Podcast – Interview with Alison Scofield

We’re going to the tasting room in this episode. Listen to Ute’s interview with Alison Scofield, who works at Alloro Vineyard in Sherwood, Oregon. Alison is a wine enthusiast who loves to talk, learn, and teach about wine.

You can also find her on Instagram. Check out her profile to connect with her.

For a good time and wonderful wine, visit Alloro!

Intro and Outro by Celine Mitchell. Please contact us at info@thruthegrapewine.com if you want to work with Celine.

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Full episode transcript:
Welcome to the Thru the Grapewine podcast today with your host Ute. Ali just finished her half marathon in Eugene, and she’s going to take an extra day to recover, but she will be right back here with us next week. Please consider giving us a five star rating if you love our podcast, and we are just gonna jump right into it.

We’re going into the tasting room today, which is kind of more my domain, so I’m really. Excited. Our guest is Alison Scofield and she is a tasting room associate for Alloro Vineyards, one of my favorite vineyards in Sherwood, in the Willamette Valley. We’re going to chat with her about what it’s like to do this customer facing work, and of course we’re going to find out a little bit more about Alison too.

So welcome Alison.

Alison Scofield: Hi, Ute. Thank you for having me here. I’m so excited to be chatting with you today.

Ute: I am excited too, especially, and we can tell this to our listeners. We’ve had this interview before and we couldn’t use it because of the sound,

Alison Scofield: so we’re trying round two.

Ute: Yes, we are doing round two, and this time it’s gonna work.

Alison Scofield: Fingers, yes. Everything is crossed today.

Ute: Exactly. Fingers, toes. So tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from, and how did you get into this industry?

Alison Scofield: Yeah, so, I am a new Oregonian. I just moved to Oregon with my family in September of ’22, so just about seven months here, now.

I’m kind of from all over though. I was born in Michigan and then we ended up moving to Florida when I was little, and so I grew up there and then I met my husband, who’s from Northern Minnesota. We spent about two years in Missouri before we moved to Minnesota. So I call those like my buffer years in between getting me used to winter.

You know, that is definitely something you need to acclimate to. And then, yeah, so we moved to Minnesota right after we got married and spent 13 years there, had our daughter and, you know, kind of started our family there. But those winters got very, very tiring for me. So last April, just about a year ago, we came out to Oregon, to the Willamette Valley for little, vacation, little wine tasting trip. Just he and I, and I absolutely fell in love. And I had been doing a lot of wine certifications at that point, so I just kind of like looked at him like, “Hey, You know, we don’t have to live in Minnesota, right? We don’t have to freeze every, you know, every winter for six months. So yeah, let’s take a look at Oregon and see, see what we can get into.”

Ute: Yeah. You know, that’s very similar to how we ended up moving to Oregon. I lived in Arizona for six years with my husband and in 2001 we came up here and traveled and, you know, just Portland and the Gorge and drank some wine and drove up the coast and it was just so beautiful.

And we were like, “Oh my gosh, this place is amazing. We are gonna have to move up there someday. “And someday it was just not happening because he couldn’t really find work. And so the company that he worked for at the time, he told them, “Hey, I wanna be a consultant for you guys. I wanna move to Portland. What do you think?”

And they were like, “Oh, well, you know, as long as you do the same stuff, it works for us.” And so five years later, we packed our bags and moved up here.

Alison Scofield: Well, that is amazing. Something happened a little sooner for us, though. I think it was July when I applied for the position with Alloro and they offered me the position and then we sold our house and moved out and were here by September.

So it was kind of a whirlwind. So hectic.

Ute: So a little bit faster than five years.

Well, I’m very happy you’re here. It was definitely so great to just kind of keep running into you at, you know, Oregon Wine Symposium and then of course at Alloro as well.

So you have quite an astonishing list of acronyms that you’ve earned to place in your signature line. So were those certifications you took altogether? One after another?

I’d really love to hear a little bit about how you chose that education path for you.

Alison Scofield: Yeah. You know, I did not really even know that that was a thing, that wine education was something to actually study and that you could get these certifications. So I mentioned when we lived in Missouri for two years, we started going out to wineries there in Augusta and Herman with some of our family there.

And that’s kind of where my wine love really started. But when we moved to Minnesota, we were in a very small town. It was all kind of, you know, grocery stores. You know, your regular kind of liquor stores, nothing really, super exciting happening there. So, you know, fast forward 10 years or so, and it wasn’t until the pandemic happened and, you know, we were all spending a lot more time on our phones and I’m kind of scrolling through Instagram and I don’t know if I put in something that I liked wine or I liked something about wine, but I started seeing a lot more wine.

People, Instagrammers kind of popping up and seeing, you know, things about the WSET or the Wine Spirit and Education Trust and it just kind of struck me like, “Oh, that’s something interesting, something I could do. And you know, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands now.” So I did a little bit more research and signed up for the WSET level one, and then man, it just kind of really took off from there.

I did level two right away after that. And then ended up moving over to the Wine Scholar Guild for their courses on France and Spain and Italy. Mostly because where we were living, you know, we were pretty far away from anywhere, basically. But any kind of schools that would offer the in-person, like testing or tasting.

The, the closest one was in, you know, Minneapolis, which was about three and a half, four hours away from us, so my kind of, my reasoning behind picking the courses that I did was because they all offered tests that I could take online from home. So that was, you know, that was a huge plus to me. So it wasn’t until we moved here that I had more of the in-person opportunities. So right now I’m taking WSET level three, which is… Yeah. That’s a whole beast.

Ute: Yeah. Isn’t it though? Oh my God.

Alison Scofield: Yeah. Those short written answer questions might just be the death of me, but we’ll see.

Ute: I feel that to my very core.

Alison Scofield: Yes. I’m practicing quite a bit.

My hand feels like it’s gonna fall off all the time, but, yeah, I’m, I’m committed to taking the test kind of right at the end of the, the course, if you will. It’s still online, but the exam and the tasting portion is going to be in person here in Portland.

Ute: Right. Yeah. And it’s so amazing how the tasting portion that I was so scared of turned out to be the easy part.

Blind tasting. I think that, to me was just a whole different thing because I had never done it before and you know, it was, I. Or it, I had never done it before WSET two. We did at that point with my study group, do a little bit of blind tasting, but never, you know, anything that I had to do in an exam.

And so I was so scared of it. And yeah, I should have been much more scared of the written portion than the tasting.

Alison Scofield: Yeah. I mean, this might be foolish of me to even say this, but I’m, I’m not so concerned about the blind tasting portion at this point. I think that blind tasting is a really interesting tool to have in your toolbox.

I think if you are working in the wine industry and you know how to like assess quality kind of from that standard instead of, yeah. Knowing, like, oh, this is, you know, this wine from this producer, so it’s going to be good. And having those kind of preconceived notions before you come into it. That can really kind of skew your, your opinions.

Yeah, my, a lot of my own wine tasting, cuz like I said, we were living somewhere that I had very little access to any good quality wine, so I was having lots of wine shipped to me, you know, wine.com, et cetera. I was tasting a lot of things by myself, so I didn’t really know, you know, what was good, what was bad, just kind of my own personal palate at that point.

But tasting a variety of things, you really start to, get a grasp for how certain regions are, certain countries and then doing more blind tasting. With that in mind, I think it really, you know, helps to know, oh, well cool climate, you know, Riesling it’s going to have this super high acidity, whereas like a, you know, warm climate or a hot climate Shiraz, right? That’s gonna be like super big and it’s gonna be kinda spicy.

And then just kind of knowing that, how that tastes on your palate, that is, it’s very helpful in, you know, going forward if you wanna work in wine, in, you know, various different aspects. So, yeah. So I kinda, I love the whole blind tasting thing.

I think it, it’s a lot of fun. It’s very humbling, but I think it is fun.

Ute: It is fun, and it is also a really great way to assess a wine regardless of whether or not you like it personally. I think that was something that was a whole new experience for me. And that is also actually something that helped me to expand my palate and, you know, kind of branch out into some wines that I knew in the past I didn’t like and, you know, there and, and to now tell. Or, or say for myself, here is why I don’t care for it, but I can still assess the wine, its acidity and what the flavors are and what the, the finish is. And so it’s, it’s fun. It’s definitely a good, good time and I haven’t done it in way too long.

So when I saw your Instagram post that you met with like a group of people to do blind tasting, I was like, oh my gosh, I really need to do that again.

Alison Scofield: Yes. That is so fun. So every month I participate with, Kendeigh from The Grape Grind on Instagram. She has a, there’s a, you know, kind of a group of us we meet via Zoom, and she sends you four wines.

You can also choose just two, so two or four. And they’re all wrapped up, so we don’t see what they are. And then yeah, we go through via Zoom, you know, as a group and we kind of get our couple of minutes by ourself to kind of assess the wine and then we kind of reconvene as, you know, the group and kind of talk about the wine and what we think it is, what our calls are going to be, and then we unwrap it all together and either like, yay, you got it right, or, oh, okay. Better luck next time.

Ute: Yeah. Well that’s so cool that you get that wine sent to you all packed up and everything so you don’t see it. I love that.

Alison Scofield: Yeah. And it’s kind of funny cuz I get the boxes shipped to work, at Allora and, because you know, you have to have someone that’s 21 or over to accept it.

Sure. And I’m not home very often during the day, so Yeah. I’m like, I’ll just send it to work. Someone is always gonna be 21 there. Yeah. Some of my bosses and my, my coworkers are just like, really? What’s going on here?

Ute: Oh, I love that. So this is actually a really good segue to your work. So you work for Alloro, which is in Sherwood?

Can you tell us a little bit about the winery?

Alison Scofield: Yeah. So we are right outside of Sherwood, Oregon. We’re about 20 minutes from Portland. So nice and close. If you’re just, you know, staying in Portland and wanna pop out. So we’re a pretty small production, about 4,000 cases annually. Of course, we primarily make Pinot Noir, but we also have a small amount of Chardonnay that we make, a little bit of Riesling.

We make a nice kind of dessert wine out of the couple of rows of Muscat that we have, but we also just,

Ute: I love that.

Alison Scofield: Yeah, it’s, it’s pretty tasty. But then we also just planted Nebbiolo and Arneis. The Nebbiolo went in in 2020 and 21, and Arneis went in just January of this year. So still a couple years away from actually producing those.

But yeah, we’re really excited about having something a little different. Our owner, David, is Italian, kind of in his heritage, so he loves, you know, Italian food. Italian wine. He goes over there all the time. So I think he was, you know, really excited to plant those varietals and see, see how they do here in our Oregon climate.

Ute: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I remember the first time I went up to Alloro and it was still the old tasting room, which was so small and it was literally like driving into Tuscany. Just the way everything was laid out, the trees and the tasting room, the building, it was like, oh my gosh, this is, this is amazing. I feel like I’m in Italy.

Alison Scofield: Yeah, we have those big, beautiful cypress trees and we have a nice row, that goes kind of down into our vineyard that we actually do a dinner like in the summer. Field and Vine caters it. And so you’re right in the cypress trees and it is just gorgeous. And our winery looks like, you know, Tuscan villa kind of.

Ute: And now the new building. It is so beautiful. It’s like, I just wanna come every week

Alison Scofield: You totally can. That’s totally fine.

Ute: I’m a member, so yeah!

Alison Scofield: That’s great. I say thank you, like I had anything to do with building it, but yeah, it’s beautiful. I kind of pinch myself, you know, that that’s where I get to work every day.

And our view, we have a, westerly view. So on a clear day we can see the Coastal Range Mountains, and we’re actually, we can see a little bit of Ponzi vineyards right across the way. So it is, it’s gorgeous.

Ute: Ah, yes. Hmm. Anyway, so if you had to take a guess, when it comes to people’s ages and the tasting room, this is something that always interests me, you know, working in a, in a tasting room myself, who would you say is the demographic? Are they Gen Xers, millennials, boomers?

Alison Scofield: Well, we, I mean, we have our fair share of boomers, of course, but I do, I have been noticing, you know, a lot of, kind of younger, I don’t know, like, I don’t feel like I’m a millennial, but I’m, I’m in that like weird cusp.

So I always feel like it’s, you know, kids my age or younger, but I definitely see a good amount of younger faces coming in. Which I think is great. You know, we are at a very good price point where, you know, we’re not, we’re not inexpensive, but we’re not overly expensive either. So I think that’s this perfect price point of like, you feel like you’re treating yourself, plus it’s a beautiful place to come hang out.

But it’s not like so far outta reach that you like, oh, I can only do this once every couple of months or once a year, you know?

Ute: Yeah. So would you call it geriatric millennials?

Alison Scofield: Is that what you’re calling me, Ute?

Ute: So, okay. There’s a reason for that. So recently, I, well we interviewed, Taylor Theis from Gran Moraine. And so I brought up the fact that she’s a millennial and she said, “Ute, they actually call me a geriatric millennial.” And that just got me, gave me a really good chuckle because I did not know that there was such a thing as a geriatric millennial.

Alison Scofield: I mean, I might, I might be that, I don’t know that I want to admit to that, but I might be that.

Ute: Well, I’m, I’m Gen X, so even though it’s, I think Gen X ends at like 1979 or something, maybe 80. Or whatever. And I was born in 74, so kind of on the later side of the Gen X group there.

Alison Scofield: Yeah, I, so I’m 1984, so I think probably yes, I’m in the millennial group, but I’m definitely on the geriatric side.

Ute: Okay. Well, so when I worked in tasting rooms, I sometimes had a bit of a unique way of describing certain wines when it came to some customers. And you know, obviously you always want to adjust to what. The customer is open to, but for instance, I would call a young Pinot Noir with some bites to it. I would have called that a teenager.

You know, it’s grippy, it’s got an attitude. A more full-bodied wine I might call well-rounded, adult laid back. Do you have any different ways that you describe the wine, depending on who you have in front of you?

Alison Scofield: Yeah. Well, I like to say, so at Alloro we have three different styles of Pinot Noir because we’re single estate, single vineyard, so we’re not outsourcing grapes from any other, you know, wineries or, or vineyards.

So everything comes from our property right there, where the tasting house is. So the way that we kind of differentiate between our three different Pinots is the amount of new French oak that they see during the aging process. So, you know, the estate is like way at the low end. Then we have our reserva that’s in the middle, and then our Justina, which is all the way at the top.

So when I pour our reserva, I’ve started saying that this is our Goldilocks, because it’s not too light, it’s not too heavy, it’s just right. I also really love to, more so than kind of doing that, I throw out a lot of food pairing ideas because I think that, you know, so often we will, we’ll go to a winery and we’ll buy a bottle of wine and we’ll bring it home.

Like, oh, I don’t wanna open that yet because I don’t know what to pair it with. Or I’m saving it for a special occasion that like, might not ever happen. And I’m a big believer in, you know, just opening the bottle. Burning the candles using the good China, like life is short. Just… you know, just do it.

So, I like to give a lot of food suggestions because I think you’re more inclined to open a bottle if you have something that you know it’ll, it’ll go with and to pair it with. So if you’re like, oh, well I’m just making pork chops for dinner, but of course this Pinot is gonna go with it. So, you know, it might be Tuesday, but heck yeah. I’m gonna open that bottle of wine.

Ute: Yeah. I really, really love that message. And we talked about this to Jessica from Et Fille actually just the other day. Who said, just open that bottle of wine. There’s some big regrets that she has after her dad passed about bottles that they meant to share and they never did.

And that gave me goosebumps when she was talking about that because I definitely, I mean, I have bottles that I know I want to wait for a special time, but at the same time, there are bottles that I could just take out and enjoy.

Alison Scofield: Exactly. Exactly. And you know, of course there are gonna be bottles that, you know, I’m laying down cuz I just wanna age right?

Like I’ve got some pretty young Barolos that, well no I don’t feel like ripping my face off with those tannins just quite yet. So yeah, they’re gonna hang out for a little bit. But you know, just a Pinot Noir that I had a good time at whatever winery with my friends, I don’t need to wait to replicate that.

I can just, you know, pull it out. Open it up and have a good conversation with my husband or my cat that night over that bottle of wine.

Ute: Or while you’re studying?

Alison Scofield: Yes. I try and save the wine for after the studying, so

Ute: Because you never know how quickly that wine might go down while you’re studying.

Alison Scofield: Ooh. Sometimes too fast, for sure.

Ute: Right. I hear you. So to go back into the tasting room, I really would like to know who is more curious in the tasting room. Is it the men or is it the women?

Alison Scofield: You know, I feel like I definitely have better conversations with women, over food pairings or sometimes, you know, they’re more apt to ask, you know, the questions, I guess, and, and open those conversations up.

It kind of depends sometimes on the age of the gentleman in front of me, sometimes the older ones don’t really want to ask me questions. But then there are the, the men that have a little bit of wine knowledge and are just like super open into like having a great conversation. And I love that. I welcome that.

And I think anybody else working in a tasting room too, like yes, ask us questions. Let’s have a conversation cuz that’s obviously why we’re there. We love wine, we love being nerds about it and you know, we wanna talk about it. So, but yeah, I think it’s probably more, more the women and, and surprisingly younger women, I might ever once in a while get a question or comment about from maybe a Gen Xer woman, like, oh, I don’t like Chardonnay.

And so I’m like, well, okay, please try ours cuz ours is beautiful and it’s like truly Oregonian, you know? But, but yeah, I think like those younger women, depending on the, the setting and the situation, they’re much more apt to ask those questions, which, yeah, I love, I love.

Ute: Yeah, to, to get to that point of the Chardonnay.

I think this is such a funny topic because I’ve had that so many times, people coming in and go, oh no, I don’t really like Chardonnay. I don’t like that big buttery creaminess to the Chardonnay. And I always say, hang on, you’re in Oregon and a lot of Oregon Chardonnays are actually either un oaked or minimally oaked, so I would definitely give it a try. And, and people will try it and they’ll be so surprised that the Chardonnay is something that they really, really enjoy.

Alison Scofield: Yes. And ours only has 35% new French oak. So, I mean, I, I have lost count of how many times people have said, oh, I don’t like Chardonnay, but I really like this.

And then they end up buying it, and I’m like, yeah, like high five. All right. Chardonnay is my favorite. I love it. It’s, I am a diehard Chardonnay fan in all forms.

Ute: So, yeah, it, it’s kind of hit or miss for me with Chardonnay. I definitely am… I don’t mind it being oaked. Just not heavily. I really, really don’t love it.

To me, and I’ve, I’ve explained this to probably even on the podcast before, to me, when I have the feeling like I need to chew myself through wood before I get to the wine flavor. That’s just not where I wanna go.

Alison Scofield: Yeah, I get that. I don’t mind buttery, I don’t mind oaky, but I, when it’s well made, I, I should say, so.

Sure. Yeah. I don’t want, yeah, Chateau two by four is not really my style, but, but if it’s done nicely, you know, if it’s really well integrated and it’s balanced, then. Then it’s okay. It has a place right, with your, your popcorn, you know, while you’re watching a movie. That’s great.

Ute: For sure. Yes. I totally agree.

So can you then also confirm or deny, the stereotype that women drink more whites while men drink more reds?

Alison Scofield: Oh, so that’s kind of a tough one because we, we make three different Pinots and we make a handful of whites that we have all the time. So, I definitely see our female customers going home or our guests going home with quite a bit of red wine, but like we have our Bianca De Nero, which is our White Pinot, candidly.

You could call it a rose. I think it definitely fits in the rose category. That’s not what our winemaker says it is, but it just has a, you know, that touch of kind of pink color to it. And I mean, it is, people just go nuts over it, but especially, especially women, so. I think those is just, it’s lighter and it’s, you know, something that you can enjoy when it’s hotter, but it’s not gonna be so big, you know, like, it’s not like you’re drinking a big, huge red on a hot day.

But I always say that it goes from Taco Tuesday to Thanksgiving. Like it’s, don’t discount it for, you know, the, the colder months and those heavier foods that you’re eating in those months either cuz it’s gonna go amazing with them.

Ute: Oh, for sure. Yeah, I definitely had a little bit of that. Women liking more of the roses, the sparkling wines, of course. They’re always a big hit with the ladies. But what I’ve noticed in when I worked for Avidity was that women who tended to like the whites more than the Pinot Noirs, We’re also then more of a fan of the darker bolder wines that Avidity sells.

So Avidity has kind of like a GSM type blend. It has a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Shiraz, or Syrah. And, and so I thought that was really interesting and you know, obviously you can’t speak for all women, but I saw definitely a little bit of a trend in that direction. And I can’t, I can’t tell you why. It’s just something that I observed.

Alison Scofield: Yeah, that’s interesting. I guess I’m not, I’m not sure since we’re not making, you know, any kind of wines that bold, but I can test out your sparkling theory as of this June, we’re releasing our inaugural sparkling wine, so we’re very excited. We’ll have a Blanc to Blanc and a rose and our, it’s a 2019 vintage, so it’s been aging for three years, so we’re having a big, you know, release party for that. Oysters and some other food bites and yeah, it, it’s very exciting.

Ute: I still can’t eat oysters.

Alison Scofield: I know I’m not a fan either. They keep trying to get me to eat them at work and I’m just like, no, I can’t. I’ve tried two and I’m, Nope, nope. This is not my jam. I’m sorry.

Ute: The, the only way that I ate an oyster once and actually quasi enjoyed it went, was like fried to death basically, you know, it was.

I don’t know what they, what they put it into, but it was fried and cheesy and I don’t know what, and so there wasn’t much oyster. It was really mostly cheese and fried goodness.

Alison Scofield: Okay. Well now, yeah, anything is good fried. I mean, I might be able to get down with that, but as far as the raw, the raw oysters go at this point, no.

Ute: No, same here. Okay, so you’re tasting room associate, and you’ve done this for a little while now, and you’re obviously enjoying that. So do you have any aspirations to climb the winery ladder to a more managerial type job? Or are you like, no, I’m, I’m good for now.

Alison Scofield: You know, I’m not really sure. I still. I still feel like I have so much to learn just in doing my job well. And I mean, the wine industry is totally new to me as well. I mean, I came from working as an admin assistant. I was working at the sheriff’s office and as an admin assistant for six years. So, you know, the hospitality thing, like, that’s totally new for me. I like to think that I’m doing all right at it, you know, and I really enjoy.

Everybody that comes in and meeting all these super interesting people and having these great conversations. So we’re just kind of seeing what happens, you know, kind of going where life takes me at this point. My real love though, is in the education of. You know, others about wine and just kind of having that educator role.

So I will, you know, I don’t know if I will continue to take my own education classes. Diploma scares the heck out of me. For any of those that don’t know, the Wine and Spirit Education Trust level four, the Diploma is what it’s called. And it is, I believe six different units now. Yeah. And so, I think what two of them are all blind tasting.

There’s a whole like research paper. I mean, that’s like two, three years of your life, so we’ll see. But I would love to, you know, just do maybe level one educating or even just, you know, working in my own winery as or not my own, but at Allora, you know, as an educator in some capacity too. So,

Ute: Oh, for sure. Yeah, I think that sounds amazing. I have a good friend who actually is talking about doing that as well and doing the Certified Wine Educator course so that she kind of has a little bit of an edge over, you know, maybe somebody else. I think that’s certainly something that could be fun. Of course, I’ve just started as, you know, this new position as a tasting room manager for a tasting room, so that’s super exciting and, and I think at this point that’s kind of where I like being.

Who knows what the future holds, but I definitely like the, you know, the customer facing customer servers service component over what Ali does in the, in the lab this year she’s gonna be in the lab. Last year she did the harvest and, and that’s like, That’s where she is at home and she loves that.

Alison Scofield: Yeah, I think that that is super interesting. You know, more on the production side and doing harvest. I don’t know that I, I don’t know that I’m young enough anymore to do harvest backbreaking work. It’s super interesting, but very also very, science minded, I wanna say. You know, the, when I’m reading through, even just, you know, the level three kind of production information, now I’m like, okay, I’m, I’m understanding the basic steps, but there’s, there’s so much more that it just, it takes a lot of, studying for me at this point.


Ute: Oh my gosh. I know. Yeah. I keep going back and forth too between saying, you know what? I think it might be nice to work a harvest just so that I know what I’m talking about. And then I hear people talking about harvest and about the hard labor and everything. I’m like, ehhhh.

Alison Scofield: I agree. I agree with you.

I think it would be fun to do it at least once and just, know, know what it’s like and kind of confirm, like, okay, did it once, let’s check it off the bucket list and that’s all I need to do now, and I can go back into some other role, but, yeah, but I’ve been saying, you know, this is my year of Yes.

You know, we’ve been, you know, we’re new here, we moved out here, we’re taking all these kind of new leaps and jumps. My husband is in a total new, new career field as well, so, so just saying yes to things and seeing where that takes me. Cuz you never know. You never know who you’re gonna meet or the next door that’s gonna open for you.

Ute: Yeah. Year of yes. You know how much I love that. This is great.

Alison Scofield: Well, it comes with the caveat of, unless I’m tired and then I just wanna go home. I have to remember, I’m not as young as I think I am.

Ute: Okay. Well then, what am I gonna say? I’m another 10 years older than you.

Alison Scofield: No, we’re all allowed to have naps, Ute. Like naps are okay. I know we fought them when we were toddlers. But they’re good.

Ute: Yeah. I definitely had to make some decisions about, you know, what I was gonna be able to do physically and I, and part of it was that I really overworked my body when I was doing CrossFit, as many CrossFitters do. I was just, going too hard, too fast and you know, sustained some injuries that I am still carrying around with me.

And so I definitely had to kind of reach that point where it was like, okay, so I’m doing kickboxing and I have been doing this for now six years, but I’m no longer coaching it. I no longer want those super early mornings because you know, the first classes is like 6:00 AM Sure. And I’m like, I mean, I might be awake by then, but I am nowhere near wanting to be there and teaching happily a bunch of people how to kickbox.

Alison Scofield: Gimme that, that energy.

I totally understand. I am also a runner like Ali, and I have, you know, I’ve done a couple of marathons. I’ve done, countless half marathons, but knowing now that, you know, I’m on my feet all day, five days a week and I just, I can’t run 10 miles and then go work on the tasting room all day. You know, kind of pulled that back a lot and you know, and I’m okay with that. You know, there are seasons of life where you go hard and, you know, there are seasons of life where you don’t, and I feel like. I also need to be kind to my body cuz I definitely have, have had instances in the past where I was not trying to get that next PR or you know, just get those extra miles in and chasing some, some unrealistic standards and yeah.

So I totally understand you there. And my year of Yes is always also saying yes to myself and, and giving myself permission to, to rest sometimes. To have a day where I don’t do anything and I just stay on the couch and watch TV or scroll through Instagram or take a nap. Or

Ute: Play Angry Birds?

Alison Scofield: Oh, I, hmm. I’m not an Angry Birds fan, but

Ute: you know, I just rediscovered it actually. And it totally does not belong here. But, so when Angry Birds was brand new, I would play it quite a bit. And then of course, you know, for years I never even thought about it. And so now my grandson, who’s only three years old, has discovered Angry Birds and he loves to play it.

And so I, I have this little tablet and I downloaded the Anger Birds app onto my tablet and that’s a good thing because I don’t always have my tablet with me, so it’s not on my phone and I have to be in a certain place in my house for me to be able to play it so I don’t get addicted to it again.

Alison Scofield: So that is, like Sims, my daughter is very into Sims right now, and I’m like, oh, that was like when I was in college, you know?

Some of my friends were like building their little, I don’t know, towns and houses and their people. And, and so she’s so into it now and she gets so angry, like, you know, oh, like the child won’t go to sleep. And I’m like, geez, I have no idea what that’s like. Really?

Ute: Yeah. We dunno anything about that?

Alison Scofield: Nope. Nothing.

Ute: Oh my gosh, how funny is that?

Alison Scofield: Oh, and then she was telling me that you could make wine. Maybe it’s a different game. She’s got a couple that are all similar, but she’s like, yeah, I made wine. And I’m like, all right, cool.

Ute: Oh good.

Oh my gosh. That is too funny. Okay. Back to our questions. There are not many left at this point, but what would you say is your favorite wine region to travel to and, the wine to drink?

Alison Scofield: Well that, that might be two separate answers cuz I have not traveled to Europe at all and so, so many places are on my bucket list.

I feel like maybe I was French in another life cuz I feel like that’s like my, my home, even though like I’ve never been there, just have like this huge calling to go there. I love French wine in general. So actually I have a lot of friends and, and real life and, and Instagram that are all in France right now.

And I’m like, Hey, how come I didn’t get that memo? Where, where are my tickets to fly over there? So I would really love to go there, but we, I’ve always had a good time going to the wineries in Missouri, which I know like they’re not real high quality. Let, let me, let me roll that back. I don’t, they’re, they’re different, right?

It’s, it’s all you know, Vitis Labrusca or hybrids and very different. But I have such good memories from when we go to, you know, tasting rooms there and just hang out for hours and you kind of winery hop and stuff. And so that’s always, that’s a favorite. But, and of course the Willamette Valley. I mean, obviously I moved here, right? So, yeah.

And then as far as favorite to drink from I, well, again, I really love French wines. I am a big Italian wine fan as well. Mostly like southern Italy. I love like, you know, southern Italy, white wines from like Campania, Fiano, Greco di Tufo, like these wines that you don’t always see very often, but when I do, I’m like, Ooh, yes, please.

Ute: Yeah. I love it. That’s beautiful. Yeah. France is definitely 100% worth a visit, more than one visit. It’s the regions that I have been to are, all of them, are wonderful. And my husband and I had such a great time last year when we went to Burgundy, we were in Beaune and we traveled to Paris and to Reims, and then we spent a couple of nights in Alsace and everyone was so friendly. You know, there’s a lot of talk about, you know, French people and being arrogant and I don’t know what . But I and my husband, neither of us can confirm that they were all so, so very nice. And yes, I speak a, a good amount of French, but generally when people realize that especially my husband didn’t understand. There was an instant switch to English.

And everyone tried, and everyone, like I said, was just so kind and so friendly. And the hotels were great and the food was delicious, and the wine was wonderful. It was, it was amazing.

Alison Scofield: Yeah, well, I mean, it is definitely on my bucket list and hopefully sooner rather than later, but Oh, and I, oh, of course.

I also wanna go to Germany.

Ute: Oh, of course everybody does.

Alison Scofield: I am a portion, I think probably what, 25% German. So yes, I would love to go there. I always wanted to go to like the German, like Christmas markets. I mean they just look so, I don’t know, fun and cute and quaint and walking around with like your mulled wine and yeah.

Ute: And eating chestnuts and sausage and Oh

Alison Scofield: Yeah. I mean, sign me up. So yeah, someday we’ll go and just do like a whole couple of months and just kind of travel around.

Ute: Sounds amazing. I love it.

So last question, well almost last question, but do you have any advice for women listening to our conversation today?

Alison Scofield: Well, I would say like, just, just do it, right? Like we get so like caught up in like, not feeling like we have the qualifications or, oh, like, you know, the imposter syndrome, but, you know, just take the step and apply for the job or, you know, just ask the questions and like, I did not have any kind of wine education and I just started, you know, signing up for classes and, and yeah, reading books.

You know, you also don’t have to spend money on these classes either. There are tons of free resources out there. Wine Folly is a great, you know, a great resource. And tons of, tons of books. The Wine Bible. So, you know, you could educate yourself. Pretty freely with, yeah, you know, books you find at the library, but just start to take those steps and, and really believe in yourself.

And then, yeah, just, just do it cuz like we were saying, life is short, right? So, the time is gonna pass anyways, so why not use it to your best advantage.

Ute: Yeah. What is Ferris Bueller’s say? Life is short. If you don’t, stop and look or something. Oh my gosh. Now I don’t remember the, the quote, but anyway, he’s basically saying life is short.

Live it.

Alison Scofield: Exactly. Live it.

Ute: Here I am in my. Botched movie quote that’s gonna

Alison Scofield: Maybe don’t go stealing someone’s car on your, you know, your free day. But

Ute: We don’t recommend that.

Alison Scofield: No, no, no, no, no.

Ute: And, and I totally agree with what you say. Obviously, and I’ve talked about this on the podcast, on the podcast as well,

I started with Hawks View without really knowing much about wine, except for, you know, yeah, this is Pinot Noir and this is a sparkling wine and it’s pretty obvious, right? But I really wanted to do it. I really, really wanted to give it a try and it was a part-time position working as a tasting room associate at the time, and that is how I fell in love with the wine industry.

And that is why I started getting educated and starting with my WSET classes. And, and you know, here we are years later and I have this great podcast, and I have a new job as a tasting room manager. I’m, I’m excited. I’m very… You know, and I think, and, and the two women that I am that I’m bringing on as tasting room associates for the winery that I am working in, they’re both also new to the wine industry.

Alison Scofield: So, yeah, you know, there’s definitely something to be said for that. Of course, yes, at this point I do have a lot of certifications under my belt, but that’s purely because I love education and I love learning. But yeah, like you don’t have to have all that just to break into the wine industry, you know?

Find a part-time position at a tasting room, or even a full-time. I mean, plenty of places. They hire full-time and you know, you might know, okay, Pinot Noir is red and Chardonnay is white. And, they will provide the education. I mean, we go over our tasting notes all the time, you know, when we’re rolling down a new wine, or we also serve some Italian wine, so we go over them and, you know, the, the regions and the, you know, the aging laws and things like that.

And you just learn a ton just. You know, sometimes through osmosis just being there. So yeah, don’t be afraid to apply for a job that you are just like, well, I’m a wine enthusiast. Cuz that’s great. If that’s, that’s what really kind of like sells the wine and sells the experience is the love behind it.

If you’re just like, this is an amazing product, you know, and, and you pour that for people and they kind of feel that through you. They’re much more willing to, you know, be on board with it too. You know, if you’re just like, yeah, this is, this is a red wine. That’s not gonna go over real well.

But when you bring that enthusiasm and that love, it’s just infectious.

Ute: Well, I love that. And of course, our final little thing that you’re going to have to do is to get either on my or Ali’s good side by choosing team bubbles or team Red, dun dun dun.

Alison Scofield: Can I choose both?

Ute: Yes, we do have.

Team don’t make me choose.

Alison Scofield: Okay. So I want to choose them all though. I do want I, so I’m gonna start with bubbles, and then we’re probably gonna move to a white wine, and then we’ll end with a red.

Ute: Okay. You know what, I’m gonna go drinking with you any day of the week.

Alison Scofield: We’re just doing our little tasting fight.

So it’s fancy when you call it a flight, right? So,

Ute: Yes. Yes. Well, you know what, actually let’s, let’s definitely talk about that because I think we’re both off on the same day. So let’s, let’s go drink wine.

Alison Scofield: Oh yeah. Anytime I am down for that, I love, you know, visiting our neighbors and going to new tasting rooms and new wineries.

Ute: Sounds great. Well, okay, this is it. We’ve talked for almost 50 minutes at this point, so that’s great. I love that,

Alison Scofield: Fingers crossed that everything saves well.

Ute: Yeah. Knock on wood. Yeah. So thank you for joining me today, Alison. It really was a pleasure to chat with you. Will you let our listeners know where to find you online?

Alison Scofield: Yes. You can find me on Instagram. I’m @aligatorinwine and alligator only has one L cause that’s how you spell my name the correct way. But yes. So that’s where I spend a lot of my time. And, I’m not posting a ton right now just because of, you know, studying and stuff, but yeah, I love, connecting with new wine lovers there, so I’m always happy to say hi there. And Ute this was wonderful. Thank you so much for having me again. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be on your podcast.

Ute: Well, Thank you so much. Listeners, of course we’re gonna have all of this information in the show notes as well.

We’re also going to be linking to Alloro and with all that, all I have left to say at this point is of course, Prost!

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