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Sommeliers Choice Awards

Bottle Talk with Rick & Paul is Back for Season 6. Wines Snobs Cower in Fear

Award-winning writers Rick Kushman and Paul Wagner return on Sept. 12 to kick off Season 6 of their continuing podcast war against wine snobs and useless, ridiculous wine descriptions.


“Too many wine writers and other snobs scare people off from wine by trying to appear to be expert and erudite,” Kushman says. “We prefer to scare people with our natural personalities.”


“Which is why we’re surprised to have such a strong following of listeners,” says Wagner. “We hear from people all around the country and all over the world. You’d think they would have better things to do.”


Kushman and Wagner say Bottle Talk with Rick & Paul is America’s funniest wine podcast – competition: zero.


“So many wine writers and podcasters are soooo serious, it sounds like they’re covering politics. No, wait, never mind about that,” Kushman says. “Wine is a thing of simple pleasure and great joy. People who make it too complicated or joyless need to be scolded.”


“That’s our mission,” Wagner says. “Wine snobs, we’re coming to get you.”


Kushman is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Barefoot Spirit, the story of the founding and unique marketing of Barefoot Cellars. He is an award-wining journalist and the wine commentator for Capital Public Radio, Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.


Wagner teaches wine classes at Napa Valley College and around the world. With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, he authored the book: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market, which won the Gourmand International Award for the best wine book of the year for professionals. He has won a number of wine industry awards over the years.


Kushman and Wagner have earned acclaim for their light-hearted, friendly take on wine. They answer questions, talk about stuff they love about wine and open wine magazines to read descriptions in a segment that call Truly Horrible Wine Writing. Listeners often send in their own choices.
“We think we’ve broken new ground in the conversation about wine because we’re using a language we call Normal English,” says Kushman.


“Not that anyone has ever called us normal,” Wagner says. “Some local wineries turn on the show in the cellar for their employees – we hope that’s a compliment to us and not a way to get their staff to work faster so they won’t have to listen so long.”


Bottle Talk with Rick and Paul airs a new segment every other Thursday at 10 a.m. Pacific time at and on the Capital Public Radio and Apple podcast lineups. It can be found on the Cap Radio website among other podcasts such as Fresh Air, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and The Hidden Brain. Prior shows are available on the site, as is information about sponsorship.
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