Get to know more about our favorite woman of the wine world and our Director of Sommology, Leslie Sbrocco!
Maybe you know Leslie Sbrocco from her San Francisco television show, “Check Please! Bay Area,” on KQED. Maybe you’ve laughed with her during her guest appearances on NBC’s “Today” show, where she has introduced new wines to Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and, more recently, Jenna Bush Hager. Maybe you’ve heard Leslie speak globally about food, travel, and wine, or read her books, “Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine” and “The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide.” One thing is certain, if you know Leslie Sbrocco, you know she is a woman of wine, wisdom, and wit—and we’re grateful she’s part of our wine family.
We’ve known Leslie Sbrocco for some time, and she has been a constant source of inspiration and information for our field of Wine Guides and our own home wine team, as well as you, our wine-loving friends from Maine to Minnesota. She was also the force behind our popular Three Hearts Rosé, named by Leslie in honor of three special generations of women in her family.
We were thrilled when Leslie joined us in 2019 as Traveling Vineyard’s Director of Sommology, a role that allows us to tap into her knowledge of food and drink and share her passion and insight with our Wine Guides and wine lovers. Leslie also serves as your personal virtual guide to our at-home Sip Kit wine tasting experience, a new way to explore wine without ever leaving the house. At the tap of a button, Leslie serves up info on the wines in your Sip Kit plus winemaking and food pairing tips, all from your mobile device.
Ready to get to know Leslie even more? Here’s our Q&A session with our favorite woman of wine.
How did your childhood influence you in your career path?
I grew up on the outskirts of Chicago. I had an idyllic childhood—family of five kids (four girls and a brother) and my dad was a pilot. Two things came out of that – my love of travel and my ability to pack like an expert. I also learned you never get on a plane looking like a mess; to this day I never wear jeans on the plane. My father passed away at 46, I was 12. After that my mother raised the family and we still traveled, so that has affected my life in many ways. My kids have traveled since they were born; we have a huge map of all the places we have been together.
How did you end up working in wine?
My whole high school career, through theater and debate club, I thought that I would be an attorney and go into politics. This was my whole mindset through high school and college, so I graduated with a degree in political science and moved to San Francisco for law school. Then, I panicked and said, “I don’t think I want to do this.” I started thinking about what to do next and called on my theater background. I never wanted to be an actor, but I was good on camera and ended up dabbling in commercial work—I worked as a hand model and, for a year or so, I poked the Pillsbury Doughboy in commercials. Being in San Francisco, I started to become interested in wine at this same time. I had a passion for it. There weren’t as many courses available like there are now, though, so I learned by doing—visiting vineyards, helping at harvest. This was a turning point for me because I saw the opportunity to combine all my interests. I was able to turn my passions into a career.
What is your favorite wine and best wine tip?
I love Rosé. My favorite is dry bubbles. I also tend to be a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay drinker. As for best tip, I am often asked about how to pair wine with food, which is something we share and explore with Traveling Vineyard’s Sommology food and wine pairing tools. I personally think, “What do I want to drink?” first. Then, I create dinner around it. There are no wrong pairings, but there are not great ones, and there are amazing ones. You’re always going to win by starting with a glass of wine. And use our Sommology tool to discover those amazing pairings.
Tell us about your new PBS show “100 Days: Drinks, Dishes, and Destinations.”
I always wanted to do a national show that journals my travels because to me you cannot truly talk about wine, or spirits, without being in the context of where you are and what you’re doing, and what you’re eating. It’s about enjoying the moment you’re in and the wine in context. It’s about the history of the destination and the food there. You can’t divide the food from the drink because it evolves together; story of wine in context with life.
“100 Days: Drinks, Dishes, and Destinations” spans the globe from Nashville to Hungary and Mexico to France, featuring bites and sips and insider tips. Check it out!
What is unique about Sip Kits and why should at-home wine lovers give them a try?
Sip Kit is such a terrific concept because you not only get delicious bottles delivered to your doorstep, you have a resource to learn about wine in a fun way. I taste, talk, and tour the world in a glass with each Sip Kit video.
What would you ask Leslie? Message us on Facebook and let’s discover more about wine together.