Organic Wine Podcast
What Does “Organic” Mean?

What Does “Organic” Mean?

November 9, 2020

There is a lot of confusion about the term "organic." These misunderstandings lead a lot of people to be incorrectly dismissive or critical of “organic” foods and practices. 

This is a short episode to clear up these misunderstandings about "organic." Adam Huss, host and creator of the Organic Wine Podcast, discusses exactly what Organic does NOT mean, and what it actually does mean. 

Nadine Brown - American Wine, American Politics, and Making Connections

Nadine Brown - American Wine, American Politics, and Making Connections

November 2, 2020

Nadine Brown’s story is in many ways a classic American tale. Nadine is an immigrant. She came to the US to study and work, and when plans didn’t work out, she found herself applying for a job as a restaurant host in Washington DC. She had no previous restaurant experience and had every intention for it to be a temporary position. However, she fell in love with the hospitality industry. In restaurants she discovered her love of the energy and adrenaline of working the floor, and she discovered wine. It fascinated her and sparked her curiosity. Born in Jamaica, she grew up with coffee and rum and no exposure to wine, but once she found it she couldn’t let it go.

Through hard work, smarts, and determination – that good old American cliché - she learned, and trained, and worked her way up to become an award winning sommelier and wine director for Charlie Palmer Steakhouse – one of the premier restaurants for DC’s political and social elite. At Charlie Palmer she built a renowned cellar focused on American wines and served wine to people at the highest levels of politics, even a future president, all while meeting her husband in the kitchen and becoming the mother of two children. 

Now she is a proud board member of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan D.C. and the extremely well-named nonprofit the Veraison Project, which is dedicated to bringing more color to the wine industry through greater access to wine education, wine certifications, mentoring, and networking for people of color. She continues to be a mentor to many young professionals in the business, and she strives to encourage more women to join and stay in the industry.







Dr. Andrew Smith of the Rodale Institute -The Future Is Organic

Dr. Andrew Smith of the Rodale Institute -The Future Is Organic

October 28, 2020

Dr. Andrew Smith is the COO and Chief Scientist for the Rodale Institute. The Rodale Institute the non-profit that was the birthplace of the organic movement. It has been the global leader at the forefront of the science behind organic agriculture. The Institute has conducted decades-long comparative studies on the results between organic farming versus conventional farming.

The Rodale Institute has amassed, and continues to accumulate, the science-based data that can answer some of the biggest questions facing our world today. Questions like: What kind of agriculture is the most productive during droughts? What kind of agriculture sequesters more carbon? What kind of agriculture produces the most nutritious food? And, can we feed earths billions of inhabitants without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides? Bonus question: Can we use marijuana as a vineyard cover crop?

In this interview with Dr. Drew Smith you’ll come to realize that the work he is doing at the Rodale Institute is about more than just improving agriculture around the planet… it’s about human survival. And there is hope!


Sandra Taylor - Sustainability & The Business of Sustainable Wine

Sandra Taylor - Sustainability & The Business of Sustainable Wine

October 21, 2020

As a young US diplomat working in Switzerland, Sandra Taylor fell in love with wine while visiting the nearby Burgundy region of France.

Sandra is now CEO of Sustainable Business International, a consulting business that assists clients at various stages of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) practice, primarily in the food and beverage sector. Sandra has studied wine extensively for many years – she completed the French Wine Scholars course in 2010 and is a graduate of the Wine MBA program at The Bordeaux School of Management/Kedge Business School in France.  She is a public speaker on wine internationally, a columnist with Wine Review Online and a member of the Magnum Club, a global organization of women wine producers, sommeliers, writers and critics.

Sandra has been a senior executive with Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle, where she led global corporate responsibility and sustainability in coffee supply chain, and with Eastman Kodak Company where she oversaw global public affairs and corporate citizenship. She continues to speak and teach globally about sustainability in wine, and has literally written the book about sustainability in the wine business… it’s called: The Business of Sustainable Wine (2017) – and, like Sandra, it is a wealth of vital information about sustainability.

We talk about many of the issues around sustainability, including how to define it as more than just a marketing buzzword, why wine is uniquely positioned to capture consumer attention and move all industry toward sustainability, how important it is for the wine industry to set an example of sustainability, how businesses can better communicate the importance of these values to consumers, and why sustainable practices ultimately result in more delicious wine.

Sandra is clearly a brilliant mind who loves wine and we barely scratch the surface of her extensive knowledge about sustainability in wine.  Enjoy!

Thanks for listening!

Roni Ginach - Roni Selects, Importing Natural Wine

Roni Ginach - Roni Selects, Importing Natural Wine

October 14, 2020

Roni Selects is a preeminent importer and distributor of natural wines, based in los angeles. And Roni Ginach is its founder. She was the former wine direct for the renowned restaurant Michael’s of Santa Monica until she was given the opportunity to help distribute wine for California’s Grandfather of Natural Wine – Tony Coturri. From there a new career was born.

Now Roni represents winemakers from France, Germany, Italy, The US and Georgia and more and – as you’ll hear – she balances her time between navigating the bureaucratic labyrinth required to move wine from one side of the world to the other, and visiting and relishing the beauty of the people and places where the wines are produced.

Along the way she is helping to shape industry awareness about the importance of natural, regenerative, organic wine growing and making practices to the quality and deliciousness of wine, as well as the need to eliminate some of the dogma around natural wine righteousness, and how natural wine can be a more inclusive segment of the industry.

Roni’s story highlights her love and appreciation for the amazing wines that are a result of a deep passion for farming grapes holistically, with care and respect for the earth – a kind of agriculture that is, unfortunately, still somewhat radical and even subversive. Enjoy!

Pam Marrone - Creating Biological Pesticides From The Earth

Pam Marrone - Creating Biological Pesticides From The Earth

October 7, 2020

Pamela Marrone is the Founder of Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and multiple other companies dedicated to finding, developing and distributing Biological Pesticides. Her companies have been responsible for several of the most widely used organic pesticides in the wine industry today, including: Serenade, Sonata, Regalia, Grandevo, and Venerate.

Pam is on the boards of several institutions, companies, and foundations and is called on to participate in agricultural think tanks to help solve some of the biggest problems in viticulture and agriculture as well because she has dedicated her life to developing and promoting alternatives to synthetic chemical pesticides. And she advises others who have started companies in this field.

Biologicals are naturally derived from the microbial life in the soil or from plant extracts. Most are allowed in organic viticulture and agriculture, yet they integrate so well into conventional programs that they are beginning to help transition conventional farmers to organic farming. Many of the chemicals Pam has helped develop over the years are now the standards for organic pesticides used across the wine industry.

This fascinating field of study is far behind where it could be, and that means there are exciting opportunities for discoveries and investment still to come. Pam is a fantastic spokesperson for biologicals, and makes a convincing case for their importance in an industry dominated by synthetic petro-chemicals.

I’m thrilled to be able to share Pam with you through this interview. She has been doing great work for a long time and has been helping to steer viticulture – and all agriculture – in the right direction. We barely scratch the surface of her knowledge and experience, so I hope this will inspire you to learn more. Enjoy!

Contact Pam:

Learn more:

Ricky Taylor - Alta Marfa & How To Make the Impossible Possible in Texas

Ricky Taylor - Alta Marfa & How To Make the Impossible Possible in Texas

September 30, 2020

Ricky Taylor worked in an office in Houston Texas and one day decided to plant a regeneratively farmed vineyard 600 miles away on a mountainside in the middle of nowhere in far west Texas at over a mile high in elevation.

What Ricky and his partner, Katie, are doing with Alta Marfa – their vineyard and soon to be winery outside of Marfa, Texas - is something that essentially hasn’t been done before in Texas.

So to make it happen they have relied on the knowledge and assistance of a network of people that spans the continent, as well as a lot of hard work, hours on the road, and the belief that leaving the natural world intact is essential to making the highest quality wine.

The story of Alta Marfa is just beginning, but already it’s one that – like the Texas sky at night- shines with beauty and the sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.


Jeff Lowenfels - If You’re Growing Grapes Chemically, You’re Doing It Wrong

Jeff Lowenfels - If You’re Growing Grapes Chemically, You’re Doing It Wrong

September 24, 2020

Among several other things, Jeff Lowenfels is the author of a trilogy of books that should be required reading for everyone on the planet, but especially those of us who work in wine. His books are titled:

Teaming with Microbes, Teaming with Nutrients, and Teaming with Fungi

Be warned – your mind is about to be blown. If you haven’t been exposed to the soil food web, it’s likely that everything you think you know about soil, and fertilizer, and growing plants is wrong.

This is the new Soil 101, and the science, as Jeff lays it out, is so compelling and fascinating that you will never again walk through a field, or forest, or vineyard without a sense of wonder and awe. And that glass of wine in your hand will become something even more precious, and perhaps metaphysical.

If you have ANY interest in producing, understanding, or drinking amazing wine, what you’re about to learn is the foundation for it all.

I don’t think I’m overstating it by saying that what Jeff has to teach us is revolutionary.


Brook Williams - Owning Biodynamic Vineyards

Brook Williams - Owning Biodynamic Vineyards

September 17, 2020

Brook Williams used to be an accountant, and yet he still made the seemingly crazy decision to get into the wine business as a biodyanmic grape farmer/ vineyard owner. How did he justify such a potentially economically risky decision to the accounting part of his brain? His answer to this will give anyone with a dream of owning a vineyard some practical financial ideas about how to make vineyard ownership make sense. 

Brook and his family own three vineyards in the Santa Barabara and San Luis Obispo Counties of California, and make wine under the brand "J. Dirt," a nickname his daughter gave him. Before jumping into owning three family-run biodynamic vineyards, Brook's experience with wine had been as an account and general manager for several very large, very conventional wineries. We talk about how and why he made the transition, and the knowledge he has learned along the way to convince him of the benefits of biodynamic viticulture.


Doug Swim - Amy Atwood Selections, Natural Wine Distribution, & Agricultural Artists

Doug Swim - Amy Atwood Selections, Natural Wine Distribution, & Agricultural Artists

September 9, 2020

Doug Swim is the California Sales Manager for Amy Atwood Selections, one of the premier distributors of natural wine in California. The portfolio that Doug supervises includes the most well-known names in the New California wine movement, and we discuss what it's like to work with and be part of this new, crazy thing that's happening here in California and in Los Angeles specifically. This is an insider's look at the LA wine industry, as well as a discussion about the heart and soul that inspires it. 

Doug uses the term "agricultural artists" at one point to describe the passionate producers of natural wine. This term points to the creative vision, as well as the connection to the earth, that may be key reasons so many people have fallen in love with natural wine. 

This ain't your daddy's juice!


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