Wine Geek of the Week Carol Lopez-Bethel
Where I ask my favorite wine geeks shitty questions!
Why are you a wine geek?
Because when I go in, I go all in. Wine broadly encompasses so many areas of interest-Agriculture, Anthropology, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geology, History, Religions, Social Studies-no wonder it is considered high-brow and elitist. Get bored in one area, move onto the next. But for me it is about pleasure and the infinitesimal variety of delights that can be enjoyed by extracting juice from any of up to 10,000 grape varietals, treat them any number of ways over any number of years –and voila!-you have a different experience every time. It is like picking a winning lottery number, millions of variations to choose from, only I win with a good bottle many more times than I lose.
Extraterrestrials just landed on earth. What wine do you pour them?
A glass of whatever I have open. If they point a Darksaber or Blaster at me I’ll open my best and oldest bottle of Burgundy.
What's your favorite scent you have ever smelled in a wine?
The strangely sweet aroma of petrol in a finely aged dry Riesling. I find it intoxicating.
Any favorite music or podcasts you like to listen to while you drink wine?
Anything by Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Laura Nyro, raindrops or wind whipping through the trees.
If you could visit any wine region in the world right now what would it be any why?
Always and ever, Burgundy is my desert island wine region-so much incredible variety from two varietals. But if you said a country it will always be Italy-all of it from top to bottom.
What do you think is the most exciting thing going in the world of wine right now?
Awhile back I wrote a piece called “Elbowing a Place at the Table” about how women in the wine industry must push to be recognized as educators, sommeliers, winemakers, etc. What I find exciting is how the concerns and accomplishments of women are being recognized and dealt with-no longer pushed to the side or simply ignored. Witness the bashing the CMS has taken and the movements started by that bruising. Now major media groups are clamoring to recognize women and minorities in the industry.
What would you like to see in the future of wine?
Now that the Ivory tower has been stormed, I foresee a more democratic approach to wine sales which will make it more accessible to more people, less elitism. This will inspire more ridiculous wine hybrid gimmicks; but may also encourage more adventurous drinkers to expand their palates to better quality offerings including from lesser known “fringe” regions. Many so-called emerging markets, like Eastern Europe, México and other Latin American countries actually have a long history of winemaking and are receiving accolades for their wines, even England. Hopefully, prices will come back into a more normal range when the EU wines below 14% ABV that were imported in ‘19 and ’20 at 25% import tax are sold off.
What advice would you give yourself looking back to when you first started working in the wine industry?
“It ain’t brain surgery, we are not saving lives”. Wine is an important commodity with value in investment and pleasure. For me, it should always be about joy and pleasure, not status or impressing others. I do it to feed my brain and my palate and to share it with others, not to feed my ego.
Who are some people that inspire you in the world of wine?
You, Miss @shittywinememes are at the top of my list for using your passion for wine to create a new medium to express your own unique perspective in such a way that has captivated thousands of followers in a comedic and educational way. People can actually learn about wine while laughing their asses off- I don’t know of anyone who has done that before.
Anything in the works you'd like to mention or promote?
As the pandemic subsides I look forward to starting up in-person private wine classes and pairing dinners in my new town of Deland, FL. Go to www.swirlwineconsulting.com for details, follow on Instagram and DM if in the area and interested. I am also working on putting together a monthly wine article for one of the local newspapers (fingers crossed), and getting my passport and wine suitcase back on a plane somewhere in the world soon.