Your Weekly W(h)ine is delivering the must-have wine tips and dog content you need right now more than ever.

By Megan Falk
May 07, 2020
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Along with flavor notes like “jammy,” “floral,” and “earthy,” it's safe to say the word “intimidating” should also be printed on wine labels. What's the difference between a merlot and a cabernet, really? Is one bottle really worth $50+ when you can find another of the can varietal for $15? Do you want a pinot grigio from California or Italy? Why does it matter? With so many overwhelming factors at play, a $12 bottle that has the cutest label seems like the easiest way out.

Your Weekly W(h)ine is aiming to end daunting trips to the wine shop—and lift some spirits along the way.

Every Monday morning, the weekly email newsletter shows up in inboxes to provide digestible information on a single wine-related topic, followed by a handful of warm and fuzzy videos, photos, and articles featuring adorable dogs. (Yep, you read that correctly: wine and dogs!) In one newsletter, you might get info about buying Bordeaux, how to decipher French wine labels (when you, well, don't speak French), or the history behind South African winemaking...along with a video of Elizabeth Warren’s pooch eating a burrito, a TikTok of Ellie the Golden Retriever, and a shout-out to a rescue pup that’s up for adoption.

The brain behind the newsletter is Madison Mellish, a 31-year-old from Washington D.C. Roughly two and a half years ago, Mellish felt that all-too-relatable intimidation of specialty wine shop—she didn’t know how to describe what she liked, let alone pick out the best bottle. She decided to take charge of her experience and signed up for wine classes through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), an organization that provides internationally recognized courses and certifications in wine and spirits. There, she worked her way up the ladder and completed WSET’s Level 1, 2, and 3 certifications, learning about various winemaking techniques, the influence of weather and soil, the major wine regions around the world, and more. Soon enough, Mellish became the wine connoisseur in her social circle, with friends and family calling for pointers on which varieties to buy

Meanwhile, at her day job as an instructional designer, where she creates online and in-person learning events focused on international development, (aka not a wine nor dog-related 9-5 gig) Mellish found herself constantly sharing funny videos, photos, and gifs of dogs (who doesn't?). And so, her two passions—brightening people’s day with pups and making wine more approachable—found a home together in her fun passion-project: Your Weekly W(h)ine newsletter

“I hope that on Monday mornings, it's just a positive, joyful thing that people can look forward to—to see some dogs, to laugh, to smile, and to learn about a cool wine that they hadn’t thought of trying before,” says Mellish.

But as COVID-19 progressed into a full-fledged pandemic, Mellish wanted to do more than help people start their weeks on a happy note. In mid-March, she launched private, virtual wine tasting classes aptly named “Wine Pairing: The 'Taste with Whatever You've Got in Your Kitchen' Edition,” with proceeds going to Miriam's Kitchen and World Central Kitchen, two non-profits providing meals to vulnerable populations in Washington D.C. and throughout the U.S., respectively, during the crisis. Those interested—and old enough to drink—can sign up for one of the live Zoom classes through Your Weekly W(h)ine's newsletter or website.

“I just wanted to find a way to contribute [while staying] indoors,” says Mellish. “It’s kind of hard because you feel a little bit limited, and you want to help, but you don’t know how. I have this skill set that I thought I could contribute and give back to some organizations that are doing some really amazing work right now.”

Since grocery store supplies are spotty, Mellish’s hour-long pairing classes will teach participants to match wine with literally anything you have stocked, whether it be dill pickles or Cinnamon Toast Crunch (FYI: the cereal works great with white wine). And for those who want a broad introduction to the world of vino, Mellish is also holding a “Wine 101: The Basics” class for private groups.

All in all, Mellish says she hopes Your Weekly W(h)ine and her virtual classes offer a much-needed breather from the incessant cycle of disheartening news and make wine accessible to anyone who wants to imbibe.

“I think people should be less intimidated by it and just start trying and experimenting and tasting,” says Mellish. “And while I can’t say anyone’s adopted dogs that I’ve linked to, I definitely get pictures of people at the wine store saying, ‘Oh my gosh I found that wine that you were talking about last week and I wouldn't have ever tried it without you.’”

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