, a national direct-to-consumer e-com wine retailer where she oversees all wine curation and wine content. Vanessa has served as the Director of Sales and Marketing for several of Napa’s most prestigious luxury estates including Arietta Wines and Dana Estates. Previously she was the wine buyer for two prominent Manhattan wine retailers and the Wine Director for a Manhattan-based wine bar. As an avid supporter of charitable causes, Vanessa is the President of the Board for Jameson Humane, a Napa Valley-based animal rescue and sanctuary, and has chaired the organization’s annual charity wine auction four times, raising over 7 million dollars. Prior to falling in love with wine, Vanessa worked as a professional musician, performing internationally and on Broadway, and holds a Master’s Degree in Music. She is an instructor for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and was the recipient of the Niki Singer Memorial Scholarship from the International Wine Center. Vanessa became a Master of Wine in 2020.


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

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