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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


131: Salt in Wine, Oyster Pairings + Real Talk with Your Sommelier

Is food and wine pairing the ultimate goal of every dining experience? Is it okay to tell sommeliers if you don’t like the wine they recommended? What’s it like serving famous captains of industry like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Seattle-based wine writer, educator and sommelier, Zach Geballe.

You can find the wines we discussed at



How can sommeliers help patrons feel comfortable talking about wine?

Is successful wine pairing the ultimate goal of every dining experience?

Should you tell the sommelier if you don’t like the wine they recommended?

What’s it like serving famous captains of industry like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates?

How did Zach get started with his private wine classes?

Which characteristics should you look for in a wine to pair with oysters?

What does saltiness mean as a wine descriptor?

What unique wedding ritual did Zach and his wife partake in instead of traditional cake?

Which unusual wines did Zach select for an Amazon event he led?

How did a trip to Moselle vineyards surpass Zach’s high expectations?

What surprised Zach when visiting Parmesan producers in Italy?


Key Takeaways

I thought Zach’s tips on pairing crisp, mineraly wines with oysters were spot on, and he should know coming from Seattle where oysters are popular and so very fresh.

I agree with Zach that food and wine pairing doesn’t have to be the ultimate goal of every dining experience. Sometimes, you just want to enjoy a wine that you love and a dish that’s your favourite, and the two don’t necessarily go together. My suggestion, take a bit from a bun in between and relax.

I was glad to hear Zach say that it’s perfectly fine to tell sommeliers if you don’t like the wine they recommended. They’ve got a personal stake in your enjoying your wine and meal and coming back again.

  Watch Party

Join me for the debut Watch Party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live-streaming for the very first time on Zoom on Wednesday, June 9th at 7 pm eastern.

You can save your spot for free right here. I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.

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?


About Zach Geballe

Zach Geballe is a Seattle-based journalist and educator focused on the beverage alcohol industry. He is the co-host and producer of the VinePair podcast as well as the founder of Disgorged Wine, a wine education and events company in Seattle. He is a Certified Sommelier and has over 15 years of restaurant industry experience, most recently as the wine director for Tom Douglas Restaurants in Seattle, Washington.


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

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