GrapeRadio is a James Beard Award-winning podcast about wine, and it’s taped right here in Tustin. It was developed to “create an environment where people who love wine can share their experiences, knowledge, and passion on all aspects related to the noble grape.” Conceived in 2005, GrapeRadio was the first wine-specific programming on any U.S. airline, with a debut on American Airlines in 2008.
I had the privilege of attending a taping of a GrapeRadio podcast and was so quickly entranced by the conversation that I forgot my whereabouts. The topics are finely researched and the interviewers so wine-knowledgeable that the guests are immediately at ease. Rather than a structured, stiff conversation, the room is relaxed, full of wine, reflection, insight, laughter, and sharing—my favorite way to learn!
Jay Selman, producer and a GrapeRadio founder, shared with me how the podcast was created, and how passion is the source of its longevity.
How did GrapeRadio come about?
At the time, there were maybe 100 or so podcasts in existence. Brian Clark, Leigh Older, Michael Geoghegan (a podcasting pioneer) and myself were the founders. Eric Anderson joined us soon afterwards. We wanted to share our love of wine with others. GrapeRadio was founded on celebrating what’s in the bottle and those people who dedicate their lives to making wines.
What was your mission?
It was simple: educate people about wine while at the same time entertaining them.
Your top five interviews?
Asking this is like asking about my favorite child or wine—a cliché, but it’s true. We have done almost 1,000 interviews. People are fascinating. We get to talk to people who are intensely passionate about what they do and it’s hard not to be mesmerized by their stories. Some we have interviewed are/were truly living legends in the field. How could anyone choose a favorite from sitting down and talking to Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non, or visiting France and drinking a 1996 Salon with vineyard manager in the vineyard, or interviewing Andrea Leon from Casa Lapostolle, just to name a few …
How is GrapeRadio funded?
How are we funded? Are you kidding me? We get to travel all over the world, meet some very cool people and drink wine! What more do we need? It feeds out souls, which is way more important than padding our wallets. Occasionally, we do have sponsors. Like many people in the wine trade, I have a day job to pay for my crazy passions.