Herndon and Varnum Win Taste Awards

Keith Herndon and Charlotte Varnum hold up certificates presented by the Taste Awards. (Photo: Sarah Freeman)
"Wines We Drink" is the winner of the Taste Awards' "Best Food or Drink Podcast" and"Best Lifestyle Podcast."

Herndon and Varnum Win Taste Awards

March 21, 2024

A podcast produced and co-hosted by two Grady College faculty members captured top honors in this year’s Taste Awards.

“Wines We Drink,” a podcast created by Keith Herndon, professor of practice, and Charlotte Varnum, a podcasting instructor, was named the “Best Food or Drink Podcast” and the “Best Lifestyle Podcast” in the 15th annual Taste Awards, which were announced March 11 in Beverly Hills, California.

“Wines We Drink” bested some excellent competition in those audience choice categories, including NPR’s “The Splendid Table,” Herndon said, attributing the wins to the podcast’s small, but dedicated audience.

“We say the show is for wine lovers and learners, and that’s what we try to deliver,” Herndon said. “We’ve created a show with appeal to listeners who know and appreciate wine, but it is also educational for those who are new to wine and want to learn about it. That’s a difficult balance to achieve.”

Varnum said winning the Taste Awards was completely unexpected.

“I cannot describe the shock and pure delight I felt when I was told we won not one but two categories,” Varnum said. “It’s truly a special project that I’m so happy is resonating with audiences all over the world. Here’s to what’s to come!”

Keith and Charlotte smile and laugh after finding out that Wines we Drink won two Taste Awards.
Keith Herndon and Charlotte Varnum find out they won the Taste Awards while at the annual Levin Leaders dinner. (Photo: Jackson Schroeder)

Season four of the podcast, which Herndon and Varnum call their “summer fun” project, launches May 29.

“We do 12 episodes each summer, which we jokingly refer to as a case of episodes,” said Herndon. “With three seasons – 36 episodes – behind us, we think the show is finally rounding into form and we’re looking forward to making this next one the best yet.”

The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Podbean and other major platforms.

In addition to the podcast, Herndon is also producing a wine book this year with Varnum as editor. “Wine Conversations: Exploring Mysteries and Myths” is expected to be released in March 2025 by Innovation Ink, an imprint of Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Through a series of intimate interviews with leading experts and practitioners, the book will explore the complexities of wine from growing the grapes to making the wine and from selling the wine to explaining the science, said Herndon.

“We will delve into what consumers think they know about wine but are often confused by its mysteries and myths,” he said.

Herndon is a certified sommelier and certified wine educator through training with the Asia Pacific Wine and Spirits Institute. Varnum has hosted and produced The Lead podcast at Grady and has many other audio production credits.

“Our backgrounds fit together perfectly for this show,” Varnum said. “We’re an intergenerational team and that has audience appeal, but mostly it’s just about having fun with wine and inviting our listeners to join us.” The entire list of winners and finalists for this year’s Taste Awards can be found here. For more about the Wines We Drink podcast, go to wineswedrink.com.