A well-known and loved personality in the wine industry, Leslie Sbrocco (lesliesbrocco.com) just completed filming Season 15 of Check Please! Bay Area, which airs April 2 on KQED. She also just launched a new national television series entitled 100 Days, Drinks, Dishes & Destinations, which airs on more than 200 PBS affiliate stations nationwide. We catch up with her between shoots to get her thoughts on the industry, trends and everything wine country.
What got you into wine? I like to drink! Seriously, that’s how it all started. I moved to San Francisco to be a lawyer. When I got here, I panicked. I ended up doing commercials and television. I was actually the hand model poking the Pillsbury Doughboy! Around the same time, I became a passionate wine consumer. I wanted to marry my love of wine with media. And here I am!
Couple of favorite things to do while sipping? Cook dinner to relax after a long workday, spend time with my family and friends, and sit naked in the hot tub with a glass.
Wine is a drug and you help sell it. Do you consider yourself a drug dealer? Absolutely not. [laughs] I am an informational resource and a purveyor of palate pleasure. My whole goal is to educate and entertain.
What do you think the next trend in wine is going to be? I hope the new trend is the old idea that wine can be part of a balanced lifestyle. What concerns me is that people are demonizing wines because of health concerns. But you can enjoy wine in moderation.
Word on the street is there is a big move away from ‘cult cabs’ and expensive wines. Are you seeing that? I think there will always be a market for those wines, but not many can afford a $100-plus bottle often. Wine should be affordable too. Many people can drink a $15 bottle of rosé regularly, for example. And I have long been a lover of pink. A number of years ago, I even appeared on the TV show LA Ink to have a glass of rosé bubbly tattooed on my leg.
What do you think the millennial market is looking for? Options. Millennials want wine to be something that’s part of their sipping profile, not the only thing. Beer, cocktails, nonalcoholic drinks, cannabis… each one offers something different. That’s why I don’t think millennials will be the savior of the wine industry; there’s too much choice out there.
How do you see cannabis interacting with wine? There is a tremendous synergy between the two in terms of people looking to enjoy, to feel good, to relax. I have a rogue bottle gifted to me with THC, CBD and alcohol. I realize I need to be at home to have a few glasses of that one.
Craft beer and spirits are on the rise. How do you see that affecting wine? I love wine, but I adore gin. And I’m excited to see the spirits renaissance. If you enjoy wine, you might also enjoy gin, tequila, whiskey—for the taste, for the exploration, for the adventure of it.
What gets you the most views on Instagram? I post daily and that includes iconic destination shots, bottles or labels I’m imbibing, food I’m eating, but the most interaction comes from pictures of me. Not staged, faux images; authentic shots of real life.
One word when you hear the words ‘White Claw’? Naw.
Photography by: KQED/Courtesy of Leslie Sbrocco; Jeff Siepman via Unsplash.com