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Auction Napa Valley 2010

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Welcome to our video podcast: Auction Napa Valley 2010 – Video Show #100.

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If you’re into food and wine, the Auction Napa Valley is pretty much the center of the universe. Comprised of four days of incredible wine and food, this spectacular event invites attendees to enjoy the cool cellars and hospitality of renowned vintners. In addition, there are dozens of parties to choose from, each hosted by a vintner. More than 250 auction lots, yours for the bidding – from a single case of wine, to trips offering experiences not available anywhere else. You can also taste the barrel auction lots, participate in the e-auction, and attend the main event – a live auction held at the Meadowood resort.

Although there is plenty of wine, food and fun to be had, the primary goal of the event is to raise funds for local charitable activities. In fact, over the last 30 years, $90 million have been given to charities in the Napa Valley, to assist healthcare, education and low-income housing non-profit organizations. The genesis for the auction came from Robert Mondavi, who wanted to give back to the community, as well as celebrate the quality of wines from Napa Valley. Since its inception in 1981, this Auction has embodied the personality of Napa Valley and provided the model for modern charity wine auctions around the world.

Join us as we talk with vintners and attendees during the 2010 event. You’ll get just a small sampling of all the fun, food, and festivities that go along with attending the Auction Napa Valley.

For More Info on the 2011 Auction Napa Valley: www.napavintners.com

Temecula – A Case of Preconceived Notions?

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One doesn’t immediately think of Temecula when they think of California wine regions. Yet, along with the North Coast and the Central Coast, there is also a South Coast wine-growing region – a region which includes the Temecula Valley AVA. Located in a semi-rural section of Southern California’s Riverside County, the Temecula Valley is about an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County and Palm Springs.

This close proximity to major population centers and relatively easy access has made Temecula a prime wine touring region – both for Southern Californians, and for visitors to the area. However, despite its convenient location, Temecula’s wine reputation has been hampered as much by uneven quality as by vineyard devastation ten years ago from Pierce’s Disease, a bacterial infection of the grapevine which causes the foliage, the fruit, and finally the vine to die off. Arguably, it hasn’t helped matters that the region easily became a tour-bus Mecca for much of Southern California. This, in turn, lured many wineries to adapt their operations to this type of tourist, largely the antithesis of the usual North or Central Coast winery visitor.

Grape growing isn’t new to the region, as Mission grapes had been planted in the Temecula area in 1820. In more modern times, Vincenzo and Audry Cilurzo established the first commercial vineyard in the Temecula Valley in 1968. Brookside Winery planted its vineyard in 1971, and produced the first wines from Temecula grapes. Callaway Vineyard and Winery began farming grapes in 1969, and opened the first Temecula Winery in 1974.

Most of the 34 wineries in Temecula are family-owned. Many are relatively new, having planted their grapes and/or opened their respective doors since the early 2000s. The timing is no accident, as most of the vineyards needed to be replanted after the damage by Pierce’s Disease. Yet, catastrophe often brings opportunity, and in this case many of the vineyards were replanted with more suitable varieties on better rootstalks, and grown using new viticultural techniques. Growers in the AVA practice sustainable farming in what has now become an agricultural preserve.

As new winemakers and new ideas continue to filter into the region, Temecula makes no apologies for the wines they grow, or how they market them. And, since the quality of their wines continues to rise, and the visitors continue to arrive – via bus or otherwise – the region seems poised to bolster its reputation.

Join us as we visit with nine vintners from Temecula Valley, to hear more about their approach to wine-growing and wine-making. There may be a lot more to Temecula wines than you think – presumptions aside, of course.

Sponsor: Pinpoint Tech – Your Mailing List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #283
(1:26:01 min 61MB)

The Art of Blending

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Welcome to our video podcast – The Art of Blending – Video Show #54.

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Blending, or the combining of multiple ingredients, has always been part of the art of cooking. So too has it always been a part of wine making and the creation of exotic mixed drinks. So, it should be no surprise that blending the flavors and aromas of Cognac with the culinary arts results in a sum greater than its parts. In fact, this beautiful marriage of components is likely to elicit a gastronomical delight. But, as with cooking, it is all about the quality of the ingredients.

There is a familiar saying, “All Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac”, and the Cognac region of France is rightly famous for its brandy, a spirit made by double-distilling wine to create an eau-de-vie, a colorless liquid of about 70% alcohol. After years of aging in large oak barrels, the spirit takes on additional complexities and various shades of amber-gold color depending upon age. During this aging process much of the alcohol is lost through evaporation (called the “angel’s share”), and after final blending the spirit is reduced to about 40% alcohol. Cognac is usually consumed on its own as an aperitif (before dinner), as a digestif (after dinner drink), or used in cooking. In addition, it has also become very popular as an ingredient in many cocktails.

GrapeRadio is pleased to present, “The Art of Blending”, a tribute to the artistic efforts of master blenders, chefs, and mixologists who use palettes of flavors to create passion in the world of wine, food and cocktails.

For More Info on Cognac: www.bnic.fr

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Distillation – The Birth of Cognac

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Welcome to our video podcast: Cognac Distillation – Video Show #99.

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After fermentation, the white wine is distilled into ‘eau-de-vie.’ To become Cognac, this involves a double distillation, for which only the heart, or middle portion of the second distillation is retained. The heads, too high in alcohol, and the tails, lacking harmony, are carefully removed and distilled over again to perfection.

For its first distillation, the unfiltered wine is brought to boil in the copper pot. Since alcohol evaporates faster than water, alcoholic vapors can be collected in the onion dome shaped cowl and in the swan neck, which slows the rectification process of the flavors, before passing into the long serpentine condenser coil. Vapors condense to the contact of the cooler and turn into a liquid known as ‘brouilli,’ with an alcoholic content of 27 to 30% vol. This is distilled a second time in a process called the ‘bonne chauffe’. The distiller’s key task is then to choose the moment when to isolate the ‘heart’ of this second distillation, extracting the ‘head’ and the ‘tail’ in the process.

This distillation process is a delicate and slow one. It lasts for approximately twenty four hours and requires the constant care of the distiller. It usually begins in November and is conducted day and night for several months. The rule binds it to stop at the latest at the end of March. Distillation is a key factor that gives Cognac its distinctive character. Its secrets are handed over from generation to generation.

First Sideways – Now Vertical

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Widely known as author of the novel, Sideways, which of course spawned the hit movie of the same name, screenwriter Rex Pickett has now created a sequel, appropriately named, Vertical. Yes, it’s another wine-related road trip book involving Miles and Jack. This time, however, they’re traveling to Oregon’s Willamette Valley to swirl some more Pinot Noir, and to…well, you’re going to have to read the book, because there’s more.

Join us, as we talk with Rex about the genesis of his character Miles, both the book and movie versions of Sideways, and of course his new book, Vertical. We may even delve into the trials and tribulations of being a screenwriter in Los Angeles, and maybe get a ‘sideways’ glance at the publication business. You never know.

Sponsor: West Auctions – Fine Wine Auction: www.westauction.com

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Show #282
(46:56 min 33MB)

Allen Meadows and the Wines of Domaine Fourrier

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Allen Meadows, a.k.a. Burghound, moderated this entertaining Seminar featuring the owner and winemaker of Domaine Fourrier, Jean Marie Fourrier. Domaine Fourrier has a four generation history in Gevrey-Chambertain and was one of the first Domaines in Burgundy to export wine to the United States. The Domaine experienced a revitalization with the arrival of Jean Marie Fourrier in 1994, and the wines, as Allen Meadows noted at the Seminar, “Are built on balance, not concentration.” Jean Marie Fourrier says his wines are only crafted from vines at least 30 years old, and represent “terroir in a glass.”

Join us at this seminar from the 2010 World of Pinot Noir.

For More Information:

The Burghound – www.burghound.com

Domaine Fourrier – domainefourrier.pagesperso-orange.fr

The 2011 World of Pinot Noir – www.worldofpinotnoir.com

Sponsor: Millesima, Fine Wine Merchants: www.millesima-usa.com

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Show #281
(1:20:41 min 70MB)

Wine Appraisal

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If it can be said that wine tasting is subjective, it probably follows that the monetary value of wine is even more subjective. Whether it’s the price of a single bottle, an auction lot, or an entire collection, the estimated value of that wine becomes one of the most important factors in determining its intrinsic value to a buyer, collector or investor. For most wines, wine enthusiasts usually make their own decisions about a wine’s perceived value. But, when thousands of dollars are on the line, often a professional wine appraiser is consulted.

Wine appraisers are experts who help wine lovers protect their wine collections by inventorying them and giving them value, often an essential need if wine collections are insured. Appraisals are also often necessary for purposes of charity donations, damage claims, divorce settlements, estate planning, and/or liquid investment.

Join us as we speak with Martin Weiner, owner of Vintage Wine Appraisers, as well as founder of the Los Angeles School of Wines, editor and publisher of Martin’s Guide to Wine Bargains, and wine editor of Beverage Industry News. An author, correspondent, and lecturer, Martin has extensive experience in appraising wines. We’ll hear just a few examples of why and how this valuable service can be used to determine a wine’s true market value.

For More Information: www.vintagewineenterprises.com

Sponsor: Hearts Delight Wine Auction: www.heartsdelightwineauction.org

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Show #280
(55:58 min 40MB)

The Scent of Black

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Welcome to our video podcast: The Scent of Black – Video Show #91.

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In the Cahors region of France, black truffles are almost literally as valuable as gold in the culinary world. Prized for their glorious scent, black truffles are fungi that grow exclusively on the roots of oak trees. Found in late autumn and winter, the truffles cannot be seen since they grow under the ground. Pigs, or specially trained dogs have been used to search for these elusive truffles. About 20% of the French production comes from southwest France, which possesses the limestone soils and dry hot weather that truffles need to grow.

In the late 19th century, an epidemic of phylloxera destroyed many of the vineyards in southern France. Large tracts of land were set free for the cultivation of truffles. Thousands of truffle-producing trees were planted, and production reached the peak of hundreds of tonnes by the end of the 19th century. Wars during the 20th Century decimated the fields. After 1945, the production of truffles plummeted, and prices rose dramatically. In 1900, truffles were used by most French people, and on many occasions. Today, they are a rare delicacy reserved for the wealthy, or used on very special occasions.

Originally a common grape in Bordeaux, Malbec has lost popularity as one of the five varieties in the Bordeaux blends. Meanwhile, Malbec increased its status in the French region of Cahors, an area southeast of Bordeaux, where it creates distinctive wines that now require 70% of the variety.

GrapeRadio is proud to present a look at the Cahors region, as rightly famous for its black truffles as it is for its Malbec, a wine that exemplifies the scent of black.

The Comté Experience

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Welcome to our video podcast: The Comté Experience – Video Shows #92-98.

If you like cheese, you’re probably familiar with Comté, the French semi-hard cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. The Montbeliard cow is the only breed of cattle whose milk is authorized for making Comté. Produced for hundreds of years, Comté is still traditionally made in more than 190 cheese dairies, known as the “fruitières” in the Jura region of eastern France. The Jura plateau of the Franche-Comté is the most mountainous (and coldest) region of France, stretching from the eastern edge of Burgundy, through the foothills of the French Alps and to the border with Switzerland.

It is the first French AOC (label of origin) cheese, guaranteeing the quality of the cheese. Each 40 kilo (about 88 lb.) wheel of Comté is made from the milk of many different small farms from within 15 miles distance only. The milk is collected at a fruitière, where it is transformed into cheese under strictly controlled conditions. After its fabrication, the huge wheels of cheese are transferred to a limited number of cellars spread across the region, where they will age anywhere from 4 – 18 months. Comté is the most popular AOC cheese in France, and it is said that there are more than 83 distinct flavors in Comté, including apricot, chocolate, butter, cream, and grilled bread. Some cheeses also have strong hazelnut flavors, while others have subtle hints of nutmeg. The taste is variable depending on the age and the season of the milk. It’s typically described as salty, mild, and fruity. Jura wines make a classic pairing for Comté, as well as Rieslings, Muscats, Gewürztraminers, and many of the softer red Bordeaux blends. Wine pairings? Dry whites and lighter reds seem to work beautifully with Comté.

Join us for a look this fascinating process. We’ll learn some of the history of this region, and what makes this part of France special, but more importantly, how all of this translates to the Comté cheese itself.

Part 1 – Milk – Video 92

Part 2 – Cheesemaking – Video 93

Part 3 – Aging – Video 94

Part 4 – Cutting/Storing – Video 95

Part 5 Tasting – Video 96

Part 6 – Wine Pairing – Video 97

Part 7 – Comté Fondue – Video 98

The Culture of Food and Wine

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Ever wonder what food and wine experiences are like in other countries? How about culinary traditions in other countries? Well, Summer Whitford (aka, the Food and Wine Diva) has written a book detailing several country’s cultural traditions and culinary customs in “Join Us at The Embassy.” Summer brings her experience as a professional chef, cooking instructor, and wine educator to bear in giving us an inside look at each ambassador’s personal entertaining style, formal and informal embassy parties, as well as important holidays, festivals, and significant customs that are unique to each country.

Join us as we talk with Summer Whitford, the Food and Wine Diva, about her experiences traveling the globe, and sampling food and wine along the way.

Sponsor: Hearts Delight Wine Auction: www.heartsdelightwineauction.org

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Show #279
(35:15 min 26MB)

The 2010 World of Pinot Noir

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Welcome to our video podcast: The 2010 World of Pinot Noir – Video Show #90.

Join us at the 2010 World of Pinot Noir in beautiful Shell Beach, CA as we ask the really, really, really hard pinot noir questions that must be answered!

– Why is Pinot Noir a good wine for Newbies?
– It is said that Pinot Noir Wears many different clothes, how do you like t dressed?
– What type of music reminds you of Pinot Noir?
– Why is it said that Pinot Noir is a white wine masquerading as a red wine?
– What is a “Burgundian-Style” Pinot Noir?

Tickets are now available for the 2011 World of Pinot Noir. Sign up at: www.worldofpinotnoir.com

Sponsor: Hearts Delight Wine Tasting Auction: www.heartsdelightwineauction.org

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Wine Chat with GrapeRadio

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With 2010 drawing to a close, the GrapeRadio bunch thought it might be interesting to have a little round-table discussion about issues that have occurred to us during the past year. Right out of the gate, we wondered what people do for wines at Thanksgiving. Do you cater to your guests, or do you pour what you yourself prefer to drink? And, what about “special” bottles – do they have a place at your table? Then of course, there is the usual discussion of merit, once the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines list is released.

Join us, as we cover the high and low points of being on the Spectator 100 list, and examine each others preferences for wines to serve to guests.

Sponsor: Porter Family Vineyards – Napa Valley: www.porterfamilyvineyards.com

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Show #278
(40:11 min 28MB)

We’ve Come a Long Way Baby – Past, Present, and Future – The Wines of South Africa

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The first seminar from the 2010 Hospice du Rhône, was an introduction to all that has been happening lately with Syrah in South Africa. Appropriately titled, “We’ve Come a Long Way Baby”, the seminar did indeed give us a glimpse of how things used to be, and what they have become.

Photo above – (Andrea Mullineux, James Molesworth, Davis Trafford, Marc Kent, Eben Sadie, and Chris Mullineux)

Moderated by Wine Spectator Senior Editor James Molesworth, panelists described South Africa’s long history with wine, beginning with the Dutch settlers in the 19 Century. Unfortunately, the more recent history of South African wine is irrevocably tied to the period know as apartheid, a system of legal racial segration that lasted nearly a half-century, drawing the world’s ire, and saddling the country with sanctions and trade embargoes from other nations. When apartheid finally ended in 1994, South African wineries had hoped to make up for lost time. However, the quality was spotty and its wines were not well received. Yet, it was this same public dislike that ultimately pushed the wineries to improve quality. The most surprising discovery from this seminar was that Syrah is merely 10% of the country’s wine production!

Join us, as we hear from some of South Africa’s brightest winemakers, and hear about the current crop of wines coming ‘Out of Africa.’

For More Info: Hospice du Rhone (HdR): www.hospicedurhone.org

Sponsor: Porter Family Vineyards – Napa Valley: www.porterfamilyvineyards.com

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Show #277
(59:51 min 39MB)

20 Years of Williams Selyem – Part 2

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As most people know, Burt and Ed sold the winery to John and Kathe Dyson in 1998, and Bob Cabral became new winemaker with the impossible task of replacing a legend in the wine world. Bob has strived to continue the tradition of excellence in crafting Williams Selyem wines, thus making the idea of a second “Bob Years” 10-year retrospective even more intriguing.

Join us for Part 2 as we hear from winemaker Bob Cabral about his trial by fire.

For More Info: World of Pinot Noir: www.worldofpinotnoir.com

Sponsor: Porter Family Vineyards – Napa Valley: www.porterfamilyvineyards.com

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Show #276
(48:33 min 34MB)

20 Years of Williams Selyem – Part 1

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In March of 2010, the World of Pinot Noir was celebrating its Tenth Anniversary. Something special ought to be done, the organizers thought. How about making one of the seminars a ten-year retrospective tasting from a well-known winery? Yes, that would be something special. However, when the retrospective covers ten years of Pinot Noirs from Williams Selyem, well it probably doesn’t get any better or more interesting than that. And of course, this is only Part 1 – Part 2 will cover the most recent 10 years next week.

From its humble beginnings in 1981, Burt Williams and Ed Selyem took their little garage project wine, originally named Hacienda Del Rio, to awards, kudos, and critical accolades. The wines were mostly sold via mailing list, but the wine’s reputation and scarcity only added to its allure, and ultimately, the wines became so popular that they started a waiting list to get on the mailing list.

Join us for Part 1 as we hear about the “Bert Years” from Williams Selyem’s current winemaker Bob Cabral and restaurateur Michael Jordan. A story that has become a legend in the world of pinot noir.

For More Info: World of Pinot Noir: www.worldofpinotnoir.com

Sponsor: Porter Family Vineyards – Napa Valley: www.porterfamilyvineyards.com

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Show #275
(1:06:37 min 48MB)

The Wines of C.P. Lin – Mountford Estate (New Zealand)

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Today show features the world’s only blind winemaker, C.P. Lin, of Mountford Estate in New Zealand

Taiwan-born C.P. Lin was a brilliant mathematics student at University of Canterbury who became captivated by wine through participation in a social wine club on campus. He realized early on that he had an extremely well-developed sense of smell. Lin was blinded by retinoblastoma (carcinoma of the retina) in both eyes at the age of three but was not deterred into becoming a winemaker. He attended enology and viticulture classes at Lincoln University but could not graduate because his disability prevented him from completing the practical lab work required for a degree. Nevertheless, he went on to work successfully in the wine industry and has brought Mountford Estate in Waipara to international prominence. The wines of Mountford Estate have become a cult wine, with only 2,000 cases produced of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Our in-studio interview with Lin, who visited the states recently, covers a wide range of wine and winemaking topics and is truly one of the most fascinating programs we have ever presented.

Sponsor: Porter Family Vineyards – Napa Valley: www.porterfamilyvineyards.com

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Show #274
(1:03:04 min 45MB)

Tasting 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir

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The 2008 vintage for Oregon Pinot Noir may be the greatest this decade and some have claimed it the best vintage in Oregon’s modern winegrowing history. I know you have heard this type of vintage hype many times before, but 2008 is the bomb in Oregon! The wines possess perfect balance with moderate alcohols and acidity harmonizing with ripe tannins and bright fruit. They are generally restrained at present, will need another few years in bottle to really shine, and many will easily last 15 years.

Join the Grape Radio crew as they taste 5 top 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs: Willamette Valleys Vineyards Estate, Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards Estate, Lenne Estate Estate, Shea Wine Cellars Estate, and Privé Vineyard le sud Estate.

The program includes 16 questions on Oregon Pinot Noir. Test your Noiregon IQ!

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies: Mailing, Telemaketing, and Email List: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #273
(55:21 min 39MB)

Wine, the Web, and Jancis Robinson

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Jancis Robinson has been writing about wine since 1975, authoring some of the world’s most respected books on the subject. She is a wine correspondent of the London Financial Times, and the first non-trade Master of Wine as well an OBE. She considers herself a contemporary of Robert Parker, as well as the author of several books – most notably a massive tome called The Oxford Companion to Wine – as well as several television shows and other broadcast media, Jancis is considered to be the one of the most (if not the most) prolific wine writers on the planet.

Join us as we talk with Jancis about wine, her career, her colleagues, and her huge impact on a generation and a half of wine consumers. We’ll discuss several of today’s hot button issues, and maybe tilt at a windmill or two in the process.

For more information on Jancis Robinson: www.jancisrobinson.com

Sponsor: VinAssure, Wine Preservation System: www.vinassure.com

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Show #272
(43:51 min 31MB)


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GrapeRadio is a wine talk show. Show topics cover issues such as the enjoyment of wine, wine news and industry trends - the hallmark of the show is interviews with world class guest (winemakers, vineyards owners, wine retail / wholesale leaders, restaurateurs and sommeliers). The scope of the show is international so expect to hear many guests from around the world.

GrapeRadio has received numerous awards and honors including the 2008 James Beard Award for excellence in Journalism.

GrapeRadio has been the subject of numerous news reports by: The New York Times, Business Week, CNN, The Financial Times of London, and Wired Magazine.