Alright guys, welcome to another episode of live with the cork in the road and I'm Kelly, your wine explorer here in Atlanta, Georgia and I am chatting with people who are shaping the southeast wine industry
Hello, thanks for pressing play on the A Cork in the Road Podcast. I'm Kelly, your host here in Atlanta, Georgia. And I'm so excited to share this episode. today. My guest is Laura Brown Unterstein, a fellow resident of the southeast based not too far from Atlanta, in Nashville, Tennessee, and she is a passionate wine professional combining her expertise as an American Sign Language interpreter with her knowledge and enthusiasm for the wine world. She is the national sales manager for Maysara winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, but she is also the co founder of an organization called uncorked access. Their efforts are making the wine industry more accessible for the deaf community and creating more entry points for inclusion within the hospitality industry as a whole. Her work has not gone without notice of its value that it offers to this space and she was recognized a few years ago by Wine Enthusiast as a 40 under 40 tastemaker. We talk about her life in Nashville, we dive deep into her love of Oregon wine, and we explore ways in which the wine community can become more accessible and inclusive. She is expecting a little baby girl this October as well. So we talk about her visions for motherhood and how wine will continue to be part of this next big life phase. So thank you, Laura, for being on the show. And I hope you all enjoy this conversation. This episode is generously sponsored by Diane carpenter and Ross Knoll vineyard in Sonoma County, and each month, they make it possible for me to produce this show and add new features like my new transcription software subscription, which was influenced by today's guest. You can check out a documentary all about Ross Knoll vineyard streaming now on SommTV and you can also catch me and Diane of Ross Knoll talking about her story and our mutual love of the Pinot Noir grape on an episode released earlier this summer of the SommTV podcast. The 2022 Rose for Ross Knoll is basically sold out. So congrats to everyone who stocked up for your summer festivities. But we do have some cases of the white Pinot Noir still available along with Inventory of the 2021 Pinot Noir, that also comes in magnums by the way just in case you need a couple of those...so you can head to www.acorkintheroad.com for links to place your orders. And then keep an eye on @acorkintheroad on Instagram for some upcoming behind the scenes footage as the Ross Knoll team will be bottling the 2022 Vintage in early August, which will include a couple of single vineyard Pinot Noir's joining the portfolio, which is super exciting, and I'll be able to reveal the new label design for those wines coming up soon as well. Coming up for a cork in the road LLC, I have been hosting so many events and gatherings, it's been quite an incredible summer so far. So thank you so much for all the love and support, not only in Atlanta, but for my events on the road in New York City and Denver recently as well. I was so excited to share a few weeks ago that we have a new partnership with our friends Dan and Christina of Limoges Cellars and I will be kicking off a new monthly blind tasting series that's designed to help people explore grape varieties through some unexpected side by side comparisons. And the first session of that series is on Saturday, August 5 at their winery and Tasting Room in north Georgia. And we'll be talking all things sparkling wine, but you can also check out the upcoming themes for this series. And I know a few tickets have already sold for the one coming up in September. If you're looking for an event closer to the city, though, I'll be back at the Epicurean hotel in Midtown Atlanta on Wednesday, August 9 to host a five course Italian dinner that will help you explore strategic food and wine pairings from five regions in Italy. Tickets are on sale now for that event, so you can head to www.acorkintheroad.com and find the link on the Events tab. Looking into August, I'm also honored to serve as the emcee, the host, for a very special wine auction event happening on August 15 at the Grana rooftop that will be raising funds to support two women in the Atlanta wine community - two former podcast guests by the way - who are pursuing their WSET Diplomas. We have received an incredible amount of donations in the form of wine experiences and wine bottles that will be available as part of a silent auction during this celebratory evening on the rooftop with tastings and food and all the things. It's been an amazing display of support already from the Atlanta wine community and wine professionals but also from people sending donations from all over the country. It's just been beautiful. So you can find all of the info for this event on the a cork in the road website and make sure to get your tickets because I believe we have 100 spots for attending and participating in this silent auction to support this really good cause. So cheers to all of you. Let's keep having wine adventures, building community, and making lots of really good memories. So cheers until episode 112 releases on August 9th - Talk soon
It's so good to see you. Thank you for being on the show.
Thank you for having me.
I think I caught you though in the middle of what is probably your busiest week ever of your life - under contract on two houses right now? Is that correct?
Yes. I don't know. I feel like we do this a lot. Chris and I we do everything at once. So our house went under contract Monday, and we got under contract on a future home, as long as everything goes well, yesterday,
holy cow, how do you how are you feeling? How does it feel to go through this process?
I'm exhausted. But today feels like very fresh. Because getting this house ready to sell was an ungodly amount of work. So I feel actually pretty peaceful about it today. And this is my first time on either side of it. So I'm learning a lot. And I'm a very thorough person. So I have worn out all of the potential of everything. And I feel pretty good today.
I'm not going to ask you about inspections. We're gonna talk only about wine - how does that sound? T
That's great. I would love a break from that.
And then not only are you under contract with two houses, but you have a little one on the way. What is our current countdown for weeks till delivery here?
I am 27 weeks. So Monday, I officially entered the third trimester. Yes, like so I can't have wine like I want to right now to release some things. And I am growing a human as well.
That's your main job right now. I mean, yes, you're selling some houses and you're you're buying some houses, but you're also creating a human. And it's been so wonderful to connect with you because I respect so much of what you do in wine. I know maybe you're not drinking as much wine right now. But your presence, your voice on social media especially has been always so inspiring for me personally, but to a lot of people. And I remember the day that I learned I think this was during the COVID shutdown days. But I learned that you didn't do wine full time. You did a really cool little video of your desk switching from daytime. Do you remember?
Yes, I remember making that reel.
It was so funny because I didn't know that you didn't do wine full time. how would we know this? You know, behind the screens but I remember that and you did this switch from daytime to nighttime now it's Wine Time. How is your schedule divided these days? Is it still that daytime nighttime switch?
yes and no but in a totally different way. So I Yes, I had a nine year stint as a full time sign language interpreter. And so funny enough before COVID That meant driving all around the Middle Tennessee area really and really funny enough now that I know the distribution side of wine, very similar to the life of a wine rep, going from appointment to appointment, and I was gone all day. And so then of course COVID changed that all so what you saw was my life as an interpreter in COVID, which I had a big pop up background and we did a lot of virtual interpreting and wine was my side job. And so I felt the pull to swap those for a while and just kind of kept putting that out there into the universe like alright, I know that we're getting to that point that switch... I did the switch so now I work full time as the national sales manager for a wonderful Oregon winery called Maysara winery. And the other side, the flip, is I still interpret here and there at night mostly or weekends, and particularly in the wine or hospitality space, and especially with uncorked access, which is the organization I co founded with a friend Peter Cook. So I still do some interpreting I still sign all the time, you know, languages are a use it or lose it. I know you speak multiple languages, so you have to use them. So I'm very grateful that I still, I still do my workshops, continuing education, I have to maintain my certification and I don't plan on dropping that anytime soon. Interpreting is a part of my identity.
Did you ever think, though, that you'd have a way to combine your ASL skills with your love of wine? Or did this just come magically out of nowhere?
Well, I actually, the seed of this idea was planted, I want to say like 2017 or 2018 and so this was like a scheme and I felt this bubbling up of it. This has to be this will be something. I had confidence that it would be but I knew it needed to be done the right way. So should we should we go down that path of that story?
Oh, we absolutely should dive down that path because I was actually thinking about I almost had a chance to meet with you here in Atlanta because of this combination of teaching wine, but also ASL skills, and I know there were some travel barriers. But you did just do a virtual class in partnership with a wine school here in Atlanta. So the format and how you're using that, I'd love to know that journey. Let's dive there. Let's go.
For sure. So, I think it was 2017 or 18. I was doing a kind of direct to consumer wine thing. I worked in hospitality for 14 years, you know, yes. 16 to 30. I worked in restaurants throughout. A former life of mine I was an actor in LA. So I was a bartender and a server. I don't know if you knew that.
I had no idea my face right now. I'm like, what acting, la what?
My degree, my bachelor's degree is in theater. And I went to Los Angeles and lived there for seven years after graduation. So I worked as a bartender and a server and worked, you know, six nights a week, till whatever time in the morning, that's where like the hospitality foundation is for me is I've worked in many different venues in many different cities, from TGI Fridays, when I was 16, to, you know, Sunset Boulevard in LA like cocktail waitress. So I have done the gamut, and cocktail bars. a vodka bar, high volume, two shakers in the hand, all the things. And so I was introduced to sign language interpreting while I was bartending at a dive bar in LA, and switched over to that, moved to Nashville. So that's where like, wine was an interest to me. That's where like hospitality, wine, I got really into wine while in LA, working at a restaurant that had a little more of a better wine list. It's still a casual place. But it was the first place that ever trained me to like, smell like, like, here's a little ramekin of cardamom. And now like smell this. And I was like, I fell in love with it, I would host little bottle share nights at my studio apartment in Santa Monica. So this was always just an interest. Fast forward to 2017 2018. I decided in 2017, I was tired of waiting for a partner. I was single, I was ready to travel. And I wanted to go do a wine trip. And at the time, my like, Aha, wine wasChâteauneuf-du-Pape. I was obsessed with the southern Rhone. And so I decided to take myself there. And so I went on a solo trip to France in 2017 and saved up for many months, and did a an in depth wine tour of the Southern Rhone while I was there, and I just kept thinking the whole time. What would this be like for my deaf friends? I'm in this sommelier'ss car in the front seat. He's taking me around, we're chatting the whole time. And then he's interpreting. He was a British guy. We he was speaking French with the winemakers and stuff. So I just kept thinking, like, my friends wouldn't get this experience. And that's not fair. And so that's where this all was born was like 2017 2018, I think, maybe it was later 2017. I took my WSET level two class. And again, it was a two day in person class. And I just kept thinking, I wonder if there are any deaf people who have taken WSET classes or who've pursued certifications? What did they face? Would it interpreter be able to accurately interpret this information because there are no signs for acidity, tannin, maloactic conversion, these, you know, the end the test is in English. So even if you're getting this information, this information being interpreted to you in ASL still doesn't translate back to the English written test. So I felt a very strong, essentially hand on my shoulder telling me to sit the EFF down and wait and be patient, which is not my strong suit. Because there are a lot of situations where people, well intentioned people, you know, let's just say for the deaf community in particular, but for people with disabilities in general, who will forge ahead, establish something that they think is going to fix everything for deaf people, and they don't have that lived experience. And it becomes kind of a savior complex, in a lot of ways, and it becomes really about that person. And that's not right. I'm very anti that. So I was very cognizant of making sure I did it in the right way and not by myself, because I am very aware I am an able bodied, well educated, very privileged, white woman. And so I just did not want to step forward in that space and forge ahead, knowing the repercussions that would happen. So I did little things around Nashville. So the first thing I did was establish a partnership with city winery in Nashville, and we did deaf days. So I would interpret those and they went off great with the local community. I have a wonderful relationship with the Nashville Deaf community. And then I was told by an fellow interpreter on a job. Hey, did you know you know who Peter Cook is right? And like, yeah, Peter Cook is in the Deaf world. Peter Cook is like a big deal. Like everybody knows who Peter Cook is. And I was like, Yeah, of course, I know who he is. And then like, I think he has that same wine certification that you have. And I had taken level three by this point, I think. And I was like, whoa, what? And so I got his email, cold emailed him and said, Hi, I'm an interpreter in Nashville. He lives in Chicago. And I heard that you have your WSET level three, I would love to talk. We got on a zoom. And it was just like, I knew in that moment, that was why I had been told basically, to wait. And I knew here we go, this was, this is the right way to do it. Which is why and we've talked about this before, I'm very passionate about like, if I'm going to be on something like this, or whatever, I want to always make sure an opportunity somehow gets passed along, the spotlights not only on me, it always gets shared and passed along with the deaf community. So So Yes, Peter is deaf himself. I didn't mention that, you know that. But he's brilliant. And he and I formed uncorked access. So our organization is built to provide access to the wine world for the deaf community, basically, to bridge the gap also to educate the wine industry about the Deaf community because deaf people go out to eat, they want to go to wine tastings, they want to travel, we want to be kind of this cultural mediator. We also want to provide short term and long term goals, you know, consulting, for places, hospitality companies, wineries, for how they could be more accessible because there are there's everything from something that is free to do up to the maximum amount of investment you could make on accessibility. And then we did the workshop we recently did virtually, with Oenophile Institute, was actually directed at both the deaf community and the interpreting community. It was fully in ASL because we want we want interpreters to be qualified to interpret this stuff, as we believe there are going to be more deaf people interested in pursuing education employment in the wine industry. So those interpreters need to be up to speed on the verbiage, the concepts when we're interpreting, we're interpreting concepts, we're not interpreting word for word. And Peter as a well known deaf man in the industry, he has the authority to say, Hey, this is the sign I use for acidity. And we can say like, we can trust that it's not a standardized sign, as we say, you can go to a deaf person and sign that and know expect them to know what you're saying. However, I can't, as an interpreter, there's a cultural rule, I cannot establish a sign as an interpreter, and then tell people that's what the sign of this, oh, there's a lot of like rules, unspoken rules in the community. It's really disrespectful to do that. So but Peter can say, hey, this is what works for me. And this makes conceptual sense. So it's, we're kind of in the still like beginning phases of trickling that out. We want to help everybody interested in all facets of this, to just kind of all come to the same table.
What a way to combine some really powerful forces, seriously the journey that led you to this opportunity to connect with the exact person who can elevate this and take it to the next level. Because I see your skills combining in a really magical way. What are some ways that you've seen ASL skills enhance somebody's role in hospitality? You've done these classes now a few times - what are some ways that it can really enhance their service ability?
Oh my gosh, if you are if you even learn a couple basic signs or just understand the concept of gestures and eye contact is numero uno in the Deaf culture. If you understand that, you just need to connect with that person one on one, you're way ahead of the game. So things like okay, the check - hearing people do this too - the check. Everybody understands that right? And that', I would sign it maybe a different way in a proper ASL, but everybody understands that gesture. Okay, so the check easy peasy you can do that across the room. And then you're in the kitchen and it's loud these things and that - you can communicate with your fellow staff across the room without yelling or whatever, texting, you can act things out so like how would you (this won't translate well if someone's listening only) but like how would you show chicken? Like if the chicken dish?
Oh, I would probably do chicken wings? No joke I would do the chicken wing dance.
I mean the sign for it is this is this is this is bird and chicken is like this they pick off the ground. But this is understood flapping your wings like the chicken dance is understood by everybody.
I think if a deaf guest came into your restaurant and sat down A) just that communication, food and wine are our vehicles for that, right. So there are ways to act these things out literally your pad that you are writing down orders on, utilize that. If you need to say something, write it down and show it to them. Or type it out in the Notes app on your phone, show it to them. These are things we talk about in the workshops that you already have at your disposal. It's really getting past that panic moment, that's uncomfortable, and it can be damaging, like if a deaf group comes up to a host stand, and that host freaks out and has the deer in the headlights, it can really set the tone that you're a burden. I saw that happen working in restaurants all the time, if somebody in a wheelchair showed up, the panic and the oh man, the express clearing of whatever ADA compliant area that you have designated that is probably really small. At the restaurant I worked at, we were using as a service bar for the wine, I now look back on that. And I'm like, oh my god, we had a POS system on that, that was all set up there. And so then I can't imagine being that person who came up and saw that, like you didn't keep that ready for somebody in a wheelchair. And we would all panic and pull it off and all this stuff. It just sets a really bad tone. And so these things that we want to talk about, and there's so many facets to it, we could we could do like a week long seminar on it. It is really just about at the end of the day, like dignity with people, and teaching able bodied people to not freak out. And instilling the confidence that you already have so many tools in your toolbox, you just have to remember that these are normal people that want to buy your food and drink your wine. And imagine that, yeah, like there's nothing I mean, you know, there's plenty, even with Deaf people, there are plenty of people who do not accept that as a disability. And I would be more inclined to say that myself, but that is also up to that person, whether or how they identify if they would like to say that I'm a disabled person or not. And I respect any of that. So it's really it just comes down to respect and a willingness to accommodate to do something a little out of the norm. And it's probably not as out of the norm as you think it is. Right?
You've said a lot of really key words to me. And they all have to do with people, respect, even little things like smiles and eye contact. These are things we all want no matter what conditions we deal with. And so for me, I think you're keeping it person forward, you're keeping a reminder that all of us have different abilities at the end of the day. And so why not try to accommodate someone's joy to experience food and wine, this is so awesome that you are encouraging that and it's the little things. So there's a lot of tools at our disposal already. And I have to thank you in general for helping to improve that type of communication in the hospitality space. But you also improved this podcast, Laura, you improved the a cork in the road podcast, because we've been talking for a long time about transcribing tools and ways to get the audio platform into a visual and a written space. And I struggled, I came across so many closed doors, and you encouraged me to keep trying. So while it's not automatic, this is something that I think you probably have come across a lot to this transcribing in the audio world. That's something you face a ton, isn't it?
Yeah. And I'll be honest, I'm not an expert on it. So there are people who are experts on it, the platform that I suggest to you otter AI, I was recommended that by deaf people. So that's where I was like, I feel good about that. Nothing is perfect. But as a hearing able bodied woman I told you, you know, I was like I'm not going on the podcast until you have transcriptions. And that's hard to say no to opportunities. But I think it's important when you do decide on whatever platform you are whatever soapbox, you're standing on, to stick to your guns and just say, hey, there are ways around this, and I will help you get there. But I'm not going to take that spotlight until the very people that I'm talking about can enjoy it.
And it was so encouraging though, Laura, because I didn't know that you had a background in a different industry which even inspires me more because my background is in public health and you better believe every single thing we do accessibility is at the forefront. And that means transcribing websites. That means having descriptions and tags on photos all the time. This is very normal in other industries. So when I was thinking about it for wine, or podcasting, or hospitality, it surprised me that some of those tools weren't automatic. So I really appreciated how you were encouraging me to keep finding what those tools might be, and to stay on the hunt. So now this one will be transcribed thanks to the person who was actually on this show. So thank you.
I'm so glad. Yeah, transcription. And I mean, my big, even more than that captions, Captions Captions. On video content, I will take that to my grave, I will never stop, come on people, we can do captions. And now it's just become easier. And that's the thing is even if you run into obstacles at first, and you're like, I've literally exhausted everything. And I don't know what, just keep your finger on the pulse. Because that's all changing daily. And somebody's going to fix that problem.
Yes, especially if a bunch of people keep asking for it. So we'll just keep that dialogue going. Because it's even in the podcast world. I know, there are so many podcasts that don't transcribed, there's people that are coming up with solutions everyday for that. So I think it becomes the community asking for it. And that way, we can push that forward. But you have been a leader in this space for a very long time and the work that you're doing, I know that you don't do it for the recognition, but it has not gone unrecognized. So let's talk about your reaction to finding out that you were named one of Wine Enthusiast's 40 under 40 tastemakers, walk me through that emotion that you felt when you read that? I'm guessing it was an email, was it an email?
It was an email and it was what, two years ago? I was still like baby figuring this thing out. And I got that email saying you were nominated. And so then you had to fill out a form and say, Yes, I would like to pursue this. I remember, I think I saw that email. And I didn't know what it was for at first. And it took me like a minute to realize what was happening. And I was just in total shock. I mean, you could, my husband definitely could attest to this, I had no idea that somebody would have nominated me or someone would have found me through whatever platform they did. I still don't know who it was, I have a feeling. And I Gosh, I'm gonna forget her name. At that time. It was, as far as I know, at least, I don't think that they were tapping alumni of that. I think it was only people who worked for Wine Enthusiast. And there was a woman. Oh, gosh, I feel so bad. Not knowing her name. Plus, I don't know if it's her for sure. But she was following me on Instagram and had sent me kind of some Winky faces about it. And I was like, Okay, so maybe she's the one but but that's the thing is it was such a, it was such a shocking moment. I had a ton of impostor syndrome about it. And I was still a full time interpreter at that time, right. So I was just doing wine on the side. I did not feel like I deserved that at the time, or had enough anchoring in the wine world. So I I had a lot of impostor syndrome. And I look back and I wish I would have celebrated that more. But I yeah, I submitted the information. And then I couple weeks later got the news that this was actually happening. I was very excited. Just like this time in my life. Okay, so we do a lot of things at once. That coincided with me getting engaged and renovating our house
you don't like it's simple. I see your calendar stays booked, doesn't it?
Yeah, none of this is new. But looking back, I wish I would have been able to kind of parse out all of those little things and enjoy each one a little more. Because it was just at a time when it was so overwhelming. I really struggled thinking I deserved it. I mean, that's just the honest truth. Is that like, at that time, I just didn't feel like I was I don't know, should have gotten that. But I was still very excited and very, very, very honored.
How do you feel now about it? Have you come to the realization that what you're doing in this space is unique and worthy of recognition? Have you accepted that?
Yes, I definitely did a lot of reflection after that. And the end of that year and really thinking like, No, this is this is having impact. I definitely gunned for let's also recognize Peter. Because, you know, again, just like I've said a couple times for the same reasons. Let's make sure it's not just about me, and Peter did - not on my behalf by any means - on his own, somebody nominated him as well. In 2022. Yeah, he was part of the future 40 list. So that's what the 40 under 40 evolved to which I'm a big fan of it. I was the last year that they kept it at age 40 which I am all about because we do not need to be just celebrating youth in any industry. But that was really great to see. And it did I think in the two years since that's passed, I've definitely seen, okay, I have chops in this and I have something to add that other people don't. And even if I still have a long way to go in, you know, truly like wine education and understanding and blind tasting, and this and that, and all these, all these things. I'm bringing something to the table that other people don't have, which is the accessibility point. So I've definitely gotten better at feeling really confident in my niche in the industry. And like, You're never done learning about wine. So I still have plenty to learn, I intend to keep learning and being able to pass that information on. And there's no time limit on that.
No, not at all. And if you are aware of the impact that it can make the spaces that you are in, you are making an impact. So I'm glad that you're realizing that now. And you're living in Nashville. This podcast has always had its roots in the southeast wine industry. You're also a national sales manager for a winery in Oregon, but you're based in Nashville. So you kind of get to see the entire wine industry from that perspective. What excites you about representing Oregon wines in the market as a whole? And do you see any comparison with Southeast market when you're showcasing the wines?
I am a huge Oregon fan. My husband and I we got married out there we are big Oregon wine kind of just ambassadors in a way. That was all a very cool, organic thing. I've known them Momtazis for years and been a huge fan of Maysara for years, consumer wise, truly. Any friend of mine in the since 2017. When I first tasted Maysara, anyone who I thought would appreciate it has tried Maysara and I was essentially doing this job before it was my job. And I visited for the first time in 2019. Met Mo Momtazi, who was the founder and the father of the patriarch of the family, and went on a day where they were drying, stinging nettle. It's a biodynamic winery. And so I saw all of that with my own eyes. And then two years later, in 2021, actually, right around all this Wine Enthusiast time, we had gotten engaged three weeks before out of the Finger Lakes. I'm a big fan of kind of under the radar, domestic wine regions. So we went out to Oregon for I was working with another wine company on the side, and we did it a group trip to meet up in Oregon. I had insisted we have to go to Maysara and we had a fabulous tasting with Moe and Nasim, who's the middle of the three daughters. She's the president of sales, and came up from the cellar. And the winery was set up for a wedding. And we were all tipsy enough to start joking, kind of what if Chris and Laura got married here. And so we started talking to the Momtazis about the potential of that it all fell into place. We decided to do a wedding planning trip during harvest so that we could stay for a whole week. So half of that week, we worked harvest with them. And half of it we do, we did wedding planning stuff. And in that interim, funnily enough, I had actually seen Nasim post something on Instagram about needing just as she was so overwhelmed, she did national sales by herself for 13 years, and would have like assistants and stuff, she was the one really she was the one going out in the market and stuff. And she just posted something about I need help or whatever. It probably wasn't even 100% serious. But I responded. And I said, you know, if you ever had a remote position, I would love to do that. And it was so funny, because when she responded to me, she was like my dad just said we should talk to Laura. It was a very magical, beautiful thing. And, and so that just began our conversation about that. And when we were out at harvest, I mean, Moe and I sat down and and talked about it and just decided, let's try this. Let's see, you know, let's see how that goes. And it has evolved into what it is now with the you know, national sales manager. And so I traveled to markets as well and Nasim and I tag team everything, not as much with me being pregnant now. But I traveled to different markets. And she doesn't have to do all of that all the time where she was home four days a month before, and we're very similar in some ways. And then we're very, our skill sets are very different. So it's great because we really pick up where the other person leaves off. I am uber data driven, detailed spreadsheets, emails, I love that stuff. And she's kissing babies and shaking hands. And I love that too. But it's really great. So yeah, so what excites me about Oregon wine is I love I don't I wouldn't even call it an underdog wine region anymore by any means, but I still love introducing people to the idea of Oregon wine and beautiful world class wines coming out of there of which I believe Maysara is one of, and I just really like introducing people to something that over delivers, especially for value. I love a good value and that there's a huge movement out there with you know, Maysara is certified, biodynamic in both its Vineyard and Winery. And many, many wineries out there are very committed to organic, biodynamic sustainability, whatever they are doing at practicing at their own winery. And I just think it's really fun. It's a really tight community. Our whole wedding weekend was a basically an Oregon wine theme. It was, you know, obviously, Maysara, we got married there. But we also did our rehearsal dinner and our brunch at other wineries, I just find it to be a very tight knit community with really interesting people, fabulous wines, unbelievable wines with incredible age worthiness. It appeals to so many different people. And in the southeast in particular, I think that we are having such a renaissance of fine dining of exciting food and wine venues and people and you guys in Atlanta are leading the way
keep talking, Laura, this is wonderful
Right? Like I want to come to wine group so bad when I'm not pregnant. Um, and you guys are killing it there. And then Nashville has become a major, you know, food destination, too. I just think that we have something that isn't played out yet. We're emerging. So I love showing off, I guess kind of like the rise of that is, is parallel with Oregon, I like to say like, this is a, you know, younger wine region from like, the 60s 70s. So we're not talking about hundreds of years. But that's okay. Like there's this rise that I think is concurrent with the southeast rise. And so why don't we bolster that region, we don't have to just go to the expected places because I think the southeast has a lot of unexpected players in the game so so why don't we do that with wine as well.
This is all just beautiful music to my ears. I couldn't agree more with the excitement, of having really beautiful wines enter the market, and then finding out that people really do want to learn more about wine, if we give them the opportunity to learn about wine, if we give them the opportunity to try these amazing Oregon wines, the magic starts there. So opening the door to having more markets, more people try those wines. That's a really exciting place to be for you right now.
Absolutely. And, you know, the southeast because we're not New York, LA, you know, these these very expected markets, I don't want our markets to play into what could be. And I'm not saying this about New York, and LA and all these things, but where there's where there's such a focus on international wines, and what some people might find a higher point of entry and things or at least intimidation factor, I think that we have the opportunity where since it's new, we can make it a lot more accessible. And I don't just mean in the way of deaf accessibility and stuff, I mean, in the way of value driven of things just not being as intimidating as they have to be, or as they seemed like they needed to be with wine. And so I think Oregon opens such a great door of you can have these world class wines that I would put plenty of them up against a burgundy Pinot Noir. But it's from this country, it's from something that you don't have to feel embarrassed that you're not pronouncing it correctly, you know. And so it just, it offers an opportunity for people to try something different and exciting and a little bit of a, I don't know, like pioneering area. So I have a lot of fun with that. And I just think that we have so much opportunity in such an emergence of talent and excitement and people. And I think that suits Oregon wine very well.
And those points of entry, you're creating more of them and making them more accessible. It is about giving people the opportunity. And that's exactly what you get to do in your role. But then I think about too with when I think about access, and I think about having the opportunity to try new things. How are you continuing your own wine education, juggling all these roles soon to be mom, you know, all of these things coming your way? What are you doing to continue your own wine education?
I'm not right now very much
I mean, you got two houses and like all the things but okay.
I take advantage of I try to go to there's a tasting group in town, I try to go as much as I can. I don't go as much as I want to. But there are different tasting groups around town and they're becoming more and more regular, which is great to see and I love participating when I can and I go in so intimidated, I'm not gonna lie, but I'm getting more comfortable with it. And so there's there's that there's these blind tasting groups, the wine people in Nashville that are like moving here and that have set up shop here. The past couple years are unbelievable and so kind and so fun and so knowledgeable, but not in an intimidating way. People like John Ross and Jane Lopes live here they become good friends of mine, and Jody Bronk teen maybe Bronk time sorry, Jody. But there are these people who have a lot of experience and a lot of clout, but they don't act like that. They don't carry themselves that way. And I love that they're setting up shop here. And then there, there are people who are well established in this industry here, Seema Prasad is a goddess. She owns this restaurant called Miel here. And she's been in the game for a long time, and just as brilliant with wine and is just so kind and so welcoming. Something I committed myself to doing this year, because I could get intimidated easily or because I can get into that impostor syndrome mode, I promised myself in January that I would start asking people for help - telling people what my intentions were. I organized like a women in wine night in January. And it was so fun. And I was like, Let's go around and see what how we could support each other. And it was supposed to, like happen monthly, and all these things. And it ended up being kind of a wild night. And then a week later, I didn't realize - a week later, I got pregnant. And so that did not continue, I would love to pick that back up. But that was the intention, spending intentional time with the wine industry here that is growing. And that is so inspiring, and so smart. And so fun. And these people are not intimidating, they're amazing, and so supportive. And then also taking advantage of like classes, more things are coming here and making Nashville a stop when they're doing educational classes. And so I'm making a commitment to say yes to those. I can still taste while pregnant, I can spit. And so you know, I'm trying to make sure those are happening. And funny enough, I actually almost reached out to you about this. Our babymoon was supposed to be last weekend, and it was in Sonoma and Napa, and I've never been
because you're too busy loving up on Oregon over there.
I am. I've goneto Oregon so many times. But that's an area I really I don't understand well, and I really want to understand it. And so I wanted one more geeky wine trip before baby. And people were like, Why would you do that to yourself? Like why would you torture yourself and I was like, I can spit, we'll buy the bottles I want to bring home and they'll be even better when I get to open them later. And so I really wanted to do that. And we had all these appointments set up with wineries that I wanted to go to for so long. We also canceled a trip there in 2020. So this is so sad. But we did we ended up making the decision to cancel with coinciding with like Open House weekend for our house and it was just too much. So I'll just have to go to Sonoma and Napa when baby comes and all that to say I had intended to learn a lot last weekend, just not going to happen. So I'm continuing to taste and I'm continuing to ask people for information and for help and to teach me and to give me feedback. And I will definitely continue to do that. Even after baby and you know, as far as actual classes certification, I'm a big structure person, I love routine and structure. I don't know that diploma is the path I would want to go down - my husband begged me not to. He's like wait. So that would be basically like your level three tests times six over two years. I can't handle you. So we'll see if I pursue any more formal certifications. But I think what the past two years has taught me actually is that while they are wonderful, and I'm a huge fan of them, because that is a way I learned well. I can follow white rabbits down different paths and and learn just directly from people and from travel and from tasting group and smart purchases and things like that as well.
Oh, you have so many different ways and so many different channels. And I think it's really important to remind people that there are lots of different ways to learn about wine. You mentioned several different channels for that tasting groups, talking to your local professionals. What you just said about Nashville. I know you said you wanted to come to Atlanta, but sounds like I need to make a trip to Nashville.
I really think we're getting there. And so I think we're going to definitely see a lot more happening in Nashville and then just even the people I meet for my job, people in distribution here that are well educated and they really know what they're doing and they're so passionate and they're so helpful. There's just not a lot of snobbery. And I just really appreciate that. So I just think we have a very exciting plethora of people here. And I think people keep coming closer together, and we're gonna see it emerge as more of a wine destination.
I'm ready, I'm ready for the Nashville food. With the Nashville wine scene. I'm very, very ready and the people coming there obviously elevating the knowledge and the sense of community that you are building there. But you also have baby girl on the way and I was laughing as you're saying that you can still taste right now. But have you realized that maybe during this phase of life, have you made any new connections with people because of motherhood approaching because you were using your social media, your platforms, for wine, and connecting about those types of things? Has this allowed you to make any different types of connections?
potentially, I'm not sure if I've connected with anyone new specifically because of that but I will say it's shifted my perspective, and it's made me pay attention to certain people, namely, mothers in this industry, I'm an intense person who throws myself very far into things, obviously. But that also comes you know, there will have to be a complete unlearning of that and relearning of how to do that. I do not want to be a mom who feels like I have two separate lives, I really want to feel like they can complement each other. And we really are trying to manifest this baby being a great traveler. And so something Chris and I talk about a lot is our family culture, we have an opportunity to establish that. So food and wine is very high value for us. And we want our girl to be part of that. And we want people to feel comfortable coming over for a nice meal. Even when there is a toddler running around, we hope to still have people over and open bottles. And there might be mothers listening to this being like, yeah, sure, like very aspirational. So I'm very well aware that like these might be very naive things to say. But I do think I have connected with especially mothers in this industry, on a different level, some new people and then plenty who I already knew. But I just have a new lens and a newfound respect for how they have figured out how to balance this. I mean, one of your own Larissa, Larissa Dubose. She is the epitome of juggling all the things and does it so well and looks stunning doing it like she is a queen, we've connected over Instagram long ago, even before I got pregnant, I would look at her and be like she's doing it. I just think what she does is amazing. And she's teaching that to her little girl. She's showing her that it's possible. Absolutely. Yes. She's not just talking about it. She's doing it, she's traveling. And I'm sure there's that is so hard to leave your baby and your husband for days. But she clearly I don't want to speak out of turn and speak on her behalf. But to me, it seems like she really sees the value in doing that and walking the walk. still experiencing the world and in the way she wants to. And then showing Emery, her daughter, that it's all possible because that girl be a powerhouse when she becomes older. And so I look at people like that, like Larissa and think I would love to be that kind of mom.
But you're already setting that intention for yourself. You're already saying you can't wait to take baby girl to Napa. So all of this is part of that attitude that you're bringing. And I really appreciate the concept of the family culture, that you are already having those conversations with your partner on that and thinking about how baby just going to come along for all the things you enjoy as well.
that exclusion and inclusion concept is always at the forefront for you. This is not surprising to me that that's been a realization while you've been in this phase as well. But I would be crazy not to ask you if you already have your celebratory post baby girl drink planned. What is Laura going to be drinking when you hold that little baby first time?
I have thought about this. We have not officially decided, she's due October 9. She may come early but like I really want to get to October it's my favorite month. It would be very appropriate and this is high in the running the Maysara 2015 Asha Pinot Noir, it's our kind of highest end Pinot Noir, it's the most sight selective, we release our wines, we hold them for a long time. So 2015 is actually current vintage for us.
I love when this happens.
We got to taste some Maysara, but um, that is in our wedding box, because that was our Chris and I's wedding wine, like at our table and in a decanter that we didn't share with people (side wine) our secret side wine. And so that's in our wedding box. And we didn't get to open it for our one year anniversary. So I'm considering that. And then there's a part of me that we're getting into October. It'll probably still be hot here though. Let's be honest. But fall for me, and I think you're - I know Chelsea is I think you're on this speed too - I am a Syrah lover.
I was hoping you'd say that.
Yes, I just think Syrah is such a sexy, delicious, yummy fall wine. So there's a part of me that thinks I might crave that. Or what I've been craving really is white wine. We could get into something really interesting with that, but I think I'm gonna want a bottle of red. So I think we're teetering between either some Maysara Asha, or some sort of syrah or something like that,
that will give you that hug that you've been waiting for. I always feel like Syrah is a hug to me, especially in October
Yes, in late October because we know here in the southeast, it's probably still hot.
It's probably still Yes, well, I will say Syrah can be all year but it is something that I gravitate toward much more that time of year. So I'm excited for you, whatever it is, I know you will really appreciate it. And the wine world is lucky to have you doing so much for anybody who wants to explore and find new ways to learn. You're always there to provide support and guidance on that. So thank you so much for doing that Laura.
I'm blessed to do that. So I feel like I reap all the benefits from it myself.
So awesome. So if people want to follow the rest of these journeys and these transitions, you've got a lot going on, how can people find you and connect with you to stay in touch?
Yeah, so I am pretty active on Instagram where we have connected so at Wine language interpreter and it's wine dot language dot interpreter that's also got my email, but really and uncorkedaccess.com, as well we also have an Instagram, uncorked access, so please follow us there. And DM is kind of the best way I think to connect with me. And yeah, uncorked access or wine language interpreter
perfect. And I do know that you love to interact with people in these spaces and have really important conversations. That's how we move forward. And that's how we all elevate each other. So thank you for being part of those conversations.
Yeah, thank you and they can happen anywhere. Plenty of life changing things have happened in DMS.
That's the motivation for today. DM those people shoot your shot. I love it. So good
Shoot your shot for real.
Oh my gosh, was so good to see you. And thank you so much for sharing your insights on the show. Cheers to you my friend.
You know, there will there will of course come struggles and we don't know if she'll be a great traveler and there will be times when she's not. But we know we're going on a wine trip to France in 2025 - you'll see something about that in the coming months - teaser. Yes, teaser. She will have to come unless there's obviously unless there's something we have to pivot to. But I'm excited to offer her that life. I think it's so cool. And obviously, barring unexpected things that we could not possibly know right now and and knowing that we will pivot and do whatever we need to do for her. I really love the idea of having a little world traveler and having a baby who comes to wineries that hopefully welcome babies, smells the things and you know, I want to hand my daughter a glass and be like smell that. What do you like? And I just also think it's like this kind of more. I don't want to make food and wine. out of reach is what I would say. Nor do I want to make alcohol something that is an intangible until a certain exact age. Obviously, I'm not going to feed my child wine. But I want that culture to be that wine is something that accompanies food and it elevates the experience and you don't have to guzzle it. And so that we can establish, I hope, a healthy relationship with alcohol, because it's so easy to fall into an unhealthy relationship with it. And as somebody who's not drinking right now, it's been so eye opening, to not drink and to go into this zero proof world. And as you've seen, probably on Instagram, I'm really trying to have fun with it. And I have been, it's been really enlightening. And just to see that, how easily we exclude people who aren't drinking. Because, again, I'm all about inclusion for people, whether it's deaf, women, whatever. But people who aren't drinking deserve interesting complex drinks. And they deserve to sit at the table. They deserve to be invited to all the same things. I've really gotten on a high horse about the role that alcohol plays as an alcohol lover, but making sure when I re enter that world that I'm doing it in a different way and that that's what I teach my daughter
Thanks for having me. Cheers.
Thanks for tuning in to the A 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. You can find more about a cork in the road at @acorkintheroad on Instagram and make sure to check us out on www.acorkintheroad.com See you soon guys. Cheers.