Episode 423 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Elena Pantaleoni, the proprietor of the La Stoppa winery in Italy’s Emilia region.
Sometimes an I’ll Drink to That! episode isn’t as directly about wine as you might think. Sometimes the topics explored might be regional markets, or demographics. This comes up a lot in Sherry episodes, for instance, where a changing market for the product is often addressed. Or sometimes an episode is more about leadership. The Aubert de Villaine episode has elements of that: discussion with a great business leader about what it is they do. Also the Danny Meyer interview. You might add to the list of IDTT episodes that could be Harvard Business School case studies the recent episode with Elena Pantaleoni. Elena takes a more intuitive approach than some who have successfully navigated a crowded marketplace, but her principles could apply in any field. Look for what makes your product unique, and if you can’t find it, ask yourself why you are enacting a copy. Don’t apologize for what makes your wine stand out, embrace it. And work with people who value what you do. It isn’t Rocket Science, but these are the core beliefs of someone that has repeatedly been ahead of the pack in her field, making decisions that some onlookers originally considered foolish. Following these ideas was what led Elena to remove international grape varieties from her vineyard back in the 1990s, exactly when Super Tuscans were at the height of their fame. She embraced Natural Wine way before it became popular in Italy. And she brought an Orange Wine to the table that has become her number one export. Of course Elena explains all of this much better than it can be summarized here, and for good reason: these are concepts that became part of her life, and which developed out of her experience. If you are curious how to join the intuitive portion of the wine world with a business success, Elena is a good source to refer to.
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: @leviopenswine