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July 29th, 2017 – Books and Wine nothing better!


Two books for Summer reading – One from Vikram Vij on his life and career and John Schreiner on BC Icon Wines.

And Sommelier Jill Spoor creates her first wine with Christine Coletta from Okanagan Crush Pad.



Vikram Vij 


Vikram Vij


What kind of person would stop his car in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge and jump out to celebrate being a free man?

This guy.


Vikram and Meeru

Vij reveals the story of Vikram Vij, one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs and entrepreneurs. Co-owner of the world-famous Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver, his story is a true rags-to-riches tale of a college dropout from northern India who made it to Europe’s temples of high cuisine, then with a one-way ticket bound for Canada, found fame serving some of the world’s most transcendent Indian cuisine. Vij’s Restaurant, originally a fourteen-seat establishment known for its extraordinary flavours and spice blends, along with a firm no-reservation policy, received accolades from restaurant critics and patrons alike.

A culinary journey that began in India as a boy enjoying the praise of visitors for his chai and biscuits, Vikram’s passion for Indian cooking and his lifelong mission to bring awareness to the culture he left behind have fueled his tireless drive in building a world-renowned food empire. Driven to succeed, Vikram realized his dream to launch five major initiatives under the Vij’s brand by age fifty, but with challenges and sacrifices along the way.

For the first time, Vikram opens up about his struggles with prejudice, his mentors’ lasting lessons, and the painful demise of his marriage—both the successes and the failures that have shaped and sharpened one of Canada’s most unique and revered culinary talents.


That’s what the press release wanted you to know. Fair enough.

I knew some of the story but what I really wanted to know was the rest of the story!!  This interview attempts that reveal.

Lamb Popsicles


Vikram Vij was born in India and grew up in Amritsar and Mumbai. He studied hotel management in Salzburg, Austria, before moving to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel. He opened the original fourteen-seat Vij’s Restaurant in 1994, and has appeared on many television shows and regularly cooks for events, including the James Beard Awards gala in New York. A certified sommelier, he is passionate about pairing wines with Indian food. In addition to running Vij’s and Rangoli with Meeru, Vikram is the chef and owner of My Shanti.


The RAW version of the interview can be heard on   Check out Vikram’s wonderful TedX Talk


John Schreiner – Icon. Flagship Wines from BC Best Wineries


John Shreiner

British Columbia now has such an array of high-calibre winemakers that John Schreiner has compiled a book showcasing the icon wines from BC’s best wineries. An icon wine is the very best wine that a producer can make, and the prestige of an icon wine cascades across a winery’s entire portfolio.



For each wine profiled, readers will learn the behind-the-scenes story of the winery and winemaker, as well as the history, provenance, and inspiration behind each wine. The most recent vintage is listed, along with detailed tasting notes for as many vintages as are available, information on number of cases produced, percentages of varietals in the case of blends, and even the clone number of particular varietals.

My personal favourite is the cellar life of a particular wine. How long to hold on to the wines and when enough is enough.  Drink it NOW!


The essential guide for any collector of BC wine, this book is also the culmination of research that illuminates John Schreiner’s passion and unique contribution to BC’s wine region.


“BC wine fans love John Schreiner. He’s always been there for us. With the explosive growth of BC wines, he has paved the way for our all-important next step: how to choose and cellar the best of those wines, the icons.” ―Terry David Mulligan, host of  “Tasting Room Radio” program on Roundhouse Radio.

 For John’s follow up comments on wineries that didn’t make the book please read his blog


Jill Spoor and Christine Coletta –   Okanagan Wine Campus

Okanagan Wine Campus, created in 2011 by Okanagan Crush Pad, is a mentorship program that provides selected Vancouver Sommeliers with the unique chance to make a small lot wine using the grape variety and style of wine they wish. The proceeds from the sale of the wine are given to the BC Hospitality Foundation wine scholarship fund to support students pursuing their higher level wine education certification. To date, $30,000 has been donated from seven projects including Kurtis Kolt (2010), Owen Knowlton (2011), Terry Threlfall (2012), Samantha Rahn (2013), Mike Bernardo (2014), Jason Yamasaki (2015) and Jill Spoor (2016).


Jill Spoor joined Fairmont Pacific Rim in 2011 to open Giovane Winebar, implementing an all-Italian wine program.  Spoor’s enthusiasm and dedication to the wine program at the hotel led her to her role as Wine Director.

Jill Spoor



Jill Spoor has developed Botanist’s wine program to reflect exclusive terroir-driven wineries that support sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking practices.

Recently, Spoor was designated Okanagan Crush Pad Winery’s ‘2016 Harvest Intern,’ and has been hard at work developing her own wine label – a beautiful white blend.

The wine label was designed by her niece Taryn Brown, who is a gifted artist living in Victoria.

Jill recommends pairing with scallop or ling cod from the Botanist menu. Juicy green melon with entrancing high-notes of newly cut grass, fresh thyme and sage. A rounded mouth feel on the mid-palate gives way to a refreshing, zippy lime finish. Assembled specially by Jill Spoor, Matt Dumayne, David Scholefield and world-renowned terroir expert, Dr Pedro Parra, this blend of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc is a pure expression of what the Okanagan does best.


About the blend:

Juicy green melon with entrancing high-notes of newly cut grass, fresh thyme and sage. A rounded mouth feel on the mid-palate gives way to a refreshing, zippy lime finish. Assembled specially by Jill Spoor, Matt Dumayne, David Scholefield and world-renowned terroir expert, Dr Pedro Parra, this blend of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc is a pure expression of what the Okanagan does best.


Available at select private retail stores, at The Botanist Restaurant, Fairmont Pacific Rim or from WWW.OKANAGANCRUSHPAD.COM

And Christine Coletta is – one of the leaders in the BC wine industry and the co-owner of Okanagan Crush pad.


Planeta and Boutinot pours in Vancouver

Naramata Bench pours in Vancouver

Okanagan Falls pours in Vancouver.

Lots of pouring going on.









April 22nd, 2017-Meet the Makers


Meet the MakersGordon Fitzpatrick creates a stunning new winery plus  Sea Cider. Townsite Brewing. Blue Grouse. Stags Hollow. Sheringham Distillery.


 The dynamic Sara Park (Spark in Victoria)  organized Meet the Makers in Victoria. She wisely chose Nourish , a restaurant and café in a 1889 heritage house at 225 Quebec St.

Wines in the parlour, brewers and distillers upstairs in the bedrooms.  Fantastic location.

Gordon Fitzpatrick / Fitz Wine  (Peachland)


I started in the front room with Gordon Fitzpatrick..Son of Okanagan pioneer/politician  Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, who bought and created Cedar Creek Winery in 1986.

Fitzpatrick Family bought Greata Ranch which had been forgotten  for close to 30 years. Perfectly located 10 minutes South of Peachland and the Coquihalla connector.

Gordon joins Cedar Creek as president in 1996.  Cedar Creek wins Winery of the Year in Canada in 2002 & 2005.

2014, the family sells Cedar Creek to Anthony von Mandl (Mission Hill) but holds on to Greata Ranch.

Rebuilds everything on the property.

In 1994 they planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both essential for making sparkling wines.

Intends to be an 8-10,000 case winery and a major bubble house in Canadian wine with room in the new cellar for 120,000 bottles of Fitz Brut and Fitz Brut Reserve. Traditional method Blanc de Blanc and Brut Rose`.

Fitzpatricks In the Vineyard. Father and Son


Gordon proudly pours Big Leap Chardonnay, Pink Mile Rose, Ehrenfelser, Gew and more. The family opened the doors to their new winery Easter weekend and what a destination its going to be…


complete with cellar tours of the sparkling program and a fine new restaurant led by acclaimed Chef, Tony DeLuca.


Mike Pepperdine – Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse  (Saanichton)

 BC Cider Week is fast approaching (April 28th) Sea Cider is planning on throwing the big party on the 30th.

Even though the cideries are all friends they’re all trying to outdo one another. Sea Cider is leading  the tasting with Wolf in the Woods, infused with hops and grand fir needles.



Cider is on the customer fast track these days..and Sea Cider is running with the leaders. Releases include Birds and the Bees, Wild English, Flagship, Perry, Pippins, Ruby Rose and many more.










Jason MacIsaac – co-owner Sheringham Distillery (Sooke)

Jason MacIsaac Sheringham Distillery

Small batch. Handmade spirits from  the town of Shirley..on the other side of Sooke.  ( Sheringham was shortened to Shirley so the name would fit on the  postage stamp.  Why not Sherry?)

The co-owners are Jason and Alayne MacIsaac.

The inspiration for Sheringham Distillery was found in an empty bottle. In 2003   Jason MacIsaac lived west of Sheringham Pt. in a cabin. There he unearthed a number of old glass moonshine bottles from the notorious Jordan River Hotel which was rumoured to have had a still operating in the cellar. With a “wild west” reputation, it was the nearest liquor establishment to Sheringham Pt. The hotel was built in 1935 at the river mouth  and in 1984 it burned to the ground.

Sheringham makes Akvavit, Seaside Gin, Vodka, William’s White etc

The website is filled with stories, history and of course spirits.

Michelle  Zutz – Townsite Brewing (Powell  River)

 Michelle is a ball of fire..and a tonne of fun.

Townsite Brewing

I was fascinated by the Townsite website. They use three headings for their releases.

Legacy – These are year round beers.  Perfect Storm, Pow Town, Tin Hat, Zunga and  Zwarte Wheat. Heads up – The SunCoast Pale Ale is only available on The Sunshine Coast.

Hulks –  Unique single-batch projects.  Charleston, Cardena, YOGN 82, etc

Seasonals – From Sours to Saisons. Blackberry ales to Wet-Hopped IPA. There’s Lil Red,  Stouts and Belgians and speaking of Belgians

The Brewmaster at Townsite is Belgian through and through.


CÉDRIC DAUCHOT – Belgian Brewing Sensation Cédric graduated from L’institut Meurice in Brussels in 2004 with an Engineering degree in the science of Brewing. Head of Brewing operations for les 3 Brasseurs Canada from 2005 – 2010, he has  done it all, from Interbrew to Homebrew. Claim to fame: has two cases of Westvleteren 12 aging in his fathers cellar in Belgium.


Bailey Williamson –  Winemaker Blue Grouse Winery (Cowichan Valley)


Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Bailey originally learned his winemaking skills at Road 13 on the Golden Mile. It’s served him well in the Cowichan Valley. His wines just keep getting better and more interesting.

Blue Grouse Estate wines Ortega, Pinot Gris, Siegerrebe, Pinot Noir etc.

Quill the second label. White/Red,  Reisling and Rose.

Their  2014 Quill Rose received a GOLD MEDAL at this year’s  Savor NW Wine Awards!

Baileys a gem..proud and passionate!!


Dwight Sick – Winemaker at Stags Hollow.  Okanagan Falls

 There are so many of Dwight’s  wines to like at Stag’s Hollow.

Stags Hollow

This winery, which opened in 1996, has a portfolio of about two dozen wines including Grenache and a fine Merlot.

Also very collectable are the Renaissance Pinot Noir and Syrah.  Rose lovers will want to try the Syrah Grenache Rose

Some of the releases can approach $50.00 but if you keep digging you’ll find very affordable very good wines available.  I love the Tempranillo, the Albarino and Muscat Frizzante.




Sauvignon Blanc.  A beautiful blend of 80% stainless steel tanks and 20% new French oak.

The Heritage Block:  an outstanding Bordeaux blend. Aged  18 months in French and American oak.

Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

Stags Hollow Riesling.   Lovely blend of grapes given two different treatments.  Some are left in Stainless Steel and some in large Hogshead barrels.  Then are combined into something very special.


Chef Quang Dang –  West Restaurant
Executive Chef Quang Dang knows a few things about foraging. When he’s not in the kitchen, he’s likely to be found on a farm or a boat and following Mother Nature’s lead for what’s in season – from hazelnuts to spot prawns.  Quang’s passion for all things local is at the heart of  West Restaurants’ philosophy.

Chef Quang Dang began his culinary career at West, where he worked as junior sous chef. Over the next five years, while honing his technique in some of Vancouver’s finest kitchens, Quang quickly established himself as an advocate of sustainability and a champion of West Coast cuisine, a role that he continues to undertake in defining his approach to modern cookery.

Raised in Calgary, Alberta with family roots that stretch back to Scotland and the orchards and rice fields of Vietnam.  Quang went on to compete in a number of international food competitions such as the Bocuse D’Or in Lyon France, the National Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in Winnipeg and as a Canadian representative at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels.

Quang returned ‘home’ to West as Executive Chef in September 2011. “Every day brings a new adventure,” he says, “defined by the seasons and the extraordinary ingredients available to us in Vancouver. It is my privilege to work alongside one of the finest culinary and service brigades in the country.”


Love talking to Q… a pure delight.


Okanagan Falls pours in Vancouver.

And so does The Naramata Bench.

April 15th, 2017 -Star Chefs. Naramata Bench. Garagiste: Small Producers in Vancouver.



Flourish Gala at Vancouver Community College with Chefs Angus An and Clement Chan. Plus  winemakers from Tightrope, Elephant Island and Kettle Valley from the Naramata Bench and Garagiste North The Small Producers Wine Festival comes to Vancouver next  Saturday. They guest today!!


 Flourish  Gala  in March was the annual fundraiser for the community college.

Many of Canada’s chefs have be trained at VCC and this was an opportunity to showcase those students and Alumni.

We started with two of Vancouver’s best young chefs..

Chef Angus An – Trained at UBC, then  began his culinary career in NYC, Montreal and London.

Chef Angus An



Since returning to Vancouver in 2006 he has opened and received highest accolades with Gastropod (one of 200 best restaurants in the World – Zagat), Maenam, Fat Mao, Longtail Kitchen And Freebird Chicken Shack.



Chef Clement Chan

Clement was born and raised in Vancouver. He attended  culinary school at Vancouver Community College and was recognized early on as a rising star, winning provincial awards, representing Canada in the World Culinary Olympics, named National Chef of the Year and appeared on Food Network shows; Top Chef Canada and Eat St.

Chef Clement Chan

He has worked at a number of notable restaurants in the city, including local favourites such as Hapa Izakaya, Chambar and Blue Water Cafe. These days you can find him on his award winning Le Tigre food truck or  busy working at his new restaurant Torafuku.





Pouring wines to pair with the food at the Gala were the wineries of the Naramata Bench

 Three winemakers made the long drive down to the coast to bring the story behind their wines.

Miranda Halliday – Elephant Island


The Hallidays – Elephant Island

Elephant Island began as a family haven, a place of summer picnics, orchard adventures and magical holidays on the Naramata Bench. Today the elephant has grown into a 6,000 case winery driven to craft wines of character. Wines that sing with the unconventional voice of vanguard fruit. Wines that are balanced by a reverence for traditional winemaking practices. Wines that are rooted and inspired by family history.

Having lived on the Bench for 5 years I can tell you that their tasting room is quite possibly the single busiest in the Okanagan.

They make amazing wines and bubble from fruit..a skill very few in Canada can duplicate.

Now they’re crafting  regular wines and have started making cider.

Highly recommend Pink Elephant, The Little King and “Told you so” Viognier.

Much to talk about with co-owner Miranda Halliday.

 Bob Ferguson –  Kettle Valley Winery

Bob and Tim from Kettle Valley

Along with partner Tim Watts – Kettle Valley  has been one of the best stories in all of BC wines.

They started making their first wines in an apartment in downtown Penticton.

Sneaking bins of fruit upstairs in the elevator and crushing grapes in the living room and storing them in the closets.

Crazy right?

But that’s how much they wanted to make wines.

As they  finish off their 25th year, as the oldest single-owner winery on the Naramata Bench, they  still remain dedicated to making and sharing great wines from BC grapes.  Their family’s commitment is as strong as ever to farming full flavoured grapes and to winemaking that brings out the best of those flavours and subtleties.

Check out Bob’s latest stories and wines.

Lyndsay O’Rourke – Tightrope Winery

Tightrope Winery: A journey of balance, skill and experience, one step at a time.

Tightrope Winery is a small family run vineyard on the Naramata Bench, BC. The owners are Graham and Lyndsay O’Rourke.  Both studied winemaking at Lincoln University in NZ.  They use their education and experience to grow and make small batches of high quality wine. All of the grapes that go into their wines are sourced from select vineyards on the Naramata Bench.

The journey of bringing grapes to the bottle is a tightrope walk of variables from vineyard management, to winemaking, to the weather and even balancing the cheque book.

Tightrope was named Small Winery of Distinction at the 2015 Northwest Wine Summit Awards.

All eight entries won.

They placed seventh in small wineries in Canada and among the top 10 wineries in B.C. in the 2015 WineAlign of Canada competition.

Garagiste North – The Small Producers Wine Festival

One of my favourite gatherings..actually there’s three this year.

Parksville (Parksville Museum – outdoors)  July 29th, Penticton Aug 27th and next Saturday  April 22nd in Vancouver at Arts Works Gallery.  255 Smythe.


Join them  for a gathering of the small case lot, artisan wine producers at Art Works gallery in Vancouver. Meet the winemakers face to face.  For once, you get to ask all those questions you’ve been meaning to ask.  You will have the opportunity to purchase wine from these hard to find producers right at the event as Marquis Wine Cellars brings you their pop up store.

Partial proceeds go to the Garagiste North Wine Studies Scholarship..

So..this week a teaser on what you can expect next week!!

We talk to:

Mireille Sauve  wine expert and winemaker for Dames Wines.

Daniel Bontorin – Seven Directions   Daniel makes only Rose`


Penelope Roche. – Grew up in Bordeaux. Next door neighbour was Haut Brion. Kids at school called her The Princess because she lived in a Chateau.

Husband Dylan grew up in exotic North Vancouver.  Next door neighbour was a guy named Spike.

Guess who I chose  to talk to?

This was the small winery that turned me on to the possibilities of this movement and these farmers.




Okanagan Falls pours in Vancouver

Naramata Bench Pours in Victoria


March 18th, 2017-Unsworth and a gaggle of Somms


A Gaggle of Vancouver Sommeliers gathers at Unsworth Vineyards in the Cowichan Valley.  Can’t wait to talk to them.

Includes Somm of the Year Shane Taylor from CinCin!

(check  the outstanding names below)

Richard Da Silva from Misconduct/Naramata Bench guests as well and we finish with one of the best wine minds in the music business

Colin Linden from Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.



 As soon as I got the invite from Ron Bogdonov GM at Unsworth Vineyards in the Cowichan Valley Vancouver Island I knew it was just too good to pass up.

Chris Turyk, son of owner Tim Turyk and a seriously good wine guy who worked  at Hawksworth!

Chris invited his Sommelier friends in Vancouver and they all agreed to fly over on three planes to spend the day touring the cellars at Unsworth and then finishing with food and wine pairings  in their wonderful dining room.


Chris Turyk




Over 30 in total..all with sharp minds and even sharper tongues.

I recorded the highlights of the tour to start the show  – so you get to take it in as well.

Between the time the lunch ended and the buses left  for the return flight I started asking questions of them – 3 at a time.

Below are the really fun results.  We’re talking Unsworth, Cowichan, Trends, 2017 etc.



Peter Van Der Reep – Campagnolo Roma

Lisa Haley – L’ Abattoir

Kurtis Kolt – The Georgia Straight

Bryant Mao – Wine Director Hawksworth/Nightingale

Franco Michenzi – Hawksworth

Colin Davidson – Nightingale

Shane Taylor –   CinCin   Sommelier of the Year

Shane Taylor CinCin

David Stansfield – Earls Group

Sarah McCauley – Coast Restaurant

Chef Marc Perrier – Savio Volpe

I’m drawn to people  in the food and wine business who walk their own path. As a result they usually always make distinctive wines,  with character and focus.

Richard da Silva of Misconduct Wine Co on the Naramata Bench is one of those kind of people.

He makes the suspect and bootleg series of wines. (do you see a theme here)

First off, his family have been growers in the valley for years.  That alone puts him well ahead in the race for fruit and harvest standouts. It shows in his wines.  Blends, single growth varietals and seriously good food wines.

It helps that his food partner  in The Kitchen is a really good chef, Abul Adame.  Mexican born. French trained. He’s one of the very best anywhere in the valley. Over 30 Tapas with a large variety of options.


Love talking to Richard.  He’s a’s just that some of the stories “he can’t tell”.

…and finally it’s the semi-annual return of Colin Linden. Musician, Poet, singer/songwriter/producer and a very good friend.

Colin Linden

As he passed through Vancouver with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings we paused to do the usual music interview but then….5 seconds later I’m always asking the same question “what are you drinking” ?

Here’s four minutes of wine talk between two guys with only two minutes to spare. 




Alberto Antonini. Presents Garzon wines from Uruguay

James Sichel – There’s been a Sichel In Bordeaux Since 1883

Frank Giustra. Dominica Fiore- One of the World’s Best Olive Oils

John Skinner. Painted Rock. Pairing with those oils

Umberto Menghi. He’s baaaaaack

Flourish!!   A fun Food and Wine event at Vancouver Community College

With Naramata Bench Wines: Kettle Valley, Elephant Island, Tightrope and  Chefs Angus An & Clement Chan




September 24th, 2016- The Rhone Valley


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A blind tasting of Rhone Valley Wines featuring Rhone experts plus  The Wine
Diva and Angus An (Maenam)

And DJ Kearney on New District and Fall Wines.

The Show

Blind Tasting Rhone Wines at Maenam

Laure Vaissermann/Michelle Bouffard/Daenna van Mulligen/Angus An

It’s a full-on Rhone wine tasting at  Angus An’s  Maenam Restaurant in
Vancouver.   Invited were taste makers, wine writers, wine buyers and
sommeliers.  We were made to blind taste reds and whites and try to name the
grape(s) and what region they came from.. It was a humbling experience.  Our
hosts are Laure Vaissermann, spokesperson for Rhone Valley Wines  and  by
Michelle Bouffard,  WSET instructor, journalist and President of CAPS
(Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers – BC Chapter).

 Michelle and Laure

Michelle and Laure




“Just imagine, 250 km from north to south, 250 communes (local authority
areas, often villages)… The vineyards of the Rhone Valley are a world
apart, a shifting landscape which winds and unwinds around a fluid axis: the
Rhone, king of rivers, carrying silt and a sense of history. The Rhone is
the linking factor, holding together these contrasting landscapes. From
Vienne to Nîmes and Avignon, and on to the borders of the Luberon, on both
banks of the river, there is a wealth of places to explore”. Christophe
Tassan, “Flânerie dans le Vignoble de la Vallée du Rhône”.

Wine has been produced in the Rhône Valley for over 500 years, with some of
its steeply-terraced vineyards amongst the oldest in France. Syrah rules
over the south with a mix of Mediterranean grapes, while in the north the
two stars are Hermitage – grown on a granite hillside above the town of Tain
and best put to the back of the cellar for a decade – and Côte-Rôtie, a star
appellation made famous by Guigal’s single-vineyard wines.

Rhone Valley Wines

Rhone Valley Wines

The Reds: Fruity, round, gourmet or spicy, full-bodied and structured. They
pair with a wide variety of dishes, from pasta to stews;

The Whites: Floral and fruity or full-bodied and deep, these wines pair with
a myriad of options, from appetizers to desserts;

The Rosés: Fresh and tender or spicy and flavourful, no one can resist their
charms, especially during summer

Quick facts about Rhone Valley Wines:

11% (in volume) of French table wines in Canada is from Rhone Valley Wines


20% increase in BC sales of Rhone Valley Wines during 2015-2016 and steady
growth expected

2015 is one of the best vintage for Rhone Valley Wines

Rhone Valley Wines are versatile to pair with Vancouver’s diverse food

Joining in this Love affair with Rhone wines are Daenna van Mulligen, The
Wine Diva, who’s gives us all the back ground we need to appreciate what
these wines represent and where they came from.


And award winning  Maenam Executive chef Angus An. Angus talks about how
exciting it was to pair Rhone wines with Vancouver’s take on Asian food.
Wines assumed to  pair with  meats and stews etc.. are now sharing the
senses with great Thai spices.




For those of us still waiting to visit the Rhone’s an
introduction to the wines, food and people by the people who know best. <> michellebwine

DJ Kearney –  Director of Wine  New District  and Fall Wines





A two part conversation with one of Canada’s best wine experts/educators.

The first segment is all about DJ’s new position at New District.  She’s
Director of wine.  Who better to follow?  What a leader.

Not only does she know her wines..she knows who’s growing the best
grapes..who’s crushing and blending and leading the next releases.

DJ is a huge supporter of BC wines and that’s where we start.

Here’s a comment from New District..

“We are here to simplify the enjoyment of wine, and to give you one-stop
access to great BC wine. These are truly exciting times: our wine industry
is booming, with more new wineries in more parts of the province than ever
before. There are over 270 wineries now, making almost 3,000 different wines
using 75 different grapes. But while there are lots of great wines made
here, it is not always easy for producers to get their bottles on store
shelves. Which means that BC wine lovers actually have limited choice when
shopping for wine.

We are here to connect artisan producers who deserve to be better known with
discerning consumers who deserve to drink their wines. We want to make it
easy to discover and enjoy the best of BC wine. New District will offer an
ever-changing assortment of mixed cases assembled by our renowned wine sage
DJ Kearney, making it easy to sample new wines from month to month. She will
literally do the shopping for you – all you need to do is pick a
pre-assembled pack that you like, in a size that you want. And our
convenient concierge-style delivery takes the stress out of getting to the
wine store. We’ll bring your wine to you – where and when you want it. And
all want to look knowledgeable, so we have that covered too, with up-to-date
BC wine content, plus a wealth of other useful wine intelligence.

Great local wines, useful content, and convenient delivery. Please join us
in our celebration of the new era of BC wine.”

The second segment with DJ Kearney is about Fall Wines..

I asked her to tell us about a handful of BC wines that she would  like to
recommend to the Tasting Room audience.

Corcelettes Chasselas  2014/$27.99

Little Farm Rose  2015/ $24.00

Daydreamer  Amelia   2014/$28.99

Emandare – Pinot Noir   2014 / $39.99

Bartier Bros  Merlot     2013 /$26.99


The one and only Jane Ferrari – Yalumba

Chef  Meets Truck

A full hour follow up to Colour 2016.  At least 10 BC wineries.

Peter Gambetta – Yalumba Winemaker

August 27th, 2016-A Glass Full of Miracles


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A Glass Full of Miracles is the amazing  Story of Mike Grgich – The man who fired the “Shot Heard Round the World” – in the Judgement of  Paris tasting of 1976,  as told by his daughter Violet Grgich!

And wine writer and expert Kurtis Kolt presents  Top Drop Vancouver Year 3!!


A Glass Full of Miracles is the memoir of Mike Grgich.

“My life has been filled with miracles’” Mike Grgich says. “How else do you explain that a little boy from a little village in Croatia now has his wine on display in the Smithsonian Institution, in the same place as Abraham Lincoln’s hat and Neal Armstrong’s space suit?”

 Mike Grgich, the youngest in a family of 11, studied enology and viticulture at Croatia’s University of Zagreb with the goal of making great wine. While he was a student, a professor whispered to him about California, a paradise where winemakers were free to make the best wine possible. Just before graduating, he fled Croatia to escape communism. With $32 sewn in his shoe and after spending time in Vancouver , Mike Grgich finally arrived in California after four years of adversity and uncertainty. The book takes readers along Mike’s journey from communism to freedom, becoming a California winemaker and earning his place as a Napa Valley icon.


An inductee to the Vintners Hall of Fame, Grgich crafts wines in the classic Old World tradition that have won a stream of local and international awards, establishing Grgich Hills Estate as one of the premier wineries in the U.S. and the world.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the famous Judgment of Paris.

In 1976, Steven Spurrier, an Englishman who ran a fine wine shop in Paris, decided to promote his wine shop by organizing a blind tasting to coincide with America’s Bicentennial celebrations. For the tasting, he gathered together the best French judges, the finest French wines and he added in a few wines from some upstart winemakers in California. The unimaginable happened: the 1973 Chardonnay, crafted by Mike Grgich for Chateau Montelena, won with the highest total score of 132 points. This momentous verdict placed Napa Valley on the global wine map and set the bar for Chardonnay in Napa Valley.

 The following year Grgich joined with Austin Hills of the Hills Bros. Coffee Company to open what became Grgich Hills Estate. The first vintage that Grgich crafted at the new winery was one of 221 Chardonnays from around the world entered into “The Great Chicago Chardonnay Showdown.” The 1977 Grgich Hills Chardonnay emerged triumphant with the first place ribbon and the Chicago Tribune called it “The best Chardonnay in the world!”


George Taber, the Time magazine reporter who broke the story of the Paris Tasting and later was the author of “Judgment of Paris” about the famed tasting, praises “A Glass Full of Miracles:” “Mike Grgich may be small in stature, but he is a giant in the world of wine. His new book dramatically tells his full story, which is a great tale of a dream come true…there are a lot more aspects to Mike’s life than just Cabernet and Chardonnay. It’s a great and fun read.”

This feature interview consists of a 2009 interview I did with Mike at the Hotel Vancouver and a phone conversation I had with his daughter Violet just this past week.

Violet is now the General Manager of Grgich Hills.

Mike and Violet take us through  the Paris Tasting,  the recent 40th anniversary of the Judgement of ..the forthcoming 40th anniversary of the winery in July 2017.

Mike and Violet Grgich

Mike and Violet Grgich



Listen to RAW Interview here:

Kurtis Kolt – Top Drop Vancouver / Year Three

 Kurtis Kolt

“The One Wine Tasting of the Year You Shouldn’t Miss” – Western Living Magazine


Embarking on its third year, Top Drop Vancouver is a two day trade and consumer event being held at the Roundhouse in Yaletown and various Vancouver restaurants  September  7/8 , bringing together a collection of small, hands-on wineries, craft breweries, cideries and food purveyors who are passionate about their craft.

Their  focus is terroir-influenced, handcrafted wines, and the people behind them.

They believe in the importance in farming one’s own fruit and/or being constantly engaged with grape-growers to ensure sustainability and a high standard of viticultural practices. They believe in wines that reflect their vintage, and wines that aren’t suffocated by vinicultural trickery. They believe in winemaking decisions that are made by a winemaker, and not by a board of directors or marketing team.


They believe in those who take chances. They believe these kinds of wines, honest wines of integrity, need a time and place to have their story told.

They also believe craft beer, cider, along with authentic and sustainable produce, dairy, meat and seafood are part of the same conversation, which is why they’re proud to showcase some of the  best in those areas.


Kurtis is  a Vancouver-based wine consultant who writes about wine, presents seminars, hosts events, judges wine competitions, works with restaurants on their wine programs.
His  background is in running restaurants around Vancouver, most recently managing Gastown’sSalt Tasting Room until 2010 when he received the ‘Sommelier of the Year’ award at the 2010 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Kurtis has various certifications and credits through London’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the Court of Master Sommeliers & the Winemaking Program at UC Davis.


His great  wine column is published every Wednesday in Canada’s largest urban weekly, The Georgia Straight.



Taco Fino – a new menu and new store in Yaletown

Pam Cohen – The Savvy Series highlights Rose

Eric McCormack – Actor, Father and wine geek.

Fanny Bay – The Oysters and The Restaurant

Unsworth Vineyards – Cowichan Valley





Tasting Room Radio- BC


Our focus this week is on Vancouver Island. Specifically The 6th annual BC Shellfish Festival in Comox-Courtney and on the iconic Hastings House, Salt Spring Island.   Over 200 guests were treated to a six-course chef designed seafood menu paired with a BC wine. Best of all the festival was held in the oyster growing capital of Canada, near the Comox Valley. The meal is served outdoors, along the banks of Baynes Sound. This year’s dinner brought in chefs from near and far who all share a passion for preparing sustainably raised shellfish and to offer guests a truly authentic taste of the West Coast.

great beginning to festival!

This year’s lineup includes: -Mathew Wright – Executive Director -Ned Bell, Executive Chef, Four Seasons/Yew Restaurant, Vancouver -Garrett Schack – Vista 18 Victoria –Bill Jones, Executive Chef, Deerholme Farm, Cowichan Valley –Aaron Rail, Executive Chef, Avenue Bistro, Comox –Ronald St. Pierre, Executive Chef, Locals, Courtenay -Matt MacDonald, Executive Chef, Berwick, Comox -Jonathan Frazier – Atlas Café Courtney -Tracey Marks – Tria Culinary Studio -Ray Silvey, Fanny Bay Oysters -Abel O’Brennan, Coastal Black Estates Courtney -George Ehrler, Blue Moon Winery Courtney -James Marinus, Shelter Point Distillery Courtney -Cindy Holland –Courtney VQA Wine Store   Everyone above contributes their knowledge of shellfish. Cooking it, sourcing it, pairing wines with whatever you’re cooking.   Then we head to Salt Spring Island and the iconic Hastings House located above Ganges Harbour.    It sits there like the a jewel. Welcoming. One of the best culinary experiences on the coast. Good for the soul.   Guests include Kelly McAree – GM Marcel Kauer – Exec Chef And the delightful Millie Sinclair – who runs a stellar wine program.   Awards: Fodors Choice, Zagat: Top Canadian Resorts”, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Featured in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

Stories we’re working on:

The Wickaninnish Inn and the sensational Sobo, Tofino. John Casella, the maker of 14 Million cases of Yellow Tail   Banfi David Suzuki Chappell Hill Benjamin Bridge Antonia Mantonakis Brock University Sir George Fistonich – 50 years at Villa Maria Matt Sekeres Hawksworth Launches a house wine with Orofino John Casella – 14 Million cases of Yellow Tail Joy of Feeding Chris Wyse – Young and Wyse Matt Sherlock – Clean Slate Hayley Hamilton – Dallas Sommelier River Café – Calgary Hotel Arts – Calgary