I’ll Drink to That: Ronnie Sanders of Vine Street Imports

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Episode 338 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Ronnie Sanders the President and Founder of Vine Street Imports.

Ronnie Sanders began getting interested in Australian wine in the mid-1990s, before the boom years that saw huge Parker points lavished on many wines from there and before the subsequent surge in sales in the American market. As an Australian wine importer, Ronnie also survived what happened next, which was a massive market crash as Americans lost interest in higher end Australian wine and there even developed a backlash against the category. Ronnie recounts in this interview that he was often told by prospective customers that he should not even bother opening his sample bag if he intended to show Australian wines. In that dismal atmosphere a number of Australian wine importers went out of business, but Ronnie held on, and it seems like the tide may be turning again as some Americans now embrace Australian wines, this time turning to a new wave of Australian producers employing Natural wine methods, whole cluster ferments, and long skin macerations to develop more textural wines. Why does Ronnie think he was able to hold on to a business when others couldn’t, and is there sufficient reason to get excited once again about Australian wine in the American market? Ronnie has a lot of answers to those questions to share in this interview. If you are curious about the current state of affairs for Australian wine, this is a key episode to listen to.

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

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to 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