An NPR Interview featuring Keith Wallace on Wine Myths

Posted by Keith Wallace


Michelle Norris of All Things Considered interviews Keith Wallace about wine myths.

The story originally aired on All Things Considered (NPR) on December 11, 2009.  The article is reprinted solely for educational purposes.  It is intended to offer insight into the history of wine education in Philadelphia and our place within that context.  


It the time now for your comments about our program. My recent interview with Keith Wallace, founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, led some listeners in wine country to choke on their merlot. Mr. Wallace argues that our image of winemaking is outdated. He says, don’t think about beautiful chateaus surrounded by vineyards; think something akin to industrial mass production. Well, his description did not sit well with some of the California producers he named.

Randy Ullom is the wine master at Kendall-Jackson, which makes a range of popular wines. He writes: Contrary to your guest’s assertions; wines are not made in factories. They are made in wineries. Without defining what he meant by real wineries, he invented imaginary ones, images of huge silos in mass production and industrial processes, and then assigned them to wineries that are not like that. Kendall-Jackson, a family-run winery, for example, serves a huge demand for its quality wine but handcrafts it one small, 60-gallon barrel at a time.

Jerry Lohr, who founded J. Lohr Wines, also felt Keith Wallace was off the mark. Our approach is the same as a small winery, writes Mr. Lohr. We have more barrels, more tanks, do more pumpovers, and have more bottling days to manage than our boutique wine-growing brethren.

Now, on to one more story – this time with some NPR history. Yesterday, we spoke to our colleague from the science desk, Joe Palca. He had the opportunity to attend the Nobel Prize festivities in Stockholm. Joe explained that it was not just a special trip for him but also our organization. He said it was the first time he knew that NPR had gone to the ceremony. Well, not so fast, Joe.
NOAH ADAMS: Here’s a story that’s told perhaps (unintelligible), perhaps not.

NORRIS: That is our very own Noah Adams. Back in 1976 we sent Noah to Stockholm for the Nobel ceremony. Here he is giving us a sense of prize’s past.

NOAH ADAMS: In 1913, the literature award winner was the Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore. He arrived here at this spot, wearing white robes. He had a long white beard, wearing sandals, and was leading on a leash a goat.

NORRIS: We stand corrected on our institutional memory. And whether you were listening in 1976 or born after 1976, we don’t care, we want to hear from you. Send us an email. Come to our Web site. Visit, and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.

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