Tasting Room Radio

March 16th, 2024- 45th VanWineFest TRR Part 2 – 10 Italians and a Turyk!




Featuring guest hosts and wine specialists  Kelcie Jones and Michaela Morris.

TDM. Kelcie Jones co-host – Ermes Scardova (Ermete) and Beatrice Schiavio (Marchesi di Barolo)

The feature region of the 2024 Vancouver International Wine Festival was Italy.

There were  71 wineries representing 13 different Italian regions, from Sicily in the far south to Trentino-Alto Adige in the north.
There were hundreds of autochthonous grape varieties and each region has its own mix of varieties, wine styles, and food and wine culture!

So much history and passion wrapped up in Italian wines. Italian winemakers and owners know that Canada has its own history of embracing the wines of Italy.

No matter what the region.

When I asked Kelcie Jones and Michaela Morris to consider co-hosting with me, I also asked who would they like to invite for the interviews.

Kelcie is the co-founder of This is Wine School and the Sommelier of the Year 2023.

Kelcie looked forward to talking with

Beatrice Schiavio –  Marchesi di Barolo. The first Barolo was created in their cellars.

Thomas Jefferson was an early fan. The King of Wines. The Wine of Kings.


Ermes Scarova.  Medici Ermete.   Growing vineyards and creating wines since 1890. Not just any wine but a sensational  CRU of Lambrusco: Concerto

 Next comes the charming Daniel Grace – the American owner of Il Molino di Grace

In the very heart of the Chianti region. Producing world-class wines for 350 years.

Urs Vetter – from Vietti.   Formed 150 years ago in the very heart of the Langhe at the highest point of the medieval village of Castiglione Falletto. It’s still there today.

What followed were beautiful Arneis, Moscato, Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco and many  Barolo.

tdm – Michaela Morris- Daniel Grace. Katie Nussbaum. Sebastiano De Ferrari  Vanwinefest 2024

Unsworth Vineyards – Cowichan Valley Vancouver Island.  Chris Turyk.. marketing and family member.  If you listen to Tasting Room radio you know Chris Turyk.

Chris Turyk – Unsworth (Cowichan Valley)

Every region needs a spokesperson. Chris is the leading voice of the Cowichan Valley Wineries.

Unsworth leads by example.


Michaela Morris becomes the co-host in the second half of this Tasting Room Radio.


Michaela is a fully acknowledged leader in Canada’s wine world.

She’s an educator, mentor, sought-after wine judge and gifted writer. (Decanter)

Michaela had just returned from Tuscany.

Michaela invited

Katia Nussbaum Owner of San Polino.  Vineyards were created early in the  10th century. As of 1581 it was owned by the Montalcino Hospital, Santa Maria della Croce. The olive trees planted in 1581 are still standing.

Then Sebastiano De Ferrari. The owner of Boscarelli sits in.

Michaela and I then welcome

Barbara De Rahm from Marziano Abbona and

Stefano Inama – Inama Wines  Owner and family member – perhaps the finest producer of Soave!!

Stefano brings his son along for the chat.


Thank you, Kelcie and Michaela!!  Thank you, Meredith and Harry!!






Van Wine Fest Part Three

  • with DJ Kearney
  • Tightrope Winery  New Releases.
  • BC/Alberta  Wine Wars


March 9th, 2024-The 45th VanWineFest Part One


The 45th VanWineFest Part One



The press release says: It’s the largest combined consumer and trade wine show in North America. And one of the biggest and oldest in the World.  From Feb 24 to March 3. Eight days, 42 events, 12 countries,  149 participating wineries, 71 from feature region Italy, 1, 150 wines, 800 in the tasting room and over 18,000  wine fans expected to attend all events.

So…..how does one guy with one microphone cover something like that?  You don’t!!

Can’t be done without a huge team but if you plan carefully and do your homework, surround yourself with wine friends who bring their own beliefs on wine and winemakers, then you might get something captured.

I’m so pleased to announce that with the help and smarts of the following friends & experts we managed to do 22 interviews with winemakers and principals from Italy, Greece, Washington, California, Spain, France and BC.

Thank you to Meredith Elliott – Communications and Marketing manager.  Grace under pressure.

Harry Hertscheg – Solid Support.

Harry Hertscheg (sip mag)

Our co-hosts are:

Daenna Van Mulligen – The Wine Diva. Writer, speaker, judge and popular reviewer.

Michaela Morris –  educator, judge, speaker and wine writer (Decanter)

Kelcie Jones – Best Sommelier 2023, educator, consultant and founder of This is Wine School

DJ Kearney – Director of Wine at  Terminal City Club, wine educator at large. Legend.

This first Tasting Room Radio will feature opinions and comments from

Terry and Daenna

Daenna Van Mulligenwww.winediva.ca Has travelled the wine world. Knows many winemakers in the room.

Hosted a sold-out feature seminar on Gerard Bertrand Winery.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery – Michael Abbott – New GM (Cowichan Valley)

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery – Stephen Neumann – Brand Ambassador (Oliver)

Le Vins Bonhomme –  Nathalie Bonhomme. (founder/winemaker) Originally from Montreal. Now making wines for her label –  in Spain and France.

Nathalie Bonhomme-lesvinsbonhomme

House of Smith – Donal Black VP – Int. Sales. A new gathering of Charles Smith Wines. K Vintners, Substance, Sixto, Golden West etc. (Washington)

Charles Smith – House of Smith

Harry Hertscheg – Executive Director VIWF.  The man who dreams the dream and leads the team.

Bench 1775 – Richard Kanazawa (Winemaker)  Naramata Bench. Fabulous winemaker

Osoyoos LaRose – Michael Kullmann   CEO/Winemaker (Osoyoos) Great discussion between these two. Consistently fine wines.















NEXT WEEK – All Italian wineries (except for Unsworth.)

Co-Host Kelcie Jones  

Marchesi di Barolo

Medici Ermete

Il Molino di Grace




Co-host Michaela Morris

San Polino


Maziano Abbona



March 2nd, 2024 – Replay… Last Year’s 44th Vancouver International Wine Festival (Part One)



We are currently doing interviews in the Vancouver Convention Centre at the 2024 VanWineFest.

NEXT WEEKWe start Part One of this years coverage.

Co-Hosts this year are Kelcie Jones,  Leader of This is  Wine School. Sommelier of the year, DJ Kearney Wine Director Terminal City Club Vancouver.  Wine Educator and Judge. Michaela Morris, international wine writer, judge, speaker. Writes for Decanter. Italian wine specialist and once again Daenna van Mulligen, The Wine Diva. Writer, speaker and outstanding wine reviewer.

In order to give ourselves time to gather guest comments, edit the 22 interviews and get ready for at least 3 weeks of wine stories and journeys, this week is a repeat of last years Part One kick-off.



 This is our 17th year of covering the  adventure  of The Van Wine Fest!

For the Executive Director Harry Hertscheg and his top flight team of organizers,  it’s their 44th annual.

(Harry and keynote speaker Evan Goldstein will close our series in a couple of weeks)

Harry Hertscheg

Although it’s still a amazing “blur” I think we did at least 20 interviews in just under four hours.

A mix of winemakers and founders from Chile, Argentina, BC, Lodi, Napa, Sonoma and  Washington!

We could not have made this journey without the help of media/marketing support from Ruby Gillett (Milk Creative Communications) and Danielle Giroux (Director- California Wines Canada)

Thank you both.

Vancouver International Wine Festival


Here’s Part One of this years Festival

 We begin with the most amazing friend – Wine Director at Terminal City Club and much admired wine educator, speaker and wine judge,  DJ Kearney.

DJ and I were judging the Lt Governor awards last month and between flights I whispered “will you join me at VanWineFest for a couple of interviews. I love your questions and observations?”

She nodded OK!  How lucky I was to know her?

As promised,  DJ sat down for the first two interviews and to my complete surprise and delight,  she stayed for almost the entire series of chats. A small grouping of chairs – knee to knee –  because the crowd noise gets louder as the minutes click by. A lot of collective chatter.  In the chairs, we all found ourselves leaning in to listen and comment. Tasted many outstanding wines the guests brought.

Loved it.  Best of all, this is just Part One of 3 weeks of interviews.

This weeks guests are:

 DJ Kearney – Wine Director  (Terminal City Club) Wine Educator, Judge, Writer,  Speaker and great friend.

DJ Kearney

The one and only DJ Kearney with her observations about Van Wine Fest history, the line up of this years wineries and general opinions about the state of today’s winemaking. She brings so many memorable stories and details.




JJ DowellWinemaker Lake Sonoma, Plume Wines. (Russian River, Sonoma, Alexander Valley, Napa Valley)

Jaime started her career “in the arts” at her family’s art gallery.

The art of wine came calling. Crooked Vine, Stony Ridge. Then off to New Zealand making high end Pinot Noir at Villa Maria.

Back to California in 2011 to join Bonny Doon, Alpha Omega, Round Pond Estate in Napa and finally joined West Coast Wine Partners – which included the Stewart Family at Quails Gate – to oversee Lake Sonoma and Valley of the Moon WinesPlume Wines were soon added to the portfolio.

All that experience shows in her wines.  https://lakesonomawinery.com/

Jaime "JJ" Dowell Named Round Pond Estate Winemaker - Wine Industry Advisor

JJ Dowell


Christa-Lee McWatters – McWatters Collection GM/Family (Penticton)

Tony Holler – Co-Owner Poplar Grove (Naramata Bench)

DJ and I knew this was going to be fast, informative and lots of fun.

Christa-Lee and Tony LOVE talking about wine. Theirs and many others.

But they also have new events and growth.

At Time Family of Wines in Penticton Christa-Lee has opened OROLO Restaurant with Damian Cole as Head Chef.  Fine dining friends.

Wine's Most Inspiring People: Christa-Lee and Darrien McWatters, TIME Family of Wines - Wine Industry Advisor

Christa-Lee McWatters

She was also pouring her Father Harry’s last vintage. A  2017 Brut!

Cheers to Harry McWatters.



Tony Holler poured his Pinot Gris “it has to be poured at this event.”

Tony Holler

And also revealed his new culinary team at Poplar Grove Restaurant.

Timing says Tony “its all about timing” His executive chef moved on to Canoe in Toronto and at the same time Executive Chef Stacey Johnson and Chef de Cuisine Minette Lotz came available at Naramata Inn. Think about it.  That team in that room with that view? Wow!

Truly loved DJ’s comments.



On my way into the Convention Centre I bumped into Chris Turyk and his Father Tim from Unsworth in the Cowichan Valley.

I reminded Chris that last year I stood in front of their Unsworth pouring table but the line-up just kept getting bigger and bigger and we never got an interview done.

Chris Turyk

So, this year we put two chairs together and had a conversation until someone asked if they could have their chairs back.

Talking about Unsworth, the Cowichan Valley, the Jackson Family adding Blue Grouse to their Cowichan Portfolio, what he was pouring at the festival (Charme de l’ile NV).


My thanks to Chris, Tim and Unsworth.




Part One of 2024 VanWineFest

Harry Hertscheg – Executive Director VanWineFest

Nathalie Bonhomme – Le Vins Bonhomme (Spain)

Donal Black – House of Smith (Charles Smith portfolio – Washington)

Richard Kanazawa – Winemaker Bench 1775 (Naramata Bench)

Michael Kullman – CEO and Winemaker at Osoyoos LaRose

Michael Abbott – GM  Blue Grouse (Cowichan Valley)

Stephen Neumann – Burrowing Owl Brand Ambassador (Oliver)



February 24th 2024- Seven Wine Stars – Time to Buy B.C. We can ALL help!


Seven Wine Stars – Time to Buy BC. We can ALL help!




Christine Coletta – Co-founder  Haywire Wines (Summerland)

Grant Stanley – Winemaker and GM of Spearhead  – (East Kelowna) 2022 Best Small Winery in Canada.

Rhys Pender – Master of Wine and co-founder Little Farm Wines (Similkameen)

Kimberly Hundertmark – Executive Director Okanagan Wine Festivals

Sandra Oldfield – Partner Elysian Projects and Organizer/Founder  of  Fortify Conference.

Tim Pawsey – Writer and Wine Judge (Hired Belly)

Leslie D’Andrea – Co-founder and CEO Noble Ridge Winery (OK Falls)


If ever the BC Wine industry could use your support, it’s right now .

Discover the Wines, Wineries and Vineyards of British Columbia | Wine BC

Farming and making wine is a long hard road during the growing season. The past farming year was hit with

wild fires, smoke, a December freeze that killed many vines and the MacDougall Creek Fire, one of the largest and most dangerous  fires overlooking West Kelowna.

Then, at the height of the fires,  the BC government shut down the highways into the Okanagan.  Wine fans and tourists were asked to stay home.

They did stay home and when the roads opened again they either stayed home or went elsewhere.

The wineries, restaurants and accommodation business in the Okanagan lost weeks of customers and income.

The lost revenue and the reduced fruit crop has put a hurt on many small wineries. Some will be lost. Many are holding on, hoping for a better year ahead.

Of course, now comes another challenge. The Alberta government has threatened to pull BC Wines from their store shelves. Yup. Another holdup at the border.


 Have a listen to these BC Wine leaders.  Lots of suggestions and much wise advice.

From buying BC wines for the near future and ordering a BC wine when dining.

Join a wine club. Shop on line. Gift your friends. 

Also the Spring Wine Events are on in the Okanagan.  Now’s the perfect time to visit.  Kimberly Hundertmark Executive Director  of Okanagan Wine fests gives us a primer on the events.








Timothy Pawsey





Spring Wine Releases


Painted Rock

Clos du Soleil

Anthony Buchanan Wines

French Door Winery


Sons of Vancouver

Wild Life Distillery










February 17th, 2024- Wines of Romance from Township 7 and Rocky Mountain Whisky from Wild Life


Wines of Romance from Township 7 and Rocky Mountain Whisky from Wild Life


The press release arrived well in advance of Valentine’s Day.

These exceptional wines are not only perfect for cosy winter evenings but also make for delightful Valentine’s Day celebrations.

I’m 3 days late with this story but when Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday, I find most of my friends agree with me and move it to the weekend when we have time to call our own.

Anyway, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Mary McDermott – Winemaker Township 7 (Langley and Naramata Bench)

Township 7 Vineyards & Winery launches the seven stars club - My VanCity

Mary McDermott

Mary is a straight shooter. No catch-all marketing phrases. Just the facts and heartfelt reflections on the growing year and what the vineyard was trying to say to us.

Her training and years of seasonal survival have made Mary one of the winemakers to watch. Mary watches over the prime Naramata vineyards and their ever-evolving vineyards in Langley.

She is, after all, following in the footsteps of Michael Bartier and Bradley Cooper. High standards have risen even higher under Mary’s watch.

A wonderful winemaker and consummate craftswoman.

Tasting and Talking:

seven stars RIGEL 2021

Traditional method style, made with Riesling from the  Fool’s Gold Vineyard in North Oliver. Owned by Mark Antonello, well known vineyard manager.

The vineyard was researched and planted two decades ago by the legendary Richard Cleave. When he and Harry McWatters drove and walked around the Okanagan, they had their choice of “everything and everywhere”.  They picked the best plots of land to be had. If Richard Cleave’s name is linked to a vineyard, it’s Gold friends.

For example, the 2020 version of this sparkling wine was awarded Best Canadian Sparkling Wine 2023 Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in London.  Loaded with notes of citrus and minerality. The glorious mousse has a texture that never seems to leave my memory bank. The body remembers such moments.

383 six-bottle cases –  $36.97

seven stars POLARIS 2020

Named in honour of the North Star which has guided ships at sea for many 100’s of years.

Crafted in traditional Methode Champenoise style.

Polaris is a Blanc de Blanc made from 100% unoaked Chardonnay. It has been celebrated at the Canadian National Wine Awards, BC Lieutenant Governor  Awards, Global Awards in Australia and many more.

Notes of brioche, Granny Smith apples, peach, lime.

In a word – Polaris is complete!    1250 six-bottle cases –   $39.97


Benchmark Series Pinot Noir 2022


This wonderful Pinot came from long-time growers Dwight and Arnie Gash’s Remuda Vineyard in Okanagan Falls.

Mary works with ripe dark fruit which she ferments in their concrete egg and stainless steel.

Aged a full year in French Oak Puncheons.

Your nose will love the aromas of raspberries and cherries.

The palate is fully engaged with assembled fruit and delicious undertones. When your mouth is not busy with the pinot, it will be forming the words “wow”!

800 cases made – available at both wineries and online.




Matt Widmer – Co-Founder of Wild Life Distillery  Canmore, Alberta


Matt and Keith Founders of Wild Life

Matt and his co-founding partner Keith Robinson grew up together in the neighbourhood.

In their case, the neighbourhood was Banff and Canmore, Alberta. Rundle Mountain was in between them but it all worked out.

In 2017 they decided to build a distillery in Canmore – they called it Wild Life.

Craft spirits became a reality – whisky, gin, vodka, amaro, canned cocktails, bitters, etc.

While I was covering the Victoria Whisky Festival I heard their name being dropped several times. Then I saw they had won Two Gold Medals.

Wild Life Rye Whisky – Gold

Wild Life Wheat Whisky – Gold


Now comes Batch 001 of Wild Life Single Malt Whisky…just released.

WLD uses all Alberta grains and malt, including barley, wheat and rye. Water in the Canmore area is directly sourced from the Rocky Mountains. A local family farm grows grain exclusively for Wild Life Distillery. They also have a direct source of Guttino Rye from the family farm they work with.

As you can see the Rye and Wheat Whiskies have proven themselves.

The new single malt has vanilla and citrus on the nose & ends with ripe apricot.

The palate has light oak, nice rounded barley, caramelized dark honey and toffee.

For a first step single malt this whisky is well worth the wait. It’s going to be very popular.

FYI – The distillery has a bar in the tasting room and new cocktails are being created every day.

The back room has become where Open Mics are regularly found. Matt and Keith are often doing the playing and singing. If you’re a touring artist, get in touch.

Wild Life is a distillery to add to your “check this out” list and for certain a destination for those of you passing through one of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth.

Congratulations to all at Wild Life Distillery!




Vancouver Wine Festival

Focusing on Italy and BC




February 10th, 2024- Winter Wine Wars. Features on Orofino/Fort Berens


Winter Wine Wars. Features on Orofino/Fort Berens



The letters were received on Jan 22. It was the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission informing a considerable number of BC wineries that if they did not immediately stop shipping wines direct to consumers in Alberta, they would stop allowing those wines in their retail stores.

Legalities aside, the timing couldn’t be worse for BC wines and farmers.

Two winters of freezing vine damage, roadblocks in high season and wildfires have led to some wineries wondering if they can survive through 2024. Now this!

BC wineries are on record as offering to collect the taxes on their shipments, most of which are to members of their wine club.

In many cases, these are high-end, exclusive & hard-to-find wines, so the Alberta concern of younger drinkers getting their hands on these wines is simply not in play

To try and make sense of all of this new information I asked two valued wine friends to join me on Tasting Room Radio.


Sandra Oldfield – Former partner/winemaker in Tinhorn Creek. Now the founder of Elysian Projects and a steady voice in the Okanagan.

Sandra Oldfield Elysian Projects

You may remember Sandra from the 2011 wine war between BC and Alberta. To make a point about shipping across provincial borders in Canada,  Sandra ordered a shotgun from out of province and it arrived safe and sound. However, she was not allowed to ship or carry wines into Alberta. She still has that shotgun to remind her of how far we have yet to go.





Al Hudec – Lawyer. Farris LLP. Specializing in wine law. Runs the Kelowna office of Farris LLP.

Al Hudec

Al is a prominent legal advisor to the BC Wine Industry and has been lead lawyer on many of Canada’s most significant Indigenous transactions of the past 12 years.





We’re going to cover a lot of ground here but please keep in mind that the wines we love sharing with family and friends come from the passion,  talents and hard work of small farmers in BC.

That’s who’s dealing with this bad news – in a year of bad news. Small farmers working sunup to sundown. Dealing with insects, fires, extremes in climate, smoke, hail and now regional politics.


Just when they really needed our support, there is another mountain to climb.


So, please buy BC as much as you can. We’ll get through this together.






John Weber – co-founder and chief winemaker at Orofino Vineyards in the Similkameen Valley.

Its been a while since John and I chatted about winemaking. Its usually about fishing.  No wait,  its always about fishing.

Please  head for the website.  As you can see they’ve been  very busy. And this is just the whites!!!

2022 Orange skin contact White

2022 Pozza Vineyard C ab Franc Rose

2022 Crossroads Riesling

2021 Home Vineyard Old Vines Riesling

2021 Chanrdonnay

2022 Sparkling Gamay Noir


Mostly we’re going to be talking about how the Similkameen is dealing with killer winter freeze, fires and  with climate change.  Which is what farmers do.

Every season and every year.




Alessandro (Alex) Nel – Winemaker at Fort Berens, Lilloett, BC

Before arriving at Fort Berens,  for over a decade Alex had been a winemaker at Cederberg Winery in the Western Cape of South Africa. While there he produced one of the Top 50 wines  in the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2021.

He’s also crafted wines in California, New Zealand and France.

We’re lucky to have him involved in BC wine.

Fort Berens winter scape

Alex and I will taste and talk our way through recent Fort Berens releases.  We’ll also talk about the awards they’ve won including a platinum medal at the 2023 BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards. Also a Silver  Award and 91 points at Decanter World Wine Awards and the #3 Small Winery in Canada –  2022.


2021 – Small Lot Merlot  $32.99

A blend of 15-year-old Dry Creek fruit and young vines from Red Rock Vineyard. Beautiful texture and a long finish.


2021 – Cabernet Franc  (95%) Cabernet Sauvignon (5%)

15 months in French Oak (5% new)

Ripe black fruit, cassis, dried herbs and vanilla. $32.99

A beautifully crafted work of drinkable art.


2021  Meritage

Grown during the highest temp ever recorded in Lillooet

48 degrees.

Merlot (64%) Cabernet Sauvignon  19% and Cab Franc  (17%)

Plums, Cranberry, Cassis on the nose.

Chocolate, floral elements and long finish are outstanding. $31.99


2022  Pinot Noir.. Grown in two vineyards in Summerland and Naramata Bench. 9 months in neutral French oak. Alex used a Burgundy Yeast Strain. He liked the result.

I did as well.  This is a wine you want to keep an eye on. Such promise here.






Van Wine Festival

Township 7

Spring Releases



February 3rd, 2024 Making great whisky is serious business!


This Years Winner. Last years winner. Plus Whitehorse and Edinburgh



Making great whisky is serious business.

Whisky takes time. You can create it and leave it in barrel “while your kids grow up and head off to college” kind of time.

For example Paradigm Spirits -The Heritage Collection –  Whisky of the Year in Canada spent 19  years in barrel. Then along came friends and partners Michelle deBus and Irma Joeveer who were just beginning their whisky journey. They purchased the filled barrels to start Paradigm.

Then blended in some Oloroso Sherry and found a stunning balance between the corn whisky and sherry.

Davin de Kergommeaux Canada’s Whisky authority and founder of the Canadian Whisky Awards describes The Heritage as having

“sublime complexity and elegance with fresh fruity top notes”


This is a really nice story of people who dreamt a dream of making whisky and how it all lead to being named Whiskey of the Year in Canada. Besting 200 other whiskeys.

Our guests are Irma Joeveer and Michelle Debus




Bob Baxter – Two Brewers Whisky.  Whitehorse, Yukon

 At the Canadian Whisky Awards,  Two Brewers put on a show.

Two Brewers

Won Single Malt Whisky of the Year – Release 41

Won 3 Gold – Releases 41/36/37

Won 2 Silver  Yukon Single Malt Whisky  38 and 39


Bob has been on Tasting Room before and I was delighted to catch up with him again.

Bob Baxter – Yukon Brewing Spiked Seltzer

I like this man and his whisky.  They keep winning a number of awards in Canada and the World.  His attitude is…. we appreciate it but we have whisky to craft and that’s way more important. They’re brewers first and bring those smarts to their spirits. They also use some of the craft beer grains in their whisky making.

Bob is joined by his daughter Corey. She’s with the marketing department.

His son has joined the whisky makers.  It’s truly a family thing.




Rob Carpenter –  co-founder /  Calum Rae – Distillery Manager

Holyrood Distillery Edinburgh  (Old Town)

October 2023 Holyrood launches their 1st whisky Arrival. It’s one of the first single malt whiskies produced in Edinburgh in over 100 years.

Working in the cellar with Butts-Hogs Heads-Bourbon Barrels and Rum Barriques.

Playing with flavours eg: Heritage Barleys-Special Malts-Yeast Strains

Have a listen about their latest release on World Whisky Day 2023.  Lovingly called Mezcal Moonshine.



James Lester – co-founder of Sons of Vancouver

Last years Canadian Whisky of the Year

Palm Trees and  a Tropical Breeze came from Sons of Vancouver Distilling.

They sent their whisky but stayed home. There was no way they would be named Whisky of the Year.

Well, a year later everything’s changed. For them and I think for Canadian Whisky. How they taste and how they’re marketed.

This year they won Gold with

Summer Road Trip Across the Midwest

Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze

Desert Grass and Blue Agave


Won Silver with

Raiding Nona’s Liquor Cabinet


Love this company and their vision.  Making whisky and marketing it in a whole new way.

Changing the next generation of spirit makers.  Teaching their methods to those who want to sign up for classes.

Heads up – They sell out quickly!!  James explains the very best way to get your hands on their “expressions” before they’re gone.

James leaves us with a couple of teases of what’s coming up this year.




Congratulations also to Stillhead Distilling in Duncan. Winner of multiple Golds and 4 Bronze.  We’ll go find them for an interview asap.






A conversation about Alberta

And BC Wines.


Township 7




January 27th, 2024- Victoria Whisky Fest  & Canadian Whisky Awards


Victoria Whisky Fest  & Canadian Whisky Awards





“Friendship is like Whisky – the older the better”

 Yes, my friends its our annual trek to Victoria’s inner harbour for the 18th annual Victoria Whisky Festival and the Canadian Whisky Awards.

It was founder of the awards Davin de Kergomeaux who whispered in my ear wondering why I wasn’t attending or tasting or writing about his Whisky Awards.  On second thought I think the voice in my ear was me saying

Davin de Kergommeaux

“how could you possibly miss this?” just after I had missed the events about 6-7  years ago.

I knew almost nothing about Whisky but my thinking was the same as wine – 17 years ago – every interview is going to be a master class. Pay attention and you could learn all about wine and pass it on to the listeners.


I’m pleased to welcome to Tasting Room Radio –


Davin de Kergommeaux – founder of the Canadian Whisky Awards.

The Canadian Whisky Awards, held annually with the Victoria Whisky Festival, is the first and only competition dedicated solely to Canadian Whisky.

The Awards have become the first stop for whisky producers, distributors, retailers and fans looking for the very best Canadian whiskies.

Davin is the world’s leading authority on Canadian Whisky. He also has three books available on Canadian Whisky with a fourth coming in March!

Davin assembled 10 judges and sent them nearly 200 competing whiskies to blind taste.  Davin announces the winner in his interview. We talk to the winners next week.






Dr. Graeme Macaloney PEng, PhD. – Macaloney’s Island Distillery (Saanich)


Proud owner of 5 world whisky awards including Worlds best Potstill – Kildara. They are a non-chilled, filtered, no colour added distillery.

In our 8-10 minute interview I think I asked 3 perhaps 4 questions – Dr Graeme handled the rest.

It was like a masterclass. A charming man in a Cameron Kilt.

He won Gold for his 54ppm Peat Project.





Tish Harcus –  Manager Canadian Club Whisky  since 1988.  Canadian Club itself since 1858.


Tish Harcus

James Neil – Bowmore Distillery. The oldest distillery in Islay. On the shores of Lochindaal since 1779. Also home to one of the world’s oldest Scotch maturation warehouses – The No 1 Vault.

James poured Bowmore 22 Aston Martin

Bowmore Ultimate Rare Collection



They took part in the Great Whisky Debate with

Micah Dew from Maker’s Mark.

Words flew, one liners were exchanged and they still remain long time friends. Micah was busy with a masterclass but we thank Tish and James for coming by.



Chris Read –Shelter Point Distillery. Campbell River.

Distinctly Vancouver Island. Uniquely Shelter Point.

By the time Chris sat down we knew Shelter Point had won 2 Bronze medals for their Oak Cask Single Malt  (smoke, spices, honey, leather and a wiff of ocean)

Shelter Point Distillery wins big at Canadian Whisky Awards - My Comox Valley Now

and their flagship Evans Family Reserve.

(vanilla, tannins, dark chocolate, coconut, citrus, berries, cloves.)

Chris explained the unique influences in their island location. It was like poetry.





Rob Carpenter.  Holyrood(Edinburgh)

Calum Rae –  Holyrood Distillery Manager

Bob Baxter – Two Brewers Whitehorse.

Irma Joeveer and Michelle Debus –

Co-founders of Paradigm Spirits

London Ontario –

2022 Heritage Collection  Canadian Whisky of the Year

A 19 year old  cask strength single grain Whisky.

From already filled casks they bought to start their distillery. Their oloroso sherry blending was brilliant. “sublime complexity and elegance” (davin)

Made in the former Kellogg’s factory using some of the same grains for their future Whiskies.

What a story.





Van Wine Fest

Township 7

Fort Berens

The provincial politics of  BC Wine





January 20th, 2024 John Skinner: Painted Rock Wines & VJ Gandhi: making our wines available in USA.-


John Skinner on his Painted Rock Wines /VJ Gandhi: making our wines available in USA.




“If Painted Rock is going to compete with the best in the world we must have confidence in our terroir and allow it to express its uniqueness. That’s why we are 100% Estate.”  John Skinner

John Skinner

John Skinner

John Skinner and Valeria Tait planted Painted Rock  in 2006,  a year before we moved to the Naramata Bench. Even though there was no Painted Rock to taste when we arrived, it was one of the first wine names I heard in my ‘walk arounds’.

John was driven to make wines that would be appreciated all over the World but first he had to create it and then convince the wine world that it was worthy.

He has done so with Painted Rock.

Fires around Painted Rock

John’s Red Icon was named as a Decanter Wine of the Year in 2020.

Also this review from Jancis Robinson:  London

Painted Rock, Red Icon 2016 17 Points: “Like a very rich red Bordeaux. Very beautifully balanced. Long and velvety. Everything fully ripe but with good acidity too. Well balanced and very bright-fruited. Still youthful but promising for the long term. (RH) 14.9%” Drink 2020 – 2027


John takes us through his new releases and brings a stack of stories.

2020 Chardonnay  available for first time since 2019

2020 Merlot – dark and rich.

2020 Red Icon – classic blend

2020 Syrah – a jaw dropping gem



VJ Gandhi  – Founder of Kascadia Wine Merchants

It’s time to change the narrative to – North American wine.” – VJ Gandhi

For everyone who has family and friends in the USA asking how to get their hands on  wines from BC and other provinces, or Americans who discover wines North of the border that they really like, there’s someone now making our  best wines available in the US.

That someone is VJ Gandhi.

KASCADIA WINE MERCHANTS - Napa Valley Life Magazine

VJ Gandhi

Founder, VJ Gandhi is a proud Canadian citizen with epicurean taste, and her deepest passion yet has to be her love for the complexity in a glass of fine-tasting wine.

Over the course of her career in marketing and business management  VJ has developed, implemented and managed several large scale projects in finance and marketing for high profile organizations such as the Government of Canada, BC Provincial Government, and 2010 Olympic Games Secretariat.

VJ was inspired to market award winning Canadian vintages globally in the United States when  she’d moved to the San Francisco area in 2014. VJ and her trusted team of experts have carefully curated the Kascadia Wine portfolio over the years, which has now scaled to shipping in US states.

With the launch of the wine club, clients who are eager to savor exclusive, high quality wines from North America, including Canada and the Pacific Northwest are going to be impressed!


Today, her growing venture, Kascadia Wine Merchants, markets and sells Canadian wines across 45 US states.






Fort Berens – New Releases

Township 7 – New Releases

Van Wine Festival

Victoria Whisky Festival.





January 13th, 2024- Wine, Whisky & Winter!


Wine, Whisky and Winter


 First Guest is Harry Hertscheg – Executive Director  45th Annual Vancouver Wine Festival


Acknowledged as the largest combined consumer and trade wine show in North America. Also one of the biggest and oldest in the World.  Not Harry…the festival.

The 45th festival will take place February 24 to March 3!

8 days with 42 events.

Harry takes us through some of the events including the California Wines Sun Fest Mingler and a public seminar.

The theme region is Italy. With an amazing 71 Italian wineries represented. In many cases attendees include winery owners and winemakers.

The Italians alone are featured in 22 events, 12 dinners, a public seminar, trade seminars , The Bacchanalia Gala, the Festival Toast, Awards Lunch and La Dolce Vita.

Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva hosts one of two Gerard Bertrand wine events. Harry also advises us to watch  for the Global Cru and The Shape of Wine.

Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva

Van Wine Fest have partnered with StayVancouverHotels.com..  Harry suggests “don’t just plan a couple of hours in the tasting room, make a wish list that covers a couple of days. Make a weekend of it.”


Details at www.vanwinefest.ca


Second Guest is Adam Bradshaw – Digital & Premium Experience manager at The Strath. (Victoria)

Victoria Whisky Festival.  Thursday Jan 18 to Sunday Jan 21.


Adam is also local ambassador for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Held annually at the Hotel Grand Pacific. The festival hosts four days of events including the

Canadian Whisky Awards. Grand Tastings, Masterclasses and consumer tastings.

Adam is personally presenting a single cask masterclass

Details at www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com


The third guest is Kimberly HundertmarkGeneral Manager Okanagan Wine Festivals

Kimberley Hundertmark

The 2024 Okanagan Winter Wine  Festival

  • Jan 20 . Winter Sips South. Penticton Trade and Convention Centre
  • Jan 20/21 TASTE Passport – District Wine Village Oliver
  • Jan 27 Winter Sips North. Revelry Food and Music Hub


News and Updates - Okanagan Wine Festivals

Kimberly  takes us through all of the events and the fun to be had. Why winter and wine go together. A great pairing.

The District Wine Village intends to become a great destination. Finish with lunch at Wards Kitchen.

ALL of the details  you need  can be found at www.thewinefestivals.com



Victoria Whisky Festival

Fort Berens

Celebrating Winter Whites