Growing up as sisters, we weren’t exactly pals. Our social circles didn’t intersect. We had different interests and even went to different schools. By choice. Don’t get us wrong… we loved each other. We just didn’t want to spend a lot of time in each other’s company.
It wasn’t until we both moved to Washington, D.C. after college that we became friends. We can actually identify the moment it happened. For some long ago forgotten reason, we decided to shop together in Georgetown. After several exhausting hours of bargain hunting, we needed a break. We headed straight to the bar at Clyde’s.
We each ordered a glass of Chablis (which, in those days, meant any white swill they might have behind the bar). As we reviewed the day’s events and our completely senseless purchases, we began to realize how much fun we were having together. Almost simultaneously, we turned to each other and said, “I like you!” Chalk it up to the wine if you want, but we’ve been best friends ever since.
Following Each Other Around the Country
We always had separate careers. Beverly started out in Washington with the CIA. (Yes, she’d have to kill you.) She quickly found out that spies at that time didn’t drink wine. But scotch? Straight and often!
Barbara worked for a high-powered Washington lobby organization taking influential media types out to 4-star restaurants for 3-martini lunches. (Or was it 3-star restaurants for 4-martini lunches?) Martinis were for expenses accounts. At home it was value-priced, large format bottles of CK Mondavi Chablis.
Leaving Washington behind, we both did stints in Texas and elsewhere and ended up in Los Angeles where we honed our wine drinking skills. Rosé at the beach. Pinot Noir downtown. Chenin Blanc in Hollywood. Bubbly at the Marina. Chardonnay in the Valley. Cab in Beverly Hills.
And then it was time to move on. Next stop: Nashville. Certainly, there would be wine in Nashville.
When we first arrived in Music City, it was a desolate culinary outpost. But the landscape was changing, and Nashville soon became a hotbed of restaurant activity. That’s when we recognized our calling. We were meant to chronicle and encourage this feeding frenzy. And what better way to get people’s attention than radio!
On the Radio
Faster than you can say “Shoney’s All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Bar”, we landed our own radio show and officially became the Saucy Sisters. The show was all about food and wine. So, naturally, we called our show Sauced!
If there was one constant over the years, it was the bottle of wine sitting on the table between our two microphones. Sometimes we got lucky with in-studio guests who brought more. Guess we had a reputation.
As an extension of the show we wrote a couple of books: Cook It Right and The Best Places to Eat in Nashville (which, by the way, did not include Shoney’s). We also wrote newspaper stories on food and became familiar sights to TV audiences as we dressed in sometimes ridiculous outfits (lederhosen and mermaid costumes) for our on-air restaurant reviews.
One night over dinner in New York with one of our frequent radio guests, we were enjoying a quite lusty Domaine La Milliere Châteauneuf-du-Pape and engaging in some serious bad-girl chitchat. Suddenly our guest turned to us and said, “You two should write a girl’s guide to wine!” What a wonderful idea, we said, and ordered another bottle to celebrate.
The idea became our very first wine book, The Saucy Sisters Guide to Wine – What Every Girl Should Know Before She Uncorks. When the book was published by Penguin, we embarked on a national, 30-city, 13,000 mile book signing/wine tasting tour in a purple van we called our Grapemobile.
The Grapemobile was a 1992 Chevrolet Lumina van with 110,000 miles already on it that we bought from a friend for one dollar. After we had it painted purple and attached all our sponsors’ logos, we made quite a statement as we cruised into each new town.
The tour took us three months – which might have been our undoing had the Grapemobile not been stocked from top to bottom with cases of wine. When the tour ended, we pulled the Grapemobile back into Barbara’s Franklin, Tennessee, driveway where, only recently, it succumbed to old age.
With one wine book under our belts, we were asked by Adams Media to write another one, which turned into The Everything Wine Book.
One thing we’ve learned about the wine world, it’s constantly changing. Not the least of which is going from corks to screwtops. With that in mind we wrote our most recent book, The Saucy Sisters Guide to Wine – What Every Girl Should Know Before She UNSCREWS!
To launch the book, we gathered a couple hundred women (and numerous cases of Lonely Cow Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir) and set a World Record for “most women unscrewing bottles of wine simultaneously.”
Needless to say, the research never ends. At Saucy Sisters World Headquarters (on the third floor of Barbara’s house in Franklin, Tennessee) and at Saucy Sisters East (in Beverly’s home office in Highlands, North Carolina), we sample countless wines in search of the very best one (which always turns out to be the “next” one.)
We are currently engaged in tasting effervescent wines in preparation for our upcoming book on Champagne and sparkling wines – release date August 2016. When not actively pouring and sipping, we act as full-time Concierges to Hank (recently adopted 8-year-old Lab/Great Pyrenees mix) and Mimi and Rudolpho (two adorable kitties who have been carrying on a love affair since meeting 12 years ago). And that’s just the way we all like it!