Ever meet someone with a magnetic personality?
You know – the kind of person who has a zest for life, where positive energy flows freely and their smile brightens up a room.
This is how I felt when I met Leslie Sbrocco.
I was standing in the beverage line at a food and wine show when I overheard all this excitement and laughter coming from this one beverage booth. They were clearly having a party and I wanted in. I made my way over the booth and asked, “Who are you guys?” Well, I learned, it was the Thirsty Girl booth and they are in the business of parties, laughter and plain old, enjoying life.
I mingled my way through the booth and was ultimately introduced to Leslie Sbrocco. I didn’t know much about Leslie but something told me to ask her for an interview – which I did – and I dropped my card. Lucky for me (and you), she agreed to an interview.
About Leslie Sbrocco
Leslie Sbrocco is an award-winning author, speaker, wine consultant, television host and founder of the new multi-media company, Thirsty Girl. Leslie has made a living drinking wine, traveling, eating and having fun. She is such an inspiration and gives me hope that if you keep doing what you love you really can have the life you always wanted.
Some of Leslie’s books include, Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine and The Simple and Savvy Wine Guide. She is currently working on her third book, Adventures of a Thirsty Girl. Leslie’s published works include Redbook, Family Circle, O the Oprah magazine, Woman’s Day and Good Housekeeping (swoon!) She also hosts a PBS Series, Check Please! for which she won a coveted James Beard award (one of my ultimate goals), two Tasty Awards and three Emmy Awards. You may have also seen Leslie on NBC’s Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. In addition to her book and television work, Sbrocco is a sought-after speaker for high-profile events and corporate functions and a wine consultant for major companies such as Harry & David, the Kimpton Hotel Group and Virgin American Airlines.
GGG Interviews Leslie Sbrocco
After a little stalking (by me), a ton of emails and text messages back and forth, and an early morning wake-up call Leslie and I finally had a chance to chat at length where we talked about a ton of stuff – life, Thirsty Girl, work and wine. Leslie has created the kind of career we should all be so lucky to have – she truly loves her work and it shows. If there is anyone who fits with the whole vibe of Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps – it’s Leslie.
Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps (GGG): “How did you get involved with the wine and spirits industry?”
Leslie Sbrocco (LS): ” My real interest in wine did not peak until I moved to California. While living in San Francisco, I started visiting lots of wineries and tasting as much as possible. That eventually led me to follow my passion and find a way to turn wine into a career. I entered into the wine community and started working as a consultant in 1996. I consider this my official start since this is when I received my first paycheck as a wine consultant. I said to myself, ‘hey, I can make a living doing this,’ and have been doing just that for the past 15 years.”
Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps (GGG): “You have two books with one in the works, tell me about them.”
Leslie Sbrocco (LS): “My first book, ‘Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine‘ was written in 2003 and is the go-to guide for women who love wine. My second book, ‘The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide: Buying, Pairing, and Sharing for All’ was written in 2006 is a portable guide for top wine picks. I am working on my third book, ‘Adventures of a Thirsty Girl’ which sparked the creation of Thirsty Girl, a company I created along with my long-time business partner, Gail.”
Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps (GGG): “What is Thirsty Girl?”
Leslie Sbrocco (LS): “Thirsty Girl is a social group for women who love wine, food and fun. It is this generation’s version of the ‘Red Hat Ladies.’ It’s a free, membership driven company where women can get together with other women in their community to connect and share their passions and explore their dreams. It’s all about life and how to drink it up.”
GGG: “What made you create Thirsty Girl? How did you come up with its concept?’
LS: “The concept of Thirsty Girl really came from my book, ‘Adventures of a Thirsty Girl.’ I would start to tell people about my book and these funny stories about my life and my adventures in the wine world. After hearing about the book people would respond with, ‘I’m a Thirsty Girl‘ and it just took on a life of its own. We realized Thirsty Girl was more than just a book title. From there we started the company and it’s been going for about two and a half years now.”
GGG: “Tell me about the typical ‘Thirsty Girl”
LS: “Thirsty Girls can be anyone. We have women in our community from all ages to all parts of the United States. We have chapter locations in cities such as Boston, Seattle, Denver and Chicago. The women span all generations but our sweet spot is most likely in the 28-48 year old age range. We have industry people in our community and those outside of the wine industry. There are corporate and professional members, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home moms and home-based businesses. We are a community of women. We are driven by women and we respond to what women want, whether it be events, education or products. It is all about wine and the lifestyle.”
GGG: “What happens once someone signs up to become a Thirsty Girl?”
LS: “Women can sign up to be part of the community at www.thirstygirl.com. From there they receive a confirmation and become part of the on-line community. If they have a Chapter already established in their area they can link up with that Chapter and attend regular events right in their community. If a Chapter does not exist, they can start one. We have all the information they need to start a Chapter right on our website. It’s really a lot of fun. ”
Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps (GGG): “So many people feel intimidated when it comes to wine. How can someone improve their Wine IQ?”
Leslie Sbrocco (LS): “The big key to getting smarter about wine is to taste, taste, taste. Hold wine tastings with your friends and discover the nuances of wine. Follow my tips on hosting a wine party or forming a group. Then learn how to taste like a pro:
- Step One: Put together your group and pick a regular meeting date. My tasting club meets once a month.
- Step Two: Set a budget and pick a theme. Have everyone buy a bottle in a certain price range or chip in money and the host buys all the bottles. Chardonnay is a great place to begin because there are so many options for the themes such as wines that say California on the label, cool weather wines or Sonoma and Napa nights.
- Step Three: When people arrive the host should bag the bottles or cover with foil and number them. This is called blind tasting and it helps you focus on the wine without any preconceived ideas of place, price or producer.
- Step Four: Set out spit buckets, which can anything from paper cups to plastic buckets and glasses. I use kid’s sand pails at my house
- Step Five: Make sheets with the following information for each wine which you will fill out while blind tasting: Wine #, Color, Aromas, Flavors, Overall Impression. Then, make a second set of sheets to fill out once each wine is unbagged to include: Name of producer, Type of Wine, Country/Region, Year, Cost and Goes Great With
- Step Six: Put out some nibbles and start smelling, spitting and tasting.
Also, check out two of my favorite videos to learn more about tasting, pairing and enjoying wine.”
Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps (GGG): “Those were some great tips. So, what are your top five well-priced wines for the holidays?”
Leslie Sbrocco (LS): “Here are my top five well-priced wines for the holidays.”
Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps (GGG): “You’ve been so great to talk to and so inspirational. Lastly, what can others learn from your success?”
Leslie Sbrocco (LS): “I drink wine for a living. You can do anything you want to do. All you need to ask yourself is, ‘what do I want to do’ and ‘how do I get there?’ Once you have the answers to these two questions you can do anything.
I can’t thank Leslie enough for taking time out of her crazy-busy schedule to talk with me. Not once did Leslie ask the typical questions I get asked when I make a request – How many followers do you have? What are your blog stats? She truly wanted to share some of what she learned through her own ‘Adventures of a Thirsty Girl,’ and continues to spread her message on Life, drink it up.