Episode 118 show notes: Bad Labels, Good Wine, Red Hills and a New Book Club

Bad Labels, Good Wine, Red Hills and a New Book Club

When wine label monsters attack – or just stare back – do you still buy the wine? The ladies engage in a little wine label bottle babble this week, keeping it light while exploring the – um – darker or sillier side of wine labels. We also mange to jam in a factoid about a California appellation, launch our new book club, draw a Patreon winner, and announce our first ever W25 Happy Hour next month in Portland at Vault Martini. Lots to cover, so pour a glass, click play, and join the fun! Cheers ~

In Our Glasses:

Val: Assobio 2014 by Esporão, which is in the Douro region of Portugal.

“Assobio” translates to the name of a hillside on their estate, and the wine is made with a blend of three classic Portuguese grapes that you’ll normally find in a glass of Port: Tinta Roriz (which is really Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional.

Steph: 2016 Dawn’s Dream “Alyssa” Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands.

“I just came back from Carmel and joined the Dawn’s Dream wine club because I loved our experience with the winery’s General Manager, Maegan, so much! The wines are gorgeous and nothing makes me happier than having a mixed case of high quality, beautifully balanced Pinot Noirs, Rosés, and mouthwatering Chardonnays delivered to my doorstep.

Plus, I’m big into philanthropy and so is Dawn. She donates a portion of her winery’s proceeds to local and global non-profits to help support women and children in need. Dawn is also a member of the Women of the Vine and Spirits, and that’s how my Winoradar found her.”


Main Discussion: Jeepers, creepers, not to mention … peepers?

Photo from article: Bloomberg/Vendors

Yes, we’re still talking about wine. Our motivation for this discussion was based on a Bloomberg article by Elin McCoy called, Terrible Labels, Great Wine: Six Amazing Bottles Hurt by Bad Art.

First, a disclaimer. We are not art critics, nor are we setting out to bag on anyone’s wine or chosen wine art. We’d also like point out that “bad” is totally subjective. Just like wine. Good wine? Good wine is wine that you like.

Second, neither Steph nor Val would turn down any of these wines if someone showed up with them at a party. You bring it? We’ll be happy to taste and enjoy them with full-on enthusiasm! No drink shaming at Wine Two Five.

Third, another disclaimer. This only came up because our scheduled guest had a last minute VIP tasting at her winery and had to reschedule. So here we were trying to figure out what the hell we were going to talk about and this fun piece came across our radar. Bam! Thank you for indulging us, and to Elin McCoy for the juicy, thought-provoking label porn.

Since we just talked about wine marketing and luxury branding a few weeks back with Cynthia Sterling in Episode 108, we thought it would be interesting to see what bottles we may have simply walked right past in the past. Who knew there could possibly be some righteous juice lurking behind a label’s creepers or peepers.

We’ve all stood before a great wall of wine waiting for something to jump out at us. Seldom, however, do we expect the bottles to literally jump from the shelves and into our baskets, all the while breathing fire and leaving a trail of death and destruction where once stood cutesy bottles sporting cuddly animals, or a sexy piece of women’s clothing. Some of these bottles look like they just might. Others appear to be just stalking the prospective drinker. “Buy me. Or else.”

While these aren’t the only examples of bottles that surely were not on our radar, it was a fun discussion, particularly when you consider that some of these producers, regions, varieties, and styles are highly prized or sought after.

We’d also like to suggest the “Monsters, Monsters Attack” Clare Valley Riesling or “Zombie Zin” with a rousing evening of board games. May we also recommend pairing them with friends, fun, and something one of Val’s friend once brought to game night called, “Man Dip?”

Why yes, yes we may. That’s the whole idea behind wine! And thank you, Elin, for this fun conversations starter! Are there wines out there with funny labels that will now get your second look? Lets us know!



This episode’s factoid, courtesy of Steph, is about a small, hilly California wine appellation called Red Hills Lake County AVA (American Viticultural Area) which was established in 2004.

It is one of the AVAs within Lake County which is part of North Coast Regional AVA. Geographically, Lake County shares borders with Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa.

The Red Hills Lake County AVA sits on the southwestern side of Clear Lake, the largest freshwater body of water in California. The AVA is also at the foot of an extinct volcano called Mount Konocti where the soil is strikingly red. That volcano is still considered active even though it last erupted over 11,000 years ago.

The grapes typically seen there are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Zinfandel. They are grown in mountain climate conditions with a majority of the acreage planted at or over 2,000 feet. The higher elevations and good quality air trigger thicker skins, higher tannins, increased phenolic content and therefore intense wines.




Val: Announcing the #W25BookClub!!!

Our first book is Bianca Bosker’s “Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste.”

We’ll be hosting a review episode in a month, airing in early-to-mid August, so grab the book, check out our private facebook group, or leave a comment/question on speakpipe so we can get these into the discussion!

Steph: Announcing the Wine Two Five Podcast Happy Hour in Portland!

Wednesday August 9th 5-7pm at the Vault Martini!

Podcast listeners – whether you are attending the SWE conference or not – please come say hi and introduce yourself!

There will be Happy Hour Drink Specials, Small Plates and the official Wine Two Five cocktail.

RSVP via facebook (we will create an event) or email (winetwofive@gmail.com).


Podcast Award Nominations Run Through 31 July!


 Go to https://www.podcastawards.com/app/signup

Wine Two Five is under the “Arts” Category.

We thank you for spreading the word!



Steph: “My applause goes to Colterris winery! Canned wine is the new thing, and I found one from Colorado that would surprise you! It is a Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon called “Canterris”, a play off the winery’s name Colterris, situated in the Grand Valley AVA of Colorado. The wine is light and easy drinking, definitely something to have in your refrigerator ready-to-go for outdoor activities and quick summer meals. ($24/ 4 pack)”

Val: “I was so honored to do a beautiful tasting Friday night as part of a silent auction prize for Teach for America. The group was absolutely lovely, as was the venue, the food (by our local catering superstars at Picnic Basket/Cravings/Buffalo Gals), and let’s not forget the wine. We had a killer Greek rose’ sparkling wine (from my favorite local purveyor, The Wine Seller, in Monument, Colorado) and finished with a demi-sec Champagne and ridiculous desserts.

Thank you to Stephanie, Melissa, Charese, Taylor, Andrea and Chef Lewis, as well as all the guests and the winning bidder, Erin and her husband Matt!



Patreon Love:  

Thank you so much to our Patreon supporters! We are sending out some serious Patreon Love this week to:

“TENacious Tasters”:

Jeff E from the We Like Drinking! podcast

Lynn from Savor the Harvest!

Tenacious taster Sebastian of Sassi Italy tours!

“It’s not five o’clock and we don’t care” listeners: Thank you:

  • Meg in South Dakota!
  • Clay in Arizona!
  • Jon in California!
  • Andrew in Illinois!
  • Aswani in California!
  • Chantel in Ontario, Canada!
  • Mary Lou in Pennsylvania!

We also had to give a quick shoutout to our first “Winetastic Listeners”: Laura!

You can jump on the Patreon bandwagon – If you like what you hear, you like spending time with our W25 community, then it’s like buying Steph & Val a glass of wine, really.

Why become a Patreon supporter?

You get early releases of all episodes, exclusive content, shoutouts and swag!

Also, each month we draw a winner for a “surprise wine gift” for any Patreon supporter  at the $2/month Tastemaker Listener level and higher.

The July winner was also drawn in this episode, and the winner is … Aswani! Aswani, you’ll be receiving a signed copy of Lisa Mattson’s book, The Exes in My Glass: How I refined my taste in men and alcohol.


Do you want to get in on the monthly wine goodies? Go to our Patreon page for details. www.patreon.com/winetwofivepodcast

Please share the Wine Two Five podcast:

Steph: Subscribe to our show, share it, link it, tweet it or Facebook it.

Grab someone’s phone and help them subscribe & push play.

Leave us a burning wine question or comment on speakpipe.

You can also join the conversation on our private FaceBook group called Wine Two Five Community!

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Shop, Connect, and Play!

Head to our website to shop our store for wine books & accessories.

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