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Unreserved Wine Talk

237 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


156: Italian Wines from Alto Adige, Portugal + Champagne with Grape Minds Julie Glenn & Gina Birch

Are you curious about slow food and wine? What's special about the Alto Adige region of Italy? Why should you consider Portugal and Dubai for your next wine-fueled trip?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with wine writer, Gina Birch and broadcaster Julie Glen, hosts of the Grape Minds podcast.

You can find the wines we discussed at



How did Gina and Julie first meet?

What is it about Gina and Julie's styles that complement each other in their work?

What is a "ride with" in the wine industry?

What was Gina's most memorable "ride with" experience?

Which California-based faux pas left Julie mortified on a "ride with" with an important producer?

What's Julie's approach to talking about wines she doesn’t like?

Which embarrassing lesson did Julie learn about Pinot Grigio while living in Italy?

What makes the Naples Winter Wine Festival a unique and extraordinary experience?

Who were some of Gina and Julie's favourite interviewees at the Naples Winter Wine Festival?

What can you expect from a visit to the Alto Adige region in Italy?

Which wines first tempted Julie and Gina to go deeper into the world of wine?

What's the worst food and wine pairing that Gina has tried?

Why did a seven-course Champagne dinner leave a lasting impression on Julie?

What great, casual foods should you try pairing with Champagne?

What brought Julie to her studies in Italy?

Which chance encounter led to Julie meeting her husband in Italy?

Why should you add Portugal to your must-visit list as a wine lover

What was it like to attend the Expo 2020 World Expo in Dubai?

Does Dubai have a big wine scene?


Key Takeaways

I loved learning more about the Alto Adige region of Italy, and Julie's story about Pinot Grigio. I'm adding those wines to my shopping list.

I'm fascinated with Dubai and what it would be like to visit that city. I'll put that one on my bucket list.

I agree that wine is both subjective like art and at times embarrassing, and we can learn so much if we open ourselves up to those experiences.


Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live Video

Join the live-stream video of this conversation on Wednesday at 7 pm eastern on Instagram Live Video, Facebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video.

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?

Want to know when we go live?

Add this to your calendar:


About Gina Birch and Julie Glenn

Gina Birch grew up in Florida, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and public relations from Troy University, in Alabama. Her first job was in radio news, which eventually led her to Fort Myers, Florida, where she hosted a top-rated morning show for almost 15 years. She also started writing about food, wine, spirits and travel for USA Today, the Napa Register and the Fort Myers News-Press.

Julie Glenn earned her Master's degree in communication from the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, Italy and is fluent in Italian. She also has an undergraduate degree in Mass Communication from the University of Missouri. She began her broadcasting career as a reporter/anchor/producer for both CBS and NBC affiliates. Before becoming the News Director at WGCU, the NPR affiliate for southwest Florida, Julie was the regular wine columnist for the Naples Daily News.

Gina and Julie had been friends for years and together they created Grape Minds, a wine podcast that’s also broadcasted on NPR. They talk about the people, culture, and history behind the wines, as well as wine travel and food pairings. They've also interviewed some of the best-known people in the wine world and as they note, have only destroyed one soundboard while tasting in the studio.


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

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