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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


175: Wine Sommeliers v Beer Cicerones and Tasting Techniques with Drinks Adventures' James Atkinson

What's the difference between a wine sommelier and a beer sommelier or cicerone? Which glass is best for properly appreciating great beer? What can you expect from Arizona as an up-and-coming wine region?


In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with James Atkinson, drinks journalist and host of the Drinks Adventures podcast.


You can find the wines we discussed at



How did James land the opportunity to host wine royalty, Jancis Robinson, at his house?

What aspects of James’ interview with Jancis Robinson stood out the most?

How did James create an opportunity to interview a childhood idol on his podcast?

How has rockstar winemaker Maynard James Keenan been influenced by Australian wine?

What can you expect from Arizona as an up-and-coming wine region?

When did James know he wanted to be a professional drinks writer?

What were the most difficult aspects of James’ pre-drinks writing career?

Which aspect of James’ early career would he change if he had the chance?

What are the differences between a wine sommelier and a beer sommelier (cicerone)?

How long can you keep beer before it goes bad?

What’s the process like to become a Certified Cicerone?

Which type of glass is best to properly appreciate the nuances of your beer?

What’s James’ favourite beer and food pairing?


Key Takeaways

I enjoyed learning about the difference between a wine sommelier and a beer sommelier or cicerone.

Even though I’m not a beer drinker, it’s good to know which glass is best for appreciating great beer. That tip will be handy for my partner Miles who loves local, craft beer.

Arizona is an interesting up-and-coming wine region. I would not have thought viticulture would be possible in such a warm region. I look forward to trying the wines someday.


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 James Atkinson

James Atkinson is the creator of the Drinks Adventures podcast and winner of Best Podcast at the Australian Wine Communicator Awards 2021. A lover of all fine drinks, James was previously editor of Australian Brews News and drinks industry publication TheShout. A Certified Cicerone® (beer sommelier) and two-time winner of the Australian International Beer Awards prize for Best Media, James has judged at several prestigious beer competitions. As a journalist, he has contributed to publications including The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Halliday, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Good Food, Selector and more.



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


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