Tasting Room Radio

February 27th, 2021 Nichol Winery raises funds for BC Hospitality Friends plus New Wines from Giant Head..






The Press Release said:


The BC Hospitality Foundation (BCHF) is honoured to be the beneficiary of a new initiative by Naramata’s  Nichol Vineyard and Winery.

Starting immediately, the Naramata winery will donate $10 from the sale of every case of its 2019 Pinot Gris to the local charity.

Cases of  the wildly popular Nichol Vineyard 2019 Pinot Gris may be purchased online for home delivery; shipping is free within B.C. or across Canada with a purchase or 2 or more cases.


Our guests are:

Dana Lee Harris – Executive Director of BC Hospitality Foundation 

Dana Lee Harris and TDM (pre-Covid)


Matthew Sherlock – Director Sales and Marketing Nichol Vineyard/Partner Lock and Worth  




Think about it – wait staff, the kitchens, cleaners, front of house, hotel staff and their families.  Covid 19 has crushed a lot of lives and dreams.

We’re telling this story because people and businesses are stepping forward to help and support each other.,

Nichol Pinot Gris is one of the most popular wines in BC…here’s a chance to buy a case or two  and help those around you.

While we’re talking to Matt Sherlock we’ll also talk about the Nichol portfolio and the sneaky good Lock and Worth

(This winery is truth in winemaking. I love them for the honesty with which they create.)

They are actually admitting to miscreating and then selling a white blend that wasn’t supposed to be a blend…and you can find it at $13.00 in selected stores.

It’s a Chard and Semillon. Return buyers indicate its damn good.

Matthew Sherlock. Nichol Vineyard, Naramata BC


The last story is the return of John Glavina to TRR.  He’s the Co-Founder of Giant Head Winery in Summerland.

John and his partner Jinny Lee continue to offer  better and better wines. Some are sold out (always a good sign) and several are gems you want to seek out.

They have two levels of wines



Giant Head and Canyonview.

Giant Head offers solid entry wines at affordable prices.

The Canyonview line is the very best on offer.


Welcome back John Glavina




Luke Whittall – Valleys of Wine

Black Swift opens its doors

Wines of BC – an update.









February 20th, 2021- Western Living Food /Travel Editor Neil McLennan : Top 40 Foodies of 2021


Western Living Food /Travel Editor Neil McLennan : Top 40 Foodies of 2021

Neil McLennan – Western Living

This is the  14th edition of  Western Livings Foodies of the Year and it’s safe to say, it’s been a tough year for most everyone in the hospitality industry across Western Canada. But despite the closures, restrictions and seemingly endless hurdles, the foodies of the West still managed to make their mark and do all of us proud. Western Living’s Top 40 Foodie  winners will be announced Wednesday, March 10, 2021.


With the invaluable assistance and lung power of Food and Travel Editor Neil McLennan, we present Western Livings  2021 Foodies of the Year Finalists: these are 40 of the tastemakers, innovators and damn good cooks that wowed their  editorial team. Congratulations to each and every one of you.


  1. Katherine Backman (Nora’s Non-Dairy <https://www.norasnondairy.com/> , Vancouver) The beloved cashew-based Nora’s is only three years old but it’s already in 250 retailers in B.C. and Alberta, including Whole Foods Market, Nesters Market and SPUD.ca, and has sold more than 100,000 pints of its ice cream.


  1. Ned Bell & Kate Colley (The Naramata Inn <https://naramatainn.com/> , Naramata) The former Four Seasons chef and Oceanwise ambassador is no stranger to this list, but he and wife Colley (along with partners Marie Wiesner and Paul Hollands) have taken the all-potential, but never-quite-there circa 1907 Naramata Inn and transformed it into the perfect small wine country inn. Great food, a killer wine list and charm and history galore—it’s the lodging the area’s been longing for.

Chef Ned bell

Kate Colley

  1. Tess Bevernage and Tom Robillard (Hānai Family Table <https://www.hanaifamilytable.com/> , Vancouver) In a year when all but the most selfish of us stayed put in our home provinces, what a godsend it was to have these two recent O’ahu transplants cooking up all the Hawaiian classics—from garlic Furikake Chicken to Spam Musabi to perfect macaroni salad—once a week from their East Georgia shared commissary to a legion of tropically deprived fans.


  1. Bread & Butter Collective (Social Issues, Victoria) Spearheaded by some of the biggest names in the city (Sterling Grice of Part & Parcel, the Big Wheel Burger team) this initiative is focussed reimagining the Victoria food scene addressing issue with compensation, returns and community engagement.


  1. @actual_daddy (Good Pizza <https://linktr.ee/Goodpizzayvr> , Vancouver) The industry veteran—real name Alexander Cashin—started making homemade pizzas on his night off, posting them on Instagram and then donating profits to local charities helping those in need. It proved so popular that it’s morphed into an actual business: Good Pizza started serving the public in late January 2021.


  1. Antonio CayonneAndrew Jameson and Sean Reeve (Say Mercy! <https://www.saymercy.ca/> , Vancouver) The Southern-meets-Italian spot had just opened when Covid hit, but the team (who also own the Mackenzie Room) responded by starting the Staff Meal program, which allowed industry people and first responders to access low-cost healthy meals via takeout (and made reasonably priced containers of deliciousness for the rest of us). Plus Cayonne found time to star in a Hallmark Movie – no kidding.


7.Taylor Chobotiuk (Tacofino <https://www.tacofino.com/> , numerous locations in B.C.) The head of people at Tacofino spearheaded the Shift Change series of events, and when Covid hit moved them online to help the industry open up a discussion on important issues facing the industry like LGBTQ2S and BIPOC inclusion.


  1. Meaghan and Steve Clark (Tractor <https://tractorfoods.com/> , Vancouver/Victoria/Toronto) Covid proved a boon to the healthy, pre-made fare that has seen Tractor grow from one location in Kits in 2013 to now nine, including Toronto and the newly opened Victoria spot.


  1. Abdallah “Dallah” El Chami (Superbaba <https://eatsuperbaba.com/> , Vancouver & Victoria) With partners Robbie Kane and Ryan Spong, Dallah brought the middle-eastern meets high-end ingredient concept to Main Street, and it’s been one of the few openings to flourish during a tough year. Plus he helped spearhead the movement to avoid delivery services, by making Superbaba a pick-up only spot.

Abdallah “Dallah” El Chami



  1. Liane Faulder (Edmonton Journal, <https://edmontonjournal.com/> Edmonton) The long-time Journal scribe covered Edmonton’s food scene with focus and passion for more than 30 years before taking a final bow in 2020. A sincere bow to a job well done.


  1. Mike Gordon (Great Plains Craft Spirits <https://greatplainscraftspirits.com/> , Calgary) The main problem facing any whisky start-up? Time needed to mature the spirit to mellow perfection. Gordon didn’t have it, so he got creative with a variety of unique barrel finishes—both 20-year-old cognac & 35-year Armagnac versions will be coming soon. But it was their inaugural Jerez brandy finish that got them all the attention—including Best New Whisky at the Canadian Whisky Awards.


  1. Brandon Grossutti (Pidgin <http://www.pidginvancouver.com/> , Vancouver) The long-time Gastown restaurant owner created delivery app FromTo, as a cost-based delivery app that was designed to allow restaurants to survive the lockdown without having to pay the steep delivery fees associated with the big companies.


  1. Joe and Matt Hamill (Red Shed Malting <http://www.redshedmalting.ca/> , Penhold, AB) Most craft beer drinkers don’t think beyond the brewmaster when they enjoy a pint, but if it weren’t for the Hamill brothers steering their multi-generational farm in central Alberta toward producing their own custom malt, there would be a lot less interesting pints in Wild Rose Country.


  1. Jill Hoff (Monogram Coffee <https://monogramcoffee.com/> , Calgary) The team at Monogram has been at the forefront of the sustainable, ultra-nerdy love of coffee since their first location in 2014. This year saw their showstopping manager Jill Hoff win the title of Best Barista in Canada at the Canadian Barista Championships—the first woman to ever garner the honour.


Jill Hoff


  1. Tristan Jagger (Vancouver Food Runners <https://www.vancouverfoodrunners.com/> , Vancouver) This start-up pairs restaurants with organization that help those in need with an aim to prevent food waste. Since March 2020, they have rescued over 235,000 pounds of food, which is equivalent to over 195,000 meals.


  1. Kelcie Jones (Chambar <https://www.chambar.com/> , Vancouver) With four years and counting at Chambar, the somm is one of the longest-serving-at-one-spot wine slingers in the city, and not only does she run one of the city’s tightest wine programs she’s long been an agitator for respectful and equal work environments for all FOH peeps.

Kelcie Jones


  1. Jenny Kang (Orchard <https://orchardyyc.com/> , Calgary) The South Korean native grew up on a farm outside Seoul and has worked at some of the city’s top rooms (Bow Valley Ranche and Darren McLean’s acclaimed Shokunin), but at the stunning new Sturgess Architecture-designed Orchard, she’s finally the star of the show (and part owner), and she’s been wowing crowds with her modern Mediterranean as seen through a pan-Asian lens take on cooking.


  1. Peter Keith, Will Kotowicz and Glendon Tan (Meuwly’s Artisan Food Market <https://www.meuwlys.com/> , Edmonton) The concept started with three friends and nascent butchers launching a Secret Meat Club that delivered artisanal fare to those in the know. It’s now morphed into a 124th Street bricks-and-mortar shop showcasing not just their own charcuteries, but local fare from a well-curated selection of purveyors.


  1. Tyler Knight and Jordan Kubeck (Lightning Rock Winery <https://www.lightningrockwinery.com/> , Summerland) Their low-intervention sparkling-wine operation has been clamoured after since their first vintage three years ago, and each year production and acclaim increases—and the date they sell out gets shorter.


  1. Eve Laird (Eve’s Crackers <https://evescrackers.com/pages/stockists> , Vancouver) The dream of a gluten-free cracker that tastes good became a reality when the Nanaimo-raised Laird perfected the crunchy and flavourful recipe that is the hallmark of Eve’s crackers. Now in some 500 locations across Western Canada, including Safeway, Save On Foods and Whole Foods Market. Sales reached the high six figures in 2019.


  1. Arlie and Brett Laroche, Scott Dicks and Lacey Sellinger (Odla <https://odla.ca/> , Saskatoon) Two farmers, a chef and a sommelier come together like some sort of agrarian Avengers to bring Saskatoon a near-perfect partnership of a generational farm (Odla means farm in Swedish) that supplies the bounty to a farm-to-table wonder on Sakatoon’s Broadway Ave.


  1. Julius Makarewicz (Nude Beverages <https://nudebeverages.com/> , Vancouver) Is it possible that Nude, that spirit juggernaut that’s seemingly everywhere in Western Canada, only launched in 2017? Yes, and the anticipated onslaught of the behemoth has done little to dampen the local champ’s upwards trajectory.

Julius Makarewicz



  1. Jonathan Burke, Alex Ploughman, Craig and Jillian Sheridan (Legends Haul <https://shop.legendshaul.com/> , Coquitlam) Perhaps the ultimate Covid pivoters, they not only moved from supplying high-end protein and produce from restaurants to consumers, but they also quickly added ready-made food from those restaurants to their growing fan base.


  1. Gemma McNeill and Doug Zaklan (Zaklan Heritage Farms <http://www.zaklanheritagefarm.com/> , Surrey) The duo has transformed a 1.5-acre micro-plot that’s been in Dougs family for over 90 years into the go-to spot for thoughtful and creative chefs (like Budock and Co.’s Andrea Carlson) who want the very best (grown by the very best people).

Zaklan Heritage Farms


  1. Said Mdahoma (Said the Pastry Nerd)  <https://www.instagram.com/said.pastrynerd/?hl=en> , Calgary) If one person encapsulates everything that happened in the pandemic year, it might be this French-Comorian PhD in Neuroscience who got the baking bug and transformed a nascent passion into being one of Calgary’s self-taught proper French baking extra ordinaires, through his popular Instagram account and YouTube videos.


  1. Shane Munn (Martin’s Lane <https://www.martinslanewinery.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA0-6ABhDMARIsAFVdQv9487HFtvOwuRQjQLNDwATHB6_-n-1OJfJkRLBRJ2bvBXRE-eZ_YL8aAvE-EALw_wcB> , Kelowna) The Kiwi winemaker oversees one of Anthony Von Mandl’s (and as such the entire Okanagan’s) prestige properties, crafting rieslings and pinot noirs that are easily among the region’s best (and most pricey), while still maintaining that southern hemisphere “aw shucks it’s nothing” vibe.


  1. Paul Natrall (Mr. Bannock <https://www.mrbannock.com/> , Vancouver) Nattrell is a familiar face thanks to his popular Mr. Bannock food truck, but it’s his role as a director of The Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations that’s seeing him help bring to cuisine of our first peoples to a wider audience—including the Indigenous Feast Box program that sees Indigenous-owned restaurants (including Mr. Bannock) create healthy meals for their communities during Covid.

Paul Natrall



  1. N’Quatqua First Nations (Trout Hatchery <https://www.nquatqua.ca/> , Darcy, B.C.) The D’arcy-based band may be isolated from regional population centres, but in the past few years they brought their bounty to the finest restaurants in the region (like Whistler’s Grill Room) with their pioneering trout farm. Covid saw them using their surplus to help feed local band members, many who, raised on Salmon, had never tried trout.


  1. Ben Reeder (Maple Bay Hop Farm <https://www.maplebayhopfarm.com/> , Maple Bay ) We love our IPAs out West but we rarely think of the raw goods required. Ben Reeder does—the Backcountry Brewing co-founder controls his (and others) own supply change, by running a Maple Bay hop farm growing everything from classic Cascade to nerdy Sorachi Ace to keep the bitter front and centre for breweries like Luppolo and Strange Fellows.


  1. Pascal Roy (La Fabrique St. George <https://www.fabriquestgeorge.com/> , Vancouver) The idiosyncratic owner of Marche St George had an idea three years ago to open a small natural wine that aged the fermenting juice in ancient kveri vessels. And it took all of those almost three years of dealing with the city’s permitting department to make it happen. But the cool Mt Pleasant spot is worth the wait.


  1. The Schacht Family (Ampersand Distilling Company <http://www.ampersanddistilling.com/> , Duncan) What is it about gin and the Island? First it was the ground-breaking Victoria Gin, then purple-hued Empress, then the dominance of Sheringham. But at this year’s World Gin Awards, it was Ampersand’s flagship bottling that took home the Gold for Canada (and for good measure their Per Se Vodka won best varietal vodka at this years world vodka awards). A testament to the father-son engineering of Stephen and Jeremy, with Jeremy’s wife Jessica dealing with the botanicals and mother Ramona tending the nearby farm.


The Schacht Family


  1. J’Val Shuster (Devour <https://devourcatering.com/> Ca <https://devourcatering.com/> tering <https://devourcatering.com/> , Calgary) Her catering business may have been reeling from the pandemic, but when she heard that the Calgary Food Bank was in receipt of an unwieldy donation of 1,000 pounds of potatoes (destined for French fires that never were) she sprang into action. The Potato Project, as it came to be known, saw her company transform the raw material into healthy meals that could be frozen for the underprivileged. That initial shipment started a trend —by the end December, Devour had transformed over 20,000 pounds of potatoes into almost 16,000 packaged servings of potato soup, smashed potatoes and Potatoes O’Brien for the community.


  1. Gus Steiffenhofer Brandson (Published on Main <https://publishedonmain.com/> , Vancouver) The Winnipeg-born Hawksworth and Pear Tree-alum opened one of the most ambitious restaurants in recent memory—weeks before Covid hit. But he’s stuck to his guns with thoughtful, elaborate and one-of-a-kind menus throughout the pandemic.


  1. Ian Tostenson (BCRFA <https://www.bcrfa.com/about-us> , Vancouver) The long-time head of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association was front and centre from the start of the pandemic, advocating for change to the industry—like patio permits and ability to sell wine with takeout—that made the difference between life and death for many establishments.

  1. The Turyk Family (Unsworth <https://www.unsworthvineyards.com/> , Duncan) Perhaps the most momentous wine moment of the year came last summer when Barbara Banke and daughter Julia Jackson, majority owner in the behemoth that is California’s Jackson Family Estates, announced that they were purchasing Duncan’s well-respected Unsworth. It was a feather in the cap for the Turyk Family, who will stay on and continue the day-to-day operations of the now in-the-spotlight winery.


  1. Josh Vanderheide (Field House Brewery, <https://fieldhousebrewing.com/crafting-good-beer-good-times-in-east-abby-bc/> Abbotsford) In the Lower Mainland, the conventional wisdom is that you want to open a great craft brewery you have two options: East Van or North Van. But Abbotsford’s Field House has bucked that trend making sought-after brews (they’re deadly with the sours) that the city folk are clamouring for (and they expanded to Chilliwack this year).




  1. Peter Van De Reep (Bar Gobo <https://www.bargobo.com/> , Vancouver) The long-time Campagnolo Upstairs barkeep started the year by winning the BC Sommelier of the Year, but as his beloved bar closed, he helmed the opening of yet another soon-to-be classic spot a few blocks away: Andrea Carlson’s natural wine spot Bar Gobo.


  1. Brian Welch (Farrow Sandwiches <http://farrowsandwiches.ca/> , Edmonton) The sandwich king of Edmonton’s three locations was primed to serve the needs of the takeout-only era, but he still found some spare time to open the High Dough, an ode-to-Detroit deep dish, which seems like another concept that might replicate itself a few times over.


  1. Asha Wheeldon (Kula Kitchen <https://kulakitchen.ca/> , Vancouver) Wheeldon created the Afrocentric plant-based foods that became one of the city’s notable vegan operations, and when the BLM movement was just gaining wider recognition in Western Canada, she created one of the first directories of black-owned business in Vancouver that continues to be the resource for those who want to support with their shopping dollars.


  1. Greg Zeschuk (Ritchie Market <https://ritchiemarket.ca/> , Edmonton) The Bioware founder used some of his capital to create one of the most dynamic spots for food in town. Housing the new Duchess Bakery location, Acme Meats, Transcend Coffee, the uber-popular Biera as well as Blind Enthusiasm Brewing, Ritchie Market has become the place for the city’s foodies to get their fix of, well, everything.





For further info and results stay connected with  westernliving.ca <https://www.westernliving.ca/>   Also, keep an eye on their  Facebook and Instagram sites for updates. The Top Ten will  be featured with portraits and essays in Western Living’s March 2021 issue.






Luke Whittall – Valleys of Wine


Black Swift opens its doors


Wines of BC – an update.
























February 13th, 2021 -Four of the  Best Experts Recommend  Valentines Wines  


Four of the  Best Experts Recommend  Valentines Wines:




We welcome back – 

Daenna Van Mulligan – The Wine Diva

Ben Sigurdson – Winnipeg Free Press

Kurtis Kolt – Wine Educator

DJ Kearney – Director of Wine Terminal City Club/Educator


Its Valentines Weekend and what better time to talk wines than now.

Whether you’re buying for yourself or the love of your life – when it comes to wines, everyone could use a helping hand.


I’ve invited four of the very best wine minds in Canada.

They judge, they review, educate and mentor.

Best of all, they’re friends.

I asked  a basic question –

What would you recommend to pour over the Valentines weekend and frankly, whenever romance is in the air.


Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva

You can always find her at www.winediva.ca  and www.winescores.ca

Daenna van Mulligen

Blue Mountain Rose Brut $40 (winery/private)

Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut $90 BCLS

Segura Viudas Cava $16.99 ($14.99 special until March 6) BCLS


Ben Sigurdson – Winnipeg Free Press



Ben Sigurdson


Benjamin Bridge NV Brut Rose – Nova Scotia, $33, private wine  stores in BC.


Spade and Sparrows 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon – California , $29 private wine store

Wine spearheaded by Alberta-born Kaitlyn Bristowe, who appeared on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, as well as Dancing With the Stars.


Amalaya 2019 Malbec – Argentina (Calchaqui/Salta), $19.99, Liquor Marts and beyond $21.99 BCLDB

* 97 pts Decanter World Wine Awards


Bodegas Atalaya 2019 “Laya” – Spain (Almansa) $13.99, Liquor Marts and beyond , $16.99 BCLDB


Tommasi 2017 Poggio al Tufo “Rompicollo” – Italy (Tuscany) – $19.99, Liquor Marts and beyond (Manitoba), $22.99 BCLDB


(Also recommended Synchromesh, Covert Farms, Wolf Trap Red)

Kurtis Kolt – Wine Educator . Co-founder of Top Drop. Consultant. Freelance Writer.


Broc Cellars ‘Happi’ 2018 Chenin Blanc ~ $45


Little Farm 2018 Blind Creek Vineyard Rosé  ~$26


Unsworth Sparkling Rose Brut  ~$19.49 LTO $15.97 until March 6


Creek & Gully 2019 Pet Nat Cider https://creekandgully.com/product/2019-fortuna/


@kurtiskolt covers all platforms




DJ Kearney – Director of Wine Terminal City Club. WSET Educator.  PICA Instructor

Unsworth Charme de L’Isle Rose $25.00

Cedar Creek Chard 2019 – $16.99 sale price

Bartier Bros Cab Franc 2019 $26.99 sale price

Quails’ Gate Optima 2019 – $34.99









Valleys of Wine

Giant Head

Church and State

Spring Releases

Is your restaurant open?











February 6th 2021- Super Bowl Show


Wine Diva. Jay Onrait & Dan O’Toole & Joe Leary

Must be Super Bowl Weekend



It happens but once a year but if ever a year needed a Super Bowl,  it’s the year we all just went through.

It’s a bag of fun for everyone at Tasting Room Radio.  We get to reconnect with friends and talk football, food & drinks for Super Bowl Weekend and of course, predict the final score.

Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva

Daenna has admitted over the years that football is not exactly a priority but like everyone else, when the game gets close she lines up food and wine at home.

Take a sec  to check out her list below.  As always they’re  well thought out and personally tasted by The Wine Diva.

(These bottles are chosen from her current wine list – Budget Bottles under $17.00www.winediva.ca

(Daenna will be back next week with Valentines Bubble)

Intrigue Chardonnay, BC $17 (winery/private)

Torres Vina Esmeralda Catalunya $16.99 (special $13.99 until Mar 6) BCLS

Protea Chenin Blanc SA $14.99 (on special $12.99 until Mar 6) BCLS


Tiger Horse Cinsault, Western Cape SA $14.99 BCLS

Trapiche Reserve Malbec Mendoza $14.99 (special $11.99 until March 6) BCLS

McGuigan Single Batch Cab Sauv Australia $16.99 (special $14.99 until March 6) BCLS


Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole – Jay and Dan SC/TSN


Jay and Dan and I have been gathering like this for a couple of years now. I stalk them through their Sports Centre shows, their podcasts and now TRR.

So..sports is what they do.  We’ll talk about the game and its impact..Dan has a mini conspiracy theory going about Covid 19 and the players..and because they are the hosts of the Super Bowl wrap-up on TSN they only get to see half the game at home and the rest at work. Dan does his chili…Jay blends Syrah and a  kale smoothie.  Eeewwwww.

The boys bring all the info you need and some you don’t.  (but it’s all fun)

Plus you get a final score.

If you’re a winemaker or owner they have a proposition for you.



Joe Leary –   Host/Producer of Just Here for the Beer. TSN Radio


Who better to bring the beer that Smokin’ Joe Leary.

​ Just Here for the Beer is now Canada’s longest-running, dedicated, and continuous beer-oriented program on commercial radio airwaves. JHFTB broadcasts on Vancouver’s Flagship Sports Radio Station, TSN 1040/103.5 FM HD2.

For 11 years he’s been hosting and producing Just Here for the Beer. Everyone on the show either pours, makes, or owns beer or a brewery.

Joe brought 6 recommendations. He could easily have brought 106. These were some of his favorites. Some local. Some not.  Well done Joe

Driftwood – Fat Tug

House of Funk – Lager Bier (House of Lager)/Chaka Sour IPA

Red Truck – 8 pack box: The Defender Bourbon Ale/Cherry Bomb Black Cherry Lager

Lagunitas – IPA

La Cerveceria – Salted Lime Lager

Hoyne – Dark Matter



The Wine Diva – Valentine Bubble

Kurtis Kolt – Wines for Valentines Weekend

Giant Head


January 30th, 2021 – Christa-Lee McWatters (Time) – Christine Coletta (Narrative) – Jay Drysdale (Bella) 


Christa-Lee McWatters (Time) – Christine Coletta (Narrative) – Jay Drysdale (Bella) 




Three true wine leaders in the Okanagan bringing new releases you’re going to want to try and buy.


Christa-Lee McWatters – GM of  5 Vines Cellars. (TIME Winery and Kitchen . Evolve. McWatters Collection)

Christa-Lee McWatters

TIME-CabFranc2018-TechSheet TIME-CabSauv2018-TechSheet

Being the daughter of Harry McWatters, British Columbia wine pioneer, Christa-Lee has had a rich understanding and love for BC wine since birth. She was involved in planting vineyards with her father and sister Darrien on the Black Sage Bench in the early 1990s.

Since 2000, Christa-Lee held key roles in sales, marketing, and hospitality for several successful Okanagan wineries, until stepping in as director of marketing and sales for her family’s enterprise ENCORE Vineyards in 2014.

After her father’s passing in 2019, Christa-lee assumed the position as CEO until the parent company was purchased by Five Vines Cellars. Christa-Lee continues to manage the three wine labels and downtown winery in Penticton but still finds time to give back to her industry through the British Columbia Wine Institute, Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive Winery Association, Canadian Vintner’s Association, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, BC Hospitality Foundation and Les Dames d’Escoffier, BC Chapter.

Getting caught up with CL includes new releases from TIME Winery.

The Whites.

2018  Brut  Method Covee Clos  (34.99)

It engages with notes of toast and lime and a wonderful tiny bubble texture in the mouth invites you to let it linger around your tongue.  Love this.














2018 Meritage White  (25.00) – An perfect equal split between Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. I  found melon and mandarin on the nose but the texture had such a lovely tropical fruit entry that lead to a nice texture and finish.

A true barrel-aged  Winter White that can only get better with cellaring for a couple of years.

The Reds

2017  Fourth Dimension (35.00)  When you blend well made Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc many things can happen. They can end up fighting each other for dominance or with the careful blending exhibited in this blend the varietals reward with Cherry and Raspberry on the nose and cracked black pepper and spice. Long slow finish.  Again. Let it Linger.

“Time is the Fourth Dimension”   Al Einstein


2018 Syrah (39.99) Greeted by bold ripe blackberry and hints of mint on the nose.  Rich flavors of fresh black currant and ripe plum cracked black pepper and a taste of cinnamon on the way out. This could be your next favorite red. Cellaring for a couple of years will reward big time.


2018 Cabernet Sauvignon  (39.99) Everything you want and expect in a classic Cab. Cassis, blackberry, vanilla, pepper!  Boom. This well structured big red wine compliments beautifully with BBQ  and engaging pasta. Although just released,  I’d advise to get it while you can.


2018 Cabernet Franc (34.99)  So good it just takes three words – Find-Buy-Taste. If you need more words how about this –  aromas of raspberries, ripe cherry, and pepper on the nose,  taste includes, plum, black fruit, with soft tannins and finish. Think food with the same bang.



Christine Coletta Co-Founder of Okanagan Crush Pad  and Narrative Wine

Christine Coletta

Everyone in B.C.’s wine industry knows Christine Coletta.

Innovator, community champion, visionary, land steward— She is an ongoing force.

Christine, or CC as she is known by many, has earned awards and accolades throughout her illustrious career. She was named  One of Wine’s Most Inspiring People for 2020 by Wine Industry Advisor.

Christine is one of the founding members of the BC Wine Institute and the BC VQA program, and she has helped to mentor a number of professionals in the food and wine industries over the last 30 years.


Through her crush work at Okanagan Crush Pad, she has also been involved in the start of a number of new wineries in BC.

Her guidance, support, and mentorship have landed her the nickname, “Godmother of BC Wine.”


Okanagan Crush Pad is the home for

Haywire Wines

Free Form

Bizou and Yukon



Today CC brings the new releases from Narrative.

Is it a floor wax or a shampoo?

Is it a Rose?  Well, it is and it isn’t. It’s a….


2019 Viognier/Syrah except it’s 80% Viognier and 20% Syrah

(spice, pepper, raspberries, and strawberries. Lots of rich  texture)


Viognier I was impressed by this release a while back and had to ask CC about it.

Slow fermented in concrete.  Yummy!


2018 Syrah Viognier.  Its quite a process to get this wine just right.  Syrah co-fermented with Viognier in clay amphora. On skins for 90 days. Some of the Syrah is in concrete which brings out the spice and texture. It’s crazy good.


2016 Syrah (organic)  Grown in the South Okanagan  Spends lots of time in concrete. Its soft in the mouth with notes of white pepper.

There’s a surprising lift in the mouth mid-palette. Not the usual dark chocolate.

THIS is a Syrah you want to find and it’s one of Narrative’s Winter Reds. Best of all its been in bottle for 2 extra years.


Check out the Okanagan Crush Pad website for information on Virtual Tastings, Special 6 packs and an opportunity to join a panel of tasters.



Jay Drysdale –  Bella Wines (Naramata Bench)

“I moved to the Okanagan in 2004 and quickly fell in love with everything related to the BC wine industry.  I see a world class wine region in BC and understand we are still in our infancy, comparatively speaking.  This is our “wild west” era and we should enjoy this time of exploration, trial and error. 

Jay Drysdale and Wendy Rose

In the ten short years I have been watching, and involved with, the B.C. wine industry, quality has increased and our voice is getting louder and stronger.  I’m honored to be a part of this growing and evolving community.”  Jay “Gamay” Drysdale

Jay Drysdale is a geekmeister.

He will talk about Gamay and bubble for hours..and when you think of Jay and his love Wendy Rose you have to think of Bubble. Because that’s what they do. As many releases as you can taste in a day. As many clones as you need to know..

Bella makes and releases

The Vineyard Series  – specific vineyards. Many in small batches

Pet Nat

Trad Nat

Bella Reserve


In order to give Jay room to expand his storytelling we’ve given  him  two segments and we go over multiple wines each with their own story, terroir, season and results.

Trust me on this – they are one of the most interesting wineries and couples in BC wine. Every bottle, every release has a surprise in it. If its not the nose it’s the taste or the colour in the bottle. If you happen to ask Jay about,  say,  one of his Gamay Rose grab and chair and sit down. Get comfortable because your Jay Jam is about to begin.


Fabulous wines and totally unique to BC.  Start with the 2019 Mariani Vineyards Clone 509 and stash a bottle of Pet Nat.






Church and State

Giant Head

Creek and Gully Cider

Black Swift

Anthony Buchanan


Le Vieux Pin











 John Skinner – Co-founder of Painted Rock

John Skinner


In a normal year, Wine Align hosts their annual National Wine Awards. 2020 was not a normal year.

Their team decided to put together a “Guide to Canada’s Best Wines”

At Painted Rock they had already sold out their Chardonnay, Rose and Cabernet Sauvignon.

So, they submitted their Merlot,  Syrah, Cab Franc and Red Icon.

They were all judged Top Ten and the 2017 Red Icon was judged the Top Red Wine. A blend that 3 of the judges gave 5 stars for value.

And the 2017 Red Icon was the only Canadian Wine that made the 2020 Wines of the Year in Decanter Magazine.

Painted Rock

All of these awards are remarkable considering that in August of 2020  the winery was in danger of being overrun and burned to the ground by another summer firestorm.

Spotter planes and fire fighting helicopter crews and front line firefighters on the ground saved Painted Rock and their neighbours. John sent them away with boxes of wine. The firefighters then sold the wine at auction to support the local  foodbank.

Fires around Painted Rock

One more thing.  Just weeks ago John was skiing Whistler hard, the way he’s always done and at top speed he collided with a skier who crossed his run without looking. Whistler first responders located him, attended to his condition and got him off the mountain and to a hospital.  Thanks to them and his friends, he’s recovering nicely.

 It was that kind of year.

Let’s get caught up with John Skinner and Painted Rock!


Davin de Kergommeaux  – Whisky Update

Davin de Kergommeaux

Its been a while since Davin and I hooked up.

Likely the release of his latest book The Definitive Guide to Canadian Distilleries!

I know that the Canadian Whisky Awards would normally happen in the next little while in Victoria. Again, this is not a normal time. For 2021 it will be late February.

Getting caught up with Canada’s Whisky expert involves scanning the websites of over 200 distilleries and then trying to pin the man down.  He’s busy with on line  Zoom tastings  and book events  etc.

Davin is keen to talk about the burgeoning micro distillery scene, coast to coast.

Reviews on Wayward (Krupnik), Shelter Point (The Collective) (Ripple Rock).

The new Odd Society 5 year barrel program.

We finish with his recommendations for best New Whisky  in Canada and three whiskies to taste before “your lights go out”

Davin is the world’s leading authority on Canadian whisky, and has been called “Canada’s unofficial whisky ambassador” as well as being named one of the most influential Canadians in Food and Drink by The Globe and Mail in 2016.

He is a former contributing editor to Whisky Magazine, and has contributed to or co-authored eight other books about whisky, spirits, and cocktails. He now writes full-time, and is regularly featured in many websites and publications, including Whisky Advocate.

Davin De Kergommeaux is the founder and chairperson of the prestigious Canadian Whisky Awards and publishes comprehensive tasting notes on his website.



Bella Bubble – Jay Drysdale brings the goods.

Haywire releases

Enrico Winery – in the Cowichan

The new Black Swift Winery







Tasting Room Radio was created in a studio barn on the Naramata Bench in 2007.

We were attracted by the space, the people and the farming community.  Since we moved back to the Coast in 2011 we’ve become aware how The Bench has grown. In some cases, not in a good way.

The good news is the food/restaurant  possibilities have become much better,  sustainable farming has become the norm.

The wines have truly become better and better.  Some World Class. Accommodation has improved and grown with the area.

With success comes some serious challenges. Wine fans from all over dream of living part of the year in wine country.  No problem unless building that housing could seriously affect the whole of Naramata Bench.

Let’s face it. From April to October the Okanagan Valley can be swarmed with visitors. The Naramata Bench and its single road on a busy day can be challenging for the wine fan and the farmer.

Now comes “the development” on Spiller Road. Just at that S shaped “crash corner” at Red Rooster. High on that hill a housing community is taking shape and it threatens the locals and their vineyards.

The Bench

A Penticton petition calling to “preserve and protect” Penticton’s Naramata Bench has gathered close to 15,000 signatures . The 121 acre site located beside the local land fill boasts  324 single and multi-residential housing units.

Some residents aren’t impressed.

“Allowing the Naramata Bench to be developed beyond the current agricultural density would forever change the look and feel of the area. It would take away from the destination as a sought after recreational area, affect wildlife, the natural abundance and ultimately affect all of the businesses in the area in a negative way,” reads the petition started by Josie Tyabji on Change.org.

We thought it was time to share this conflict with you, the wine fan.

We have interviews with :

Lindsay O’Rourke  Co-Founder of Tightrope Winery.

Lindsay ORourke. Tightrope

Gjoa  Taylor & John Bilodeau from Gjoa Vineyards

Gjoa Taylor. John Bilodeau

Duncan McCowan  President of Hillside Estate Winery and Bistro

Duncan McCowan Hillside

Chef Ned Bell  Naramata Inn. (recorded before Christmas but gives a sense of how special  Naramata Town and area are)








We start this weeks Tasting Room Radio with a revisit to the sparkling Ampersand Distillery in Duncan, Vancouver Island.

Jessica. Jeremy. Stephen. Ramona Schacht Ampersand

Jessica Schacht is the co-founder of Ampersand, along with her husband Jeremy, along with Jeremys parents Stephen and Ramona.

In 2007 the same summer that Meg and I moved to Naramata, Stephen and Ramona moved to the Cowichan Valley to start a vegetable farm. Jeremy perhaps  didn’t see it as a farm “per se” but as another classroom  to extend his education in chemical process engineering.  A distillery was born. They created all the equipment themselves and called the passion project Ampersand.

How well did they learn?

Ampersand Gin was voted Best BC Distilled Gin 2016-2018

Per Se Vodka was voted Best BC Distilled  Vodka 2016-2019

And Per Se won World’s Best Varietal at the 2020 World Vodka Awards.

 Very happy to welcome back to TRR – Jessica and Ampersand.



 Davin de Kergommeaux – Whisky/Spirits Update

Shelter Point

Eau Claire Distillery

Sheringham Distillery





January 9th, 2021- David Hawksworth and Liam Mayclem


David Hawksworth –THE COOKBOOK

Liam Mayclem – The Foodie Chap. SF


David Hawksworth – Hawksworth The CookBook

It’s a beauty this one.

Everyone seems to need something different from new cookbooks.

Photos, recipes, stories about the author, and how recipes came to be.

How easy or difficult. How well researched.

There seems to be many potholes that cookbooks fall into.

This is not one of those books because David Hawksworth is not one of those chefs.


“On opening a new cookbook, I get in the passing lane and speed to the recipes. But when I cracked open Hawksworth The Cookbook by David Hawksworth and Stephanie Noel I stayed in the slow lane, captivated by Hawksworth’s story interspersed through the book.”  Mia Stainsby Van Sun

As a leader in contemporary Canadian cuisine, Chef Hawksworth’s restaurants, Hawksworth and Nightingale, have been fixtures of Vancouver’s dining scene for the past 10 years, aweing diners with the intricate, beautiful, and refined dishes that have become synonymous with his name. In this book, he shares for the first time the artfully developed recipes that have brought him unparalleled success over the years, and challenges readers to recreate these dishes for an unforgettable dining experience.


“I have been a fan of Chef David Hawksworth’s precise French school-style, and Pacific Northwest ingredient-driven cuisine for over 20 years. This book is an incredible tool, full of secrets and techniques, for all cooks to up their game—at home and at work. Well played.” —CHEF DAVID MCMILLAN, JOE BEEF RESTAURANT GROUP

Hawksworth is a celebration of Chef Hawksworth’s career to date, with recipes ranging from his time training in London with Michelin-starred chefs, to Ouest, the first restaurant where he served as head chef, to opening his own fine-dining restaurant.

The book’s simpler and more casual recipes reflect the family-style dishes served at Nightingale and the casual fare of Bel Café (a downtown lunchtime go-to destination). The recipes included require varying levels of skill and time commitments. Casual foodies and adventurous cooks alike will find new culinary pleasures with Chef Hawksworth as their guide.

Winner of 2012 and 2013 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year and for four consecutive years, Best Upscale Dining, as well as enRoute magazine’s top three Best New Restaurants, and Maclean’s magazine Restaurant of the Year; Hawksworth has anchored himself at the helm of the Vancouver – and Canadian – dining scene.

This interview takes you through David’s beginnings, how little he knew about cooking when he got to London, the lessons learned from Michelin starred chefs, and how he lived his dream once back on the West Coast.

There’s the great story about Willie Mitchell (then a Canuck) and his wife dining at West with the new owners of the Hotel Georgia, a building David had always admired and dreamt about making it his home base. His life changed that night.

We welcome back a chef, a friend, and fishing partner David Hawksworth.


 Liam Mayclem – The Foodie Chap. San Francisco.

Liam Mayclem

Liam has been on Tasting Room Radio many times. We met when we both did movie junkets together in LA and NY.

In between films and interviews, we talked about food and wine then movies.

Emmy Award-winning radio & TV personality,  Liam is best known as the host of EYE ON THE BAY on CBS 5 and as “The Foodie Chap” celebrating San Francisco Bay Area culinary stars daily on #1 KCBS Radio.

Annually, Liam hosts the main stage at EAT DRINK SF – a gathering for SF food fans.  He also hosts the culinary stage at BOTTLE ROCK NAPA VALLEY. This year he made sushi with Chef Morimoto and Snoop Dog, tasted fried chicken made by Flava Flav, and enjoyed nitrus cocktails concocted by Chef Dominique Crenn.

He’s also the first call made when a charity event needs a host or auctioneer. He’s a very busy guy our Liam.

I wanted to get caught up on how San Francisco’s wineries, restaurants, and citizens are handling the Covid 19 Pandemic.

I also wanted to get caught up on how Liam was doing and what he was doing.

Did I mention he’s a very busy guy?





Ampersand Distilling

New BC releases

Virtual tastings in Portugal and Barossa Valley





Winter Whites! Tasting Room Radio- January 1st, 2021


Winter White Wines –  A Winter What?


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

“A Winter White – what is that?”

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




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 that we could get our hands on!

Most of us switch from summer whites to increasingly heavier reds when the Winter cool and wet sets in. Fair enough. They go well with stews, soups, confit, Cassoulet and oven birds.

A Winter White has to have weight, texture and the ability to pair with all those dishes.

Fat Chards come to mind, Chablis, some Pinot Gris and Chenins, specifically Vouvrays

Rieslings from Alsace, Soave from Italy, Mondavi Fume. White blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape

2 Bench White from Tinhorn  Creek.(Semillion,Chard, Sauv Blanc, Viognier and Muscat)

Ava from Le Vieux Pin

Yalumba Y Series Viognier.   I could go on.

Please don’t forget to include Bubble, Rosé and Roussanne

Our guests include:

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



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

Kurtis Kolt – Wine Educator,  Wine Writer.  Judge. 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, etc.   https://thehatchwines.com/ 

Jason Parkes – The Hatch

Valeria Tait –Gold Hill Winery and 2House  www.goldhillwinery.com

Valeria Tait – 2House and Gold Hill

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

Kathy Malone



Chris Reilly-Head Sommelier at Nightingale


Here’s Chris Reilly’s List:

2016 Clos du Soleil Capella Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 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 Australia

Here’s Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson’s List :



The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne (McLaren Vale, Australia)



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


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


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.  – One name that pops up 3  times is Ava from Le Vieux Pin.


Zoom tasting at Yalumba

Fonseca Zoomathon from Portugal

Taylor Fladgate – Zoom from Portugal

Doin’ The Douce in North Vancouver.  Douce Diner

David Hawksworth – The Cookbook (Next week)

Liam Mayclem – Conditions in SF and Napa

Heading back to Ampersand

Creek and Gully Cider


December 26thth, 2020 – New Zealand Part 2


Tour Number 2 of New Zealand begins in Hawkes Bay where Syrah is King..through the legendary Gimblett Gravels… and finishes on the south Island  in Nelson at NZ’s first Maori owned and operated winery.



  Part 1 of our wine tour of New Zealand took us through the Auckland area and on to Hawkes Bay and that’s where we begin Part 2.  

Elephant Hill  is a stunning and innovative winery estate and restaurant located on the idyllic Te Awanga coast, in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.



They create 2 very fine chardonnays  Sauv. blanc, a white & red blends called Le Phant Blanc/Rouge and a 5 star Viognier and they favour Syrah on the Red side..

We sit down in their fabulous restaurant with Viticulturist Jon Peet and sales and marketing leader Vince Labatt. 




Pask Winery

Staying in the Hawkes Bay area on North Island NZ we head for Pask

On our tour of NZ #1 we talked to Kate Ranburnd the famous winemaker at Pask. This time we take to the Gimblett Gravels fields and meet the guys who grow in that stunning region.


At Gimblett Gravels  Pask’s 59 hectares of vineyards are located on Gimblett Road where Chris Pask was first to plant in the region. It’s now known as the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District®.

World Famous Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay NZ

Formed over 100 years ago when the Ngaruroro River changed its course, the light, stony soils of the region are low in nutrients, completely free draining, and create the perfect environment for growing premium quality grapes. Their  very first vintage of 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded 5 stars in Cuisine Magazine.

Since then Pask wines have consistently enjoyed gold medal and  trophy success in London, Australia, Asia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand across a range of varietals and winestyles. Pask has been a member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) since its inception.












Greg Allinson & Danny van Selm Pask Wines                                                                                                                                                                                                Lucky Me. I get to  meet Danny van Selm the vineyard manager and Greg Allinson – direct sales and marketing manager. Interview takes place in the middle of Gimblett Gravels.   http://www.pask.co.nz/                                                                                                                                                                                                                Trinity Hill                                                                         Their  story began in 1987 when John Hancock met Robert and Robyn Wilson in their London restaurant Bleeding Heart. Over a bottle of John’s award-winning Chardonnay, the concept of a Hawkes Bay winery was born. They were convinced they could produce world-class red wines as well as white in this region of New Zealand.

John recognized the outstanding potential of Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels winegrowing district and in 1993 Trinity Hill became one of the region’s early pioneers, planting grape vines on a barren plot on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River.

The first Gimblett Road wines, barrel-aged, were released in 1998 (vintage 1997); Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot and Syrah, to critical acclaim and a number of gold medals and trophies. In 2000, a further 20 hectare parcel of prime Gimblett Gravels land was purchased, named “Gimblett Stones” where Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot plus areas of Tempranillo, Syrah and Viognier were planted.

By 2001 The Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association was set up with 34 wineries and winegrowers from a “terroir”-defined area of the old Ngaruroro Riverbed, including Gimblett Road. Trinity Hill was and remains a founding member. In 2002, the first vintage super-premium wine Homage Syrah was made.

When it was released in 2004 it received critical acclaim world-wide. The 2006 vintage of Homage Syrah won the Supreme Award at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in 2007.

John Hancock is our guest!

http://www.trinityhill.com/ http://www.gimblettgravels.com/



Sileni Estates



Sileni Estates is a major vineyard and winery development in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s oldest established vineyard area.

The first vintage was in 1998.  Sileni boasts a state of the art winery designed to crush over 1500 tonnes of grapes.

Sileni Estates Hawkes Bay

The  Winemaking Team strive to maintain high standards in environmentally sustainable viticultural and winemaking practices Our Guest is  Winemaker   Grant Edmonds.




Grant now leads a team of talented winemakers and viticultural staff who all share Grant and Sileni Estates’ commitment to the vision of making internationally acclaimed wines.

They grow wines in a new sub-region of Gimblett Gravels The Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District in Hawke’s Bay has recently been launched to celebrate and promote one of New Zealand’s premium wine-growing sub-regions. 


The area extends over more than 2,000 hectares on the western side of the Heretaunga plains and includes the largest concentration of quality vineyards in Hawke’s Bay. 




Mission Estate


In 1838 a group of French Missionaries (with the blessing of the Pope) arrived and established a Marist Mission in the north of New Zealand.  In 1851 a mission station was established near the Ngaruroro River between Napier and Hastings at Pakowhai.  In 1858, the missionaries moved to land they had purchased at Meeanee and a major community was established.

A cottage for living quarters was transported from Pakowhai and later a Church, school and study halls were built.  Vines were planted to produce both sacramental and table wine.  The first record of a commercial sale dates back to 1870 when a parcel of mostly dry reds were sold.

Today Mission Estate is Hawke’s Bay’s oldest winery, with a well-respected reputation in the New Zealand market as a producer of consistent quality, value for money wines.

 Paul Mooney  has been the winemaker at Mission Estate for over 30 years, making him one of the most experienced winemakers in New Zealand.

Paul’s winemaking philosophies are heavily influenced by his mentor, Brother John, who trained in Bordeaux during the 1960’s



Paul Mooney Mission Estate Hawkes Bay


Then it’s off to Wellington and then on to  Nelson on the Northern tip of the South Island.

 Te Mania and Richmond Plains


Te Mānia was established by Jon and Cheryl Harrey in 1990 near Nelson.   A two time Champion of the prestigious Bragato Wine Awards, Te Mānia has created  excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling wine.

Te Mānia  is the Maori name for “The Plains” pronounced “Tay Ma-ni-a”

To celebrate the worlds biggest grapevine rugby ball and to support their  world beating rugby team they have  released the Te Mania 2010 Big Balls Syrah. 

Richmond Plains is an organic and biodynamic Nelson wine making pioneer producing New Zealand’s first Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from certified Organic and Biodynamic grapes.

 They  also produce Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Rose, Syrah and Blanc de Noir – Pinot made as a white wine. Richmond Plains has been growing and making organic wine since inception in 1991. Richmond Plains  won the Trophy for the best Sauvignon Blanc at the 2012 Sydney International Wine Competition.

Our guests are Winemaker Steve Gill (both labels) and  Lars Jensen – Owner Richmond Plains  



  Tohu produces award-winning New Zealand wine crafted from grapes grown in the  breath-takingly beautiful, Awatere Valley Vineyard. When Tohu launched in 1998 they  were the world’s first Māori owned wine company.

Since then they’ve  grown a reputation for producing premium wine in a range of varieties, winning awards for  Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Méthode Traditionnelle.   . Tohu Wines now has a sister brand.  Aronui Wines was launched early in 2013.

The word Aronui derives from the Māori mythological basket of knowledge associated with crafts, arts and working with the land in beneficial ways. This reflects their  commitment to caring for the land and their  artisanal approach to winemaking. As the owners are kaitiaki (guardians of their natural resources) and focused on sustainable enterprise, both Tohu and Aronui vineyards are certified by Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand (SWNZ), the  company is CEMARS accredited, and the wines are carboNZero certified.

Whenua Matua (Significant Lands) is the name of their Aronui vineyard. It is located in Nelson’s Moutere Valley – an area fast becoming an aromatics powerhouse. This compliments their Tohu vineyards located in Marlborough, where they continue to produce  Single Vineyard Estate grown wines and exceptional Kaumatua-Reserve range, named after special elders from within their whanau.

Maori Warrior

Our hosts also take us to their mussle farms just off shore. That’s where we get the treat of the trip..fresh live mussels cooked on deck and washed down with their Sauvignon Blanc.  

(Whanau = family. Māori = indigenous peoples of New Zealand. Kaumauta = respected elder)

   Our guests include:

Kerensa Johnson – Company Secretary and Lawyer Mike Brown – CEO Kono beverages

Capt Dave Higgins – Hicapoo Hunter fishing boat.


Stories we’re working on:

Liam Mayclem – The Foodie Chap on SF Restaurants and Wineries

Chef David Hawksworth  – The Cookbook (and The Life.)

Catching up with Ampersand Distillery.