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Unreserved Wine Talk

262 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


237: New Vision for Beautiful Vineyards and Regenerative Viticulture with Mark Gudgel

What does regenerative viticulture mean? How do healthy vineyards today look dramatically different from those five years ago? How did the Wine Olympics make the results of the Judgement of Paris undeniable?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with author Mark Gudgel.

You can find the wines we discussed at




Three of you will win a copy of Mark's new book, Rise of Napa Valley Wineries: How the Judgment of Paris Put California Wine on the Map. 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!



How did the Wine Olympics make the results of the Judgement of Paris undeniable?

What did the people of Napa do to preserve the beauty of the valley?

What does regenerative viticulture mean?

How is climate change impacting the California wine industry?

What surprised Mark the most when researching the book?

What needs to change to improve the terribly low levels of diversity in the wine industry?

Which aspects of The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries would Mark change in a new edition?

What's Mark’s greatest satisfaction having written this book?

Where’s the ideal place to have a glass of wine with friends and why?

Why does Mark describe the 2017 Smith-Madrone Riesling as the perfect Riesling?

What did Mark love about Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run?

Which controversial wine opinion does Mark feel strongly about?

What does Mark want you to know about Oakville, Napa Valley?


Key Takeaways

Mark’s definition of regenerative viticulture was helpful. I especially like his observation that the new vision for a beautiful vineyard is rows of well-maintained grapevines with a tremendous diversity of life living within it.

I agree with him that if we resign ourselves to merely sustaining where we are, we have resigned ourselves to a long, slow death.

I enjoyed his story about how the Wine Olympics made the results of the Judgement of Paris undeniable.

It’s also undeniable that the wine industry has a long way to go, with only four African-American Master Sommeliers, and only 10% of Master Sommeliers being women.


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 VideoFacebook 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 Mark Gudgel

Dr. Mark Gudgel is an eighteen-year veteran of teaching high school English and presently serves as assistant professor of education at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha. His book, The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries: How the Judgment of Paris put California wine on the map, focuses on the wine industry and issues that surround it, and was released from History Press in May of 2023.




To learn more, visit

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