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Spring /Summer 2009

Eat, Drink, and Meet Leslie

Popular television host Leslie Sbrocco invites wine and food lovers to share a toast

By Bonnie Wach

Over the last decade, wine guru Leslie Sbrocco, host of the popular KQED television food show Check, Please! Bay Area, has promoted cheap champagne, championed screw caps, and proudly paired fine wines with everything from Rice Krispies Treats and Twinkies to Chinese takeout.

"Wine should be comfort, not stress," says the Petaluma resident, who is also the author of Wine for Women and The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide. "It's simply fermented grape juice. People shouldn't get uptight about it. I try to teach people that there's never any wrong answer with wine."

This summer, in between writing, speaking, and taping her TV show, Sbrocco will teach wine education classes in her hometown. Partnering with wine writer Linda Murphy, Sbrocco aims the series at everyday consumers and covers topics ranging from how to taste like a pro to bargain hunting. Classes will be held at restaurants and will include food pairings. "It's a chance for people to learn while spending time with friends, having fun, and being social," Sbrocco says.

For fans of her TV show, Sbrocco will also be launching tours this summer, giving foodies a chance to accompany her to some of her favorite Bay Area dining spots. The tours will hit several different restaurants for themed wine and food pairings. "Since Check, Please! started, people are always asking me, 'Can I come along with you when you check out restaurants?' " Sbrocco says. "Drink and Dine With Leslie gives me a fun way to involve people."

Sbrocco, who came to California nearly 20 years ago to attend law school, instead caught the wine bug and never looked back. "If I can make wine accessible, turn people on to it, I'm happy."

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