Podcast audiences are rapidly growing both in Italy and worldwide. Meanwhile, podcasts have already become mainstream media in some countries (such as in the United States where the majority of Italian Wine Podcast listeners reside). Additionally, advertisers increasingly turn to podcasts as a means to pitch goods and services to a committed, self-selected audience. The term “podcast” refers to an audio recording, stored in digital format, that listeners may access at their leisure. Often, recordings tell a story, document a conversation, or otherwise communicate some idea or information through spoken word. Listeners stream or download these recordings from their website of choice or through any number of smart phone applications. The Italian Wine Podcast now boasts over 250 recorded episodes with a growing online following. The show is approaching its third year as the only English language podcast dedicated to inviting listeners from around the globe into the rich world of Italian wine culture.
Monty Waldin interviews Lamberto Frescobaldi of Marchesi Frescobaldi. Each Italian Wine Podcast episode features a key player in the Italian wine industry.
The Italian Wine Podcast audience has continued to grow rapidly—especially throughout 2019 and into early 2020. This trend appears to coincide with heightened interest in podcasts within Italy. Still, the majority of Italian Wine Podcast listeners reside in the United States where podcast listening has for years been a mainstream form of media consumption. This hands-free mode of absorbing information serves as a way to enrich commutes, chores, walks, or other activities. According to a Voxnest report, citing Spreaker (one of many online podcast hosting and streaming platforms) data, podcast “plays” in Italy grew from 60,000 per day to 160,000 per day over the course of 2019. Meanwhile, monthly podcast plays reportedly grew from 27 million to 55 million globally.
The explosion of podcasts now on offer to listeners worldwide was readily apparent at wine2wine 2019, the business-to-business forum for wine sector professionals organized by Veronafiere. A dedicated panel discussion, moderated by Italian Wine Podcast host Monty Waldin, included fellow wine podcasters Chris Scott, Elizabeth Schneider, and Lawrence Francis, each with their own program format and particular approach to wines of the World. Those present were treated to a conversation touching on audience growth, education, and social sustainability. Lawrence Francis, specifically, sees podcasts as adding value to the wine industry, saying, in conversation with Monty Waldin: “I’m producing something that has value to the business community out there, to the wine business community really, first and foremost… Are you reaching the people you need to? Are you needing to reach people all around the World? I know I have 30% listeners in the UK, 30% in the U.S. A lot of wine-producing regions, a lot of wine producers and countries, they want to reach those markets.” The relationship amongst podcasters remains exceptionally collegial and practitioners see room for growth given the size of global markets still unfamiliar with the medium.
As the Italian Wine Podcast prepares to celebrate its third birthday, producers are working to schedule more interviews and more content for the coming year. Host Monty Waldin will record episodes during mid-April to coincide with Vinitaly as the top professionals working in the Italian wine industry gather in Verona, Italy. The podcast will continue to offer publicly available content on a regular schedule. Additional content including audio recordings, early releases of material, and recording outtakes will roll out for paying subscribers.
The business-to-business forum wine2wine 2019 featured a panel discussion including Chris Scott (second from left), Elizabeth Schneider (second from right), and Lawrence Francis (right). Monty Waldin (left) moderated.
In addition to entertainment, the Italian Wine Podcast aims to educate the world regarding Italian wines and viticulture. Vinitaly International Academy Chief Scientist, Professor Attilio Scienza, commonly stops by the Italian Wine Podcast studio to record strictly educational interviews. Professor Scienza is the top authority on Italian viticulture, oenology, and vine genetics, and the Italian Wine Podcast is one of the few English language sources making his knowledge and insight available to audiences outside of Italy. Professor Scienza delves into grape varieties, vine lineage and history, anthropologic and historical factors impacting grape proliferation, soil science, and terroir (among other topics). Though Professor Scienza speaks multiple languages, he does not speak English, hence, Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Approved Program Provider, Rebecca Lawrence, steps in as the voice of Attilio Scienza for the English language version of the podcast.
Educational podcast episodes featuring Professor Attilio Scienza have been grouped into an “album” titled Italian Wine Essentials and together comprise a lecture series of sorts. Other series include Let’s Talk Wine Business, Natural Wine, Wine Co-ops, and Education Meets Business. Additionally, series dedicated to the individual regions of Italy introduce listeners to the quintessential wine producers living and working in each of those regions. For example, the Tuscany series features Lamberto Frescobaldi, of Marchesi Frescobaldi, and a discussion regarding a project within Gorgona Island prison whereby residents work a small vineyard and learn skills to ease their transition back into society. Meanwhile, in the Piedmont series, Gaia Gaja, of Gaja Estates, discusses the history of her family’s winery, the Barbaresco terroir, and recent projects moving into Tuscany and Sicily.
Wine writer and personality Monty Waldin hosts the Italian Wine Podcast. Monty initially got interested in environmentally conscious wines as he and his family used to grow their own organic vegetables. He used this experience to become the first writer to specialize in organic and biodynamic wines and he’s since published multiple books on the subject, won book awards (such as a 2004 James Beard Award), lived and worked on multiple continents, and even appeared on the reality television program Château Monty.
Each Italian Wine Podcast episode lasts approximately 20 minutes and features an interview with a special guest involved in the world of Italian wine. This format differentiates the show from other podcasts that focus on other countries or wines in general. Host Monty Waldin’s conversational tone and wit help tease out interesting stories from wine producers, personalities, and businesspeople, while allowing the listener a glimpse inside some unique segment of the wine industry. All interviews are recorded and distributed in English language in order to promote a global understanding and appreciation of Italian wine culture.
Italian Wine Podcast: Cin Cin with Italian Wine People! is a podcast project dedicated exclusively to the Italian wine World. Wine writer Monty Waldin uncovers the unique Italian wine-making tradition in conversation with some of its key protagonists. Italian Wine Podcast aims to inform, educate, and entertain listeners about Italian wine. Italian Wine Podcast is available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, XimalayaFM (for China), and on the show’s official website. Listeners interested in providing feedback may access a demographic survey on the podcast website. Donations are also appreciated to help fund technical equipment, production, and publication costs. Those interested in advertising with the Italian Wine Podcast should request a prospectus or additional information from [email protected]