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I’ll Drink to That: Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine

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Episode 290 of I’ll Drink to That has been posted, and it features Christy Canterbury. Christy is an MW who writes on wine topics for various publications, does speaking engagements related to wine, consults for restaurants and retail, and participates in wine judging competitions. She is based in New York.

This interview covers a lot of ground, as Christy has worked in several different areas of the wine business. She recalls, for instance, the major push by retailers into high end wines that followed the last big financial downturn. Why the move into the expensive wines from retail when the financial markets were in decline? The answer is simple if you were looking at it from her perspective on the inside of that market: high end consumers were fleeing restaurants markups on top wines, and instead purchasing them at retail. At the same time, more wine was available for purchase by retailers, as the restaurant buyers were in retreat. This is exactly the kind of insight that you don’t get unless you ask someone who was there and was a buyer at the time. There is also a discussion of Christy’s experiences preparing for the Master of Wine exam, a process which took her 7 years, and cost her an estimated $60,000. Does that seem like a lot of time or a lot of money? Maybe something to consider if you yourself are thinking about pursuing an MW. And the interview also discusses Christy’s role as a restaurant group wine buyer for outfits like Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges and Smith & Wollensky. What are the attributes and skills necessary for a national level buyer? Christy comments on that, in addition to providing some advice to those who might be doing such work. But maybe most fascinating was the conversation about Christy’s time spent working as a female American sommelier in Muslim countries like Qatar and Turkey — an entirely other world that it is hard to even imagine without talking to someone who was there. And Christy was.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out in iTunes.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s leading wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine