Tasting Room Radio





 We’ve been happily  covering the annual Vancouver International Wine Festival for 12 years.

This year the events start Feb 22 with the Bacchanalia Gala and Auction  and ends with the Vintners Brunch March 1.

This one hour special will feature some of the highlight interviews from years past.

In the grand tasting room, we set up a large round table, fill it with a forest of microphones  and invite as many winemakers and principals as possible over the course of one afternoon.  Once you set it in motion, it’s always a fantastic blur.

We’ll go  as far back  as 2010 an feature a conversation  with  Anthony von Mandl introducing us to Marchesi Piero Antinori . Two visionary giants surrounded by rivers of people walking around us.


We end the hour  with two very special people.

Gina Gallo – Gallo Family

And her husband Jean Charles Boisset..Raymond. Boisset Collection

Gina Gallo, Jean Boisset

Here’s the complete line-up filled with winemakers, owners and friends. Rarely do all these wine educators and experts get together like this.  Enjoy!

Seg 1

Harry Hertscheg – Exec Director VanwineFest

Chris Gaze – founding artistic director  Bard on the beach  2017

Kurtis Kolt – educator. Georgia straight wine column.  2016 (Italy)

DJ Kearney – Wine educator – consultant – judge


Deanna van Mulligen –  wine diva.. writer..judge –

Rhys Pender – Master of wine  -cofounder of Little Farm Similkameen

Anthony von Mandl  owner/founder Mission Hill  2010

Marchesi Piero  Antinori – Antinori  Italy

Segment 2

DJ Kearney  2017

Harry McWatters – Time..McWatters. Evolve.   co-founder of wine in Canada.  2017

Ray Signorello – losing his Napa winery buildings  To fire  2018

Seg 3

Ann Sperling – 2017 (Canada)

Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva

Howard  Soon –  still at Sandhill and about to get Order of Canada

Sandra Oldfield – still at Tinhorn Creek

Jon Bonne – Keynote – new California  wine  2019

Charles Smith – Walla Walla . Before he became CHARLES SMITH   2014

Charles Smith

Seg 4

Gina Gallo – Family member and leader  2019

Her Husband

Jean Charles Boisset   – winemaker & visionary.    Raymond.  Boisset Collection.  Buena Vista  family vineyards  in Burgundy


Top Drop Victoria

Untapped Parksville

A day with a Mescal Master in Oaxaca.

Locals Only 2020

Cider Festival

OK Falls 2020 releases.

February 8th, 2018 – 15th Victoria Whisky Festival!


15th Victoria Whisky Festival



Each year, every January  the Victoria Whisky Festival attracts distilleries, and the people who love them, from every corner of the globe. Distillers, distillery managers and brand ambassadors from over 50 distilleries travelled  to Victoria from Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada, United States, Japan, Taiwan, India and France. Collectively they presented over 200 whiskies,  showing a broad range of styles, flavour profiles and whisky philosophies.

The tenth annual Canadian Whisky Awards gala  recognized the best whiskies in the country.

Distillers from across Canada were  in attendance seeking the recognition of major awards including Best Single Malt Whisky, Best Blended Whisky, Blender of the Year, Best New Whisky, Whisky of the Year and others.

In 2019, BC Distilleries had their strongest showing yet with major awards going to Vancouver Island’s Shelter Point Distillery for Innovation and de Vine Winery and Distillery for Best Whisky Spirit as well as a number of medals awarded.


Rob Carpenter – (Scotch Malt Whisky Society-Holyrood Distillery UK)

 In Jan 2018 inspectors from the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch raided Scotch Malt Whisky Society Partner Bars in B.C.,

with 242 bottles of SMWS whisky being seized from Fets Whisky Kitchen. 

Rob Carpenter (co-founder of the Canadian branch of the SMWS), together with one of Fets’ owners and a lawyer, presented a tasting of some beautiful single cask Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings interspersed with an account of what happened, the legal issues, and the current situation, including the impact on BC whisky, wine, and beer enthusiasts and what can be done going forward.

 Rob is very connected on both sides of the Atlantic and he wants whisky fans to know about #freeourwhisky – a movement to focus on government bureaucracy when it comes to whisky. The man speaks the truth and exposes our liquor bullies.

#free our whisky

 Chris Thompson  (NA Brand Ambassador Forty Creek Whisky)

Forty Creek

Chris Thompson joined the company in 2010 and has been sharing the Forty Creek story ever since, introducing a variety of limited edition whiskies to an enthusiastic North American whisky community.


 Davin de Kergommeaux   (Author. Whisky Educator.  Head Judge)

Davin de Kergommeaux

Davin de Kergommeaux, Chairman of the judges for the Canadian Whisky Awards and author of Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Experhas been sharing his enthusiasm for Canadian Whisky with the world for two decades His third book The Definitive Guide to Canadian Distilleries, will be published in spring of 2020.



   Ken Winchester  – (Founder/Master Distiller deVine Spirits-Saanich)

devine spirit ancient grains

Ken Winchester creates award-winning whiskies while keeping watch over the distillery’s vintage German copper pot still, Brünhilde. Demand for their Glen Saanich was so great the distillery held a lottery to determine who would  take one home.

 At deVine, they grow their own grain, malt locally, and mash, ferment, distill and age on their property in Saanich, just outside Victoria.


 Leon Webb  – (The pride of Aviemore. Distiller Shelter Point Campbell River)

Hailing from Aviemore in Scotland, Leon Webb made waves as Victoria Distillers Master Distiller before joining Shelter Point in September of 2017. He is a driving force behind their range of whisky expressions including their newest, a peated expression called Smoke Point.

Shelter Point Single Malt



Beth Havers – (Glenfiddich Canada)

Struan Grant Ralph – (Glenfiddich Global Ambassador)

 Glenfiddich is the most popular Whisky in Canada. Beth and Struan are the perfect pair to talk to. They joined the company on the very same day together.

We run through their pours in Victoria and plans for 2020.


Dr Don Livermore  – (Master Blender of Lot 40 and Pike Creek. Hiram Walker)

Dr. Don Livermore has been experimenting in order to reach new heights and push the boundaries of what is possible in Canadian Whisky.  Dr. Don was named Canadian Whisky Blender of the Year at the 2019 Canadian Whisky Awards.

Pike Creek

Having done a lot of work to raise the bar for Canadian Whisky in the past several years through incredible innovation,  at the Festival Dr. Don Livermore dug into his archives and pulled out some of his favourite, and most rare, whiskies of the past few years – some of the best that J.P. Wiser’s, Lot No. 40, Pike Creek and Gooderham & Worts have to offer.

At this year’s awards Don Livermore  took home trophies for

 Connoisseur Whisky of the Year Domestic and Best Blended Whisky

Pike Creek 21 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish

Don also won Blender of the Year –

Hiram Walker & Sons was named Distillery of the Year!





Apologies to Patrick Sweeney – National Marketing Director for Beam Suntory Canada. (Canadian Club. Laphroaig.  Jim Beam. Maker’s Mark Yamazaki)

Couldn’t fit your interview in without messing with everyone else. You shall be featured shortly.  Cheers.




Mescal Master in Oaxaca

Uncorked in Parksville

The Hatch/Road 13/Unsworth/Row Fourteen/Orofino








 Oscar picks and pairs

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill (Cogill Wine & Film. A perfect pairing)

Please meet my pals Gary Cogill who’s a respected Dallas film reviewer/interviewer and

Hayley is a much respected Dallas Sommelier and blogger/podcaster.


Gary and Hayley

They both now live in Hawaii and work together on Cogill Wine & Film. A perfect pairing.


Find Gary @garycogill

You can also find all things Hayley at her website


On instagram  @dallasuncorked


They can both be found at Lahaina Galleries in the shops at Mauna Lani on the Big Island.

Gary is gallery director.  http://www.lahainagalleries.com/

Gary Coghill

My suggestion was:  Let’s choose your Oscar Winners and pair them with the perfect wines.

Gary and I exchange opinions on:

best film

the acting categories

and best director.

Hayley pairs with wines from

Adelsheim in the Willamette Valley,

Dana Estates/Vaso Cellars in Napa,

ZD Wines in Napa.

 Gary helps with your Oscar pool and Hayley suggests wines to seek and serve.

What’s not to like?


Jane Ferrari – Independent Consultant & Voice of Yalumba

                              (Barossa Valley Australia)

Jane Ferrari

I find it almost impossible to try and explain what has happened to the people of Australia, the wildlife, the wineries and the land itself.

Wildfires have destroyed  many regions, towns and lives and it’s not done yet.

One of my favourite humans  is Jane Ferrari – who was for years the voice of Yalumba Wines. She was/is a natural storyteller and that’s what she did all over the World.  Jane would tell all of us stories about Yalumba, Barossa and Australia.

Who better to call and talk to?

My most important question to Jane was – How can we Help?

Jane more than fills two segments of the show but she followed up by sending  three links that take you directly to those on the front lines.

Australia Fires

Hi Terry – this is the Instagram site that shows specific food and wine bushfire affected folk across the country



  Hi Terry – this is the excellent summary of the bushfire affected areas  nationally, put together by young consultant Trish Barry




 Hi Terry – this is Max Allen – excellent Oz wine journo – on what we can do long term to support the fire affected areas


  There you go folks…support is only a click away.


Please pass the Tasting Room links above to those who could support and help.


and Thank You,

Jane Ferrari!





Victoria Whisky Fest

Colin Linden – Nashville

A Mescal Master – Oaxaca

Sheringham Gins





January 25th, 2020 – The 5th Annual Garagiste North – Kelowna  


Coverage of the 5th Annual Garagiste North – Kelowna


 What is a garagiste? (gar-ah-jeest)?  

It started out in France (of course) where it was a derogatory phrase for those avante garde and crazy mavericks making wine in their garage and outside the highly regulated system. Gradually and grudgingly came the acknowledgement that something really interesting was happening with these small case lot artisan wines, and a movement was born.

Garagiste North  brings together the small guys. Wines produced from 100% Canadian grapes and under 2000 cases total production annually.  

We’ve been covering this gathering of small BC producers from the beginning. We like the people, the wines and the no BS approach to farming, creating and selling.

This year Sperling Vineyards was once again  the site for a gathering of the Garagiste.  Many of the favourites are returning, but with the growth of the wine industry we are excited to see new small wineries popping up.

Sperling Vineyards

The likes of Lightning Rock, Scorched Earth and Burnt Timer all seem to have a theme!  Added to this year’s event will be a wine pairing of Sperling Vineyards and cheese, music by Glendale Avenue,  food truck service from CrAsian, a cool booth by Taste Advisor and a pop up wine store by Fairview Cellars.


tdm and Ann Sperling


This event gives you an insight into the passion, commitment, craziness and excellence that is the hallmark of a small producer.  We love that for many this is their first time showing off their wines to the public. Others have been attending for awhile, carefully crafting their wines and growing their business and reputation. Others have grown up and graduated.

Former Garagiste are:

  • Daydreamer
  • Synchromesh
  • Sage Hills
  • Tight Rope
  • Bella Wines
  • River Stone
  • Roche Wines
  • Kitsch Wines
  • Forbidden Fruit
  • Marichel
  • Deep Roots
  • Van Westen
  • Kraze Legs
  • vinAmite


This year’s Garagiste guests are :

  •  Schell Wines – Jennifer Schell
  • Mayhem Wines – Terry Meyer Stone
  • Dames Wines – Mireille Sauve
  • Sperling Vineyards –  Ann Sperling
  • Rigor and Whimsy – Costa Gavaris
  • Nagging Doubt – Rob  Westbury
  • Birch Block Vineyard – Sarah and Murray Bancroft
  • Anthony Buchanan Wines – Anthony Buchanan
  • Red Bird Estate – Remi Cardinal
  • Giant head – John Glavina
  • BC Wine Studio – Mark Simpson
  • Scorched Earth – Anita and Peter Pasdernick

 Enjoy the stories and histories!


Prepping for VanWineFest

Victoria Whisky Fest

Jane Ferrari and Australian Fires

Locals Only

Orofino & Row Fourteen in Similkameen

30 Years of BCVQA

















January 18th, 2019 – The 5th Pinot Noir Celebration in Kelowna


The 5th Pinot Noir Celebration in Kelowna



The 2019 BC Pinot Noir Celebration brings together BC’s top 35 Pinot Noir producers for an unforgettable festival-style tasting experience. The event kicked off with a reception and keynote address by Madeline Puckette, certified sommelier and author of New York Times Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine.

Kurtis Kolt

To put this gathering in proper perspective, here’s an overview from writer/judge Kurtis Kolt:

My big take-away is how local Pinot Noir reflects its terroir of origin, rather than its producers trying to emulate other iconic Pinot regions around the world, from Burgundy in France to the Russian River Valley in California.

No matter which B.C. region it hailed from, each one had a freshness and purity of fruit, along with juicy acidity—a common trait in B.C. wine. I was quite impressed that compared to other reds—from Bordeaux-inspired blends to Syrah—the B.C. Pinot Noirs were all tasty and approachable, whether we were looking at current, more fruit-forward releases, or bottlings as far back as a 2006 from Averill Creek on Vancouver Island. It had started to exhibit those more savoury, tertiary notes like sarsaparilla and sun-dried tomato, but still had great structure and was buoyant on the palate.

 Kurtis, who guests on this special,  makes the comment that Pinot Noir is the one wine that can be grown from coast-to-coast in Canada.

All 35 wineries pouring at the event were accepted through a high profile sommelier tasting panel.  They were determined to be the best of the best.

Our owner/winemaker guests are:

 Jak Meyer – Meyer Family Vineyards/Organizer

Grant Biggs – Kitsch/ Organizer

David Paterson – Tantalus/ Organizer

Jason Parkes – The Hatch

Madeline Puckette – Keynote speech and Wine Folly Author

Grant Stanley – Spearhead

Ben Bryant – Mission Hill

Jenn and Kent Molgat – The View

Chris Carson – Meyer Family and Carson

Dan Wright – Unsworth

Paul Pender – Tawse and Hidden Bench

Rhys Pender – Master of Wine and Panelist

Kurtis Kolt – Wine Educator and Panelist

Paul M Bruner – owner of Blue Grouse

Andy Johnson – Owner of Averill Creek

Tyler Knight – Co-owner of Lightning Rock





The 2019 Garagiste  at Sperling Vineyards

The 2020 Victoria Whisky Festival

Food, Wine &  A Mescal Master in Oaxaca

Field Blends – Are we in or out






Winter Whites! Tasting Room Radio-January 11th 2020


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.


2020 VanWineFest

A day with Master Mescal Maker

Sosima Olivera in  Oaxaca

Searching for the 7th Mole

We welcome  Row Fourteen

And Orofino in The Similkameen


January 4th, 2019 – Kurtis Kolt: Wines of the Year & We Remember Harry McWatters.


Kurtis Kolt: Wines of the Year & We Remember Harry McWatters


 Kurtis Kolt  – The Dude

Kurtis Kolt

Kurtis is a sommelier, a consultant, educator and the fine wine writer for the Georgia Straight “The Bottle” Column. Along with partner Jeff Curry,  Kurtis is also the co-founder of Top Drop, a premier small wine festival with BIG guests.

KK has a really good grasp of the wine World.  He studies Local, Regional, National and International wines. Travels the World, walking the vineyards..tasting the cellars.

Thus, Kurtis is the perfect end of the year – start of the year guest.

We’re talking about

The Top 6 best wines of his year. The most memorable ones.

The highlights of his trip to South Africa

The rise of pop-up wine bars in Vancouver

A quick look ahead to 2020 VanWinefest

And a teaser about this year’s Top Drop in Calgary, Vancouver and perhaps Victoria.

When Kurtis Kolt recommends wine it’s a good thing to focus on those wines.  It’s time To FOCUS!!

  • Natte Valleij Cinsault 2017, South Africa, $28-32, Private Wine Stores
  • Lighting Rock Viognier 2017, B.C., $25, LightningRockWinery.com
  • Tiberio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2018, $23.99, B.C. Liquor Stores
  • Mathieu & Camille Lapierre Morgon 2018, France, $46.00
  • Tantalus Vineyards Blanc de Blancs 2016, B.C., $34.70, VQA Wine Stores
  • Kitsch Wines  Pinot Noir Rose








Remembering Harry McWatters – Founder. Builder. Legend.

May 23 1945 – July 23  2019

Harry McWatters

The December holidays gave me the opportunity to reflect on 2019 and the past decade.

One face and voice stayed in my head and my heart.

The great Harry McWatters.

Her Highness and a guy named Harry

Harry was a major  force in the British Columbia and Canadian wine industry for more than 50 years.  In 1980, Harry became the founder of British Columbia’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge and followed with See Ya Later Ranch. He was a pioneer in establishing the Okanagan Wine Festival Society.  In 1990, Harry chaired the new British Columbia Wine Institute.  He was the founding Chair of the British Columbia Wine Information Society, founding Chair of VQA of Canada spearheading national wine standards, founding Chair of the British Columbia Hospitality Foundation, and a long term Director on the Canadian Vintners Association. Most recently, he was the President and CEO of ENCORE Vineyards.

A member of the Order of British Columbia, inductee to the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame, two-time Jubilee Medal winner. the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and the recipient of the Vancouver Wine Festival Spirited Industry Professional Award. He was the Marketer of the Year for North America..

As impressive as that amazing record is,  the lasting legacy of Harry McWatters will be his character.

Ready to help, available for advice, a mentor for 50 years and a wonderful friend and father. His laughter will never leave my soul.

I discovered this interview with Harry just as he was launching his Time label.  We met at the  wonderful Local Lounge and Grill in Summerland.  A room he was familiar with as he helped launch the restaurant.

Harry and I covered a lot of ground but what I really liked about this chat was his honesty and drive.

Here’s to you Harry.

The history of the Okanagan will now be written by your children, your friends and students.




 Van Wine Fest

Mescal Tasting in Oaxaca Mexico

With  Sosima Olivera

December 28th, 2019- Daenna van Mulligen is The Wine Diva!


The Wine Diva/Daenna van Mulligen.  Top Wines under/over $20.00


 Daenna van Mulligen is The Wine Diva.

Daenna is a Sommelier, wine judge, writes for Taste, Monte Cristo, Vitis etc.

http://WineDiva.ca & http://WineScores.ca |

Based in Vancouver and constantly travelling the wine world ….

Daenna tastes over 2000 wines throughout the year and reviews many of them for her website and various publications.

All of the wines we’ll talk  about on this episode can be found  tasted and rated at www.winediva.ca and www.winescores.ca

There are many more to be found there.(For your convenience we’ve added the wines we talked about below, as well)

Daenna Van Mulligen

Daenna loves her lists.  As long as I’ve know her she’s been making sensational wine lists.

  • Top 100 (under $20 and 89 points or better)
  • Top 50   (Over $20 and 91 points or better)
  • Bubbles 

Aye – Here we GO. Under $20/ 89 points or over

  • Cantina Tollo ‘Colle Secco Rubi’ Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Italy $17.99
  • Bodega Valparaiso ‘Finca El Encinal’ Roble, Ribera del Duero, Spain $19.00  
  • Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve, Rhone Valley, France $17.99
  • Barone di Valforte Pecorino, Abbruzzo, Italy $19.99
  • Paul Mas Grenache Noir, Pays d’Oc France $12.99
  • Jose Maria da Fonseca ‘Periquite’ Reserva, Setubal Penninsula, Portugal $16.99
  • Kono Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand $16.99
  • Cellars Baronia Flor d’Englora Garnacha, Montsant, Spain $17.00
  • Cellars Baronia Flor d’Englora Roure Garnacha, Montsant, Spain $18.00
  • M. Chapoutier ‘Bila Haut’ Rouge, Cotes du Roussillon Villages, Roussillon, France $16.99
  • Bodegas Franco-Espanolas ‘Bordon’ Crianza, Rioja, Spain $19.00
  • Tender Hope Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC $20.00
  • Cirro Pinot Gris, Marlborough New Zealand $19.99
  • Boutinot ‘Sun & Air’ Cinsault, Western Cape South Africa $15.00
  • Harper’s Trail ‘Pioneer Block’ Thadd Springs Vineyard Riesling, Thompson Valley, BC $20.00
  • Liquidity Wines Estate Pinot Gris, Okanagan Falls, BC N/A
  • El Petit Bonhomme Blanco, Rueda Spain $14.00
  • Monte Creek Ranch Winery Riesling, British Columbia N/A
  • Spearhead Riesling, Okanagan Valley BC $20.00
  • Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards ‘The Unwinder Ehrenfelser’, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • Lunessence Winery & Vineyard ‘Quartet White’, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Pinot Blanc, Okanagan Valley BC $20.00
  • Babylon’s Peak ‘Front Row’ Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier, South Africa $12.99
  • San Valentino Montepulcinano d’Abruzzo, Italy $12.50
  • Fort Berens Estate Winery Chardonnay, British Columbia $19.00
  • Road 13 ‘Chip Off the Old Block’ Chenin Blanc, Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley BC
  • ACuma Organic Torrontes, Argentina $12.79

Top 50  –  Over $20/91 Points or better.

  • Moon Curser Touriga Nacional, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Noble Ridge ‘Noble Knights’ Powers Vintage Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC $40.00
  • Stag’s Hollow Pinot Noir, Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Rust Wine Co. Merlot, Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • Cellars Baronia Clos d’Englora AV14, Montsant, Spain $55.00
  • Meyer Family Vineyards ‘McLean Creek Road’ Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley BC $35.00
  • Liquidity Wines Reserve Pinot Noir, Okanagan Falls, BC N/A
  • JoieFarm ‘En Famille’ Reserve Riesling, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • Emotivo Gran Rosso, Veneto, Italy $20.00  
  • The Prisoner Red Wine, Napa Valley California $60.00
  • Black Hills Estate Winery “Nota Bene”, Okanagan Valley BC $60.00
  • Mission Hill Family Estate ‘Jagged Rock Vineyard’ Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC $45.00 26. Winemaker’s Cut Syrah, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars ‘Block 14-Gravel Force’ Pinot Noir, Okanagan Falls, BC
  • Cedar Creek ‘Platinum’ Block 2 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley BC $45.00
  • SpearHead Pinot Noir ‘Coyote Vineyard, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Tender Hope Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Washington N/A  
  • Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Syrah, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Hester Creek ‘Limited Edition The Judge’ Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Robert Mondavi Winery ‘The Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon, To Kalon Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley $175.00
  • Road 13 ‘Blind Creek’ Viognier, Similkameen Valley BC N/A
  • Bartier Bros. Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley BC $30.00
  • Quails’ Gate Estate Winery ‘The Connemara’, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • Painted Rock Syrah, Okanagan Valley BC $40.00
  • Tinhorn Creek ‘Innovation Series’ Whole Cluster Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

 Daenna LOVES her bubble.

The last several minutes of this week’s TRR she suggests Festive Fizz  for New Years.

You can find the complete 35 bottle list on www.winediva.ca


This show is dedicated to the memory of Harry McWatters. Much missed but never forgotten.



 Next week Kurtis Kolt

Georgia Straight Wine Writer – The Bottle

Consultant. Educator. Sommelier.

Co-Founder of Top Drop, an outstanding small wine festival. (June 24 Vancouver. June 26 Calgary)

KK brings Top wines of the year, Tales of South Africa, the rise of Pop up wine bars in Vancouver and thoughts on this years VanWineFest.







December 21st, 2019 – The 41st VanWineFest Part Two


The 41st VanWineFest Part Two

(Wine Royalty & The Canadians)



It’s part two of this year’s VanWineFest.

Last week we profiled “The Californians”.

Except for the first two interviews here,   the rest of this Tasting Room is with The Canadians.


Our Guests are:

 Gina Gallo – Gallo Family Wines

Jean Charles Boisset –  Boisset Collection.  Raymond Wines.

 Separately they are iconic/driven personalities.

Together as husband and wife  they are one of the best known  families in the Wine World.

Gina is a member of the Gallo family, pioneers of wine-making in California. Jean-Charles is a French vintner and owner of Boisset Collection, which operates two dozen wineries in California, France and Canada.  Has created a wine with John Legend called LVE.

Jean, Gina and Terry

Gina and Jean-Charles!

Met. Married. Created Twins. Ran their Empires. All the while Gina Battled and Beat Back Cancer.

Honoured to welcome them both.



Chris Wyse –   President. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery


Chris is the oldest son of founders Jim and Midge Wyse.

Today, with its dramatic vantage point in the middle of the vineyard, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is a winemaking facility that combines state-of-the-art technologies with proven, classic winemaking traditions. A gravity-flow system handles ripe grapes delicately, preserving their rich fruit character.


Barry Olivier – President/Brands  Aquilini Red Mountain Wines

Barry Olivier – Aquilini

Aquilini Wines   headed to the Vancouver Wine Festival to introduce themselves to Canada for the very first time.

They were  pouring

Aquilini Horse Heaven Hills Syrah Rose 2017

Aquilini Red Mountain’s Grand Vin is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

The Second Wine, Aquilini Red Mountain Family Blend,. The Family Blend is constructed of varying levels of Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot and occasionally Petit Verdot.

(If you follow Barry and Aquilini, you’ll see the birth of a  wine icon.  This is a story that will be fun to watch unfold)



John Skinner       Proprietor/ Painted Rock

Matt Dumayne  Winemaker/Okanagan Crush Pad

John Skinner

John Skinner is a leader in and out of the vineyards.

“It is now 13 years since the planting of Painted Rock’s estate and the property is living up to its potential in every regard. Winning 2014/2015 InterVin International “Winery of the Year” and recent generous reviews in Jancis Robinson’s newsletter validate the progress made by the team and steel its resolve. At Painted Rock there is a firm belief that by aiming highly and working cooperatively, British Columbia wines can compete with the finest in the world.”   Painted Rock Website


Matt Dumayne is the winemaking leader at Haywire, Free Form and Narrative. All at Okanagan Crush Pad.

Matt Dumayne Okanagan Crush Pad

As well as making articulate wines from its organically-certified home Switchback Vineyard, Okanagan Crush Pad is designed as a hub for local winemakers. Heritage techniques, modern knowledge and the spirit of collaboration fuse to form a vanguard for the Okanagan’s next generation of winemaking. Okanagan Crush Pad’s labels include the single vineyard Haywire collection, Narrative series and Campus wines.



Chris Jentsch – Owner/Farmer CC Jentsch Cellars

Valeria Tait –  GM and Winemaker  Bench 1775,


Val Tait

 Wines from Bench 1775 are produced with the unique expression of fruit grown in the Okanagan Valley from three vineyard locations: Oxbow Vineyard, on the original Golden Mile in Osoyoos, South Okanagan, and at Paradise Ranch Vineyard and Soaring Eagle Vineyard in the Central Okanagan.

Carefully managed vineyards and beautifully balanced wines could not be produced without an amazing team led by Viticulturist/Winemaker Val Tait and  supported by Alain Sutre, wine consultant extraordinaire from Bordeaux France.


Chris Jentsch is a farmer first, then winemaker and finally, a great guy.

Chris Jentsch

At the first Judgment of BC pitting 12 BC Wines against 12 acknowledged global benchmarks  C.C. Jentsch Syrah 2013 from the Okanagan Valley ranked first among the flight of Syrah.

“Long-time Okanagan farmer Chris Jentsch is the guy behind C.C. Jentsch Cellars, a gentle giant of a man whose strong, enveloping handshake exudes decades of hearty farming experience and makes my own handshake seem downright dainty. A warm, humble gentleman.” Kurtis Kolt – Georgia Straight



Randy Picton  – Senior  Winemaker Nk’Mip

Randy Picton

As an exceptionally talented and innovative winemaker, Randy is totally committed to the challenge of producing world-class, award-winning wines.

Randy has handed the day to day winemaking to Justin Hall.

A proud member of the Osoyoos Indian band, Justin works with Randy  to craft the award-winning wines of Nk’Mip Cellars.



Stefan Arnason – Winemaker Poplar Grove

Stefan Arnason

 In 2008, Stefan Arnason took on the position of Winemaker.  Each year, Stefan and his team handcraft the Poplar Grove Wines.

Poplar Grove is focused on six core wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and an Icon blend called The Legacy.



Bill Eggert – Winemaker (and Troublemaker) at Fairview Cellars


Outspoken. Gifted. A Mentor. Educator. Closet Musician.

Understands winemaking in the Okanagan like no other.

His labels tell you everything about his wines and his character.

Madcap Red. Two Hoots. Bucket O’ Blood. The Bear.



Ross Baker –  Winemaker Quails Gate

Quails gate Winery

Ross has been an integral part of the  winemaking team since 2013 and was the protégé of former Winemaker Nikki Callaway. A native of Kelowna, Ross  previously worked at Villa Maria Estates in Marlborough, New Zealand and also at both Red Rooster Winery and Kettle Valley Winery.


…and finally Nova Scotia arrives in Vancouver.

Keeping an eye on The Maritimes.

Bruce Ewert –  Owner/Winemaker   L’Acadie Vineyards

Rachel Lightfoot – Winemaker Lightfoot and Wolfville

Gillian Mainguy – Sales/Benjamin Bridge





Thank You to :
James Murray – Tech and production
Kristine Wilkinson (ThinkMilk.ca)
Bailey Jelinski (Milk)
Anna Stuber (Milk)

Meg Mulligan

Corey Wood

John De Vries





December 14th, 2019- The 41st VanWineFest Part One – The Californians!


The 41st VanWineFest Part One – The Californians!

By the Numbers..

• Over 25,000 wine fans
• 16 countries
• 160 wineries; including 53 from featured region California
• 50 participating restaurants, hotels, caterers
• 1,450 wines.
• 42,000 bottles poured and/or purchased (2018 stats)
• 82,000 wine glasses used (2018 stats)

Our Numbers

32 interviews..
25 winemakers
7 CEO’s or General Managers.
Sleepless nights – 2
Hours budgeted for all interviews – 3
Minutes to missing last Harbour Air flight – 1


41 years ago the Vancouver International Wine Festival opened their doors to the World’s wineries.
Only one showed up. Robert Mondavi brought his California wines to pour that day.
Some say California saved the show.

And so, here we are 41 years later and California is the feature region at the 41st VanWineFest.
What a line up. We couldn’t talk to them all but we did do pretty well.
Seventeen Californians and one certain Washington Red Mountain newbie.
Have a favourite California wine? Check the list below. See if it’s there or see if it’s there but go looking for a new California pal.
FYI – Next Week Gina Gallo. Jean Charles Boisset and 15 Canadian winemakers

Jon Bonne – Keynote Speaker. Author of The New Wine Rules

Here’s why I immediately liked Jon Bonne.
“ Not all pink wine need be Summer water But Whispering Angel should be cast into some Miltonian iteration of Hell”
Jon Bonné is one of the most influential American voices on wine. He is the senior contributing editor for PUNCH, and the author of The New California Wine and The New Wine Rules.

Jon Bonne

Bob Blue – Founding Winemaker at Bonterra, 1000 Stories and Elysian Collection.

In 2016 the Wine Enthusiast awarded Bonterra as its American Winery of the Year because of its commitment to organic farming and it’s quality of affordable wines. Bonterra is the most popular organic wine in the USA.
Fetzer’s bourbon-barrel-aged Zinfandel 1000 Stories debuted in 2014. In the five years since, production has exploded from 5,000 cases to more than 140,000 annually!

Craig McAllister – Winemaker at La Crema

A New Zealand native, McAllister earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. His deep passion for winemaking has taken him all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia, Chile and Cyprus. Since moving to California, in addition to his work with La Crema, McAllister has also made wine for Wild Ridge, crafting elegant Pinot Noir from vineyards on the rugged Sonoma Coast.

Randy Lange – Owner Lange Twins

Lange Twins

Randy Lange is a fifth-generation winegrower.
During the 1870’s his Great-Grandparents, Johann and Maria Lange, settled in Lodi. By 1916 they had the family’s first grape-ranch. It was on this ranch where their dad, Harold, was born in 1920.
In 1974 they decided to farm on our own. They finally built Lange Twins winery in 2006.
FYI – Lange Lodi vineyard produces spicy old-vine Zinfandel, concentrated Bordeaux-style wines and lively Rhone-style reds and whites—many from organically or sustainably farmed vineyards.

Ondine Chattan

Chief Winemaker Share a Slash/Cannonball/Cowboys and Angels
High Dive and Astrolabe
Ondine is a passionate Sonoma County winemaker with experience ranging from cult boutique producers to notable household name brands. Her love of the diversity of Sonoma and California at large fuels her enthusiasm for making a range of varietals from Sauvignon Blanc to Cabernet. Started her career at Cline, Beam and Geyser Peak.

Emma Swain – CEO St Supery

Emma Swain, CSW and CEO of St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery has worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years. Emma started in finance, before joining Niebaum-Coppola Winery and later worked at Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery for thirteen years as Chief Operating Officer
“Our primary focus is on Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, “We’re a 100 percent Estate Winery, which means that we grow and produce everything that we make, without a drop of anything else coming into the process. Of the more than 530 wineries in the area, there are only a handful in the Napa Valley that are 100 percent Estate.”

Paul Wagner – Napa Valley College

Paul Wagner was honored by the American Wine Society as the winner of its annual Award of Merit for 2018. Other recipients of the award include Robert Mondavi, Gina Gallo, Warren Winiarski, etc
“Paul has influenced the way the public drinks wine and thinks about wine”
Paul Wagner has been an instructor for Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Enology department for the past 23 years. In addition, he teaches at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, is a guest lecturer at many universities and has spoken at more than 80 conferences throughout the world on wine, wine education, wine tourism, public affairs, and wine marketing.

David Gates Jr – Ridge Vineyards VP Vineyard Operations

After an obligatory stint in Napa Valley he made his way to Ridge in 1989. David’s duties include managing the historic Monte Bello vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Whitton Ranch at Geyserville, and the Lytton Estate vineyards at Healdsburg, as well as monitoring and helping all Ridge growers in Sonoma, Napa, Santa Clara, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
Ridge’s fame started when it was placed fifth in the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting. At the 30th anniversary tasting in 2006 it went several steps further, with its 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet winning first place in the original vintage category and the 2000 ranking top for new vintages.

Russ Weis – President Silverado Vineyards

In 2005, Silverado Vineyards pioneering winemaker Jack Stuart stepped down as general manager, and Russ Weis took the reins. Russ, a senior vice president with Robert Mondavi (launched Opus One), brought more than twenty years winemaking to Silverado. He is extremely passionate about the winery: “We enjoy an amazing array of meticulously cared for estate fruit. Even in the most challenging years, our vineyards guarantee us a level of quality which we can be proud to call Silverado.”
Silverado makes around 85,000 cases each year, of which 22,000 are Chardonnay and the rest Bordeaux-style wines. The vineyards are in cool climate Napa regions, Carneros and Stag’s Leap.

Harvest Duhig – Atlas Peak Winemaker/Grower Relations Wagner Family of Wines
Caymus.Conundrum.MerSoleil.Emmolo.Red Schooner

Born and Raised in Napa. In September of 2002 she tried selling grapes to Chuck Wagner. He declined the fruit but hired her to work with him.17 years later she’s Mountain Cabernet Winemaker for Caymus Vineyards. Harvest also has her own family winery Duhig, in Coombsville.

Kristen Barnhisel – Winemaker (White Wines) J Lohr

Also born and raised in Napa, Kristen brings two decades of viticulture and winemaking on three continents to making the whites at J Lohr.
Along the way she worked with mentors Zelma Long at Long Vineyard and Milla Handley at Handley Cellars.

Ray Signorello – Owner/Winemaker Signorello Estates

Ray lost his winery to the Napa fires. The house his Father built and the buildings attached.
Surprisingly his wines mostly survived. Signorello was designed like a Bordeaux Chateau. Everything farmed in-house for the past 40 years. His surviving vines included 38 year old Chardonnay vines with the Cab vines not that far behind.

Ray Signorello

Ray was pouring his fabulous Signorello Estates Cab but also his new wines Fuse, Edge and Trim.
Signorello is Located in the heart of the Silverado Trail. Just North is Stags Leap and just West is Oak Knoll. There’s a new winery being built this year.
Ray on Social Media and Millennials
“They’re different from Gen X and Baby Boomers. They seem to be more interested in trying wines they haven’t heard of before – off-beat stuff – not necessarily the blue chip Napa Valley. So the challenge is how do we in Napa Valley make sure we’re engaging them”

Randy Ullom Chief Winemaker at Kendall-Jackson

Randy Ullom

I cannot think of another winemaker who has stayed with the same winery for 28 years.
Randy oversees 12,800 acres of estate vineyards in cooler coastal California winegrowing regions. One third each in North Coast, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties.

Randy Meyer Senior Winemaker Geyser Peak

A native of Santa Rosa Randy grew up tending the small family Muscat vineyard on their property.
He and his family promptly build a small cellar into a hill on their property and started production. As one does in wine country. Randy has interned at Piper Sonoma and Far Niente before spending 23 years with Korbel and Draxton Wine.
Geyser Peak was named Sonoma Winery of the Year in 2018 by The New York International Wine Competition. Farming in Sonoma plus The Russian River and Alexander Valleys.

Karl Wente – Wente Vineyards

Fifth generation winemaker and winegrower Karl Wente grew up working at Wente Vineyards and expanded his experience at the Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma and Brown Brothers winery in Australia. In 2013, Karl was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40.

Thank You to :
James Murray – Tech and production
Kristine Wilkinson (ThinkMilk.ca)
Bailey Jelinski (Milk)
Anna Stuber (Milk)



Part 2 : Vancouver International Wine Festival