In Niagara: Stratus Vineyards

Stratus Vineyards will surely give you something talk about at your next wine party. Choose a topic: A) they were the first building in Canada to be LEED-certified B) They were the first winery in the world to be LEED-certified. (Both A and B are pretty big deal in the world of architecture, see below) C) They make premium assemblage…

Niagara Part 2: Domaine Queylus

Domaine Queylus Vineyards (Photo courtesy of Domaine Queylus by photographer Stephen Elphick) One of the benefits of being a young wine region like Niagara is that viticultural choices aren’t made randomly by painful trial and error nor are they dictated by long-standing traditions of generations past. On the contrary, those setting up shop in the…

Niagara Part 2: Thirty Bench Wine Makers

  I’ve become something of a frequent flyer to Niagara wine country. Only there is no flying, just driving – straight, straight, always straight following the six lane highway that connects Toronto to wine country. The drive on the QEW is somewhat monotonous and mindless: chugging along in a sea of cars in stop-and-go traffic…

Niagara Part 1: Pearl Morissette, Cave Spring Cellars and Tawse Winery

About 100 kms south east of Toronto, the vineyards of Niagara Peninsula are just stone’s throw away. When feeling a slight tickle of adventure or desiring a more profound connection with nature than just city parks, driving to Niagara wine country makes for a pleasant day trip. Ontario’s wine industry is still quite young, however,…

The Wine Passport to Canada: Tasting my way from East Coast to West Coast

The word’s out: Canada makes more than just good Icewine. In fact, Canada makes lovely sparkling wines, beautiful table wines that range from powerful and bold reds, sexy roses, complex and elegant whites, dry, off-dry, sweet and even fortified wines. Have you heard that they’re even making wine in Nova Scotia? Believe it, Canadian wine…

TBT: Niepoort’s Quinta de Nápoles

Early July and the magnificent Douro is probably bumping with tourists. As a tourist destination it is well-worth the visit for its unparalleled beauty, breathtaking views and an abundance of nature, but for wine students, aficionados, geeks and freaks it is a definite must. The oldest demarcated wine region in the world, there is so…

In Conversation with Steve Charters, Master of Wine, Part 1

While at a conference on wine tourism in Sion, Switzerland, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Steve Charters, Master of Wine and Director of Research at the School of Wine and Spirits Business, ESC Dijon in Burgundy. He gave a great presentation on a fascinating topic and he was also very kind in accepting a small…

On Wine and Gratitude

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Steve Charters, Master of Wine and Director of Research at the School of Wine and Spirits Business, ESC Dijon in Burgundy. Master of Wine since 1997 with a PhD in consumer behaviour, and experience in wine retail, marketing, consultancy, management, writing, research, and academia, Steve has…

Into the Douro: The past comes alive at Quinta do Romeu

It’s hard to believe that I only ventured out to the famous Douro at the end of my stay in Portugal. Despite spending months living in Porto and having the Douro at my doorstep, I waited for what I thought would be the perfect moment to head east. I must admit that perhaps I was…

Humus Organic Wines: Going Back to the Basics

It’s easy to get swept away by beautiful places and fascinating stories in the world of wine. And I will be the first to admit (and have already admitted) that that’s what makes me tick, marvel and dream. But it’s not all about stories (I’ve got my logical hat on today). Wine is very much…

Wine and the art of living: Casal Figueira

“Perfect harmony with its environment, and perfect expression of its own inward nature are what constitute Beauty; and our ignorance of the nature of the thing or its environment may shut our eyes to the Beauty it already has. It takes the genius of a Millet to paint, or a Whitman in words, to show…