Podcasts are booming! They came about 15 years ago and slowly overtook the world of audio. They started as “time-shifted radio” to soon become one of the crucial ways to connect with one’s audience, share knowledge, start conversations and ignite movements. There are now over 900,000 podcasts! Yes, almost 1 million, and over 20% of us listen to at least one podcast episode every week.
OK, but what does it mean for us, wine students? This means that we can squeeze even more wine studying into our busy schedule. Say yes to listening to an episode when you’re commuting, when you’re cleaning your house or walking your dog. All you need to do is to choose your favorite podcasting app, subscribe to your favorite shows, and your next visit to the gym can become a full-on lesson about the Jura wines.
But you may be wondering, what podcasts should you subscribe to maximize your chances to pass your next wine exam. Below are some of my favorite shows and those that helped me pass my WSET exams, from Level 2 to Diploma.
- UK Wine Show – Chris Scott is a Kiwi living and teaching wine in the UK. Every episode of this podcast starts with wine news, crucial for understanding the wine industry and the market, helping with passing the WSET Diploma D2 unit. Moreover, Chris talks to various guests from the wine world – winemakers, educators, importers, scientists. All of these interviews bring knowledge and insights that you may need in your exams. When I was preparing for my Diploma exams, I would often look through the archive of episodes to find the ones that could help me prep for the upcoming paper. Moreover, Chris also often records episodes focused on tasting skills and specific WSET topics.
- Matthew’s World of Wine and Drink – it was THE PODCAST that helped me the most in passing all of my Diploma podcasts. Matthew, the host, had passed his Diploma exams a couple of years before I did. In his podcast, he goes through every topic at the exact level of details required to pass the Diploma. It was an amazing opportunity to review and refresh my knowledge. There were multiple times when I was commuting to my exams while listening to Matthew. This podcast might have a bit too many details for all of you preparing for the introductory wine exams, but everyone who prepares for WSET Level 3, Diploma, or Advanced Sommelier Certificate should find it very useful.
- GuildSomm Podcast – This podcast offers a wide range of topics, and every episode allows us to learn all the details we need to pass our exams. This show is hosted by experienced sommeliers, invites great guests, and touches on important current topics. And while this podcast suits more to the sommelier-like audience, many of the WSET students would find it useful too. The only downside is the irregularity of the episodes but the quality of the production and the caliber of guests make the wait worth it.
- Interpreting Wine Podcast – This is one of my newest discoveries. And while I did not use this podcast to prepare for my exams, I am a devoted listener now. The show offers a special focus on WSET Diploma and MW topics. You will find here blind tasting sessions with Masters of Wine, interviews with Diploma alumni, amazing stories, and in-depth analysis of diverse topics. This is also one of the most prolific shows on wine, new episodes are often published every second day.
- Weekly Wine Show – It’s a podcast similar to Matthew’s World of Wine and Drink but this one does not offer the same level of details. Therefore, it is great for WSET Level 1 and Level 2 students, and people preparing for the Certified Sommelier exams. Unfortunately, the podcast published only one episode in 2020 and I am not sure if we can expect new episodes any time soon.
- Wine for Sophisticated Homies – It was a podcast like no other. Hosted by two sommeliers, Ben Draper and Jason Booth, who loved wines and fun. The episodes were filled with knowledge and jokes. I loved listening to Ben and Jason when I needed to take a break from serious studying. Sadly, their last episode was produced in mid-2019. The good news is that their 112 archive episodes are still available.
- Wine Scholar Guild Podcasts – another example of wine exams focused show. This time it is targeted at the students of the Wine Scholar Guild, however, the sommelier and WSET students should find here a lot of good content as well. The new episodes are published every 3-4 months so you may want to look through their archives.
- Wine for Normal People – It’s a podcast by Elizabeth Schneider and it’s a mix of interviews, where Elizabeth talks to her guests from the wine world, and her conversations with her husband, where they explore various wine topics (mainly revolving around specific regions or grape varieties). Elizabeth and her husband make a really good duo, bringing humor and curiosity to the world of wine podcasts. Most of the episodes are good for anyone studying for WSET Level 2 and 3, some can be a good revision for Diploma students as well.
And here are some honorable mentions. I haven’t used these podcasts to prep for my exams but they are certainly interesting components of the wine podcasting world.
- The Inside Winemaking Podcast with Jim Duane
- Italian Wine Podcast
- NZ Wine Podcast
- Running for the Wine
- SOMM TV Podcast
- Vintage Stories
And what about you? Do you listen to podcasts to complement your studies? Have I missed any important wine podcasts? Let me know in the comments!