August 24th, 2019 – Third Annual BC Cider fest!




The third annual BC Cider Week.

This week long craft cider celebration saw many cider events, tastings and
festivities throughout British Columbia with tasting events from Kelowna to
Vancouver Island, including tap takeovers, cider pairing meals, and much
more throughout the week.

The highlight for me and many others is the final event. The gathering of up
to 40 Cideries at The Pipe Shop foot of Lonsdale in North Vancouver.

It’s one of the buildings my father Pat worked in during WW2.

The first interview had to be with Shawn Pisio, who co-founded the B.C.
Cider Festival three years ago.

Glenn Ennis, Lynn Colliar and the Geo Team

Just how popular is this event? It sells out within minutes.

Cider is going through the very same revolution that craft beers did 10-15
years ago.

The opportunity to grow more cider apples in B.C. is unlimited, but BC is
already home to many excellent craft cideries.

One of the cideries we interviewed was Twin Island Cider on Pender Island.
They were voted most popular Cidery at this event.

Finally, for those of you who still think that ciders are not for you
because they’re too sweet or something…FORGET ABOUT IT..

It’s a whole new world out in the orchard.


Our guests are:

Shawn Pisio – Txotx/ Co-Founder

Russ Johnson – Owner/Cidermaker Truck 59 Kelowna

Sydney Bottomley – Asst Cidermaker Broken Ladder Kelowna

Nick Farrer – Founder The Bricker Cider Co Sechelt

Mike Lachelt – Co-owner/Cidermaker Salt Spring Wild SS Island

Mathew Vasilev Co-Owner Twin Island Cider Pender Island

David Schneider – Persephone Brewing Gibson’s BC

Kathleen van der Ree – Northyards Cider – Squamish

Mike Petkau – Nomad Handcrafted Cider – Summerland

Glenn Ennis – Owner Geo Cider Co – Squamish

Lynn Colliar – Geo Cider Squamish

Jeff Nairn – Co-Founder Windfall East Van



Photos by Linda C


Melissa Etheridge and Cannabis infused wine

Bloom in Victoria

Top Drop in Victoria

A special on field blends

Fire Season in The Okanagan

Rose Day June 8th

Charles Smith in Jet City Seattle (Rose all day)

Tofino Food and Wine festival

The Wick reopens a spectacular cellar

Tofino mid-week

February 2nd, 2019 – Super Bowl Weekend!



It’s Super Bowl Weekend!

Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole from Sports Centre at TSN are paying their annual visit to The Tasting Room.

They began as a humble sports pairing at TSN and we heard from them 7 years ago before yet another Super Bowl.

Then they headed for Fox Sports One in LA only to be shown the door several years later but not before guesting on yet another Super Bowl Tasting Room Radio.


There are some saying that it was their appearance on TRR that hastened their exit.  Not True.

It was Jan and Dan’s appearance on Hollywood&Vines TV with Jason Priestley and myself that did them in.

Upon returning to TSN, we were told by their “people” that J&D would never again guest  on Tasting Room or H&V.

Several weeks ago I reached out to Onrait and O’Toole in the hopes they would relent.

They didn’t exactly relent but they simply forgot ever having been on either show.  So we’re good.

Jay and Dan will take us through:

The Game

The Food

The Swill

The Odds

Their Podcast

The Jannies

Jay and Dan Direct.

I was going to ask them for some of their favorite music tracks but when Dan said “Play Dean Martin”  I shut that down Right Away.


 Mira Tusz and Daniel Dragert–  Co-owners/Winemakers at Kutatas (Salt Spring Island)

 This is the first in a series of features on new wineries around the Province that we think you may want to know about.

(working title The Chase)

Mira and Dan realized a dream when they recently bought Mistaken Identity Vineyards on Salt Spring Island.

Mira and Dan

Dan had been the winemaker at Averill Creek in the Cowichan Valley and Mira had been working in the vineyards at Unsworth, also in the Cowichan.

I discovered their wines at last year’s Locals Only event that Rich Massey throws at Edible Canada, Granville Island.

The wines were outstanding.

I mumbled something like “who ARE these guys and how did they pull this off”?

Currently,  a majority of their small production comes from 3 acres of Pinot Noir and Ortega in  Deep Cove/North Saanich, on Vancouver Island. These blocks are managed sustainably.

Most of the vineyard is dry farmed to limit yields, restrict berry size and express terroir. They personally hand tend the vineyard to ensure they achieve the highest possible quality.

Now they have their own vineyard and we’re the lucky ones who’ll be tasting their wines in years to come.

Mira and Dan are redesigning their new Tasting Room … so we huddled in the cellar and tasted the whites and reds.

Pinot Noir Rose


Pinot Gris

Plus 2 different Pinot Noirs  (Clone #114)

(whole cluster and de-stemmed)

Also, a Bubble program is in the works.

Keep an eye and nose on  Kutatas (Koo Tah Tash)

They hope to be open on Valentine’s Day  Feb 14th



The Californians

Vancouver Wine festival

OK Falls pours in Vancouver

Aquilini. Red Mountain Wines




January 26th, 2019 -Victoria Whisky Festival and Awards


2019 Victoria Whisky Festival and Awards –  Year 14

“This year’s Victoria Whisky Festival occurred just as Canadian officials were conducting prohibition-style raids, confiscating whisky bottles in bars in Vancouver and Victoria.

Beyond this, however, the festival features top-level whiskeys and master classes, and serves as a focal point for the latest revival of Canadian whiskies from large and smaller independent operations alike now gaining momentum.”

Forbes Magazine ( 10 Whisky Festivals that you have to go to if you love whisky)

 This special is another journey of discovery for me.

Growing up I had no idea that whisky even existed and now I’m trying to discover what makes whisky such a favorite to millions of people worldwide.

It helps that there are no dog whiskeys in Victoria. Quite simply they showcase some of the very best whiskeys ever made.

Canada is right in the middle of the whisky boom. They have retaken their place in the whisky world after years of so-so releases.

A number of our guests are directly responsible for bringing back Canadian Whisky to World-class levels.

 My thanks to Heather Leary for her support with this project.

 Our pal Corey Wood recorded all of the interviews and bottle shots As seen below:

Iain Hooey

Iain Hooey is a founder and organizer of the Victoria Whisky Festival.

Davin de Kergommeaux

Davin is Chairman of the Judges for the Canadian Whisky Awards and author of Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Expert. A certified Malt Maniac he has been writing and talking about whisky for over two decades.

Don Livermore    

  J.P. Wiser’s Master Blender Don Livermore has an MS and Ph.D in Brewing and Distilling from Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University. Don’s whiskies received numerous medals at the  Canadian Whisky Awards and J.P. Wiser’s was awarded Distillery of the Year

John Hall

Master Distiller John Hall founded Forty Creek Distillery, pioneered Canadian Whisky’s return to prominence in the United States and Canada. Hall was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Whisky Awards in 2015.

Tish Harcus 

Tish Harcus is brand ambassador for Canadian Club, marking 30 years of bringing this whisky to the world. Canadian Club was a finalist for Canadian Whisky of the Year – their 41-year-old received the award for best Connoisseur Whisky Domestic at  Canadian Whisky Awards. They also took home several medals.

Allisa Henley        Distiller –  Sazerac  Tennessee

Sazerac  owns Buffalo Trace and Barton 1792 in Kentucky

Just a few years ago Henley was employed as distiller at the George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma, Tennessee, a facility still capable of making more than two million proof gallons of whiskey each year.

But in 2015, Allisa accepted a position at a new distillery in northeastern Tennessee, built to make Popcorn Sutton’s whiskey.

There, Henley and partner John Lunn made distillate according to a recipe developed by legendary moonshiner Popcorn Sutton, essentially a bourbon mash bill (corn, rye, malt) augmented with sugar.

No name yet for this new label but expectations are high.


  • Vancouver Wine Festival
  • Kutastas Vineyards – Salt Spring Island
  • Aquilini Wines – Red Mountain, Washington
  • The Californians


Winter Whites!-Tasting Room Radio-January 19th 2019


Winter White Wines – If they exist, what are they? 


It was a comment about a year ago. Almost blew by me. A winemaker used the phrase “I’m making Winter Whites”.

I’m sorry – what?


“A Winter White – what is that?

Well,  it’s a white wine that has enough texture and mouth feel to pair with Winter roasts, stews, soups, root vegetables etc.

OK..what whites have that ability?”

That’s where the whole idea got started.  This hour is dedicated to focusing in on white wines than can carry their weight through the Winter.

I sought out winemakers and wine experts who could explain Winter Whites and then recommend wines we could get our hands on.

Our guests include:

Chris Rielly – Head Sommelier at (David Hawksworth’s)  Nightingale Restaurant in Vancouver


Nightingale Restaurant

Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson – Drinks Editor Winnipeg Free Press https://www.winealign.com/profile/43820-Ben-MacPhee-Sigurdson

Kurtis Kolt – Georgia Straight Wine Writer http://www.kurtiskolt.com/

Rhys Pender – Master of Wine  https://www.mastersofwine.org/en/meet-the-masters/profile/index.cfm/id/dfb8a043-5e4b-e211-a20600155d6d822c

Michaela Morris – Wine writer and judge  https://michaelamorris.ca/

Jason Parkes – Winemaker The Hatch https://thehatchwines.com/ 

Jason Parkes – Winemaker The Hatch

Valeria Tait – GM and Winemaker at Bench 1775  https://www.bench1775.com/

Val Tait

Kathy Malone – Winemaker at Hillside https://www.hillsidewinery.ca/

Kathy Malone

If you join us for the hour you will indeed find out that Winter Whites do exist and we’ll tell you which wines to look for.

Here’s Chris Rielly’s List

Chris Rielly Head Sommelier at Nightingale

2016 Clos du Soleil Capella Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion Similkameen Valley

2013 Haywire Vintage Bubb Okanagan Valley

2016 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Gris Alsace France

2016 Pietradolce Carricante Etna Bianco Sicily Italy

2017 Yalumba “Y” Series Viognier South Australia Aus

Here’s Ben’s List:


Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne (McLaren Vale, Australia)

$23 Everything Wine

Guigal 2016 Cotes du Rhone white (Cotes du Rhone, France)

$29 Everything Wine

60% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne, 8 % Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc, 2% Grenache blanc.

Torres 2017 Esmerelda (Catalunya, Spain)

$16.99 BCLDB

Moscatel and Gewurztraminer, spice and stone/tropical fruit with a hint of sweetness.

Testalonga Baby Bandito “Keep on Punching” Chenin Blanc (Swartland, South Africa)

The Winemakers have lots of suggestions. FYI – One name that pops up three times is Ava from Le Vieux Pin.


New small wineries to watch.

Van Wine Festival

The Californians

Aquilini Family . Red Mountain wines.

Victoria Whisky Festival

Kutatas- Salt Spring Island



January 12th, 2019- The Four F’s!


Year Seven of The Four F’s

(Food. Fishing. Fluids and Friends)

As all good things sometimes do..it started with a “what if”.

 What if I put together some of my food and wine friends who loved fishing – and we all went fishing together but we also brought along wines we wanted to share and food we wanted to cook?

John, Mark, Terry and Rhys

 Except for several years when one of them was just too damn busy,  the friends line up has been pretty much the same.

Here are some links on “the friends”

Basically, these are gents and artists you would love to hang with.


Chef Mark Filatow  Waterfront Bistro  (Kelowna)  https://waterfrontrestaurant.ca

John Weber – Orofino Wines (Similkameen)  https://www.orofinovineyards.com/about-2/

Rhys Pender – Little Farm Wines (Similkameen) and Master of Wine.  http://littlefarmwinery.ca/

John Weber, Mark Filatow, Rhys Pender

The really interesting thing with this group is that at times the fishing is EVERYTHING.

Then the Wines become EVERYTHING.

Then the food becomes EVERYTHING.


We dive into all three with a shared passion that seems to know no bounds.


For example –

Fishing – Except for this year we have always fly fished in the interior of BC. Skitchine Lodge, Cathedral Lakes, 7  Half Diamond Ranch , Tunkwa Lake.

This year we head for Campbell River on Vancouver Island and some Salmon Fishing.


Our home base was the gorgeous Gowlland Harbour Resort on the jewel known as Quadra Island, just off downtown Campbell River.

And most importantly,  our guide was one of the very best Mark Stewart from East West Charters in Campbell River.


TDM & Mark Stewart

So, here’s Mark with a boat build for four..now holding 5. As the rods went off..all four reaching for the now bouncing rod.

Surprisingly, it all went very well thanks to Mark Stewart and his 28 years of experience. We caught and released lots of wild coho..kept one hatchery coho.

John caught a Spring and everyone caught sockeye and pinks.

We were chased by dolphins who surfed in the wake of the boat as we cut through the water. Exhilarating!

We tasted Moscato d ‘Asti for breakfast..memorable.

Wines – We each like to bring wines that we think the group would find interesting.

A grand total of 22-25,  depending on who you talk to.

Wines from Croatia that Mark brought back from his summer trip there.

I brought a Viognier from France

John from Italy and Orofino.

Rhys from EVERYWHERE. Palo Portado for one

A Spectacular Education.

Chef Mark Filatow

Food – Chef Mark has always traditionally brought to these trips his gift of making something truly special from an assorted bag of goodies.

We know there will always be two Tomahawk Chops from Two River Meats in North Vancouver.

Tomahawk Chop

He’s usually chosen to cook these on an open campfire but this year we had the luxury of a BBQ. (In the Dark)

The rest of the meal started with a charcuterie board that was outstanding  It truly challenged the wines..

Including N’Duja made from #cheamviewranch pork from @tworiversmeats and @medleyorganics espelettes

Salad..exploded on the plates. Lobster mushrooms with toasted corn gnocchi and glazed delicata squash.

I dream about these meals..before and long after.

Let me finish by thanking those who helped make this wonderful trip happen.

The guys for one.  They all are busy.

John and Rhys were just starting their vineyard harvest. Mark Filatow may be the busiest chef in the Okanagan.

A minor miracle that they freed up.

Thanks go out to Mark and Anita Stewart. A formidable Team –  Son and Mother.


The staff at Tourism VI for the assist and support. https://www.tourismvi.ca/

The staff at Gowlland Harbour Resort/Quadra Island https://twitter.com/GowllandHarbour

Shawna Gardham for support and encouragement right from the start.



New wineries to watch for.

Kutatas – Salt Spring Island

Frank Gigliotti changes the name of the game

Vancouver  Wine Festival: Hello California!!

The Aquilini Wines from Red Mountain

BC Spring Releases