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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


209: Creating The Wine Bible: Behind-the-Scenes with Author Karen MacNeil

What did it take to create The Wine Bible, a 700-page masterwork on wine? What makes The Wine Bible so different from other popular wine tomes? How did the pandemic make it much harder to research and write this latest edition of this book and what creative methods did the author use to overcome those obstacles?


In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible.


You can find the wines we discussed at



Three of you who are based in the U.S. are going to win a personally signed copy of Karen MacNeil's terrific new book, The Wine Bible.


How to Win

To qualify, all you have to do is email me at and tell me that you’d like to win the book. I’ll select the winners randomly from those who participate.

Good luck!



Why did school become an oasis for Karen in her childhood?

When did Karen have her first introduction to wine?

What drew Karen to make the move to New York City at 19?

How did Karen’s passion for writing keep her motivated through hundreds of rejections?

How did Karen make her way into the closed-off, male-dominated world of wine in the 1970s?

How did the quest to be a better wine writer lead Karen to move across the country to Napa?

Where did the idea for The Wine Bible originate?

Why was Karen initially against the name “The Wine Bible”?

Why does it take Karen years to publish each new edition of The Wine Bible?

What makes The Wine Bible different and more relatable than other popular wine books?

What was the hardest thing for Karen to leave out of The Wine Bible?

How did COVID make it much harder for Karen to reach the people and wines she needed while working on the third edition of The Wine Bible?


Key Takeaways

I loved hearing the behind-the-scenes stories of what it took to create The Wine Bible, especially with so many entries, maps, and illustrations.

I know from personal experience that it’s a much different read from other popular wine tomes, more conversational and engaging.

Karen is no stranger to overcoming obstacles, and she used that scrappy tenacity to press through the pandemic and complete this major work.


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 Karen MacNeil

One of the foremost wine experts in the United States, Karen MacNeil is the only American to have won every major wine award given in the English Language. In a full-page profile on her, Time magazine called Karen, “America’s Missionary of the Vine.” Karen is the author of the award-winning book THE WINE BIBLE, the single bestselling wine book in the United States, with more than 800,000 copies sold.



To learn more, visit

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