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Wine Enthusiast Podcast: Drink Resolutions for the New Year

With the new year here, so are resolutions to make the most of the 12 months ahead. Sure, there are many classic goals to try and achieve a better version of you, but today, we’re talking resolutions for what you pour, sip and enjoy in your glass.

There are countless ways to try and drink more adventurously in the year to come, including popping open precious bottles now; exploring new drink categories or emerging regions, varieties and styles; or learning more about the products you love and the people who make them.

In this episode, we take a fresh look at what lies ahead, specifically for our glasses.

Managing Editor Lauren Buzzeo talks with Tasting Director Alexander Peartree and Beer Editor John Holl about how we plan to drink better and broader in the year to come. Wine, beer, cider, spirit, seltzer or just about anything else—we have a lot of ideas about how we can make the year ahead more delicious than the last.

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Episode Transcript

Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting.

Speakers: Lauren Buzzeo, Alexander Peartree, John Holl

Lauren Buzzeo 0:08
Hello, and welcome to the Wine Enthusiast Podcast, your serving of drinks culture and the people who drive it. I’m Lauren Buzzeo, the managing editor at Wine Enthusiast, and in this episode, we’re riding that welcome 2022 wave and taking a fresh look to what lies ahead, specifically for our glasses. With the new year here so are resolutions to make the most of the 12 months ahead. From exploring new drink categories to emerging regions, varieties or styles, I have a candid and lively chat with Tasting Director Alexander Peartree and Beer Editor John Holl about how we plan to drink better and broader in the year to come. So grab a glass of your favorite wine, beer, cider, spirit, seltzer or anything else that pleases your palate, and listen to what we have in store for a delicious 2022.

Okay, so here we are, fresh into a new year. Let’s just kick this off, get it off our chest right off the bat. Happy New Year to everybody out there. And to the two people joining me today, tasting director Alexander Peartree, beer editor John Holl. Happy New Year, guys.

Alex Peartree 1:20
Hey, Happy New Year.

John Holl 1:21
Happy New Year. Refreshed, ready to taste, ready to talk. Yeah, it’s gonna be a good year.

Lauren Buzzeo 1:33
I really hope so. I hope so. I think we’re all hoping for a better New Year. That’s always the goal, right? A better New Year than the one that just passed. And certainly along those lines for us as it pertains to what we do and what we love. It’s always taking a look at our drinking habits and our consumption habits. And just sort of taking a step back or, you know, a top view at where you’re currently at, what’s going on, what can we be doing better? What resolutions can we make to make the most of the 12 months that lie ahead in terms of what we’re pouring in our glass? So that’s why we’re here. Today we’re going to talk about drinks resolutions for 2022. Again to make the most of the year. So what do you guys think? You ready?

John Holl 2:20

Alex Peartree 2:20

Lauren Buzzeo 2:23
All right, I’ll kick it off. I’ll kick it off and admit that I have a little bit of a problem. I love Chenin Blanc, like, with all of my heart. But I have to admit that I do know that I am obsessed with Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Rightfully so. They are amazing. There’s so much depth, complexity, versatility, beautiful people, beautiful place. I love South African Chenin Blanc. But I have to admit that I feel like maybe I need to give the grape a little bit more due beyond my love for South Africa. So my first wine resolution this year is to, of course, continue to support South African Chenin Blanc with all of my being and all of my mind. But I’m going to venture to expand a little bit more outside of my comfort zone and my wheelhouse in terms of my Chenin repertoire, and branch out to purchase some more selections from other Chenin producing countries or regions. And I’m thinking both major, so absolutely the Loire and doing a deeper dive there. But also I want to see what’s going on in the more, I guess, emerging areas for Chenin. I’m thinking about the Milton bottling from New Zealand. I know there’s a lot of great but really small production Chenin Blanc coming out of Washington, and some of the old vines that still remain there. So I’m really going to try to hone in and do my best to still support South Africa but drink a little bit more broadly for Chenin.

Alex Peartree 4:03
I mean, my resolution is actually quite similar to that, about drinking beyond what you normally drink, because I tend to gravitate towards wines that really fit my profile of like high acid, very focused. And the wines that I cover for the magazine in Italy and New York actually fit within that profile. And I find that I just drink those all the time. And it’s really easy, honestly, to, if you’re going to pick one country to just focus on wine, Italy is probably the best one.

Lauren Buzzeo 4:41
Highly agree.

Alex Peartree 4:42
It has everything you would ever want, from bubbly to really easy white wine to a little bit more racy white wine to full-bodied redes to elegant reds. It’s got everything.

Lauren Buzzeo 4:54
To dessert wines, passitos… Yeah, lots of beautiful wines in Italy. Yep, sorry, keep going.

Alex Peartree 4:55
I know you love Italy too.

Lauren Buzzeo 5:06
I don’t think they have much Chenin, but I love Italy.

John Holl 5:10
Can I just say very quickly how much I enjoy listening to wine writers talk about wine, especially with the descriptive terms that you’re using, including racy and elegant, just came out of Alex’s mouth. And I’m thinking to myself, “Okay, what are some beers that I could apply those same words to?” And it’s so fascinating how the vocabulary has really evolved over the years and using just one word to really capture a specific wine or a specific style of wine is really an art and I think helps people in a broad way.

Alex Peartree 5:49
Absolutely. Yeah. No, I like that little tangent. But anyway, going beyond Italy, my goal for this year is actually to go beyond Italy. I do drink wines from France, from the US, from South Africa, every once in a while, but I really want to dig into it a little bit more, and have the same comfort level that I do in Italy. I mean, that could mean just like spending a month just drinking the wines of Rhone and enjoying what they have there, from the Syrahs and northern Rhone to the blends in southern or diving deep into what they have out in Napa/Sonoma, which I do drink from time to time, but I could certainly do a little bit more. What about you, Lauren, do you think you could do something similar?

Lauren Buzzeo 6:42
I totally could. But I also love this idea of assigning a month to a specific goal. And and really diving into that goal, that category, that region, that variety, whatever it is. It’s almost like having like a dream journal, you know, to tackle. Like, one month you’re gonna do Napa/Sonoma, one month you’re gonna do the Rhone, the northern Rhone the southern Rhone. I love that idea. It’s just smart way to tackle it in bite-sized, digestible ways. And, John, I love what you were saying about the verbiage, the words, the descriptors that we use, but I have to admit that you probably use a lot of that when you’re talking about beer categories, no? I mean, I know there are some that are so, you know, wildly varying, more like catch-all categories, say for instance like American Wild Ale, right? You’ll still have some similar characteristics even in that, but I digress. I’m sure that there are standard sort of categories that you can assign those types of common descriptors to, and probably even, you know, fall into the camp that we’re talking about where you get very comfortable with certain styles and you just sort of fall into that familiar rut, right?

John Holl 7:55
Yeah, and there are a lot of great descriptors that we can use to describe beer, but talking about emotion or talking about feeling is something that is coming to beer now. But I think a lot of times people are still caught up in what are the raw ingredients putting forth in a recipe? So, you know, people will talk about hoppy and then sort of dial it into well, what kind of hoppy? Is it pine or grapefruitor tropical or etc? And, you know, same thing with malt? Is it roasty? Is it cereal? Is it smoked? Is it whatever? I think the next level down as we drill in would start to be, well, what are, you know, the emotions that could come from this? What’s a good way of getting there? But, you know, beer, especially in the modern sense, is still 40 years old or there-abouts here in the US, in the craft sense. And there’s still a lot of education that needs to happen. And so there’s still the building blocks that are going out to the consumers right now of, you know, talking about flavor first to get people interested, like, “Oh, you like coffee in the morning? Cool. You might actually like this porter at the end of the night, because it has espresso notes to it.” Or, you know, whatever, to sort of build those blocks that way. But as beer continues to mature I think subscribing some of those emotional words to various beers or various styles is going to be helpful and just sort of a natural evolution.

Lauren Buzzeo 9:30
Sure. I mean, I think that that totally makes sense talking from a wine perspective, too. You know, it’s like when we’re asked, “What’s your favorite wine? Or what’s your favorite beer?” Often, it’s not really an easy thing to answer because it’s never really just about—unless it’s Chenin Blanc. No, because it’s never about just one variety, one region, one beer style. There’s so much more attached to why we love these drinks and who we share them with, where we enjoy them, the atmosphere around it, the memories that we make while we’re enjoying these beverages. So I think that there is an innate emotional attachment to all of these drinks, no matter what they are that we’re enjoying.

John Holl 10:17
Yeah. And I get that question quite a bit, “Oh, what’s your favorite beer?” And I can never answer it in a in a meaningful way that will make somebody happy in a 30 second answer. And I feel bad about that because, you know, we’re very fortunate to be in these jobs and to be able to taste all that we do and know the producers and to really sort of dive deep into it. And I think people want an easy answer of, you know, if I say my favorite beer is X, and then they can go out and find it, then they’re going to feel good about it. It’s still so personal. And it is these situational things. It’s where you are. It’s, you know, do you have a comfortable chair at home where something just tastes better? Especially with all the time we’re spending at home these days. A glass of wine or a glass of beer is going to taste different if you’re standing in the middle of your kitchen while you’re cooking, or just scrolling your phone at the end of the night or whatever, versus being in a comfortable setting where your body is relaxed and your mind can wander a little bit. It’s so situational when it comes to drinks.

Lauren Buzzeo 11:25

Alex Peartree 11:26
I totally agree with that. And I think the best answer is it’s like whatever is in your glass is like the person’s favorite wine, beer, cider, whatever. It’s however you want to experience that beverage and what you personally get out of it. Because, you know, I could say I love this specific Barolo producer and I can tell you why. But maybe that’s not your personal preference. So it doesn’t really mean that you’re really going to enjoy it as much as I do.

Lauren Buzzeo 12:01
Right. So I think the best resolution that we’re sort of getting at here is to be almost totally unapologetic about your personal preferences and the emotional attachments that you that you carry with them and have no shame in enjoying that.

John Holl 12:19
Yeah, my good friend Augie Carton likes to say, “Don’t yuck somebody else’s yum.” And that is one of those things that I’ve really tried hard to—you know, there’s a lot of beers that I’ll taste that just don’t land on my palate the right way and I can try to find merit in them—and I usually do. But that doesn’t mean that I need to commit to a full six-pack of it. You know, I’ve had that experience and now I’m gonna go find something that speaks to me in a different way. There’s so much choice out there these days, and there’s so much variety. In the same way that people think about what they order at restaurants, or what kind of coffee being they enjoy in the morning or what kind of tea they like in the evening. The same thing is true, it’s trial and error. Find something that speaks to you and don’t worry about what everybody else is doing. What does Bluey’s mom say? “Run your own race.”

Lauren Buzzeo 13:15
Right? I love that. And I have to admit, I say don’t yuck someone else’s yum to my son all the time. It’s such a great line. But you know, I’m also thinking, John, about your book, “Drink Beer, Think Beer,” because there’s a lot of this sort of situational enjoyment and the attachment that we put on consumption that you include in that. So if you haven’t read it, go pick it up. It’s excellent. But I think also another element of kind of what we’re talking about here, beyond being unapologetic about your emotional response to the situation where you’re enjoying a glass of whatever it may be. But there’s also an element of being open to taking a deep dive into a bottle and really making an effort to learn more about why you like something beyond “it tastes really good,” “I enjoyed the company,” because there’s so many different factors for consumers to consider in terms of where they’re putting their purchasing power, whether it’s understanding more about the region, the terroir. And that goes for beer also, right? You can get some hop terroir, certainly in spirits and where grains are grown, different production techniques, obviously, styles, varieties, backgrounds about the producers, what they believe in, what their winemaking or production ethos is. There’s just so much more that really could actually lend more enjoyment if not done in an overly obsessive way I suppose. So maybe not any of us, but can really give more insight as to why you’re actually enjoying and what you might be enjoying the most out of that sip.

John Holl 14:54
And that’s the cool thing that I’ve really enjoyed about beer is being able to vote with my dollars. If I get to visit a brewery and I get to know the owners—and this is, I should point out, not something that is specific to my job. You can walk into a brewery these days and meet the producers, you can meet the brewers, you can meet the owners. They’re usually there, because most of them are very small businesses. And you get to know folks, especially if they’re local to you. You can feel good not only, you know, by drinking a beer that’s made where you live and seeing the equipment and knowing the people, but knowing that your dollars are helping fund a small business as well, which kind of feeds the soul on a different level. I know we’re talking about ingredients, but there’s also some of these—I’m losing my words at this point—but there’s some of these intangibles that exist with supporting local businesses and supporting small breweries, aside from just a liquid in the glass, and the same thing is true with wineries as well.

Alex Peartree 15:51
Absolutely, yeah. And I think especially nowadays, with the amazing variety and availability of nearly every wine that we have. On the other hand, it’s so easy to go on autopilot and just constantly buy that same wine over and over and over again, because you know you like it. But I think just taking that extra step and going beyond what you normally drink. Instead of getting a Cab from, I don’t know, Washington, you get a Cab from South Africa, you try that out. You try to sense what might be different between the two, maybe it’s ripeness levels, maybe it’s winemaking styles, could be a number of things. But then you sort of have this conversation in your brain about why they’re different. And it’s not so much about whether or not you like the one more than the other, but at least you’re having that conversation to really understand what makes wine different.

Lauren Buzzeo 16:59
Right. And I feel like that’s a little bit of a silver lining for, you know, the situation we’ve been in for the past. I don’t even know how long it’s been now—18 months, 24 months? I don’t know.

John Holl 17:10
We’re coming up on 24 months.

Lauren Buzzeo 17:13
Too long. But I was going to say a silver lining to that is that there’s so much more information and access points from producers that’s far more accessible, far more available to eager consumers than ever before. Talking about, you know, virtual events and tastings, talking about vineyard tours without actually going to the estate, winemaker tastings remotely, groups and social gatherings on social media. There’s just so many new and exciting ways to get involved and to and to learn more and to talk to people about wine and engage without actually being face to face with people that I think that that’s a positive and giving people a lot more, again, touch points to sort of enter and get that information if they’re interested, however they choose, whenever they choose.

John Holl 18:07
Can I go back to something that Alex said, though, that I’m really interested in? It sort of dovetails into what you just brought up, Lauren is, you know, not just buying the same bottle, not just going for the same bottle over and over again, but sort of breaking out of the comfort zone. In the beginning of the pandemic, at least on the beer side of things—and, Lauren, you wrote a great piece in the magazine about this. Don’t wait to open up that special bottle. Don’t wait to go into the cellar to have this beer or have this wine. Drink what you want tonight, there may not be tomorrow. You weren’t quite that fatalistic, but it’s true. When I’m not tasting professionally, when I’m not out doing, you know, the job, I’m still having beer at home, and there are certain things that I will flock to regularly, there’s certain beers that I’ll always have in my fridge. But I’ve gotten in the habit of, maybe on a Saturday night, doing something different. Opening up one special bottle or something that, you know, has just been around for a little bit where it’s like, I don’t know what I’m going to get to it. And I sort of commit to it, because I have a little bit of time to go along with it. And I think that that makes us more informed drinkers. I think it helps inform our education a little bit more. And also just gets our brain working and in a different way. So that’s one of the the resolutions that I have as well this year is to sort of keep that going, of don’t wait for the right moment and try not to get stuck in a—rut’s not the right word, but don’t get stuck in familiar patterns. Because when you go back to what’s familiar, and what you’re regularly used to, if you’ve tried other things that it might open up some new avenues of thought and might open up some new flavor thoughts for you, so that’s a good thing too.

Alex Peartree 20:01
I love the word “flavor thought.” That is also my resolution as well, which it was spurred from your article, Lauren. So you are just leading.

John Holl 20:17
It’s a piece of journalism that still—I hope you link to it in the show notes, Lauren, because I’d really love for people to read this again, if they haven’t already, and it’s obviously up on the Wine Enthusiast website. But it was apt then and it continues to be here in 2022.

Lauren Buzzeo 20:38
Oh, well, thank you both so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece.

John Holl 20:42
Oh, Lauren, signer of our checks—

Lauren Buzzeo 20:46
Hardly. But no, I love that it resonated with you guys. And hopefully, you know, it resonated with more people. Because honestly, this is this is on my New Year’s wine resolution list year after year after year. And I always have to remind myself of it, no matter how many times I get in a good pattern. And John, I love hearing that you have this system that you’ve been doing on the weekends and definitely hope that you keep that up. But I definitely fall into personal patterns of periods where I am all about it. And I’m like, “Yep, what am I waiting for? Pop it now, I’m worth it.” And then I get back into that slight hoarding mentality of like, “Well, I don’t know, maybe I should save it.” So I personally, I constantly need the reminder. And it’s again, absolutely on my list year over year over a year. Just enjoy it, stop hoarding, stop holding on to them for “what ifs” and “maybes” and “one days.” Today is good enough, like every day should be good enough for you to treat yourself to something that you’ve been holding on to that someone special gave to you, whatever it is, just enjoy it. Like Life’s too short.

John Holl 22:00
I do miss the conversations, though, that come with bottle shares. With opening up something with folks that are not doing what we do, or in the beer space or whatever. I do miss the conversations of going into the cellar, finding a couple of things, putting them out on the table, and people just sort of talking about their own impressions of it. Because I’m usually just left alone with my own thoughts, which is troubling enough and fun maybe in its own way. But I do miss the conversations, and we’ll get back into that I’m sure again in the future. But in the meantime, I think that’s been the hardest part about opening up some of these bottles is wishing that I had company to do it with. But then [I’m] learning more about my own palate and learning more about you really having fewer distractions when when trying stuff as well.

Lauren Buzzeo 22:51
Yeah, that’s a really good point about the company and talking. I mean, I definitely miss blind tasting with people, whether it’s at an event or even in the office with some of the other editors or you know, with you, John, whether it’s for a podcast episode or not, in black glasses. It’s fun, it’s engaging. It definitely sparks a different part of your brain than just an open bottle tasting or more casual consumption or, you know, even doing that with your family. You know, I don’t know about your family but…

John Holl 23:26
Every time that I open up something new half of the family runs out of the room with, “I don’t want to hear what John has to say. We’re supposed to be decorating the tree. We’re not talking about Imperial stouts.”

Lauren Buzzeo 23:37
I think I saw a meme about that the other day. You might have posted it.

John Holl 23:41
Yeah, I saw the same thing. Yeah, nothing turns your family off faster than the sound of opening up a beer and walking towards somebody with a taster glass. My dad remains very patient but everybody else is like okay.

Lauren Buzzeo 23:57
I drive my family nuts on Thanksgiving opening up bottles. They’ll like go to pour a glass and I’m like, “No, no, no, there’s like 14 bottles, just do a taste. You have to taste everything.”

John Holl 24:09
Now have some of the stuffing. Pretty soon Thanksgiving it’s just gonna be the three of us driving each other crazy.

Alex Peartree 24:19
I mean, I think that’s where we could like have a evening last forever with us just doing that to each other.

John Holl 24:25
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Lauren Buzzeo 24:27
Oh my god. And I would love nothing more than that, by the way.

John Holl 24:31
Fresh water and Advil and we’re all set.

Lauren Buzzeo 24:34
Exactly. But I think, actually, the reason that I’d love that is because I think all of us also bring very different sort of personalities and perspectives and experiences in terms of drinks and what we what we gravitate towards, what our again, our professional experience has been mostly based in. Whether that’s wine, John, obviously beer in your case, a little bit of both in mine. Certainly spirits for all of us. But there’s there’s just so much to the drinks worlds and we all love it, that meaning the three of us, we all love exploring other spaces, but we know that there’s so much more for us to dive into. So definitely one of my resolutions for the year ahead is to try to immerse myself more in other drinks spaces. Certainly, you know, since John’s taken over beer I’ve fallen off on on my current goings on in that so I could be doing much, much better perusing the beer aisles and keeping up on trends in the latest. But again, going beyond into other categories, hard seltzer is like bananas. There’s others emerging, like the no-alc space.

John Holl 25:44
Sorry, banana hard seltzers? Is that it?

Lauren Buzzeo 25:46
No! Maybe, I don’t know.

Now the alcohol fairy is out there making your nightmare reality?

I mean, I don’t know I would avoid that one. But maybe if it was an infused beverage, a cannabis drink, I might try it because I got to admit, I’m getting into that space. You know, a very interesting, and an emerging, exciting category for me. So I definitely plan to be focusing a little bit more where I can and where legally on that front. What about you guys? What do you think about what’s going on with all these different options for drinks lovers?

Alex Peartree 26:25
I mean, for me, I think both of you know, I love cider, which always kind of kind of sits in the background. It’s not really everyone’s cup of tea, unfortunately. But for me, I think there’s so much to explore in the cider world. And it always focuses on these smaller, more niche offerings, unfortunately, that are kind of hard to get your hands on, but I think they’re well worth it when you do. And the one category that I actually do is a very rare resolution for me is exploring single variety ciders, so cider is made from one apple. I think it’s a really interesting segment of the industry that will help ease a lot of consumers issues with actually understanding cider, because then they can start to, I don’t know, associate certain sites or names like Kingston Black, might become more—they’ll be like, oh, Kingston—this is a like apples to apples… Haha, apples to Apples.

John Holl 27:38
Alright, you get one.

Alex Peartree 27:41
This isn’t a great comparison, but maybe they could be like, oh Kingston Black is like Chardonnay. So they have that sort of grasp of what specific varieties of cider apples mean.

Lauren Buzzeo 27:53
Is that common, Alex, for like the single apple variety?

Alex Peartree 27:57
It’s not super common. It is getting more common because I think producers are realizing that it’s pretty hard for consumers to grasp what cider is, how it’s made, and what goes into it. Everyone knows about grocery store apples, but the best ciders aren’t made from those. So you’re gonna be dealing with weird apple names like Newtown Pippin, Jersey.

John Holl 28:28
There’s nothing weird about Jersey, by the way.

Alex Peartree 28:30
No, I know. You and I live in Jersey.

John Holl 28:34
Sorry, my hackles immediately got up where it’s like, “Alright, you’re gonna come after my state. Here we go.”

Lauren Buzzeo 28:39
I’m gonna abstain here.

Alex Peartree 28:43
But there’s so much confusion around what goes into good cider. That I think producers are now like, Okay, we need to focus on specific varieties that make a really good cohesive cider. And that way, it’s a little bit easier for consumers to actually grasp what’s going into the bottle.

Lauren Buzzeo 29:03
Because they can sort of have, like, more defining categorical characteristics made out of that apple.

Alex Peartree 29:10

John Holl 29:11
I often wonder, though, and because this has happened in beer, and in a lot of the other beverages as well. So if you say, “Okay, if you enjoy Chardonnay, you might like a cider that’s made from Kingston Black.” But it’s not, as you said, an apples to apples thing. And I wonder then if somebody goes in before they have their first sip, and they say, “Okay, here’s my Kingston Black cider—Chardonnay, Chardonnay, Chardonnay. Chardonnay,” takes a sip [and] it doesn’t connect in that same way, if that then puts the game back a little bit.

Alex Peartree 29:42
Well, I meant more so in like, where people have the same understanding of, you know, everyone knows Chardonnay. Everyone knows what to expect from that. But when you have that presence, have that mentality of drinking a lot of Kingston Black ciders, then you kind of understand what you might be getting into when you come across one you haven’t had before.

John Holl 30:07
Okay, I’m sorry, I misunderstood then. Yes.

Alex Peartree 30:10
But I just did not explain it well.

John Holl 30:11
No, no, no. But with all of these new emerging categories, and Lauren mentioned cannabis, there’s a basic level of education that has to happen for each new category, or each new style of drinks that comes up there. And I think that that can become overwhelming—it’s overwhelming for me. And it’s not easy to explain any of the beverages that we cover that we drink in one or two sentences. And with so much choice out there these days, you know, cider isn’t getting the attention that it deserves. But you know, neither is the cannabis drinks right now, or neither is on the detailed level to make somebody a more informed consumer. Does that make sense? I don’t know if I’m articulating this the right way. But I’m sort of worried about all of the drinks that are out there these days, and we all not being able to focus in on what can make them special.

Lauren Buzzeo 31:11
Yeah, no, I hear you, John. And I think that that’s probably why it’s a resolution of mine to try to drink more broadly across other categories. But I definitely hear you on, even you know, from our perspective, the kind of intimidation, the overwhelming factor of, my God, there’s just so much. Like, where do you start? How do you really dive in? How do you save space for what might be your first love or your first passion while you’re still exploring the other space? Not to mention money to buy all of these things.

John Holl 31:46

Lauren Buzzeo 31:46
It’s by no stretch of the imagination an easy endeavor, but I guess it’s the excitement and the possibility that fuels me. I don’t think they’re all going to be winners. And I don’t think I’m going to love everything that I try beyond, you know, maybe my first love of wine. But it’s something new and something exciting. I don’t need just new, but I think the idea of something new to add to that favorite repertoire is thrilling to me.

John Holl 32:16
It’s gonna be interesting to see how the cannabis beverage makers approach how they roll out to consumers, because I think people know about marijuana, they know about THC in broad strokes. Not everybody has partook of, you know, the various forms of it in the past, but if it’s now in a ready to drink beverage format, how do or how will those makers try to get across what they’re trying to put in your glass? And, cider has been around, I mean, it was the drink of the revolution of up until Prohibition here in the US. I mean, it was huge and important. And now it’s, I don’t know, number three, I guess, behind—or even four—behind wine, beer spirits, right?

Alex Peartree 33:10
It’s not up there, yeah.

John Holl 33:14
But I think a lot of that also has to do with lack of availability of the crop, but also lack of education and lack of makers. So as cannabis comes online, are they going to be able to drop down wine, beer, spirits, if they’re playing the long education game? Or the early education game? I don’t know.

Lauren Buzzeo 33:35
You’ve left me speechless, John. I don’t know. We’re falling down a hole here. I feel like this is a separate podcast episode I’d love to have with you. And maybe we bring on another guest because I—

John Holl 33:45
Well, the thing is, I don’t know enough about it. If somebody put a cannabis beverage in front of me right now, I don’t know enough about, you know, the main ingredient to write anything that would be an informed decision, or an informed opinion outside of like, my own impressions. Right? You know, so I’m going to need somebody to sort of guide me saying like, “Well, what you’re looking for is this.”

Lauren Buzzeo 34:07
Well, I think for the cannabis space, John, and again, I think that this is a broader conversation—which I’m looking forward to diving into more in the year ahead—but I think as it pertains to cannabis drinks, the unique thing there is that it’s actually there’s a lot of potential within different subcategories of cannabis drinks. So, talking to you, I would say look at what Lagunitas is doing with Hi-Fi Hops. That is something that you would interpret and understand, probably, more intimately than, say, what I drank on New Year’s Day, which was trying The Herb Somm new launch from a prior somm Jamie Evans. It’s actually wine based. It’s a blend of either Rhone or Provence style grapes, red grapes, that’s infused. So that product would be speaking more to a wine-adjacent, wine-familiar audience. So and certainly there’s tons of seltzers, there’s tons of coffee, like there’s a really wide range of different entry points for different categories and people who, again, enjoy all different beverages. So I think they’re gonna have to cater to that audience that they’re speaking to first, rather than more broadly just those who might like cannabis.

Alex Peartree 35:29
Definitely, definitely.

John Holl 35:31

Alex Peartree 35:31
Do we have any more resolutions? So we have a resolution that Lauren’s gonna drink more cider.

Lauren Buzzeo 35:39
That’s not what I got out of this conversation.

Alex Peartree 35:41
I don’t know…

John Holl 35:43
Is there THC in cider?

Lauren Buzzeo 35:50
I mean, I would try it. That’s part of my resolution, man. Yeah, give me an infused cider. It’s going in my glass. I’ll give it a go. You know?

Alex Peartree 35:59
Alright, alright.

Lauren Buzzeo 36:02
Well, I think that we’ve got some good resolutions here. I think that basically we’re all for, you know, making the most out of the year ahead. Trying to taste broadly, taste new things, be exciting. But you know, don’t discount what we know and love, I guess, at the end of the day. So I will buy more different Chenin, but I will still love South Africa.

Alex Peartree 36:25
You’ll never not love South Africa, Lauren.

Lauren Buzzeo 36:30
Oh my god. Well, guys, I really appreciate your insights, the lively conversation. Here is to, hopefully, I guess one more resolution, us getting together and enjoying some of these new exciting or favorite products that we all love together in person real soon. Hopefully we’re getting there.

Alex Peartree 36:50

John Holl 36:51
Yeah, here’s hoping.

Lauren Buzzeo 36:52
All right, cheers, guys. Here’s to a delicious 2022.

John Holl 36:55
Alright, cheers to you both.

Alex Peartree 36:57

Lauren Buzzeo 37:00
Clearly, we have a lot of ideas and goals on how we can make the year ahead more delicious than the last. But no matter how long we last, or how far we take these resolutions, one thing’s for sure.—it’s going to be a fun ride. Subscribe to the Wine Enthusiast Podcast on iTunes, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you find podcasts. If you like today’s episode, we’d love to read your review and hear what you think. And hey, why not tell your wide loving friends to check us out too? You can also drop us a line at For more wine reviews, recipes guides, deep dives and stories, visit Wine Enthusiast online at and connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @Wine Enthusiast. The Wine Enthusiast Podcast is produced by Lauren Buzzeo and Jenny Groza. Until next episode, cheers.