Elizabeth Schneider is all about bringing wine to the people. A Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine, she’s the guru/normal person behind Wine For Normal People, an Atlanta based wine blog/podcast/edutainment company that’s making big waves in the wine world. If you like wine, you should listen up…
Q. Best Atlanta spots for good, affordable wine?
A. I’ve got three places that I shop…one which always seems to surprise people.
1. Tower on Piedmont. If you like European wines, especially, they have a great selection and terrific prices. If you pay with cash or a debit card they knock off a bunch of money. Huge thumbs up from me.
2. Savi Urban Market in Inman Park. Not just because I do monthly classes here (shameless plug) but also because they have a huge selection of eclectic stuff at good prices. If you haven’t been here, it’s kind of like Atlanta’s version of New York’s Balducci’s. A great gourmet market with awesome wine.
3. And here’s the big surprise…Kroger Ansley (yes, this location only). Talk about a little known Atlanta secret! The guys that run this place basically operate an autonomous wine shop in the back of this in-need-of-an-upgrade florescent jungle. Head straight to the back of the store and you’ll have unbelievable choice at great prices (especially if you have a Kroger card — get one just for the wine if not). Their closeout section (near the sodas to the right of the main wine area) has deals that would make any wine lover go crazy. I got a very high end (second growth) Bordeaux for $49 a few months ago. It will be worth $300 in about 2 years! I love Joe and Woody!
Q. John Schneider, who played Bo Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard, is coming to Atlanta for a day, needs a tour guide, and is insistent that a fellow Schneider shows him around. What’s on the agenda?
A. To be clear, I’m not related to John, nor to the heirs of the Schneider trucking dynasty (although I wish I were). Also, although I’d be happy to show him around, I’m not wearing Daisy Dukes…but I digress.
I’m hoping that John’s palate is a little more developed now (I assume he drank Beast and Nattie Light in his DoH days) so we can have a good day of it and drink some great stuff.
I’d start with brunch at Murphy’s…with a requisite Mimosa (they use fresh squeezed OJ — yum) and maybe a glass or two of dry French Rosé, since it’s perfect for spring! A walk around Piedmont Park to get keep our Schneider physiques svelte and then we’d stop at the Botanical Gardens for some tranquility and natural beauty in the midst of midtown high rises. That should take us into the late afternoon, just in time to head to Ecco in Midtown for the best wine list and small bites in all of Atlanta. Since one of the best things about Atlanta is the people, I’d invite my favorite friends to come down and join us on the patio to try the unbelievable selections from the list in this Atlanta wine gem (more people = more chances to try their varied selection of wines).
After all that drinking, we’d have to have Luke Duke pick John/Bo up in the General Lee (I’d like to see him squeeze in the GL after all that great wine and food!).
Q. What’s your favorite wine these days?
A. The weather is getting warmer so I’m on a white kick right now. Verdejo from Rueda, Spain is at the top of my list for balmy days. It’s kind of “green” with lime and green herb flavors but it’s got a creamy texture and slight bitterness, which I totally love. It’s so awesome with cheese and with Marcona almonds. Yum.
Q. Favorite neighborhoods?
A. Ok, I’ll admit that I’m a Yankee. That means that the more walkable a neighborhood is, the more I like it. That puts Midtown and Virginia Highland at the top of my list. That said, I love my former neighborhood, Grant Park, for the incredible historic homes and amazing neighbors, and my new neighborhood, Morningside, for it’s total bucolic tranquility (I feel like I’m on vacation when I get home from the day!).
Q. What is Wine For Normal People, and why is it awesome?
A. Wine For Normal People is a many splendored thing. It’s an internationally followed blog and a podcast, and soon to be a book. It’s a wine edutainment company that teaches people about wine in an unbiased, down-to-earth way through private events and classes. Regardless of how people come to know it, the message is the same — it’s for people who like wine but not the snobbery that goes with it. What makes it awesome is that even though I’m a Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine, an MBA, and have years of experience in the California wine industry, I am really just a normal person who is passionate about wine and wants to share my knowledge and make people comfortable with the subject. I try to make people comfortable with wine and help them figure out what they like or don’t like without judgment. If you take the condescension out of wine and just look at it as an academic and sensory joy…or just fermented grapes, it’s a cool subject and one that you can never know everything about. A dork’s utopia!