So what have you got up to in lockdown? Started any new hobbies, learnt some new skills? Well Chuck Cramer, who by day heads up California’s Terlato Wines in the UK & Europe, has launched his own podcast series – On The Road, in partnership with The Buyer. Here he explains what it has been like, how he has attracted movie and rock stars to take part, as well as leading wine figures to talk about all things California and why he is particularly pleased this week to have spoken to Rex Pickett author of the iconic Sideways.
Chuck Cramer was born with the gift of the gab, so if anyone in the wine trade was going to make a success of a weekly podcast, it was the all talking, all American, all Californian Chuck.
You are now into Series 2 of your podcast On The Road – for those that don’t know it, why should they give it a listen?
There are loads of really good wine podcasts out there and I listen to a few, however, On The Road with Chuck Cramer is unique since I zero in on Californian wine and and its awesome lifestyle. We’ve got the beaches, weather, celebrities and 140 AVAs that produce stellar wine.
Why did you want to do your own podcast?
On The Road was born out of the first lockdown, way back in March 2020, which feels like a lifetime ago. I view the podcast as an extension of my work with Terlato Wines. I really enjoy what I do and hope that this passion comes across when I’m out selling & on the podcast. The podcast gives me a platform to talk about my home State, the people who make wine and the wines that I sell for the Terlato family.
How did you go about working out to put one together?
Loads and loads of research, bouncing ideas off friends, and a lot of support from friends and my kids. I guess the podcast started with me. I’m in a fairly unique position, being a native Californian (fourth generation Los Angelino) and selling Californian wine in Europe.
Any advice for anyone looking to start a podcast and what they should or shouldn’t do?
Pat Flynn is a great resource. His podcast, Smart Passive Income, offers seminars on how to start your own podcast. He also offers a free, ‘cheat sheet’ to help you get off the ground. Do your research, and stay at it. It’s hard work yet enjoyable.
What equipment do you need?
A really good microphone and headset. I also recommend www.alitu.com to edit the interviews and www.buzzsprout.com to host your podcast. I do it all on my own, and don’t farm it out editing etc as of now…it’s expensive.
How do you pick your guests and what do you most want to get out of them?
Picking guests has been fun and easy. I’m lucky because I’ve made loads of friends and mates in the wine business. They all have been super supportive. Terlato has been a great resource since we’ve got fantastic and well known winemakers, in addition to people who work at the company.
I want my guests to have fun, and share their knowledge with the listener. Each has invaluable insight to offer people who work in the trade and for everyone who enjoys wine.
This week you are interviewing the author Rex Pickett famous for his book, film and play Sideways – how did you get him involved? (Click here to listen to the episode).
I met Rex four years ago when he brought Sideways, the Play to the St James Theatre in London. Sanford was the wine sponsor, and we had Sanford served at the bar and on stage with the actors during its run over the summer of 2016. After a few of the performances, we held wine tastings in a mezzanine area with Rex, the actors and the producers.
I got to talk about our Sanford Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, while Rex shared a few stories with everyone. It was a lot of fun.
What did you talk about on the podcast?
On the podast, Rex and I chatted about his new novel, The Archivist that is being released this year, the launch of a new range of Sideways wines, and of course, about his book, Sideways that started a whole wine cult movement. Rex also opened up about a new Sideways project yet you’ll have to listen to my podcast if you want to find out…it’s exciting stuff.
You are talking to people outside the wine industry – who and why?
I had my brother in law, Cliff Hubbard, a retired battalion fire chief out of San Jose, CA on the podcast to give insight in to how these Californian fires are fought…which was wine related. He’s been on the front lines of these fires.
I enjoyed having a high school buddy on the show, Bill Gould, bass player & founding member of Faith No More so we could chat about his Serbian Rakija, Yebiga, that he’s launched in the States.
I also had an old friend, Jonathan Frakes, movie director & actor on the podcast to talk about his career in the movie business.
The podcast definitely focuses on wine yet it’s been fun to branch out?
You’re right, the podcast focuses on wine yet also the Californian lifestyle, which you can’t find elsewhere…and that’s why I have some of the guests featured above. It’s fun, entertaining and gives the listener a glimpse in to our way of life in California.
Any other big hitters you have on your hit list in the wine industry who you want to call out to?
I’ve had all our winemakers from Terlato on, except for Marisa Taylor…I want her on soon, so will send this to her as a reminder.
I do have a big name in the entertainment business that I’m hoping to nail down…yet still waiting – Henry Awin, you reading this!? I did reach out to Francis Ford Coppola, but he’s going to be a long shot. I would love to get his granddaughter on as well, Gia.
Perhaps George Clooney if he is not too busy. We could talk movies, wine and sip some of his tequila. Unfortunately, I don’t have a budget to pay guests, so we’ll have to see how far that goes.
I’ve got some big names coming up in the trade that I’m excited to have on. Following up on Rex Pickett, I’ve got Amelia Singer and the Knackered Mother herself, Helen McGinn on the podcast over the next two weeks..
What other podcasts do you listen to?
Several: The Binge Factor, Smart Passive Income, Advantage Connors, ESPN, Where Wine Takes You (Paso Robles), Mr Wine Guy, Dennis Miller, Wine Enthusiast, Good For You, Jim Rhone, Dueling Pistols, Wine Blast with Peter Richards MW and Susie Barrie MW.
What’s been the funniest interview you have done?
Two interviews come to mind, although I normally have a good laugh during each interview. The first was with Anat Gotfried, episode 11, when she was marketing manager for the Dueling Pistols brand. We just hit it off. Somehow, South Africa came up towards the end of the interview, and we both thought that it might not be a good idea to have Dueling Pistols in South Africa. It was just a funny moment. We couldn’t stop laughing.
The other was when I asked Laura Roach (assistant winemaker at Sanford) what she drank too much of during her university days and she gave a California sparkling wine as her answer, while I was stuck guzzling Coors Light as a university student. I almost fell off my chair laughing.
You managed to get Talk Radio’s Kevin O Sullivan on your show having been on his…how did that happen?
Damien Jackman and Justine McGovern of the California Wine Institute set that up. They called and asked me if I wanted to be a guest on Kevin’s show to talk about the California fires. It was an awesome experience. So I simply asked him if he wanted to return the favour and come on my show. And he did. ( You can listen to the podcast here when he talks about the time he spent working in Los Angeles, covering major stories like the OJ Simpson trial). Since then, Kevin’s asked me back on to come and taste three of our Terlato California wines for Thanksgiving.
Anything gone wrong you want to share?
Nothing too major. Other than the fact that I was pretty nervous doing the first couple interviews. Doing some live stand up comedy in the past, certainly helped. Yet, it’s a different ballgame when you’re interviewing someone. It’s been a fun ride and I’ll keep at it, every Thursday, rain, sunshine or lockdown. I really appreciate the support of yourself and The Buyer helping to promote it as well as everyone in the trade, friends and family. I enjoy what I do for a living…I’m lucky.
Tell us about your day job working for Terlato Wines?
For the Terlato family, I manage the European and Middle East Business for our Californian wine brands that are available for distribution over here. I set up relationships with our distributor partners and support them on the ground, be it selling cases, promoting the brands, doing staff training, hosting wine dinners.
Anything that can help sell wine…including the On The Road podcast.