Grape Minds

Wednesday, February 21

A podcast that looks beyond the glass to the stories of winemaking, culture, and the history of the world’s most intriguing beverage. Hosts Julie Glenn and Gina Birch interview winemakers, talk with importers, and dig into the issues and nuances of wine in the modern world while always keeping it down to earth.  

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Etude Winemaker talks Pinot, Tall Bottles, and sell-out Rosé. The charming and effervescent winemaker behind Carneros powerhouse Etude, Jon Priest, stopped by the studio for this week’s Grape Minds. We talk about the long, tall Pinot Gris bottle (the Galliano of the wine shelf), the beguiling Pinot Noir grape, and a Santa Barbara County foray into by-the-glass tier wines. 


Allowing a wine to age can be a tricky business.  Guessing the exact best moment when wine is at its peak of integrated tannin, fruit and acidity is about as easy as catching a unicorn. But there are some loose guidelines out there to help those with the patience to actually age wine.  We’ll go over the aging windows for red and whites.  As for what’s happening inside the bottle when wine is aging? Well, we can share what little we were able to glean without getting a degree in chemistry.

In this podcast Gina and Julie set out to decipher one of the more challenging labels on the shelf- the Italian wine label. With fifteen different regions and 73 DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) regions, there is much to get confused about. We don’t get to every one of the Italian wine regions- but we do break down a couple of the more famous ones, along with general guidelines that apply throughout the boot.


Grape Minds is produced at WGCU studios in Southwest Florida, which is one of the most active wine markets in the United States. Because of that, we have an almost endless parade of winemakers, importers, sommeliers, and wine journalists coming through town. In this episode of Grape Minds, we get to talk with Juelle Fisher of Fisher Vineyards. She talks about the unique business of selling wine, the changes she’s seen since planting (and replanting) vines in the Mayacamas Mountains in the early 1970’s, and tells her harrowing tale of how last year’s wildfires threatened her family and her property.

Graphic by Michael Donlan

Sometimes, it feels like discovering new wines takes a degree in geography, knowledge of 20 languages and possibly psychic abilities, but really all you need to do is figure out how to read a wine label. Wines from the new world (the Americas, Australia, places that are not Europe) tend to have easier-to-understand labels since they have the variety of grape listed on them, but even that doesn’t always mean a Cabernet Sauvignon is 100 percent Cab. On this week’s Grape Minds, Gina and Julie break down the differences country to country and state to state as to what means what on your wine label.