The Wine Guy


Andy Besch Author of “The Wine Guy” started his wine shop so he could share his passion for wine with the world. But once behind the counter, Andy was shocked by the fact that buying wine was such a difficult chore for so many people.

His solution? Make it easy. By showing his customers how to identify their preferences and how to communicate effectively, Andy has succeeded in converting many overwhelmed and intimidated shoppers into confident and adventuresome wine enthusiasts.

Find out more about West Side Wines:

Buy Andy’s new book: “The Wine Guy”

Sponsor: The Office of Champagne USA

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Show #61
(43:55 min 21 MB)

16 Responses to “The Wine Guy”

  1. 1 Fitzgerald Dec 6th, 2005 at 1:30 am

    You guys came across a little snobby on this one…..Your guest used too much of his time complaining about his experiences with customers……Not your best show…..

  2. 2 GrapeRadio Crew Dec 6th, 2005 at 4:57 am

    Do you mean our guest or GR (or both) sounded snobby? Can you give me an example? I am really trying to figure this one out. I do not think I am a snob, but I want to see if maybe I did not communicate well or maybe there is some eliteist in me. As depressing as a comment like this is, how do I improve without honest feedback like this? Fitzgerald, as strange as this sounds, thanks for this comment.

    p.s I guess we can be sucky every once and awhile, it provides a sense of balance so the better shows really stand out. 🙂

  3. 3 Jason Adams Dec 6th, 2005 at 9:29 am

    I enjoyed this show very much and it brings to light the problem of purchasing wine. Wine stores tend to be intimidating to the average person. Like everything else in this world you are expected to “know”, whether it is buying wine, a car, or toothpaste. Most people (As a man, I am speaking for men in this regard) can’t just walk in to a wine store, drop their guard and ask for directions. Hence the popularity of buying wine in a Supermarket. This is my favorite wine blog.

    Further shows on the retail trade would be very welcome. I would also like to see a show or shows on another way of choosing wine when you are not comfortable talking with the Salespeople – turn the bottle around and look to the importer for guidance.

  4. 4 GrapeRadio Crew Dec 6th, 2005 at 9:47 am

    Jason, that is exactly the problem we wanted to try to explore. To be honest, that is to some extent waht GR is all about. None of us at GR are wine experts, but we are not above bringing in people to help us learn. I have learned a great deal at GR, and I expect to learn much more.


  5. 5 Doug Smith Dec 6th, 2005 at 12:52 pm

    It is a good ongoing question about how to get the best information on wine … from a professional wine reviewer or from a store owner? IMO either can be equally good, so long as their palate is trustworthy. Clearly nobody’s opinion should be taken 100%, but as you guys point out, with the huge amount of wine out there, informed help is *essential*.

    Another question, which goes to the issue of “snobbiness”, is whether the store owner goes with an attitude that “the customer is always right” (i.e. about Merlot being bad?) or rather tries to educate the customer (i.e. that St. Emilion reds are blends of mostly Merlot). Andy Besch takes the second course. He also decides not to stock wines that he doesn’t like even if they may be crowd pleasers.

    Personally he came across fine to me, although I can understand how his opinions might sound strong to some people.

    As a side note, I’ve been past his wine shop dozens of times (it’s not far from where I live) and I think I’ll head in to take a look around next time I’m in his neighborhood. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. 6 Johnny Clark Dec 6th, 2005 at 6:13 pm

    Hey GR,
    Just joined – looks and sounds great. I liked it when Andy said that it kills him when people kind of hang out in the corner, stare at the shelves and walk out. Intuition in wine retail is tricky. It takes a long time to find an approach. From the way Andy was talking though it sounds like he’s running a good show.
    That self esteem bit WAS hysterical too. Nice work, Johnny C

  7. 7 Murray Stiles Dec 6th, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    I have to disagree with Fitzgerald, I thought this was one of your better shows. The reasoning can be traced to one simple word: Relevance. When Andy was talking about new wine buyers staring in awe at the shelves for long periods, I was thinking that was me not so long ago!

  8. 8 Deborah Bonser Dec 7th, 2005 at 6:17 am

    Guys, Did not find the show snobby at all. All three of you were focused on informing the rest of us so that we can enjoy our wine more. I especially appreciated the angle taken of how to get more bang for my wine buck! You weren’t preaching to the choir. I do agree with Jay that honest, fair criticism is a good thing. Maybe Fitzgerald could “take” a glass of wine and call us in the morning:). Nice Wine Blog Site.

  9. 9 GrapeRadio Crew Dec 7th, 2005 at 9:10 am

    Deborah, play nice. 🙂 I listened to the show again last night. I can now see how Fitzgerald could get the impression he mentioned.

    I got the feeling when TALKING to Andy, that he was fustrated in wanting to help people, but at the same time not want customers feel he was pushy. Andy is very passionate about wine and he has a mission to share that excitement with others. The irony here is that his dedication to helping people learn be seen as anything other than a geniune understanding of those beginning their wine journey.

    Lastly, I feel that just because someone has not yet learned about wine that does not imply they are unable to understand all the wine techo babble.

  10. 10 Jeff Gibbons Dec 8th, 2005 at 6:42 pm

    I thought you guys did a great show, but I can understand the sense that Andy was a bit snobbish about wine. His response regarding yellowtail was too short, though if you read his original statement he qualified it by saying that he believed there were other, better wines at the same price point. I’m sure his wine store is top-notch, but instead of pointing to another retailer down the street, for yellowtail perhaps he should introduce the person to other quality wines in his own store. I may be judging to quickly, but his immediate attitude was not what his “nom de plume” suggests. The “Wine Guy” should be someone who accepts all tastes and attempts to meet them, not someone who imposes his own taste on the customers, regardless of their “wine education.” Nice Wine Blog Site.

    Otherwise, you guys are awesome. I discovered you about a week ago and have listened to almost the entire series. Great information and exceptional sound quality.

  11. 11 GrapeRadio Crew Dec 9th, 2005 at 1:09 pm

    Jeff, do you mind telling me how you “discovered” us? Are we growing through word of mouth or are their other factors that I may not have considered.


  12. 12 Andy Besch Dec 11th, 2005 at 8:35 am

    I really got a lot of all of your comments, and thanks to all who did so. I’m gratified that most of you felt that I wasn’t snobbish about wine. That is the last thing I would want to communicate. On the contrary, I want to help make wine as accessible as possible. I am, however, a very direct person and a few of you picked up on that….good going. That’s just who I am and I mean no harm. To the point about Yellow Tail and directing someone to a retailer that carries it, I only do that when they are dead set on having it. Otherwise, of course, I will and do suggest something I feel is a lot better for approximatley the same price. I don’t want anyone to walk out empty-handed, but after six years at this, you get to know when someone has their mind set on one thing and one thing only. Finally I want to say that I loved doing the show, and appreciated the opportunity to help demystify the wine buying process. Thanks GR and all of those who listened and commented.. Cheers, and have a great holiday.

  13. 13 Jeff Gibbons Dec 11th, 2005 at 12:17 pm


    The blog mentioned you as one of the best wine podcasts going.

  14. 14 WaterintoWino Dec 12th, 2005 at 4:25 pm

    After listening I decided that I am gonna try his store here in NYC. See what he reccomends for my palate.

  15. 15 GrapeRadio Crew Dec 12th, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    Go undercover and report back!


  16. 16 Michael Messner Jul 6th, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Hi I am an avid listener, how do I sign up for the listener map and the newsletter, the links do not take me there.

    Thank you,
    Michael Messner
    MLM Enterprises, Inc.

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