//Having a Wine Blast with Susie Barrie & Peter Richards

Having a Wine Blast with Susie Barrie & Peter Richards


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a career in wine, whether as a TV or radio personality, writer, author, podcaster, event organizer, speaker or consultant? Well, our guests tonight have done it all and you’re in for a treat with colourful stories from their brilliant careers!

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Susie Barrie and Peter Richards, Masters of Wine for part one of our two-part conversation.

You can find the wines we discussed here.


Watch Party

Join me for the debut Watch Party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live-streaming for the very first time on Instagram Live Video, Facebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video on Wednesday, February 24th at 7 pm eastern.

Click on the “Interested” or “Going” buttons below so that you’ll be notified when we go live:


I’ll be jumping into the comments on all three platforms as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.

I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?



You could win a prize pack that includes a personally signed copy of their book on English wine, a lovely linen polishing cloth for your wine stemware and a cheeky chef’s apron that says on the front “Like it Fresh and Racy?”


How to Win

All you have to do is just pick your favourite social media channel — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn — tag us and post a wine you love before March 10th… bonus points if you tag three wine-loving friends and you tell me why you picked that wine, how it tastes and suggested food pairings.

  • Instagram @susieandpeter @nataliemacleanwine
  • Facebook @natdecants
  • Twitter @wineschools @susiebarrie @nataliemaclean
  • LinkedIn @nataliemaclean

Hashtags for all platforms:

#wineblast #natdecants


I’ll also reshare your stories and posts with my followers whether you win or not so that you connect with more wine lovers.

Good luck, and I can’t wait to see (and share) what you post!



  • When did Susie decide she wanted to change her career from acting to wine?
  • When was Peter’s unorthodox introduction to wine writing?
  • Why should you always keep a bottle of wine in your bag?
  • What was the hardest moment in Susie’s journey as a wine expert?
  • What did Peter learn about himself and his writing style from the low points in his career?
  • Why is food such a great place for you to start learning about wine?
  • What have been the highlights of Susie and Peter’s careers so far?
  • How do Susie and Peter simplify wine by breaking it down into categories?
  • How did Peter come to recognize the impact of their work?
  • When did Susie develop her Michelin star-worthy cooking style?
  • How has wine impacted Susie and Peter’s relationship?
  • What effect does a career in wine have on your children?
  • What has been Susie and Peter’s experience with wine-fueled marathons?
  • Why should you wear fancy dress when running a marathon?


Key Takeaways

  • I loved listening to the journeys that brought both Susie and Peter from such different backgrounds to the world of wine. I feel we all sort of stumble into this world, and then never want to leave it.
  • I couldn’t agree more with their take that a great place to start learning about wine is through food pairing and to heck with those who scoff at the notion. That’s why my online Wine Smart Course focuses on pairings.
  • I enjoyed hearing how wine has affected their relationship beyond the shared passion and the stories about running the Medoc marathon that were so amusing. Wine bridges so many cultures, regions and moments.


Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips


About Susie Barrie and Peter Richards

Susie and Peter are Masters of Wine who happen to be married to each other. It’s a strange old household, with a constant soundtrack of clinking bottles and glasses. As TV and radio presenters, event hosts, writers, podcasters, authors and consultants, the pair are renowned for their enthusiastic, thoughtful and articulate style, having been described as, ‘Legends: best in the business’ and ‘What a double act: two stars making a killer constellation.’




Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live Video

Join me on Instagram Live Video, Facebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video every Wednesday at 7 pm eastern for a casual wine chat.

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Thirsty for more?

  • Sign up for my free online wine video class where I’ll walk you through The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!)
  • Join me on Facebook Live Video every second Wednesday at 7 pm eastern for a casual wine chat.
  • You’ll find my books here, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
  • The new audio edition of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass is now available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and other country-specific Amazon sites; iTunes.ca, iTunes.com and other country-specific iTunes sites; Audible.ca and Audible.com.



Peter Richards 0:00
Wind shouldn’t be constrained in just pure wind sensors. But like YouTube brilliantly wind should be about food. It should be about art. It should be about architecture where they can be enjoyed together.

Natalie MacLean 0:10
I agree with you completely bring people into wine through these other avenues which the two of you do. I think far more people are less intimidated with food like a chicken as a chicken. I’m not going to worry about vintage charts and where did the chicken grow up? And I think that is a way to make wine a little bit more relaxing and less uptight as a subject. I

Susie Barrie 0:28
think you’re right and Frankie, how often do any of us drink wine without food? It’s so much a part of drinking wine, isn’t it and sharing wine. You share it with food. So if people can understand food, then of course they can understand why you can’t understand every intricacy. But you can certainly understand that. That tastes really nice with that. So that’s a starting point, isn’t it?

Natalie MacLean 0:59
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations? That’s the blend here on the unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book

Unknown Speaker 1:31
on this subject.

Natalie MacLean 1:32
I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 117. Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to have a career in wine, whether it’s a TV or radio personality writer, author podcaster, event organiser speaker or consultant? Well, our guests on this episode have done it all. And you’re in for a treat with their colourful stories from their brilliant careers. In this episode of The unreserved wine talk podcast, I’m chatting with the dynamic husband and wife team Susie Berry and Peter Richards, who are both masters of wine. I’ve got a bonus for you in addition to this podcast, I’d love for you to join me in the Premier watch party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live streaming for the very first time on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube on Wednesday, March 3 at 7pm Eastern. The video will show you the pictures and other visual elements that we discuss in this podcast. I’ll also be jumping into the comments on all three platforms as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real time. It’s like the Netflix version of the podcast. So good. Plus, you can talk to me and ask questions in real time, as I said as we will hide it together. You can also see what other people thought of this conversation and the answers to their questions. Before I introduce Susie and Peter, I want to let you know that you could win a prize pack that includes a personally signed copy of their book on English wine, a lovely linen polishing cloth for your wine, stemware and a very cheeky chef’s apron that says on the front, like it fresh and racy. I’ll select the winner from those who participate before March 10. I will share your stories and posts with my followers. whether you win or not, so that you get to connect with more wine lovers. All you have to do is pick your favourite social media channel, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and post a wine that you love. before March 10. I’ll post this in the show notes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 117. In the shownotes you’ll also find a full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online video wine and food pairing class where you can find me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube live every Wednesday at 7pm including this evening and next week. That’s all in the shownotes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 117 and now on a personal note before we dive into the show I’m still watching the girlfriends guide to divorce on prime blissfully There are five seasons what else am I going to do when I can’t get together with my real life girlfriends? Hmm. One of my favourite scenes is when Abby is drinking wine while brainstorming titles for her next book on her computer. She’s furiously typing away. It is so Carrie Bradshaw. That’s Sex in the City if you’re a millennial or a man. It also reminds me of the struggle I had in naming my first book, red, white and drunk all over Which actually came from the printer, not the publisher or me. Some guy in the printing department kept saying, Oh, yeah, that’s that book, you know what’s Red, White drunk all over. And my editor said, Hey, hey, let’s go with that. Anyway, on with the show.

We have with us a wonderful couple. She’s Suzy Berry. He’s Peter Richards. And they are both masters of wine who happened to be married to each other? Amazing. They were presenters on the flagship BBC television show Saturday kitchen for more than a decade. And in 2014, they launched the wine festival for Winchester. It’s now an annual event that attracts 1000s of people, lots of great wines, and they’ve raised more than 16,000 pounds for charity. So I think that’s around $35,000 not sure where the foreign exchange is lately, but they’ve written for the Sunday Times decanter, magazine and many others. They’ve published six books to date, received many prestigious awards, including the IWC, C communicators of the year, ew p as well, lots of acronyms, but very prestigious. Not only are they among only a handful of masters of wine in the world, but they both pass this gruelling exam on their first try. So they’re very smart. And they’ve also launched their own podcast called wine blast, which has hit the top 10 charts in multiple charts heard in 130 countries. It’s got glowing reviews and I have to say personally, it’s become my favourite, my podcast, I love their wit, their charm and their energy. And I’d like to welcome them now to join us. Hello, Susan and Peter, Susie. And Peter. I’ll get that right. So glad to help. Thanks. Does she use your middle name as well now, Susan. Okay, well, we won’t go into that first. But so glad I love your dynamic, the

Unknown Speaker 7:02
two of you.

Natalie MacLean 7:03
But before we jump into wine, specifically, Susie, you were an actress. Tell us what got you into the world of wine.

Susie Barrie 7:10
Well, funnily enough, I was an actress for a few years before I got into wine. It was when I was working. And I was thinking back about this. It was when I was working at Oxford Playhouse. And I was in pantomime, as you always are when you’re an actress because that’s when you can get some work. And I was playing dandini and Cinderella, or Oxford Playhouse and I was walking around town one day, and I saw this poster for a wine tasting. And I thought, Oh, that sounds like fun. It was with us Clark, who I’m sure a lot of your listeners will be familiar with. And so it happened to fall on a night off. I dragged Cinderella along to this wine tasting. And we just had so much fun. I mean, I’m sure you know what oz is like, he just makes it all so much fun.

Natalie MacLean 7:55
He’d have you drinking out of that glass slipper? I would think he would. You know, he’s

Susie Barrie 8:01
a Vesper himself. You know, he loves his singing and acting. And he has that background himself. And he was just lovely. And so I suppose that was the moment when I thought, do you know what I really would love to have my career not in acting and in wine. Now, it took a long way for that to actually happen. It was a long journey. But if I was looking for a moment, that’s the moment. Oh, wow.

Natalie MacLean 8:24
That’s a great story. I love that. And Peter, no, you came at it from a different angle after graduating with a first class degree at Oxford University. Wow, you went into journalism? How did you make the transition to Why?

Peter Richards 8:37
Well, I think the first class degree was largely fueled by industrial quantities of Rosa. Rosa, who isn’t that what I would have given to see that performance. I haven’t really thought about it until now. But dandini sapping my thunder, he still got the costume. Yeah, so I studied languages, French and Spanish. And really no idea what I wanted to do. I definitely had aspirations to be a journalist, and to use the languages somehow. So when I graduated, I did a series of unsuitable jobs, and was just casting around for ideas happened to go to the library and read a book about Chile. And so hang on, I could be a journalist in South America, why don’t I do that. And basically, because of this book on Chile, that I happen to really was a library with not many books. So it was a completely random choice. I saw this advert for a job for an English language newspaper in Chile. And I thought, Wow, that sounds great. And I knew I made wine as well. There was always that little seed of interest there, even though I knew nothing about it. So I headed out to Chile and ended up becoming editor of that paper. It was a smallish outfit, but it was brilliant for learning. I learned, first and foremost, how to write, how to write for paper, and also how to be edited, which is you know, it’s one of those things that often happens. The journalists career doesn’t often happen to white people often come into writing from other backgrounds, but for me, the background very much was writing in journalism and having those skills and editing and being edited. But one day my boss just came into the office. He said, Do you want to write me a book on Chilean wine? And it’s one of those moments in life. You just don’t say no.

Unknown Speaker 10:06

Peter Richards 10:07
I said yes. But I don’t know anything about wine. And he said, doesn’t matter. You know, it’s gonna be a tourist guide, because he wants to encourage more tourists to come over and sort of use his services from both the states and from Europe. And so I said, Absolutely. So I took myself off. I borrowed his car and his laptop and I visited about 110 wineries. I think back in those days, it was in 1990,

Unknown Speaker 10:26
isn’t it? Wow, thorough.

Peter Richards 10:29
You know, that was my introduction to wine. It was not the usual introduction to wine. I made it clear. I knew nothing about wine. But the reason I learned was because the Chilean winemakers was so lovely and so hospitable. It took me and gave me tastings. And they basically taught me the basics. So that was my, you know, learning period. That was my instruction. That was my gateway into wine. It was a bizarre one, but it was absolutely magical. And yeah, after that, there was no looking back.

Natalie MacLean 10:52
Oh, well, and you learn something about carrying a Chilean bottle of wine and a bag.

Peter Richards 10:57
Yes. So the most important life lesson here naturally, I learned in Chile has served me well ever since always carry a bottle of wine, a bottle of fine wine in your bag, if you don’t want to lose it, because the night before I set off on this epic journey to go and visit 100 Chilean vineyards all across the country. I went out for some celebrator drinks with my pals. And I had a bottle of wine in my bag and all my documents, my passport, my money, wallet. Everything was in there. Of course, enjoy the night bit too much left the bag in the bar, woke up the next morning in a cold sweat thinking I can’t go anywhere because possible, haven’t got driver’s licence gone. I went back to the bar. It wasn’t there. It’d been stolen. I can go anywhere. And I went back to the office. And I said to my boss, Look, I’m sorry, this is not gonna let you down. And at that moment, he got a phone call from an old lady saying are up to Richard season. No, but I know he’s here. He said, I believe I have your bag. And then what happened was, the thief had been so overjoyed at finding a bottle of wine, that he completely didn’t look for anything else. He didn’t look for the passports and the money. It was a king’s ransom. And at the time, it just took the wine and he threw the bag over the wall into this old lady’s gun today you gonna valuables? Just keep a bottle of wine, your bag is always

Natalie MacLean 12:13
the decoy strategy. I love it. That’s great, Peter. So this may be a similar answer for both of you or different. But take us to the worst moment of your wine or wine writing career. Oh,

Peter Richards 12:28
god, this is a really tough one. That’s a really tough question. Because we all I think as wine people, we naturally think about positives, don’t we? We always say, generally speaking, your wine career is

Susie Barrie 12:38
positive. It is and you know, you feel a bit of a fraud. If you start complaining about finger Why might

Natalie MacLean 12:43
those tiny violins come out?

Susie Barrie 12:48
I mean, I think one of my memories of feeling terrible, was actually to do with Master of wine course, I’d only just embarked on it. Naturally, I hadn’t got a clue what I was letting myself in for. And the first thing you do really is go off on your study week to roost in Austria. And I just remember getting there and feeling so excited. And within minutes, realising I knew nothing. And this was going to be the hardest week of my life. And it genuinely was the hardest week of my life. I felt sick for the entire week. And it’s there etched in my memory. I mean, everything got slightly better for Marilyn. But it was tough. It wasn’t really part of my as it were my career, but it was part of my journey as a wine expert, if you like as an NW

Natalie MacLean 13:35
Sure, wow. Yeah, that must have been nail biting. I mean, we’ll talk more about the master of wine process in a bit. But Peter, do you have different memory or anything come to mind?

Peter Richards 13:45
Yeah. Well, I have a memory of Suzy coming back from that trip actually.

Unknown Speaker 13:50
To pick me up.

Peter Richards 13:52
Yeah, I I’m sure we even talk about it a bit. But Susie was the one who first said she wanted to do BMW and I tried to talk her out of it. I said lotuses you know, you don’t need to, she was already a well established journalist. But she was adamant. And part of that was to do I think with women not being taken seriously, you know, yeah, without getting too serious about it. But I just felt it was a you know, it wasn’t that I was treated badly in any way. I just always felt I had to slightly prove myself a little bit more. And I thought, you know, if I just could get this, if I could do this, get it and say right, I’m Suzy berry master of wine. Hopefully, that initial having to prove myself, that hurdle will be gone over. And then if I fail, there’s my doing, but at least I’m not one step behind before I even begin. I tried to talk her out of it. But she was vivid. He didn’t listen to me as ever story of our relationship. But she did it. And I was so lucky doing it after I came after her that I was already prepared. When I had those I can understand exactly what she meant when I got to risk to do my first residential course. But because I was pre prepared, it was so much easier. So I’ve got her to thank for that. But no, I mean We all have down to North Korea. And I think it’s important to be open about this actually. And it sort of be two things that come to my mind. First was, I’ve only ever received a kill fee once in my career and a kill fee for those who don’t know is for an article that never gets printed. So you write it and submit it and never gets printed because the magazine or wherever, doesn’t like it. I’m not gonna name names, but it was for a magazine that was setting itself out to be super high level super intellectual super kind of up there. And, you know, I done the Oxford thing, I learned how to write in a highfalutin style when necessary, but I couldn’t bring myself however hard I tried. They specifically asked for footnotes and figures, you know, in an article, and I tried to write that kind of article, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t, I guess wine, I just felt wine was such a fun thing. And it was something to make it easier for people rather than kind of talking it up and making it deliberately erudite. So anyway, that ended with me just not be an amazing sage, you know, this isn’t gonna work. So pay your kill fee. So that was quite a low point in a way. But with a good learning in the sense of that was my style, okay, maybe I can’t work for certain people, maybe certain magazines aren’t gonna be me. But that was kind of important learning point for me, even though it’s hard to get my head around, because in a way was failure, and I hadn’t really done failure

Natalie MacLean 16:08
hadn’t done failure.

Peter Richards 16:11
Now, you know, with the kids, we’re learning the face, every day, is something to embrace. And this is the teaching mantra, isn’t it, it is something you embrace, because you learned so much from it. I suppose the other thing was was you have to do my first book called wineries with style, which is on the architecture of wine, and wineries all around the world now, not in the sense of a dry sort of architectural treatise, because I know nothing about architecture, it was more kind of just a chance to tell the story, the history of wine, if you like, through the amazing places, we all get to go and visit you know, from Chateau to castles to Super modern, funky places. But it was a sort of a Christmas party. And the publishing executive said, You know what, you know, your book really should be doing better, but it’s not because we don’t really know how to sell it. Because we don’t know whether it’s is it wine? Is it architecture? Is it travel? Is it history? So you know, we can’t really sell it. And that was a really profoundly difficult moment, because I thought, well, I’ve got no power here. I can’t really affect this. But it made me learn two things. Firstly, never go into writing a book until you know how to sell it. And you know who your market is, which I think is why people we often tend to just think, boy, because we can do this and we’re excited, we should do it. well know, what purpose is it serving? And how are you going to get it to those people to help them. And secondly, you know, why it shouldn’t be constrained in just pure wine senses, it can be in it’s a lovely subject unto itself. But like you do, brilliantly, you know, so much stuff with food, wine should be about food, it should be about art, it should be about architecture, you should enjoy these things. These are all things to enjoy, and they can be enjoyed together. So it kind of made me more determined in a way just to sort of try and prove that point in the later career. And that was 15 years ago, so it hasn’t hurt too much. Wow.

Natalie MacLean 17:55
And I agree with you completely, like, bring people into wine through these other avenues. Which the two of you do. You know whether it’s food, especially leading with food, I think far more people are less intimidated with food like a chicken is a chicken, I’m not going to worry about vintage charts, and where did the chicken grow up and all the rest of it. And I think that is a way to make wine a little bit more relaxing and less uptight as a subject.

Susie Barrie 18:19
I think you’re right, and Frankie, you know, how often do any of us drink wine without food? You know, it’s so much a part of drinking wine, isn’t it and sharing wine, you share it with food. So if people can understand food, then of course, they can understand why and you know, yes, you can’t understand every intricacy. But you can certainly get it you know and understand that. That tastes really nice with that, you know? So that’s a starting point, isn’t it?

Natalie MacLean 18:45
Yeah, definitely. I love your approach. And now I believe in happy endings. So we have to go to the best moments of your career in line so far. I should say you’ve got many more ahead of you, I’m

Unknown Speaker 18:55
sure. Well, sir,

Susie Barrie 18:56
first of all, it would say passing the MW was an amazing day. So that was a real high point. But you know, one of the big high points in recent years, was launching the wine festival, you know, that first year because, you know, Natalie, it took so much work, and it was so unknown to us. And it was also our own project, you will definitely appreciate that, you know, some things you do. And a lot of things you do are for other people. And most of the time other people are in control. And actually, this was all ours. And so we were in control, but then that obviously comes with the jeopardy of not knowing quite what’s going to happen. It was really successful. It was such a happy and uplifting experience that I think that would have to be at that point.

Peter Richards 19:39
I think I think it didn’t it didn’t happen overnight. That’s the other thing. It took a couple of years. And you know, when we launched this really big festival, we wanted loads 1000s of people to come. Remember the first people coming through the door, and the looks on their face was just what have I got myself in?

Unknown Speaker 19:53
Why were they looking like that?

Peter Richards 19:54
Well, because they thought it was gonna be really serious, you know, and it was only when they walked into this room. Massive hall with like hundreds of wines for them to taste, they suddenly start. And you can see the light bulb Come on. And he was nice. And this was the important thing about the festival. It wasn’t us trying to impose, which is what you do really well as well. wasn’t us trying to impose, say, this is what you must do. It’s just look, we are just the conduit. We are here to help you find and enjoy good wine. If we had a mission statement. That would be it. That’s what all of our mission is, isn’t it? Anything? What’s the simplest way of doing it? Well, doing this festival allows people to come and have fun on their own terms.

Susie Barrie 20:27
So we did also as part of the festival, we created something called folio taste, I was very, very keen when we decided we would do the festival that it was not going to be intimidating. So that person we talked about walking in and looking a little bit lost. We wanted to find a way for them to start, where do they begin, which wine do they start with. And so we did this thing called folio taste, which was very tongue in cheek, which the apron that we’re talking about this fresh and racy apron is all to do with and it was really breaking wine down into five simple categories. Now we’ve got 677, now seven categories, very, very simple. So and they’d all have a strap line. So like like fresh and racy or Mellow Yellow or feeling fruity, and they don’t have a colour. So they’d have a strap line in the colour. And you would go to one of our follow your taste people and say, Well, I know I like Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and you get a green Russian racy sticker. So I really liked the stickers. And then as you went around the room, the bottles also had either green or yellow or red neck tags. And so people could automatically go to a table and go, Well, I’ve got a green sticker, I’m going to try that green wine. And once you’ve tasted two or three, you’re into it, and you don’t really mind, you’ll go to any table. But you’ve got over that first hurdle of not knowing where to start.

Peter Richards 21:46
So we had to, by popular demand, introduce a new category The next year, which is one with all the colours on it saying I’m easy.

Unknown Speaker 21:53
I love that.

Natalie MacLean 21:53
I love that.

Peter Richards 21:55
I think some of my highlights as well. Going into festival will be one where obviously putting on a festival is phenomenally expensive. So just in terms of covering costs, to make it commercially sustainable, we had to get funding from a number of different sources. Obviously, ticket sales is one and the exhibitors and sponsors were absolutely key in making this happen. But I you know, as you know, it’s not always easy to get sponsors to endorse wine stuff. But one of our key sponsors was rathbones, an investment management company. One of the lovely things and this is kind of where I think for us wine people, sometimes everything can be so lovely. But it can be slightly detached. We help people but we sort of don’t help them as well as intangible. That’s the word. So Toby who helps set the sponsor, but he was an investment manager. And they carried on sponsoring, he came to the festival because he got free tickets as part of a sponsorship deal. And now he’s developed this complete passion and he’s coming to a really high level and I’m joking to him, Tony, you’re gonna be out classic. But it’s those sort of things, isn’t it? Those tangible things, that’s where it’s just lovely. It’s like a teacher. And then you’ve got teaching in your blood without feeling you know, as a teacher, when you help someone genuinely become passionate about something and change the mode and doing it. That’s what it’s all about.

Natalie MacLean 23:03
Starting that spark like that just seeing people turned on to

Peter Richards 23:07
turn on to watch and as we know, the subject, it’s easy to get passionate about. But on that note, just one little, little anecdote story of a moment, which is maybe wasn’t the greatest sort of moment in wine but its menu realised along similar lines that you’re making a difference to people was when we’ve been doing Saturday kitchen for a couple of years and I was just walking along in London in quite a dodgy part of London it was a bit dangerous one of those areas where you just you know, you check your wallet just a bit more than usual. Your bag move quickly. And

Natalie MacLean 23:34
you got a bottle of wine in that bag.

Peter Richards 23:37
have these two quite threatening guys big hoodies low slung jeans sort of approached me and I thought I’m just gonna keep my head down here and one of them said, Oh boy, are you into that wind guy off the telly?

Natalie MacLean 23:57
That’s great.

Peter Richards 23:57
I thought they say oh, these guys are hoodlums. I said Well, yeah. I said that Rosa, you recommended the other day that Rosie that was well day.

Natalie MacLean 24:12
That’s great. I love that. You know, I

Peter Richards 24:16
think I you know what? Just the fact you’ve watched this programme, and you obviously I didn’t realise. I mean that was actually a compliment. Well dirty apparently. They tried to rotate. They’d like to see Oh, this is all my Christmas is coming once because if you’re reaching people from all across the social spectrum is just fantastic.

Natalie MacLean 24:36
It is indeed and it reminds me Peter. This young girl was standing at a bus stop and she’s reading a book and then I realised as I was walking on the other side, she was reading my book red, white and drunk all over. She had a nose ring and she had pink hair like this and she was laughing and she’s like Doc Martens on and it was like too shy

Unknown Speaker 25:01
Looks like you take a picture

Natalie MacLean 25:07
of where they are and the reader letters that you get sometimes they’re just so moving to you realise it’s just wine. I’m not like, you know, out saving children, as you know, medicine, some frontier. And anyway, those moments Yeah, are what we live for. So what do you think you’d be doing, though? I guess? Well, I guess what you’d be doing. If you weren’t writing about why would be original careers, I guess you would have continued along those paths. So I think pretty much so. Yeah,

Susie Barrie 25:32
probably. Yes. Yeah. I mean, you’d still be nice. I didn’t know that. I would actually, I think I would have moved on and done something else and acting such a tricky career. It really is. I mean, I’m sure you would be right. Well, I think you would actually be writing your novel that Peter keeps telling us he’s going to write a novel naturally. So maybe if I say it, now, he has to do

Natalie MacLean 25:55
maybe you can involve wine somehow? Yes. Yes,

Peter Richards 25:58
I did. Welcome. Your family sort of quiet. Hotel. Yes.

Susie Barrie 26:02
I mean, I was brought up my entire childhood was all in pubs, hotels, restaurants. So it’s unlikely that I wouldn’t be in that world somehow. I think I would have moved on from acting. Yeah,

Natalie MacLean 26:13
yeah. Oh, perfect. Okay, well, let’s look at some photos, because you’ve shared some great ones with me. And I want folks to see this. You’re slightly nervous as to what’s coming. Well, you both sent photos separately. So I’m kidding. It’s what you said together. So this is you at home? I assume

Susie Barrie 26:32
you did. That’s in our kitchen. It’s a few years ago. I think you can always take the photos, can’t you by

Unknown Speaker 26:37
my hair? Yes, that’s right.

Susie Barrie 26:40
This is a few years ago, it is in our kitchen, I hadn’t realised that that label that pink label Do you need that’s a Valpolicella? ripasso, but majestic style? Delicious. We’ve actually this is where a few years ago, we’ve literally just used that in a master class in our online Wine Festival. And that shows you how much we liked that was a bottle geek

Peter Richards 27:01
bottle from 100 yards and tell you what it is. It’s got a nice, nice table. So that’s our kitchen.

Natalie MacLean 27:06
Oh, lovely. And Susie, are you always pouring for Peter?

Unknown Speaker 27:11
That’s a very good question.

Natalie MacLean 27:14
It looks like he might give you a good tip or something.

Susie Barrie 27:16
He’s sitting there as if Come on, then what?

Peter Richards 27:21
I’m just, I’m a man. I can’t multitask. I think the photographer had said something like, you could look at the camera, look at the camera and smile. That was all I could do. So I can’t do anything else.

Susie Barrie 27:33
To be really fair, it’s usually the other way around. But I am usually on cooking. So pizza would be doing the wine. And so I’m on I’m on service. I am sous chef. But that is a mistake. Which if

I’m correct from having a little look at what you do naturally, I think you might be the other way around, don’t you? Yes, exactly.

Natalie MacLean 27:50
I just pulled corks I’ve never cooked. That learned helplessness has been terrific. It’s a strategy that served me well. But yes, I thought her miles is a great, great cook. But I hear you cook Michelin star type recipes very complicated. Susie,

Susie Barrie 28:05
do you need that’s a lot that came from Saturday kitchen actually. And because we used to have chefs on every week who were often Michelin starred, or in a less unusual kind of dishes, eclectic dishes. And the only way we really felt we could definitely match the right wine to those dishes was by cooking them. Because I think as a wine expert, you know, you can have an idea of maybe half a dozen wines. Depending on the dish. I mean, sometimes you think I haven’t got a clue. It could be red, it could be white, it could be sweet, it could be dry. But often you’ve got an idea. But you still don’t know exactly which wine is going to pick up on exactly that amount of spice or that amount of sweetness. We would try always or I would try always to source the ingredients, which is often comical, actually. And then cook the dish. And so that did mean some crazy dishes.

Peter Richards 28:55
I remember. I saw some edible moss at once. Got some moss, but I don’t think it was edible.

Unknown Speaker 29:01
The garden? Yeah, no, she

Peter Richards 29:02
definitely got the reputation as being a difficult wine match, because she would demand the recipes. And often these recipes would arrive and unintelligible and she would have to make sense of them. I think somebody would start with cooking. They have a sense of cooking. And I think she does I don’t

Susie Barrie 29:16
Well, I mean, I love it. So you know why they probably do or don’t. And so for me, it’s just time when I just drift off and go and do my own thing. And then people around in the kitchen really, and I just enjoy it. Yeah.

Peter Richards 29:27
But also in terms of the wine matching. You know, I think it’s what’s lovely is to be able for both of us to sit down and try them. Often one of us would say I love this and the other one would say nice, you know and then it would say for one wine to actually satisfy both of our palates meant that we knew it had a very good chance of working for a lot of people out there who were watching the show.

Natalie MacLean 29:46
Yes, indeed. Is wine sort of all over your house. I mean, are you filled with bottles and it is it new.

Susie Barrie 29:54
I sometimes wonder when we ask somebody maybe to come in like a plumber to come and do something for us. Just think Oh my, if we haven’t told them what we do, you know, what is this? You know, they must be a pair of alcoholics because there are lists. Well, I’m sure it was. But there are literally empty bottles, full bottles, half bottles, maybe some 45 wine that we’ve just kept in case I want it with some cooking. And it just goes on and on. So yes, the house is slightly riddled with bottles. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 30:20
And I’ll get deliveries of like four or five cases. And the delivery guy will say, What am I here just last week. It’s like just

Peter Richards 30:30
personal relationships, careers is the way forward. I did a tasting piece for decanter magazine, at the beginning of lockdown. And they said to me, you know, it’s fine. We weren’t gonna bring you in to the offices to do it here. But you can do it at home, it’s fine, we’ll just get the deliveries to home.

Susie Barrie 30:43
And normally bearing in mind, Normally, you would probably only get about 60 or 80 winds submitted by people in times when people are not in the pandemic lockdown. So it was quite unusual. Yeah, it was it we had, I think it was getting on for 300 wines arrived, which

Peter Richards 31:02
was everything. But it wasn’t, it wasn’t the wines. And I’m never gonna complain about being very kindly sent all the samples, which was absolutely fascinating tasting as well. But it was the packaging. And this is the key thing, isn’t it? You know, the waste of resources, they kind of can be used for wine. We’ve got to be so careful about this. And I think Well, obviously, we are trying to find solutions. We were in lockdown. So we couldn’t get rid of it either. Because the dumpster close. So we basically the kids couldn’t move in the house, you know, for packaging, there was a sort of Labyrinth system around the house where you could move amongst the kind of cobbled boxes, but we never got the odd polystyrene but

Natalie MacLean 31:34
maybe make some interesting forts or something like that. But what do you think wine has done for your relationship? I mean, obviously, it’s a shared passion. But anything else in terms of how it’s helped to relationship?

Susie Barrie 31:47
I think it regularly helps our relationship. A glass of wine at the end of the day? That’s a really interesting question. I mean, it’s hard probably to separate the relationship from wine really carefully in

Peter Richards 32:01
our careers. The very fine line is what she says next, to be honest.

Susie Barrie 32:08
Why would we still be together? Because I honestly think it’s one of those things that a lot of couples, they’re married, they have a normal life, I think maybe got to work they need at the end of the day, they might talk a bit about work, they might talk about other things. You know, for us, wine is just in everything. And it is what we talk about, but it’s mixed with everything else. So

Peter Richards 32:29
it’s just a shared passion that we feel quite lucky to have. And I don’t know, would our relationship be different without it, it’s impossible to say because it’s got it and it always has had it. I think I think it just gives us something to talk about really all the time and CDs, right? It’s sort of it’s the work and there’s projects and stuff, but then we can switch and it’s something we’re enjoying at the table. And we can discuss it in non geeky ways. It’s something we’re just enjoying. So we’re very, very lucky in that sense. It works. It’s a nice symbiotic relationship all around.

Susie Barrie 32:56
And maybe you’d slightly flip it and say, Well, actually, maybe our relationship has helped our career and wine because we bounce off each other the whole time.

Peter Richards 33:04
Yes, that’s a good word. Yeah, that really does help. Because I think so much of wine, as you know, is working with other people talking to other people bouncing ideas, you know, not just opinions about wine, but what we’re doing with wine, how we communicate it best. And yeah, that’s definitely helped a lot. Yeah,

Natalie MacLean 33:18
sure. So are your children interested in wine?

Unknown Speaker 33:23
I love this.

Peter Richards 33:24
Oh, that was just so easy to go after a big night. That was that was that was that was? That was our daughter. I don’t know how she was when she did it. But

Susie Barrie 33:34
love your job in a bottle. So for those who are listening to the podcast, this is great. It is it’s a big bottle. Isn’t it filled with red wine? Is this an unusual shape of bottle as well? Actually,

Peter Richards 33:48
I don’t know how she did this. But yeah, seven, eight. I mean, it was a surprise because generally speaking, they take a healthy disregard and everything that we do, as is normal for children. And they certainly haven’t shown any massive sort of,

Susie Barrie 34:00
you know, they’re getting more interested though. You know, that thing where they see it a lot, and now they’re realising it’s actually something that might be quite interesting. The other night, we gave our daughter a sip of something, and she just went recently in 2019. And we went just bizarre. And you know that thing? It is Riesling 18. But that’s very good, but I just heard you saying it but not not that we should heard it about that one. Because I’ve heard you say that great name before so we knew it wasn’t really

Unknown Speaker 34:29
a wine survive

Peter Richards 34:31
either recent taste of apples and it was one of those. It was a plan B received from Western Australia. It was just lovely. It was one of those ones that just you smell anything yet. Bang apples. It’s almost like osmosis. It’s going in Yeah, because we’re talking about it so much. And I think the one way we’re seeing the results that she is is both the kids were very lucky they are really interested in cooking and especially our daughter is taking a real interest in cooking and flavours and tastes and making her own stuff. And I think that’s coming partly from your interest in cooking but also the fact she sees us every day, taking a risk. Interesting tastes. I think that’s sort of how in FIFA, you know, we’ve

Susie Barrie 35:03
got a little boy who’s a bit younger, he knew on a slightly more serious note, I know not everybody agrees with this. But I do firmly believe that the more you normalise alcohol with children, the less likely they are to see it as something that desperate to go and try and binge on and, and have a bad relationship with. So we believe that they should be allowed a little taste and to listen to us talking about it and to see the bottles and you know, to kind of try and understand it a bit more and see, it’s quite a civilised thing.

Peter Richards 35:35
I mean, it’s difficult because I think the scientific understanding is that, you know, alcohol, taken or drunk before a certain age will impair brain development to a certain extent. So you got to be so so careful. But I think from our perspective, it is about this is not making it this big thing that we can go and just explaining explaining the risks, the benefits, what we know how it can be part of a healthy lifestyle, as well as, as well as how it can be dangerous, especially for younger people. So it isn’t it. I mean, I have to say to end on it on a slightly more jocular note, you know, we were convinced that both kids were going to be given us a way that they’re, you know, chosen react completely against what their parents do, but I’m not sure it’s gonna turn out that way. We’ll see. We’ll do another interview in 1020 years.

Natalie MacLean 36:12
What’s the follow up? It just reminds me of my son who’s now 22. But when he was three, I said, Would you like to taste the wine and he was kind of looking at me suspiciously because it’s treats that I kept away it was vegetables that I gave him. So I gave him it was a Shiraz, I made sure it was not a sweet wine. So he wouldn’t get hooked early. So he just tasted that Australian Sure. As I said, it’s yuck, it’s totally

Unknown Speaker 36:36
up. And

Natalie MacLean 36:38
he doesn’t even drink. Now, it’s like I think I just scared him permanently, would happen is we used to go to the same liquor store a lot. You know, I have this three year old with me. And he was calling all the store staff by their first name. So I thought Child Services, it’s going to, I’m gonna get a call, like, Hey, Joe. Hi.

Unknown Speaker 36:56

Peter Richards 36:58
tell me about that generation as well, though, I think that they’re very aware, aren’t they? Yes, they are a wonderful generation. And I think they have a lot of responsibility, or they feel often they have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, but they’re very, very worried about what they’re eating and drinking. And I think we’ve got a lot to learn from them. Actually, as a generation. I do slightly worried as well, I’m slightly concerned for them in the sense of, there’s a danger of taking life a bit too seriously. And I just wonder if sometimes we do is humans need to just unwind sometimes and enjoy. let ourselves go a little bit. And I hope that I’m sure it’s not the case. But I hope that as that generation grows up, they’ll feel that they don’t have the weight of the world on their shoulders, that they are good people and they’re gonna do good things, but they can enjoy themselves and that hopefully will involve some nice wine and food at some stage.

Natalie MacLean 37:41
I help. I’ll have to get them all together. So you folks look like serious runners here? Is this part of the May dog? I’ve got more may doc marathon photos coming up.

Unknown Speaker 37:52
Tell us about this. So we did which year was it? 20 1614 2014 2014.

Peter Richards 37:58
That’s a different run. Actually. There’s so many occasions in which we just in very silly attire to run races naturally, which will have a twist. The first one was the Murdoch in 2014. That was our first big one.

Susie Barrie 38:09
Yeah. And they met up marathon which is for anybody who may presume not everybody’s familiar with it, but it’s around Bordeaux’s van yards. It’s a full marathon. But I was very unlucky. I’m not going to make this a very long story. I we got to France The day before. We stayed overnight had supper. And clearly something didn’t agree with me in my supper. And I started running and thought war. This is not good. I was unwell. Oh, the entire course of the marathon. It was 30 degrees heat. It was so hot. So yeah. So this was me crossing the finishing line. Peter was unbelievably kind. We’ve trained so hard for this. And I was being abysmal when we were, you know, hopeless. And he stayed with me instead of going on and getting a good time he did stay with me, which was above and beyond the

Peter Richards 38:57
call. What I love about that is you know, she runs about three times that she runs out the window. So for me to say, Oh, no, don’t worry, honestly, I’ll stay with the Lord for once I can keep up with it. We did this in 2014. And we did it in memory of a great friend of ours, Michael Cox, who was head of wines of Chile in the UK and had a long career in the wine trade. He does very, very sadly died of cancer shortly before this and his wife Lynn was a great long distance runner. So we thought well, why don’t we do a positive thing with Lynn and we got a team a team of runners from brilliant Chile and all over very kindly. We raised about 16,000 pounds for charity as a result of this, but it was great fun. We had a really good laugh. We had the best. We had a great glass of wine on the feet but the ice cream. Well, you sort of have some they’re not serving. Exactly, though you stop

Susie Barrie 39:48
with the Murdoch marathon. There’s oysters. There’s steak. There’s wine everywhere.

Peter Richards 39:54
The only thing that was good the glass of the feet was okay, but the cheap chocolate ice cream mile 28 whatever it was

Susie Barrie 40:01
the last kilometre before you finish, was it ice cream and I’ve never enjoyed an ice cream more in my entire life. That’s great. If I could see a bottle of another one of those ice creams at that stage,

Peter Richards 40:16
she would have taken the ice gone for the ice cream.

Natalie MacLean 40:18
Terrific. Well, Lorna, one of the folks on social media and who actually contributes to my site. She’s a marathon runner, too. And she was asking me, how did they manage to run this with wine and ice cream and she said, I couldn’t make it like my stomach would be so upset

Susie Barrie 40:35
if we have very different approaches to running because we’re not crazy, serious runners, but it’s probably our form of exercise. And we tend to do runs sort of half marathons and things. So this was, there’s a picture here of Peter dressed as Richard the Lionheart, he loves running around the vineyards of den bees in Dorking, so English film yard, and they every year have what they call the Bacchus half marathon, there is a marathon but it’s basically the half run twice. So it’s more of a me doing it in a rather silly outfit as well. And it’s just a brilliant, brilliant half marathon. But again, it’s wine all the way every time you stop this. In fact, there are no lose. But there is wine everywhere. One toilet on the entire course and about nine stops along.

Natalie MacLean 41:25
Or a diuretic, is

Unknown Speaker 41:26
it yeah, it flushes the system

Peter Richards 41:28
anyway. It does. But you also you know, you get running. So there is an optimum on a second talk you through the metrics of it.

Susie Barrie 41:35
But what I was going to say was I’m always the killjoy about these things. And I just like to get running and run and you know, I don’t tend to stop for wine or food or anything. Whereas Peter is brilliant and stops everywhere, has a glass of wine, every station, has his food, has a chat, and just enjoys the run, which I think is really the spirit in which you’re supposed to do that. And

Peter Richards 41:56
I think my guru in this logic is on top of brand cattanach, who sponsored we were part of the brain cancer act team in the middle of marathon. I remember sitting next to him the night before the Murdoch marathon and he tried to convince me that beautiful Gallic way that obviously you know, Ashley was better to drink wine round a marathon than not drink wine. And I was not believing any of this. But then I did the metaclass. And I thought well, okay, and actually, there was a chap who we met up afterwards, from the British wine tray, who was about 20 years older than us, he’d done it in half the time we had, and he drunk in all the stops. So I thought maybe there’s something in this. So the Bacchus half marathon since I’ve definitely tried that theory. And there’s something to it naturally, I don’t know what it is. But you definitely have to be in fancy dress. And this is the key, okay, Everyone misses this bit. But even if it’s a serious, long run, wear fancy dress, because that gets you out of everything. Everyone says, gosh, that’s a really bad time. But if you are wearing that, that’s amazing. And you can drink and no one worries about your time. So the key is just fancy dress.

Natalie MacLean 42:55
Absolutely. And I I walked the Bordeaux or the Murdoch marathon once. I’m not a runner at all, but I was dressed as a Canadian, I guess. But first, these eight guys, each holding up this massive wedding cake and one guy was at the top so they were carrying him so they passed me, you know, and all these people in Mega fancy dress and I’m optimised for being cool. And then finally, the last straw was when this elderly woman was pushing a catheter. She sort of crawled up past me I thought, oh my god, I’m just I’m not made for marathons. So anyway,

Susie Barrie 43:34
I shouldn’t really be laughing at that. But she was

Peter Richards 43:42
was eye opening, isn’t it in that sense? Firstly, for how much the French clearly relish dressing up, and especially how much French men like dressing up like racy with us.

Natalie MacLean 43:51
There’s a lot of ballerinas a lot of moustaches and ballerinas very intriguing.

Peter Richards 43:55
I think that needs exploring somehow in psychology, programme and podcast. Yeah, but also, you just sit up and on a sort of more serious point we’re so used to the Medoc being in Bordeaux being very straight laced very buttoned up, very smart, very serious. And you go for the middle marathon. And you look around and you’re on the care in the key side in polyak, you know, the headquarters of Sirius Bordeaux.

Unknown Speaker 44:19

Peter Richards 44:20
you know, there are gigantic stages with Samba dancers and 10,000 people dressed like idiots and have just having a great time in a wine part of the world. And you think Yeah, you know, this is good, we should never lose sight of this wine is about enjoyment. It’s about fun. And this kind of thing and getting together is just exactly the kind of thing that wine should be doing this exactly kind of thing that Bordeaux needs to do particularly.

Natalie MacLean 44:44
Absolutely, I agree and is this may dock as well where you’re Santos. Enough. I

Susie Barrie 44:49
mean, this is a little one, it’s in Winchester, which is where we live and it’s the santur fun run and it’s just a pipe that everybody does with their kids. And it’s in between December is it I can’t think when is, and it’s in anyway, it’s in Asia and a local charity, which is near my house. It’s called. And so it’s just a really lovely Fun Run round Winchester.

Peter Richards 45:10
And I think there’s no dress of Santa. So you get a Santa suit and you run a can’t see there, but I think I’m with one or two of the kids. And it’s just yeah, it’s just, as you can see, I make a really bad Santa.

Natalie MacLean 45:22
I think you’ve lost your beard.

Unknown Speaker 45:25
That’s great.

Natalie MacLean 45:32
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Susie and Peter. Here are my takeaways. One, I love listening to the journeys that brought both Susie and Peter from such different backgrounds to the world of wine. I feel that we all sort of stumbled into this world and then never want to leave it to I couldn’t agree more with their take that a great place to start learning about wine is through food pairing. And to heck with those who scoff at the notion, this. That’s why my online wine smart course focuses on pairings. And three, I enjoyed hearing how wine has affected their relationship. Beyond that share passion. And the story is about running the midok marathon that were so amusing. Wind bridges, so many cultures, regions and moments I love it. In the shownotes you’ll find how you can win a prize pack that includes a personally signed copy of their book on English wine, a lovely linen polishing cloth for your wine, stemware and a cheeky chef’s apron if you post your favourite line on your favourite social media channel before March 10. As well as a full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class where you can find me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the shownotes and Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 117 you won’t want to miss next week when we continue our lively discussion with Susie and Peter for the final part of our conversation, more juicy tips and stories. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 22 go back and take a listen. I go behind the scenes with my own process of tasting wine and writing about it. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. wine has given me an excuse to be extremely nosy and to ask impertinent questions that I would never ask. I’m an introvert, which is great for writing. But I also need a crutch and wine is my crutch not just personally, but professionally. It allows me to go into people’s homes to sit at their family dining tables, and to ask really blunt and sometimes embarrassing questions. And so wine has taken me into places that I would never have access to. Nor would my readers. And when I was on a book tour for my last book they said How on earth did you get into domain Romanee Conti comes out on sale at about a couple $1,000 a bottle. It’s not me who’s getting access. It’s the fact that I bring you, my readers with me. They want to reach you. They can’t accommodate all of you. So they let me and that’s how I get to ask those juicy questions.

If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the tips that Susie and Peter shared. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your class this week. post on social media about it, and you could win a lovely prize pack.

You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash subscribe, maybe here next week. Cheers