Alright guys, welcome to another episode of live with a fork in the road. And I'm Kelly. I'm your wine Explorer here in Atlanta, Georgia and I am chatting with people who are shaping the southeast wine industry.
Hello, thank you for pressing play on episode 117 of the Korcula road Podcast. I'm Kelly, your host based in Atlanta, Georgia, where there is quite an energy right now after the first ever Michelin Guide ceremony in Georgia happened this week. So a huge congratulations to all who were honored and recognized and a special shout out to former podcast guests Juan Cortes, the inaugural winner of Michelin guides best Somali in Atlanta, so many well deserved recognitions. And I'm looking forward to the road ahead for the food and beverage scene here in this city. Now, my guest today is not only a very familiar face in the little wine community, but he is also one of the most mentioned names on this podcast. So it was an honor to chat with Eric crane, the Director of Training for Empire distributors, who has been working in wine education for the last 20 years. And if you work in wine in Atlanta, you either know him or you know of him. He's just so incredibly well connected throughout this wine industry. It was an honor to have him on the show. And this conversation takes so many twists and turns as we cover such a wide variety of topics of network completely unexpected, to be honest, and I loved it so much. I also threw in a bonus round of questions at the end that were submitted by Eric's friends and peers. So thank you to everyone who contributed to the episode you'll hear great ideas and a lot of wise advice. So please don't hesitate to reach out to either of us about anything you listen to on the show to keep a lot of these important conversations going. I'll actually be teaming up with Eric very soon for some events as we welcome our friends from winery 16 600 to Atlanta for the very first time the first week in November. These winds will now be available in retail and restaurants all throughout Georgia so you can head to www dot corpulent road.com we just posted tickets for the November 8 winemakers dinner with Sam Kaduri and Brian Casey, who you may know from the winemakers podcast that we're doing it Southern belle featuring food and music pairings by Chef Joey ward. It's gonna be so fun. Also coming up for a fork in the road LLC. We are hosting the Atlanta screening for the latest film in the SAM documentary series kappa salvation on Wednesday, November 1. So next week if you are listening to the show when it drops and there are three ticket options ranging from $35 for general admission, which includes welcome bubbles and popcorn to a VIP ticket option, which includes a pre screening reception next door to the theater at Southern belle tickets are on a corporate no.com and linked in the app cork in the road Instagram profile right now. So grab those if you want to come be part of a very special night here in Atlanta for the wine community on the Events tab on the corporate website. You'll also find tickets and details for the Wine Pool fundraiser that we're doing at vino tech apps to support Chelsea Young's master of wine program. I'm also heading back to the most sellers in north Georgia on Saturday, November 18 for the next session of my wine tasting series featuring this time petite for dough and I also just released tickets for friends giving with Joe Harrigan of Georgia crown happening on November 20. At the Epicurean Theatre on this episode, you'll hear Eric talking about his some Olympics team and this may be the best idea Chelsea of the NFL Institute and I have ever had or we've just created a monster but either way it will be extremely entertaining. So if you want to round up and register your team of three people to compete in the ultimate wine tasting competition featuring challenges encompassing wine theory, wine service and blind tasting, please check out the ticket link. You could also grab a spectator ticket if you just want to be part of the action and be there to watch the competition unfolds and celebrate of course the team that gets crowned the San Olympics champion this episode is generously sponsored by Diane carpenter and Ross no vineyard in Sonoma County who just released their holiday offering along with some big fun news. They can now ship to 11 states including new editions like Washington, Minnesota, Oregon and New Jersey so perfect timing to browse the holiday packages if you need the perfect gift this time of year and you can also join the waitlist for the new 2022 single vineyard Pinot Noir is that I'm so excited for people to be able to try it there are also a few magnums available as part of these options. So happy shopping happy gifting. If you enjoy listening to this show, please leave a rating or review it helps so much the next episode is coming in early November featuring my live in person conversation with Pepe prevent us from Spain so you can subscribe to the show wherever you're listening to this podcast so you are the first to know when it becomes available. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy this one. Eric is the best. We had a lot of fun recording this episode. So cheers and take care and I'll talk to you soon.
honor to have you on the show, Eric. It's so good to see you.
It's so good to see you. It's an honor to be here. I am such a fan of anyone that does great things for the universe and what you do for the universe is a great thing. So, yeah, pretty big fan
that's you, you affect a whole lot of people and not just locally, like around the area? So we always think locally, but if you can affect happiness in other capacities, then uh, yeah, that's universal.
That means a lot because I would say the same about you, you impact a ton of people, because you are definitely one of, if not the most mentioned names on this podcast. So you know, a lot of people don't you.
I've been around for a while, it's, uh, you know, I try to be nice to as many people as possible. But ya know, I've been around for a long time, and I've been working in wine for a long time. And I've made a lot of friends over the last couple of decades, actually, since last century, even since I've been doing this. And that's hysterical that by name gets mentioned so often, but it's, it's all their hard work. I just happen to run into people from time to time, I should have clarified that it's mentioned in a good capacity, not a bad capacity. I should have mentioned that doctor to podcast most wanted the last time I saw you, you in person. Last time I saw you you were teaching a class at the oenophile Institute. It was Eric crane day and you had a Music Playlist for this class, are you trying to set the bar just going for gold here a class playlist Eric really well, I mean, the class was on shut enough to pop, you know, you have your greatest hits of, you know, wine, songs, and everything else. But then you also can incorporate France. And you can also think about Avignon, you can also just think about the meatiness of Surat and there's a surprising number of songs that exist, either about shutting up to pop or Granada or make a reference to, you know, the Beastie Boys, such a fan of their music, body move, and they've been talking about shutting off the Pap. So you just have to be a part of the cause. So music is universal, same way that wine is universal, and unites all of us, or can if you allow that to happen. But you know, music is a gift to humanity, much in the same way that bruises and so being able to combine both of those, that's pretty rad. I think I enjoy that aspect. It was more than rad. It really set the bar to me for like, oh, that's how you teach a wine class, you come in, and you give everybody a playlist to set the tone of what you're going to be talking about. And you are no stranger by any means to the industry. You have a wealth of knowledge and all things education, you talk about education, you talk about wine. So what intrigued you about your current role, because you are the Director of Training for a distribution company. So what intrigued you about taking a role like that? Oh, it's kind of funny. It was actually my first day on the job at Empire. I'm in an orientation class with Frank Doherty, who retired and I took his role. And I remember that first day after he explained what his role was, and his approach to things and what our job is, I was just enthralled with it. And I remember at the end of the day, I walked up to this guy that I met that day, first time, and I'd been in his classroom for quite a few hours. And I said, just so we're on the same page here, when you retire, I want to do what you do. Because to me, this is amazing. And the fact that you get to influence so many people, and the fact that you care so much about the subject matter, and you care about it passionately. And honestly, as opposed to I only like these wines or only like those spirits or don't drink this beer because it was met with kind of an open embrace. It just really flipped my lid. And I wanted to do that. And so I yeah, my first day on the job at Empire, I told the guy that was teaching the class, I want to do what you do when the time comes. And so in 2007, he retired and I applied for the job, and I got the role. And I guess that's that's all she wrote. Or, or he wrote, or whoever actually wrote that I don't really know, but not too upset about one way or the other. But it was so it was written, people tried to manifest but you just did that? Well, yeah. And I come from a family of educators. My mother was a college professor, as well as a teacher, my sister ants, and many, many relatives before them. And so I've always had a love of education might not have been my best due to never to any of my former teachers who may have stumbled upon this. Sorry for all of the things I did wrong in class. But I, I was inspired in a way and so I do get to educate others and, and I firmly believe in the honest approach to booze education, and not teaching favorites, but teaching the subject matter and let people find their own voice and their own their own love with them.
Now you get to talk about that in a way to impact all the other employees and empower people with those tools that you're talking about. Oh, that's exactly this role. That's kind of perfect. You said, Let it be written that I'm gonna go do that. And honestly, I'm sitting here smiling because you gave me some of the best advice that anybody has ever given me. I was really nervous to serve at the High Museum wine auction dinner one year. And you saw you at the trade show. And you were like, Kelly, it's really not that hard. All you have to do is pour happiness into their glasses.
Absolutely. If you if you get rid of all of your self concern, and doubt and fear, and realize I'm quite literally pouring wine into someone's glass. How hard can that be? Because they're going to taste it, and it's going to be delicious. And even if it's not delicious, I'll pour them something else. So yeah, it's, I remember that moment, because you walked up mildly freaking out. And I'm thinking, here's Kelly, one of the most confident people I know who truly is concerned about the care and service towards others. And so something so important to me where it's, you know, end of the day, we're just keeping people happy. And as long as we smile and send happiness into the world, also poor one that people's glasses, it's, it's very hard for them to be upset with us.
It was my guiding principle as I was serving that night. So I just kept smiling, thinking like, this is liquid happiness. I'm doing my job. And I kept that with me. And I still think about Eric. So thank you so much. And it makes me think of all the people that you've interacted with, what is the best advice that you've ever received from somebody? Is there a moment like that for you?
I think probably, and this might be surprising coming from me, but the number of people who have told me stop taking it so seriously. So if I stand on the edge of a cliff and look out, then I see a whole lot of everything. If I turn away from the cliff, then I only see land and I don't see this big expanse. If I'm in the bottom of the cliff, and I turn around, I just see a rock wall in front of me, a lot of people get to the bottom of that cliff and just see a rock wall in front of them and don't think about everything else that's happening and everything else that's around. And if you get so dialed in on just minutia, then it becomes instantly overwhelming, or it clouds your entire view. So if you're able to kind of think open minded about at all, I think that's just really important not to be so serious on on any one part of it. Another thing that was really impactful to me, in terms of just learning about wine, and really alcohol in general, not just a wine, but spirits and beer, and anything distilled or fermented, I guess is that it's all kind of connected. These are things that are made by humans, these are products that are grown from the earth, by humanity. So farmed agricultural products that are then transformed into this delicious beverage or delicious types of beverages. And it's all kind of connected from that point of view that you have a number of times where mankind has come together because of alcohol. You know, wars have been fought wars have been ended celebrations have been made that there's just a lot of connections that really tie alcohol to humanity, and vice versa. And so the more you have that connection there, it's a lot easier to take on information or content, I think it the easier you can connect everything. So that was pretty important. And then also patients, there's not any one thing Kelly, I'm so sorry. There's so many things that I've been given, I'm not going to blame the Rio ha right now that I'm drinking on why my mind is wandering like this. But patience is really really important. You know, as Americans that were instinct gratification, you know, the the new cycle, the the fast food, 24 hour, places being reopened, et cetera. It takes a while to read a book, it takes a while to understand burgundy versus I don't know, shutting up Depop versus Alsace, it takes a while to understand these things. And if you stay consistent over time, then all of a sudden, you realize, wait a minute, these years I've spent, you know, focused on this, or the time I've spent focused on this, it's all starting to pay off. It's all starting to reward me. I had a conversation with one of the local psalms in town recently. And they asked me how, how do you know this? And it's not that I was born with it. It's it's because I've been kind of had my toe in the pool for a really long time and kind of thinking about these things. And but anyone can do that. It's just a matter of making those connections, understanding that it takes a while to get there. And then on top of that, not not to be overly serious about it.
You're soaking in this stuff all the time. And you've been doing this for years. And then I noticed how well you translate that knowledge to other people. It's something that yes, you say that you know with time and practice, you can do these things, but you have a very special skill when it comes to translating to other people. So what do you enjoy most about being a mentor for so many other people with my education, especially in your role now, but I know you do a lot outside of your professional role as well.
I tell you what, what makes me happiest is to see people apply themselves. And then to be successful on top of that, and it doesn't have to be wine, it doesn't have to be spirits, it doesn't have to be beer. If someone is passionate about something, and then does great things, I had dinner with a friend recently, and he's at the top of his field, he's in the forestry service. And it's something that's always been important to him. And to see him just really carve out this existence, and to be genuinely happy every day when he punches the clock. To me, that's really, really cool. And to see the world that he's crafted, so what what makes me happiest, you know, when I mentor and I don't like the term mentor, a holy, I get weird about the like, like mentorship. I think, when Palmer uses the term coaching, he's like, I'm just calling a coach, because otherwise, then I won't upset you too much coach, or something I don't know, it's, I enjoy seeing the success of my friends. And I enjoy the success of seeing someone who really takes it seriously life and applying themselves in whatever endeavor. That's what excites me the success of my friends, my friends, doing really cool things, and then carving out happiness as a result of it. You know, it's like Joe pointed out one time, how it's like, turning a hobby into a career is a really, really special way to live. And I don't disagree with that. And I guess from a mentor, what makes me happiest is to see when people complete what they're trying to do. And, you know, do we always do, we always finish every task that we start we don't that's that's humanity, but to see people who are really focused and to achieve their goals, and to help others along the way, that's another important part of it. I'm not necessarily fond of helping someone who won't help others. I mean, hey, but it happens, I'm not going to say that it doesn't, I'm not going to say that it does. But I tried to live by that example of help all, it makes the world a better place. If I know that anyone I've ever educated or, you know, coached up, or what have you, is helping someone else enjoy that glass of wine that much more, or enjoying that cocktail that much more, or realizing they don't have to drink a real hoppy beer every single day, that there are other beers out there, when the people that are in my life are helping others to, to break free from their selves. And they're successful and happy while doing it. That's what makes me happiest. Having seen what so many people in the Atlantic community have done over the years, that just blows my mind, it makes me so happy because I know that the customers they have the people they're interacting with, they're drinking better. And they're they're learning as they, you know, enjoy alcohol. And they're they're learning about all of this from a very, very healthy point of view, as opposed to the Yeah, I know something. So, you know, I'm going to be a jerk about it. One of my friends pointed out years ago, and something that I strongly, strongly believe in, Brian had pointed out that when he goes to the grocery store, and if he's looking for green beans, and he asks the kid who works there at the grocery store where the green beans are, the person doesn't suddenly put on airs, because they know something that the other person doesn't know. Which happens all too often, I think in the wine industry, I know a little bit. So somehow I'm better than you. If I ask the kid where the green beans are, they usually say something like this. Oh, they're on aisle seven. Let me go show you. So if we take that approach, I don't you know, if you asked me a question, I know the answer, it doesn't make me better than you. It means that if we share this knowledge, then we're all better for everybody else. And that's also been kind of a guiding principle in terms of, you know, I I'm not teaching anyone ever because I have an air about me that I know this and you don't it's because hey, let's all get here together. Let's all apply ourselves. Let's all learn collectively so that we help the drinking public and we support farmers who are growing things out of planet Earth, you know, it's it's, it's a win win for the for the ecosystem. Now I have a new crane ism, I want to help everybody buy more green beans, that's what I'm going to be doing. Like I'm thinking about this metaphor, of helping everybody find what they need. So they can then cook for their families and provide like, there's just so much about that metaphor, Eric, that I really see you do you apply that you're not just saying this, you actually have a way of giving people the tools and resources to then go do that and then exponentially help others which happens all the time. I mean, I think about this, that you you must be talking about wine a lot every day part of your job and not. So how are you personally now working on improving your own skills in wine education and how you provide that to others? How are you working on to always improve because I know you are. I'm not a big fan of echo chambers. And it's important to find other voices and to find diversity in life and other views of doing things. And you and I have talked before about Education. And one of one of my really big views now nowadays, is there's so many resources out there. And there's so many ways that we can learn about the subject matter from different points of view. And for the longest time, I think wine speak. And I don't necessarily mean this negative, but we had certain authors. And those authors were pretty much dictating the landscape. So we all go to the same source material, time and time again. And my friend, Elaine had pointed out one time that she had read this book on burgundy from an Italian author and how it was so different because it was an Italians perspective on burgundy, as opposed to an Americans or Brits perspective on burgundy, or, you know, some cat who's happen to have tastes that every vintage ever of every great wine of all time. And so, you know, surrounding yourself with a different perspective of others on the same subject matter allows your vision to be much larger. And so the discussion that you and I had on education is that you can't really formulate a thought on something unless you're using multiple sources. And sure, growing up in school, we write our paper, our research paper, and we have to document in footnote all of our resources. And to us, that was always a drag baby growing up. But now as an adult, I truly understand the importance of that, the significance of that, because if I have three competing views on the same subject matter, I have learned something most likely, and then I can formulate my own thought on that. So if I can teach from that perspective, as opposed to regurgitating one source, or I really liked this person's writing style, so I'm only going to talk about what they have to say, that's a disservice to the subject matter. And it's important to be able to look at the subject as a whole, and to be able to draw from all of that. So there are always new books being written, there are always new articles that are coming out, oh, and by the way, that the vintage changes every year. And so all of a sudden, that can change everything, be it from you know, a poor vintage to a historically great vintage, even a historically poor vintage, so, so it is constantly evolving, and it's constantly in motion. So I can't, I can't sit there and say, I've learned that book, never again, I have to look at that book. And then I think about the book that's coming out in three years about the same subject matter if we think about the way that author's views might even change and evolve over time. I mean, look at ourselves in the wine industry, I am sure that there are wines that you drank five and 10 years ago, Kelly that you do not necessarily drink as much anymore. And there are wines that I was completely in awe of, you know, what seems like a lifetime ago that maybe I'm not as excited about now, it doesn't mean that those wines are any less important. And that's the important part of this. It just means that my own tastes and my own perception of the industry has changed. But I can't ignore that that has come before me. I think sometimes somebody gets so hyper focused on what could be a trend or what could be suddenly the flavor of the week or the category of the year or the zeitgeist of the industry that we kind of forget about other stuff. Oh, here's an important thing that someone taught me one time. Someone said don't major in the minors. And we were actually discussing reo. Ha. And this person was talking about reo. Hi, in a way and I was really, really impressed. And I said, Yeah, but it's reo. Ha, what about these other deals in Spain, and blah, blah, blah. And they pointed out, you really shouldn't talk about those other deals until you have a firm grasp of Rio ha. And that was a lightbulb moment because I can talk about stuff that's rather inconsequential, that did not change the entire landscape of Spain. I'm not saying that inconsequential, another poor use of words, it's a hard term. I'm not saying that they're inconsequential, but you know, knowledge of REO however, their adult were these other areas, you know, like knowledge of, of truly important wine regions that have really changed the landscape of the conversation of wine. so important that we know these things, so we can actually talk about them with a certain level of a incredulity I guess, as opposed to let's just talk about weird stuff. And I'm probably the only person in the room who knows anything about it. So I sound like a god. Because I'm talking about this one area that only has three wineries, and four people and like I love every single thing that do is doing in that small little area and those three wineries I swear to I love every single drop they make but sometimes we miss big picture stuff and why we're all doing this you know you we can't can't enjoy Spain without a knowledge of Rio, ha You can still enjoy Spain, but it's so much more rewarding if you realize the work that they did for the country and how that influenced so many things. So is that too rambley?
No. So what I'm thinking of right now is to always have my antennas up. But the minute that I noticed that my antennas are not always up is when I need to kind of recalibrate myself, because you're always still listening and you're still getting input, you have a grounding, you have a foundation, but your intentions are always up. And that is very exciting. Because you're right, it's always fluid, things are evolving all the time, you're anchored in a knowledge base, but you're able to continuously explore, that's a really fun place to be,
Oh, I love the continual exploration too. I mean, that's, I can't stress that enough, I am regularly looking for new regions and the wines from those areas. And when people have, you know, their bucket list in life, where it's, I want to go eat in this restaurant, or I want to go see this, you know, monument, or I want to go see this work of art. To me, it's, I want to have a wine from this area, I want to drink this indigenous spirit that's distilled in this one part of, you know, Spain, that's found nowhere else. To me. That's the stuff that is really the lifeblood of humanity. And trust me, I love great works of art, I love I love the great monuments, I love seeing the sights, but tasting through these things where you know, you have this passport to the world, as Larissa points out, but like, to me, that's just the coolest. And I'm such a fan of that. And you can always explore. And again, it's part of that tying everything together, you know, the work that was done in this area that the made the country so important for the world of wine at large, these other producers are still doing some really, really novel and exciting things or just you know, like, like sincere farming and then really trying to make the best possible wines, I'm always going to be a fan of that. And, you know, you've got to, you've got to respect people who are actually farming and making anything on this planet, you have so much respect for the world of wine.
I know this about you. But I also hear it just the way that you talk about the vast variety of things you can come across as you're learning about wine. So when somebody approaches you, and they really have very minimal knowledge, or they have minimal experience, and they're just starting out, they have a curiosity about wine. How do you help people navigate the multiple ways that we just talked about? There's so many ways, there's so many channels of information? How do you help somebody navigate the world of wine education and pursue certain paths? What do you do when someone approaches you?
Oh, yeah, yeah, no, it's, it can be pretty overwhelming, because you look at the subject matter of wine. And it's, there's not one book, there's 8 million books, and there are 8 million books just on burgundy. And they're, you know, 27 million books just on Bordeaux. And then there's, you know, here's a book on on blah, blah, blah. So it can be very overwhelming very, very quickly. On top of that, you have humanity's relationship with wine. So I could read five books on the same subject from five different authors, each with their own writing style and their own perspective. So if I decide that this is a definitive book, or someone told me to read this book, and I don't like the writing style, or the editing style, then all of a sudden wine is that much harder for me to embrace and get into. So what I always tell people looking at our own company, I'll have someone new and say, hey, I want to learn more about wine, what do I do? So I say, visit the website of your favorite winery, and go read about their history. And when you get done reading their history, if there's some term that they use, that you don't know about, you're sitting at a computer, then Google it, and then look at that term. And then all of a sudden, you're connecting that knowledge kind of that that thing that was given to me a while back, and the more you can connect it, the better it is. So all of a sudden, I sat down for a glass of wine at my computer, and I read the history of a winery. And if I take the time to learn that history, then I possess the knowledge as opposed to cramming for it. And if I read a couple of terms that I wasn't really familiar with, for the way they've made their Chardonnay or their Cabernet Sauvignon, whatever the grape or the wine might have been, then all of a sudden, I've learned something on top of that, and it's tangible, and I can connect to that. And then it's a little less overwhelming. I'm a big fan of used bookstores, I tell people all the time, if you want to get into wine, go to a used bookstore and go to the cooking section, there's bound to be at least somewhere Kevin's rallies windows of the world complete wine course, pick up a copy of that and start there. The cost of wine sometimes gets in the way of the understanding of wine because it can be luxury goods. And if the book comes out and it's $800. Or if I can only find it on eBay for 1000, then that's very, very overwhelming to me. But there's a lot of information that's out there. I also always point out that the wine industry and the booze industry, we police the internet pretty well. So just because it's on Wikipedia doesn't mean that it's false. Wikipedia is actually a tremendous resource for the world of alcohol there. There's a lot of information there that I'm regularly surprised by and not just one I spirits, and not just the famous stuff, also some really, really obscure regions and Appalachians and products and spirits. There's information there because passionate people want to explain this to the world. But my main thing is whenever someone says, How do I get into it? It's to figure out what what's your end goal should be? Do I want to become a sommelier, then there are certain paths that I need to go down, do I just want to be more knowledgeable about wine, and there's actually some very, very easy paths that we can go to do I want an accreditation of some sort, if you want accreditation, and we have to really look at what your goal is in the industry. And then on top of that, which works best for you, I'm a huge fan of the Society of wine educators. I think their program is just fantastic. I love W set the court, there's so many really, really great organizations, but it's really a matter of which one do you go down, because it doesn't apply to everybody. If I have somebody that's mainly dealing with retail from a sales representative point of view of empire, they probably don't need to be so worried about table service and concern about passing that a certified sommelier exam. But the CSW might be a perfect avenue for them, if not the best possible solution, or maybe even W said programs. So it really, you know, it's Match Game, not everything works for everybody based on what they want. And then sometimes people, they just want to know more about wine, but they don't want to do the work as well. And you have to understand that conversation. Because when when you start talking to someone, and they say, oh, I want to learn a little bit more about wine, but can you just tell me everything? As opposed to, I'm gonna read this book, and I'm gonna read this book and watch it, I do. And I'm not saying that happens a lot. But no, my happiness comes from the success of my friends. If I see someone really apply themselves, then that's what floats my boat the most.
without even trying, Eric, you have created a visual for me in my head of someone's like a little spider web that I'm seeing in my head right now of all the different ways that people can soak up why knowledge, and it gives me this joy, because there isn't a solo path. And instead of that feeling overwhelming, it should actually encourage people to be that they can find their own path, and they can always learn something in this little movie. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. It's a choose your own adventure, if you really is, it really is, and it's, you know, you're gonna get out of anything that you put into it. So if I, if I want to learn about wine, but I see reading a 400 page book as troublesome, then I'm probably not going to learn a lot about wine from that book. But if I have a, you know, 10 minutes at a computer with a few glasses of wine, and I picked up a little bit of knowledge, it's easier to buy green beans than all of a sudden, I'm in a much, much healthier place. So you know, and that's kind of where the patience comes in. I don't expect anyone to read a book one time through and then know every single page on that book, because you have to understand perspective and how it relates to other things. And there are plenty of line books and spirits, books and everything that I've read way too many times. And I still find them rewarding every time because sometimes it's like any great work of literature, you know, going back there's, there's a certain amount of peace that you find with an old friend written words on the page. Well, and I think about the way that you're talking about education in formal and so much informal ways. And the scope of education. Now we've we've said, we've we've created this web of all the different ways that you can go. So do you think that that is changing in any way? What's next for wine education is access changing? Is the value of where you get the knowledge changing? What Where do you see us heading with this console of educating yourself in wine? I don't know if you're familiar with these smartphones that came out a while back. There's a lot of stuff that's out there, right? So how many apps exist that just have something to do with wine? There's, there's so many and more come out each day. So are we overloaded? You could look at it that way? I really don't think so I think that knowledge is something that should be shared and something that should be available to all again, you know, someone having knowledge does not mean they keep it from you. There's so many outlets right now, if you look at just, you know, casual education on social media, if you look at, you know, various organizations you can join to have access to their information, or just the number of books written. I think that we we've never been luckier for the quality of available information. Now, there are more and more of these really, really wonderful sites that are slowly turning into subscription services. If you want to do that. And hey, I you know, hey, people have worked really hard to generate this content. There's no reason to criticize them for it.
For working to get it out there, the San Francisco Chronicle as an example, that's, you have to subscribe to that newspaper. There's so much great information. There's so many great articles in the San Francisco Chronicle. So it kind of bums me out. When people say, Well, here's a freeway behind it, it's you're invalidating the work of people who've worked really hard to create this content, find an author that you like, and go with them. It's sort of like drinking burgundy, find a house you like, and then drink their wines don't just, you know, go after every episode ever, because you'll only be disappointed by that. So with wine knowledge and education, find authors find writers find voices that you can connect with. And you fall in love with. I remember being told years ago, there was a book that I had to read for my wine studies. And it was one of the most poorly edited books I've ever read. I just could not really connect with the material. And I just like to sit there and just get so angry on every page is I flipped it thinking, this is so hard to suffer through. And then I found a book on roughly the same stuff. And it was much, much easier. And then years later, I finally got over the hump of this writing style. But there's so many so many outlets right now. It's overwhelming. Find people that you understand, find people that you trust, find people where you connect with the content they're providing, that's the best way to take it in right now. In my opinion, I don't agree with the writing style of every person that's out there. I agree with a lot of them. Find the ones that you like, it's sort of like buying wine in a store, you know, wine one to one is don't go to a shop where you don't feel like they're helping you don't read a book where you don't feel like you're getting something from it. Yes, it's education. Yes, it's learning. Yes, it's bringing on content. Yes, it's taking time out of your day to learn a little bit more. But you don't have to suffer through it. This is not something where you know, you're paying for college. And you're sitting there going, Oh, my God, this is the worst professor ever. But I have to do it for this credit, blah, blah, blah. I'm thinking of my daughter right now with an art class she's taking. She said, I love the subject matter. I just don't like the professor, these kids today. So if you if you find yourself in that situation, find a different book, find a different app, find a different outlet for your own enjoyment, so that it's not painful for you to learn more. It's enjoyable and rewarding for you to learn more, and then you're going to carry that message to others. Yeah, I feel so rambley right now. Oh,
you're not rambley? No, this is so good. I'm like smiling so much. It's exciting to hear you talk about the multiple access points. Because I think right now, you may not know how many people you may have just inspired to try a different avenue for getting their information about why and you've just empowered people that, hey, well, there are there are lots of ways to learn. And so try multiple paths and not one path is correct. So as we are now inspiring people to go learn more and explore more, what are some of the biggest issues that you think we should be paying attention to as we set forth into adventuring through the world of wine? What do you think that people should be paying attention to as professionals but also as consumers,
one pay attention to each other, there are so many gifted smart people I regularly meet, and I'm blown away by their knowledge, their passion, their consideration of others, don't think because they don't look like you that these are not great people that you can learn from, don't think that because this person is younger than you, or older than you, or from a different part of the world, that they don't have the same knowledge that you have, I think that is all too often still a part of the wine industry. And, you know, it kind of bums me out i Big fan of diversity. I'm a huge fan of inclusivity one of the things I love most about the Atlanta wine scene is just our diversity, which we've had for so long, and just so many different voices, so many different people. Don't be scared to listen to somebody else. And I think that's the fear factor that, you know, going back to what I said earlier, we feel that there's certain riders that we have to pay attention to, are there certain ideas that that have to be in place, not necessarily the world's too big for that we've never had more examples of great beverages from around the world in America right now than we've ever had. And that's just a fact. There's so many cool things to try and drink and learn about and there are so many smart people that know about these products. Just because one person has a certain role or a certain title or a certain you know, credential doesn't mean they're the end all be all on that. I I learned stuff every day still and I'm more than happy to learn stuff and I'm not embarrassed my learn something. And when I learned something about a subject that I care so deeply about, oh my gosh, that's one of the coolest things ever. I had no idea that I did not know that. And now I know this and now I'm happy because my understanding is just that much better. I think that's the main thing is We think that there's certain people that carry the torch. And if we only think about the torch carriers, we forget about, everybody's got a book of matches. And there are a lot of people with books of matches that have a lot of information that's out there and can really teach us so many great things. And it's, it's dismissive to them to think that, oh, I cannot learn from you. And that's just, that's real problematic. It's not even so much about booze or anything else, maybe you have a perspective from where you grew up in your childhood. And that influences the way you approach wine, or alcohol, or spirits or beer or any of this. And so that's educational for me to realize that there are other perspectives on this, as opposed to the one that I grew up with. I mean, you know, you being from Minnesota, me being from Georgia, those are two very unique parts of the world. At the end of the day, it's very easy to have that Southern or caste of, oh, well, how's the cheapest muscadine wine ever? And when somebody gives me a hard time about being from the south, and I must only drink muscadine, I then tell them the importance of muscadine. And oh, no, this is actually a legit product. And this is actually a really cool grape. And it's, it's native to North America. And as Americans, we should maybe embrace local and that entire farm to table Zeitgeist that entire drink locally. But don't drink that because somebody said it was bad. I can't buy into that as much. There was a time don't get me wrong. Growth is a weird word mature, it is really weird word for me to use. Evolution maybe is a little bit closer as we evolve. But there was a time where if it wasn't from this region, it must be a bad wine. And if it wasn't made by this person, it's got to be a horrible wine. And if it didn't taste like this, how else could you drink it. And now I find myself drinking more white wine, that red wine and more excited by weirdness than other things. Granted, I don't turn my back on the majors, I'm not just majoring in the minors. But to me, that's exciting to actually see this entire world, you know, reading a book on wine for enjoyment, as opposed to education, to learn about a region to go to a tasting, to try things to go sit in a class that someone else is teaching so I can learn from them their perspective, to me, that's exciting, that's rewarding. Don't hide your own light underneath a bushel don't diminish the light of anybody else. It's a collective experience. It's a spoken experience. Sure, it's academic. There's so many great books on wine, as we've talked about, but don't be scared to learn from others. I think that's the main thing
I asked you about the biggest things that we should pay attention to in the wine industry, a product based industry, and you came at me with why we should pay attention to the people. And that is the most beautiful way of answering that question. I never would have expected it. And I'm so glad you brought that to the forefront. You talked about people and voices and perspectives. And that was the issue you want us to pay attention to, you know, but
it's absolutely it. We're all in this together. I mean, really, at the end of the day, if I am able to call someone and ask them about the 2011 Chardonnay vintage in the north coast and their feelings about that. That's so rewarding have a conversation. At the same time, I might have also discussed taxidermy in the same conversation with that same person, you've got to listen to each other. You can't just hold certain people in this level of they're the ones I think that's the biggest issue facing the wine industry. Everyone just needs to drink more one.
You did tell us not to be so serious. So you didn't you didn't tell us that more happy hour or more bottle shares. Okay, got it, go.
Have a drink or to you know, open that bottle of champagne. I'll tell you this right now in terms of bottle shares and opening the bottle. No bottle of wine is ever going to deliver the experience you want it to when you open that wine. Here's a bottle I've been saving for a really, really special occasion. And then I pull the cork and the wine is caught. I pull the cork out of the bottle. And man, it just didn't taste like I was hoping it to pull corks more often. Enjoy the moment enjoy and celebrate. Just have a great day just pull corks
and laugh when it's not what you expected. You can still have a good time with that you can still giggle about Well, should I open that one sooner?
Yeah, I bought a bottle of wine one time and the store owner said don't drink this wine for 20 years. And I drink the wine eight years after he sold it to me and the wine was caught. And I have to always wonder if in 20 years, the wine would not have been caught. And I was punished by the gods of TCA for opening it too soon.
We're just gonna have to say that. Yes, that's what happened.
That's what happened. And for all of the scientists who want to blow up the podcast, I know that cork taint isn't subjective to my feelings about opening a wine too soon. I understand how all of that works. I don't know the full science behind it. But I understand Courtine and I know that if a bottle was cork there would still be caught. 20 years later, it wouldn't go away. I do want to throw that out there. I don't believe in karma. Or I wouldn't say that. I don't think that if I opened a bottle of wine too soon that it's gonna get mad at me about that. I just think it was a quart bottle of wine.
I appreciate that you clarified the subjective and objective part of that story. I really appreciate that. Eric, thank you. My little scientist heart is happy to hear that I appreciate that. Oh,
no, no, no, like I mean, for for all of my wackadoo beliefs. I do understand how science works. And it's not Oh, it's court today, but not tomorrow. Because you were patient.
You are so inspirational when it comes to the fun of exploring wine. It is truly something that I think is why a lot of people respect you so much, Eric, and not only in Atlanta, but in the wine industry as a whole. But because we are here and I know you are originally from Georgia, I would be crazy not to ask you how you are describing the Atlanta wine industry, to other people outside of Georgia, you travel a lot. I know you speak to a lot of different markets, what's going on and Atlanta that people should know about?
It's Atlanta, Atlanta influences everything, get the t shirt, they sell them. It's true. It's the coolest city in America. I love Atlanta so much. We have so many things available to us. We have great farms, we have great produce, we have great proteins, our restaurant scene here is legendary cost of living is not California or New York. So there are more affordable thrills that you have availability to and then on top of that, just the community is so endearing, we really have a great wine community here. I work as a distributor, I've been in the distribution side for, you know, decades now, some of my closest friends work for the competition, some of my closest friends or customers that you know, we work with, and everything else, I just love the scene so much. And there's no shortage of bad alcohol or actually said that the wrong way. There's no shortage of good alcohol. There's also no shortage of bad alcohol. But that's not my fault. There's no shortage of good alcohol in Atlanta. So incredible wine selections. These are some really, really cool things here. And there are really great wine people. I mean, I'm talking to one of them. Right now there's an energy in Atlanta that is inclusive, and we all listen to each other. And I think that's really kind of cool. And I think there's a lot of people that regularly lift each other up, and they work with each other, to try to promote one another and all of these things. It's an amazing scene here. And on top of all of that, you can still find really good tacos, you can find really good barbecue, you can find amazing food on Buford highway, there's no shortage of cheap eats that are so rewarding. And then you pull that cork and everything's great. I just, I'm always in love with how diverse our scene is here. And there's so many focused people that just want to be better and make sure that others are drinking better. And to me, that's the real gas of it all. That's that's what excites me the most the happiness and joy and love that shared by all of us, for the community to help people drink more. I love Atlanta, I'd be criminal to say otherwise.
Eric, for mayor, I'm gonna get a shirt that says that I'm just gonna say crane for mayor or something we'll get we'll get coach crane for mayor, I don't know, we'll think of something, you are bringing a lot of people into a very good spot lined up to create more of that energy in that joy. You helped bring people into this space. So as I was preparing for today's podcast, I knew that I had a lot of questions myself for you, because it's so intriguing. And I had so many questions of my own. But I couldn't do this alone. How dare I cut out the rest of the community that obviously has questions for you too inclusive nature
of Atlanta, I get it. We're inclusive
on the podcast. And I reached out to some friends of yours and peers and colleagues. And I said, Hey, do you want to ask her a question on the podcast? And I got some really good submissions. So should we dive in?
I'm all in to the light.
It's a jackpot round.
So change the background on Zoom call? I don't know, laser. Yep, absolutely.
And the first submission is from our good friend, Elizabeth themes. You have mentored people together lately as well. I've seen you teaming up to support other people studying so Anyway, she's a big fan. And she said, What is the most obscure wine fact that you know, and then that was followed by because his brain is like a grandma's attic. So she thinks that you have amazing knowledge. So tell us the most obscure thing that you know that's a wine fact.
Interesting. Gosh, I do love the fact that Chardonnay for the longest time in California was called Pinot Chardonnay really kind of went away in the early 70s. I think the last label I saw of Chardonnay that was labeled as Pinot Chardonnay from California was in 1972 Vintage but you would find that in the 60s pretty regularly. This is really before a variety labeling happened as a whole the fact that they were trying anything and the fact that the count Californians are putting Pinot Chardonnay on the label. I think that's pretty rad.
Was it Chardonnay? Or was it fino?
Oh, Chardonnay, Pinot Chardonnay, Pei n o t, and then how restarting they have spelled. It's got a lot of letters ch AR do in NA, why sorry. But then also, I love the fact that mission Hill winery in the 70s, because of a stuck fermentation, of Cabernet Sauvignon, and not knowing what to call the wine. And this is after the white zinfandel thing have begun. They decided to call it blush Cabernet that created the blush category of wine. So the fact that in the 80s, you would have white wines, you would have red wines, and you had a blush as a category. And then you'd have their wines, infidels, and maybe the occasional other blush wine. All of this is kind of fascinating. And it was a wine writer who gave the idea of calling the category blush and said just call it blush Cabernet and see what happens. And sure enough, that's what happened. To me little things like that are kind of fascinating,
and you're remembering them and then you're sharing it with us. And now I won't forget that either. So again, letting that spark passing it on. I don't know why I would tell somebody that but I might, I might.
I don't know. Like every year, people asked me to teach classes on Rosae. And so I think it's important to understand the historic perspective of pink wines in America. Actually, no, here's my favorite one fact, the Tucson Lancers became really, really important to the world post World War Two. And the song Cracklin rose by Neil Diamond is literally about either Matisse or Lancers because they call those sparkling sweet wines Cracklin roses back in the day and Cracklin rose or a storebought woman and you make me feel like my guitar oven. Praise be to Neil Diamond getting pretty loaded on on Matuson creating a song that we can all sing at karaoke or at weddings. I don't know things like that, to me are pretty important. The weird pop culture references that has happened to wine.
There's another example of your love of music combining with your knowledge of wine. So you just had another example exhibit a of that combination. So thank you, Elizabeth for that. She also dared me to ask why you don't like Chenin Blanc, but we can hit save that for happy hour.
Hey, it's not that I don't like Chenin Blanc. I just prefer other grapes more. We also And just so we're clear. We don't call Elizabeth Elizabeth anymore. Her name is now Zabi I believe there's some little sama Olympics thing that you're putting together and Dames and I and AMR Triple E. I'm just putting it out there. Or maybe I'm not supposed to. I don't know.
No, you absolutely can. We're just afraid if you say that no one else will sign up to compete against you guys. But you absolutely can say you have signed up for some Olympics. You absolutely are in the running.
So I can't wait for some Olympics. Just so we're on record. We refer to Elizabeth as Zabi. It should be Zaid, but you request Xavi as her new nickname, so it's no longer bits. It's just Xabi, like Shakira like Pele like you know the great one name wonders of the world. She's in that space. Now.
This makes a lot of sense. Perfect. All right. Well, another possibly added to the first name fame in Atlanta, we've got more Vega Marva Castaneda, but she asked a little bit more of a serious question. But I I think I like where her brain is at with this question.
I like what her brain is usually all the time.
Say she statement. Yes. Fair. She's amazing. And she asked what could happen soon in Atlanta. So we're talking immediate future? What could happen in Atlanta that could really benefit everyone and I have a feeling everyone looking into wine, or working in wine or in the realm of wine? What could we do in Atlanta, that could happen soon?
Why don't we put together the Atlanta wine event? We have so many tremendously talented people in our town. It's an embarrassment of Rich's we have great chefs. Why not have our own wine festival? You know, we look at some sounds and the organization that I happened to hear. I've had a number of different ideas for years for different, you know, micro Food and Wine Festival type ideas, let's have some sort of a conference, let's have some sort of convention. Let's have the ATL wine event that there's so many gifted people here with so many resources and connections, why not take advantage of that. So more via this is directly to you. You tell me what you want, and let's put it together. So let's do something along those lines. Something that I've always wanted to do would be these kinds of micro food festivals. And if we had the moo shu pork festival, I mean, what is that really at the end of the day? It's the southern taco, it's pork. It's called slaw in a shell or a wrap of some sort. I know that is not what moo shu pork is and before everyone blows up the podcast saying well actually historically, I'm just saying there's certain things we can do that we embrace the southerners that could be a really, really great way to bring everyone together and We can talk wine and chefs can talk food and consumers can have the time of their lives and maybe even drink some Chenin Blanc just to keep Xavi happy. But I think that if we had focused wine education events for the world at large, some South is a great example for something that can exploit that. So if we had quarterly events that kind of promoted wine, and we all got in there, and maybe did seminars, so people as talented as yourself, or more they are Zabi, or Palmer, or Chelsea or the list goes on and on and on and on. And on non Jade, you name it, they're all there. There's so many people that can do these amazing things. I think really, if we as a community, embrace a goal, set it you've done this so many times already this year with people studying for W set with what's going on with Chelsea for the MW program. If we did more of those type things, collectively, for the greater good. You know, I was talking about the entire view of the Atlanta wine art community or the Atlanta booze art community, what can we do that's going to inspire more people or help fund others to learn more, that's what it's all about.
I shouldn't be surprised for one second that I asked you about, again, a tangible thing, an action item, and yet you still spoke to the people. This is amazing. I think that you understand the value of the people in the industry, you didn't want to bring a product. When I asked you what could improve Atlanta, you said you wanted to bring people together and that would improve it.
That's kind of my view, people in conversation and positive, healthy conversation with one another. It doesn't matter if you have differing views on things, because that's going to happen. But having people collectively with one focus goal of happiness and joy, this stuff works is a pretty good social lubricant. To me, that's the reward. That's, that's what's so exciting.
Now people are gonna get their minds go. And so you might be getting some messages about planning these types of things. But you mentioned that you have this team coming up for some Olympics. And you mentioned Palmer, I believe he's on your team. He's one of the EAS isn't he?
Yeah, Tripoli, Eric Reid sought to be late last evening. I love Eric Palmer so much.
Well, he has a question for you. He says, What's one thing you wish more people in the wine industry understood about service? I know that he's very talented in this realm. I know that he puts a lot of thought into service. So yeah, what's one thing that you wish people knew more about?
You know, sometimes people don't want to drink but you drink. I spent years on the floor, pouring people wine, low key kind of mad. They weren't taking my suggestion, not realizing that, because I like this doesn't mean that everybody does. Let's take black jelly beans. I am not the biggest fan of black jelly beans. I don't see my face. Oh, yeah, you're not a fan of black jelly beans, either. But the people who love black jelly beans, they really love black jelly beans. And I know that if tomorrow Brock's were to publish some statement saying there will be no more black jelly beans that a considerable amount of people's grandmothers would take to the streets, and there would be a riot, you know, like, people want their black jelly beans. I'm not upset with those people liking black jelly beans anymore. When I was younger and full of my own views and not understanding the world at large, I would think how can you eat these black jelly beans and they have these other flavors available? So I think an important part of service is that not everybody enjoys life the same way that you do. And you have to understand that maybe someone's you know bottle of Prosecco is your bottle of expensive grower champagne. Somebody's inexpensive value price to California Chardonnay is your Grand Cru burgundy, there is a lot of enjoyment. And sometimes in hospitality and in service people who aren't drinking Kool things, there's a certain level of dismissiveness that happens there. And we forget that that consumer is as important as anybody else in a seat at the table that night, the person who comes in and orders the $1,000 bottle of wine, there are few and far between. Now there are certain restaurants where that's regularly happening. But that's a very, very small percentage of hospitality. The bulk of it is, hey, we came in for dinner tonight, we want to have a couple of good entrees, you want to have a nice bottle of wine. And we're not going to break the bank or set a land speed record, we're just going to have a good time and go home. Remove the judgment from that customer who's filling up your tables that night, who's representing your wine program who's buying stuff that you selected for the list. To me, that's as important as anyone else and they come back, you know, every week. They're your best customer as opposed to the person who comes in once a year and throws down a whole lot of money. I think that a hospitality sometimes that we put so much of ourselves into it that we don't allow for the guests to truly be taken care of. And I'm not there from a level of hospitality to make it about me. I'm there to treat He was a guest, and I'm there to be a host. It's pouring happiness into someone's glass. As soon as you make hospitality about yourself, you kind of lost the view on hospitality. Sure, it's how can I make you happy, and I have to, I have to follow the rules of engagement. I can't just do everything for you. I can't be my own, you know, like personal like, like, vendetta against your happiness, I have to do what I reasonably can. But I think all too often that people are judged for what they drink. And yet they're ordering things from somebody's wine program that they wrote themselves, you have a cheat by the glass, Chardonnay, and someone orders it. You put it there, you're allowing them to do what be happy, they're supporting your business. Don't be mad that they're buying the cheapest thing that's on the list. Because Ah, I don't know that that's, that's kind of my thing. And again, when I was younger, I very much was that person thinking, I can't believe you're not drinking this wine or you're not doing this or how dare you do that. But yeah, as as I've gained more perspective, I guess, you know, listening to others, I realized that it's just not all like the most expensive champion in the world that floats the universe. It's everything else and understanding that that person's level of happiness is what it's all about. Like vino Verde is a great example of this. So vino Verde is never going to be expensive. It's never going to get 100 points from the critic, but it's always going to be one of the most solid delicious things that you can enjoy. And one of my dearest friends in life, she's an absolute freak over vino Verde and we drink a lot of vino verde together. But we never drink vino verde thinking like, oh my god, what will this be like in 15 years after we cellar it perfectly? Oh my god, what are the growing like, is a biodynamic? No, it's fino Verdi. This is literally wine that is meant for for engagement and enjoyment and just to wash down life with and it's absolutely amazing. And oh my gosh, I love you know, Verdi. But I can't sit there and get upset for someone else. Also loving vino verde. And I think all too often the hypocrisy is a strong word. And I've used so many strong words already. But let people enjoy themselves and promote that level of enjoyment from a service point of view. If you can make someone's day better, or make them happier if you can live in the service of others. That's a really, really special thing. Eric and I have all of these conversations about hospitality. Eric is such a tremendous gift to all of us.
He really is and how lucky are we that we get to help people enjoy themselves? How lucky are we so that just
nailers a bad word. Sometimes I want people to have the best day of their lives if I can help with that in whichever way then allow me
that success. And the last two submissions are from two people who want to know about your pairing preferences Eric but not your not your traditional pairings with music. They did not know that the other had submitted a similar type of question. So we'll start with the specific and then we're gonna get more broad but our good friend Jun Lim. He said first of all, he's been waiting for this episode. He just couldn't wait. So we've met we're making this day.
I love June so much. That's hysterical June. I hope this has been everything and more for you. And if it's not, then give me a phone call. And I will answer any question you've ever wanted. Because I love you so much June anyway. Okay, go on.
Well, for this episode, he wants to know what wine pairs best with a phish concert.
Okay, so, in 2016 a magazine grabbed me to do a pre Phish concert food and wine pairings pH I sh for anyone who's wondering what a phish concert is, and maybe doesn't know this band from Vermont. That's been around for 40 years. This year. It's our 40 year anniversary, and one of the greatest bands ever to exist. Anyway, all that being said, little plug for fish, hashtag fish, I would say there are so many great wines that we could look at for a phish concert pairing. It really depends on the time of year. It also depends on the venue. It also depends on what we're doing. But I will say that in 2019, I had a masterful bottle of champagne with Ryan Mullins, before a phish concert in Charleston, South Carolina, over some oysters and with a couple of friends of ours. And we had the best time talking about all of that because it was a day of celebration. It was December, and it was the last stop of their winter tour. And we were just all there for a really really good time. And Champagne is it's the drink of celebration, you know, it's it's not just for lunch and yachts. You can you can use champagne for so many other things and drinking it's even better. So I would say more often than not though. I do a thing called Sauvignon Blanc races where you and your friends decide who can drink a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc the fastest before a concert, you know Sauvignon Blanc? Look at it. It's an inherent value so you've got something you Usually between 12 and 14% alcohol by volume, so you know four glasses of soft blanc before an event. It's like having a couple of beers in the parking lot. It's tailgating. It's pre gaming, but then also 70 on blanc has all of all of those wonderful psychedelic flavors and it's really, really high in acid, and it just keeps your mouth watering the entire time. And you never choke up drinking Sauvignon Blanc. It's always enjoyable. So maybe it's Sancerre? Maybe it's colio. Maybe it's Marlboro, maybe it's Napa? Maybe it's cold chocolate. It could be a number of places. But I really really think some yum Blanc is one of the great pre concert wines to ever enjoy. More so than Chenin Blanc. Sorry, Elizabeth. Yeah. I've had a lot of Sauvignon Blanc races over the years, I would say with Ryan a bottle of champagne over oysters before seeing fish. That was a pretty good night. June drink champagne before fish.
Apparently I need to up my pre concert beverage choices. Eric, I am not on this level. This sounds great. My next pre concert tailgate, I will report back give me a call
beforehand and just say what I'm seeing this show, what should I drink and I will try my best to facilitate careful I will do this. I'm fully prepared for that. I never say reach out to me about this. If I don't meet 100%
concert and wine pairings coming your way? Well, that's perfect. Because the last question submitted comes from Chelsea young of you know file Institute my co conspire for the sound Olympics coming up. And she said if you could pair one bottle of wine with the best concert you have been to so we're going in concert history not dreaming ahead. But the best concert you've been to what bottle would pair with that and why?
So first off, I'm going to say this about Chelsea what a gift, an amazing entity of the universe. And I'm such a huge fan of yours, Chelsey. So thanks for the question. The second part is I actually have a recording of this concert. So let's pull the cord together concert in question is 11 991 Jerry Garcia band Hampton Coliseum who was a chilly night. Bruce Hornsby sat in on an electric piano the entire time, I was probably five feet from Jerry. I've enjoyed this concert a number of times. And my favorite wine with this is actually really old Rio Ha, because it's enjoyable. It's got a little bit of acid to it. It's got a lot of structure. And it just kind of evolves once you pull the cord. I'm such a sucker for old Rio Han and join real ha now. But yeah, Chelsea, for great concerts, you can look at it from a number of different ways. One, you can look at the actual date of the show. So 1991, we can call any question that year. And where were the great wines made on the planet and 91 is almost a global vintage where a lot of really, really great wines were made across the planet. There aren't many of those. But knowing that we could always finish with pork makes me pretty happy. And any 91 mozal Riesling is going to be just shining right now, I would say that you can always match a concert to the vintage of the show. So we look at certain bands and when they were in their peak form, and you look at the vintages of that era, can I really find a bottle of real hot from 1978? To pair with the Led Zeppelin show? Can I look at something from 1975 to think about the Pink Floyd tours of the time, can I find a bottle of wine that's 400 years old and listen to classical music or some Baroque arrangement with find something that that makes it relevant in terms of concert to wine bearings. And there's so many great recordings out there if you go to archive.org There's all kinds of stuff that's been saved for humanity and everything else. But find something that's tangible and connects again that great spiderweb This is my favorite band. This is a band that comes from this area. My favorite concert they ever played happened in 1983. probably hard to find some 1983 solid turn without spending a whole lot of money. But I can find a wine from the lead singers hometown and I can find a wine that comes from here so I can actually tie in in such a way that I can make it rewarding for myself, Brian, who I was talking about earlier, having a bottle of champagne with before official in Charleston. We've talked about this before where it's you can't always tie the vintage to the year of the show. But you can tie other aspects of it that make it more realistic. So I'm a deadhead. I spent a lot of time listening to Grateful Dead I will spend a lot more time listening to the Grateful Dead. I also love fish, other stuff that I enjoy, but with the Grateful Dead and having such a great history from 1965 to 1995. There are times you can open up bottles of wine from this era paired with the show and that is so rewarding. I think of 1973 not a great year for a lot of wine regions. But I think usually finally 73 Salt turn and all they do is put on the keys or show or I'll put on Santa Barbara or I'll put on winterland 73. I mean, these are things that make the world a better place. And then you enjoy solid turn, which is inherently delicious. So
you are about happiness. And thank you for pointing out the fact that this doesn't have to be a hypothetical situation, because you can find these recordings and you can recreate these pairings whenever you want.
Brilliant. Absolutely, man, there's, there's a lot of stuff out there. Well, I like thank goodness, I like who whoever, whoever came up with the entire idea of we can record this. I'm all in. Thank you so much for that,
whoever that is. Cheers to that.
It's entirely true, it's entirely true. The fact that I can go listen to that Jerry Garcia banjo from Hampton from 91. Right now, I can even start playing it as we speak. It's just kind of cool. I like the recorded aspect of it all. The fact that somebody rolled tape and recorded it much the same way that someone made this wine and made a beverage that is able to mature an age sometimes get better. Hopefully it does. And it's preserved. It's a snapshot in time. I mean, I'm drinking a wine right now with six years of age on it, that's not anything special or anything crazy. It's it's just kind of a matter of the wine lon, and as it happens, but having a snapshot of an agricultural product that happened six years ago. To me, that always blows my mind. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the minutiae of the industry that we forget that what was happening in 2017, as this one was made, and the world and where we are now, and how different everything is, or could be, or how simpler things might have been. Or maybe that was a like a rough year, like like, like, take 2005 In some parts of the world, really, really rough place in southern parts of the world. Really, really great. Maybe talking about America here. Yeah, it's tangible. Anytime you can make that connection that much more realistic, it's going to reward you more as a consumer, as an enjoyer of wine as a sommelier, as a wine educator, as whatever, I just, you know, make those connections.
And it's still a moment, you're creating moments and you're creating connection. And that's really cool that we get to do that through this beautiful beverage that we all love. And it's bringing not only the beverage with the people and the places to the forefront. I love that so so much. All right. So obviously, we could talk forever about wine and now people are gonna want to talk to you more about wine. So what's the best way to find you and connect with you and learn more about events or insights or all of that? What's the best way to find Eric crane?
I mean, if you send me an email, I tend to get back to people and my phone numbers out there. We won't put that show notes. I mean, it's one of those things but send me a message I mean, I just kind of exist like we all do. You don't hide in a bunker somewhere. It's funny you say bunker because my dear friend Charlie, he loves bunkers. We actually call them bunker Charlie. And he does not live in a bunker. He just likes them.
told me that he lives in a bunker. No, no, no,
he's just he's he's just he really admires bunkers. If you go into a place that's, that's bunker friendly. My friend Charlie will be like, That's a hell of a bunker over there. He's just, he's just pro bunker. We just call him bunker, Charlie. But yeah, I didn't I don't have the same fascination or love of bunkers that he does. I don't think anyone does bunker, Charlie. But yeah, reach out to me. Social media shown us that combines my love of being a southerner and my view of the French not I don't mean it that way. I love the French. But yeah, sure enough, I'm pretty easily to be found there.
Well, we were very lucky to have you here in Atlanta. And I know I'm going to see you really soon, not only at some Olympics, but we have some good friends of ours coming into town. And you mentioned the Grateful Dead. So that's a good tie in to our upcoming events here with winery 16/601 time in Atlanta. They're very excited. And they are fellow deadheads, and so we are going to be doing some fun stuff together for that. I can't wait.
I can't wait. Yeah, I Phil's a hero of mine. Sam's a hero of mine. Paul and I have been friends for 20 years. Yes. 16 600. Those guys are amazing.
They're so so good. And we get to share them and watch other people light up when they try them. I can't wait for that. And then yes, you you're also teaching at Oli you have a class coming up on Oak, I believe okie dokie, I believe, like that.
I'm gonna teach a class on Oak. Because that seemed like, let's talk about the least farm thing. I'm very concerned. I'm going to spend like an hour just talking about trees, as opposed to actually talking about the interaction of oak with wine or spirits or any of that. I'm sure I'll carve something out or figure out some way. I mean, how's the shutdown of Depop class?
Oh, it was fantastic. I love that you gave us context for each of the wines but you let us taste them before you give us context of the vintages. You were giving us such aged wine. But you didn't give us what we should be tasting. At first we explored it after, it was such a great way to create those synapses, like I was tasting. And then you told me about that vintage. And that was a really cool format. Eric,
is something that I as always bugged me when when someone's tasting a wine, they're like, What do you like? What am I tasting right now. And unless I've been with that person their entire life and had every food experience they've ever had, I don't know what they're tasting at that given time, I learned this from my Hawaiian wine friends, where they just have a different language of fruit, they have a different language of flavors, because as mainlanders, we don't get that as much. So I am never a fan of ever telling anybody what I think they taste in a wine because I don't know him, even my best friends, even the people I drink a lot of wine with, I'd rather hear what what they're feeling about the wine than the other way around. And that it's a disservice to me as an educator, to tell somebody what they're tasting, not knowing if they have that in their flavor, vocabulary or not. And to me, that's really, really important. Granted, if somebody were to give some wackadoo flavor, here's a wine that classically does not have flavors of Meyer lemon, and they're looking at this red wine going, Oh, my God, it's so much Meyer lemon, I might have to correct a little bit to say, hey, just because you had a minor lemon last week, and that's all you care about right now. And I get it and Meyer lemons are delicious. It's not as reflective in here, as some of the other fruits that maybe are more important to the conversation. It's not that you're correcting someone on the language of wine or wine speak, it's maybe redirecting them to realize there might be a little bit there. But there's so much more of this
redirecting and encouraging further exploration, not a shutdown, not a closed door, not a you're wrong. But a hey, well, if you thought about this, maybe it's just not as relevant as this. And that's a wonderful place to be
Kelly, thank you so much for this today. Like, bring it on. Let's keep going. I'm gonna get in my whole other
notepad that I had of all my other questions, I got you next session, round two, Eric came back. And
I tell you, I'd be more than happy for that. It's been an honor to be here today, I am so happy with what you have created. And it's, again, it's part of the diversity of Atlanta, you know, you look at so many pieces here from some of the A's to great wine shops, to, you know, just people in the industry, to educators, to what you're doing with your podcast and your own education happening here and down. It's such a vibrant scene. And it's a vibrant scene that I hope is honestly met with inclusivity from all of us, it's not a matter of, oh, that person or this person, I'm as guilty as anyone of just as you learn more in the industry. And as you learn to be more understanding of others. And that's a weird way of putting it but listening to others. Getting the fact that you're viewed was not the only view. As we start to learn about one we think that we're the most knowledgeable person about this, or were the person that can construct this or, you know, don't let it happen without asking me first. We all have a little bit of that guilt. And where we are right now in Atlanta. I've never been happier. There's so many voices. There's so many sharp people working throughout the industry, different distributors, sommeliers, wine people as a whole. We're a really special place. And it's such an exciting place to be. Do you even have any role in this whatsoever blows my mind. It's so much bigger than any one person who's a part of it. It's a group of us who just wanted to be better for all.
Thank goodness for that, Eric, and that we can have these types of conversations. This is what it's all about. This is why we do what we do.
You Kelly, you're the best. Thank you so much. When you said hey, do you want to do this? I can't tell you how happy I was like you're the coolest. Thank you so much for all the people sitting here until this last little moment. Just so we're clear. If you ever want to talk the Grateful Dead, just give me a call. Kelly will give you my cell phone number. I'll talk to you soon.
Thank you so much for your time, Eric now totally up. Thank you, Kelly. Thanks for tuning in to the cork in the road Podcast coming to you live from Atlanta, Georgia, and interviewing people who are changing the wine world in the southeast and beyond. can find more about a fork in the road at at a fork in the road on Instagram and make sure to check us out on www dot ATT fork in the road.com See you soon guys Cheers.