#winemakerwednesday Hoorah for Syrah with Bench 1775


We like to keep things fun, approachable, and educational in our Wine Club.  That is why we are extremely excited to sit down and chat with Winemaker Valeria Tait of Bench 1775 Winery April 18th at 8pm MST/7pm PST Via Facebook Live in our Facebook Group: Vine Life a Group for Wine Lovers

How does a tasting like this work?  Well, we all grab our bottles of Bench 1775 2014 Syrah, then log onto Facebook and sit and chat with Val from the comfort of our couches!  Could there be a more laid back setting?  We think not!

To grab their Syrah, Visit their Website or:

  • BIN905 Wine and Spirits – Calgary
  • Metrovino – Calgary
  • Highlander Wine and Spirits – Coopers Crossing Airdrie.

For alternative retailers in Alberta – you can use the handy search tools via Liquor Connect

Then join us at 8pm MST for some delicious, educational, and relaxing fun!

We firmly believe that great wine deserves great food to compliment it, and this wine is stellar with bbq, or for something heartier, try our short rib recipe!

Spice grilled salmon with mango-avocado salsa on a white plate



  • 6 large beef short ribs (14 to 16 oz. each)
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, plus 3-5 whole sprigs
  • 4 cups hearty but fruity red wine (like Zinfandel or Côtes du Rhône)
  • 5 cups homemade or low sodium beef broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt


  • Put the short ribs in a large mixing bowl and rub them with the thyme leaves and 1 Tbs. black pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2hrs to overnight.  Before cooking, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and season on all sides with salt and pepper.  Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30min-1hr before beginning to brown
  • Position a rack in the lower/center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
  • Heat a 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium/high heat
  • Once heated, pour in the olive oil, and wait until it begins to lightly smoke. Add as many short ribs as will fit in the bottom as a single layer. Brown on the three meaty sides , approx 2- 3 minutes per side.
  • Transfer the browned short ribs to a large plate or bowl. Repeat with the remaining ribs and transfer those as well
  • Once all ribs are browned and removed from the pan, reduce the heat to medium and add your onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, and fresh thyme.  Cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the onions become lightly translucent (approx 7mins).
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and then the red wine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, return the ribs to the pot, making sure the vegetables are in the broth and not on top of the ribs (the short ribs should be nearly submerged). Tuck the full thyme sprigs in around the meat, and cover with the lid. Put the pot in the oven and braise until the meat falls away from the bone when poked with a paring knife, about 3 hours.
  • Once cooked remove the short ribs from the oven and set aside entire pot for 30 minutes before serving.Serve atop mashed potatoes, and top with braised vegetables and pan juices.



           – Kathryn

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BC Wine and Alberta Cuisine – Could there be a better combo?

Sunset in the Vineyards in Penticton , okanagan valley Canada

Join us at The Hayloft on March 22nd at 7pm!

We are bringing together some of the best of BC and Alberta to the table for a night full of love, laughs, and incredible food/wine!

Tickets are $114/pp and include Gratuity and GST

The best of Alberta’s comfort cuisine, paired with some of British Columbia’s high quality, small parcel producers. Could there be a better combination?

Join us for a 5 course dinner complete with Wine Pairings from the likes of Blue Mountain, Kitsch Wines, Tantalus, Quails Gate and MORE! All wines selected have been chosen for their high quality and small lot goodness. Continue reading “BC Wine and Alberta Cuisine – Could there be a better combo?”

What makes Champagne so special?

Champagne is a culturally accepted luxury.  While there are many bottles of bubbles we consider to be Champs, there can only be one Champagne!  But even among the ranks of Champagne wines, there are some major production and quality differences.

Champagne Overview

I have to get something out of the way first – Champagne is a place, a region of the world, and not a style of wine.  There I said it!  Sorry to say that “Canadian Champagne” is NOT CHAMPAGNE,  Prosecco is also NOT CHAMPAGNE.  Sekt, Prosecco, Cava these are all types of Sparkling Wines, but none are named Champagne.

To call any bottle of bubbles ‘Champagne’ is kind of like calling Iceberg Lettuce by the name Spinach.  Both are leafy, green, and make great salad.  But Iceberg Lettuce is not Spinach by any stretch.  They taste different, they are grown under different conditions, and cost different prices accordingly!

However, I can easily understand the confusion.  All wine labelled as being produced in the French region of Champagne must adhere to a strict set of production guidelines, making it consistent as the home of the best sparkling wines in the world.  Interestingly the production of Champagne sparkling wine as we know it was born out of economic necessity.  The region of Champagne is a cool, wet region where grapes struggle to fully ripen.  With an average growing season temperature of only 16C, high ripe yields of fruit are hard to come by.  The cool climate gives grapes that are high in acid, and as such Sparkling wine was born as a way to make palatable wine from grapes that could not be made into quality still wine.   Without carbonation, these wines were undrinkable.  Thank goodness for capitalism and innovation!

Continue reading “What makes Champagne so special?”

How to Chill Your Festive Wines FAST

Have you been following along with our 12 Wines of Christmas ‘Advent’ure?  Every other day we have been revealing one of my best Value Wine picks, along with a Perfect Pairing recipe to go with them.  So far we have gone through a great assortment of Reds, Rose, Bubbles, and Whites!

The only challenge – you read about a great wine, rush out to buy it after work and then discover – dang it you need to wait an hour for it to chill in the fridge.  Or worse, you wait until the end of the day to open your Vine Life Wine Club Advent Calendar, thirsty and tired and discover it’s time to wait for the white to chill. Continue reading “How to Chill Your Festive Wines FAST”

The 12 Wines of Christmas ‘Advent’ure is HERE!

Are you on the hunt for some SPECTACULAR and affordable wines to enjoy with family and friends over the holidays? We are excited to say that we have hunted down 12 of the most delicious bottles for the season, and will be releasing them 1 BY 1 to YOUR INBOXAdvent Calendar style throughout December!

Every other day, enjoy receiving a new wine review right to your inbox – complete with tasting notes, a little wine education, and a Perfect Pairing Recipe to go with it!

Want to pick up a bottle or two? ONLY Wine Club members, and those signed up on our 12 Wines of Christmas E-Mail List will receive exclusive discounts and information on where to buy these great wines!

Want to join in on the fun? Simply Click and fill out the form below to be added to our E-Wine Advent Calendar!

Want to gather with a great group and enjoy wine deals all year?

SAVE BIG Until December 4th with our BUY 1 GIFT 1 Wine Club Membership Sale!

Check out our Wine Club!

Christmas wooden background with clock, fir tree and champagne


Roasted Lemon-Ginger Chicken

At first glance, the thought of roasting an entire bird may seem like something you would reserve for the weekend or a special dinner.

But this no fuss recipe makes enjoying a roasted chicken easy and delicious.  It is a recipe that you really just throw together in a pot, and tastes incredible!

When paired with a high mineral/lime peel flavoured, cool climate Riesling like Charles Smith Wines – Kung Fu Girl Riesling, this bird sings!

Riesling and ginger are exceptional together, and each in this combination pull out the best of all worlds.  If you are going to try and pair an alternate Riesling, be sure to steer clear of the sweeter choices usually labelled under 10% ABV, and if it is a German variety, look for one that is designated Kabinett from the Mosel.

These wines will be lighter in flavour profile and style than their Spatlese and Auslese siblings, as they are made from grapes picked earlier in the harvest when sugar levels in the berries are lower.

Continue reading “Roasted Lemon-Ginger Chicken”

Simple Brown Buttered Carrots

Some times the simplest recipes are the best, especially when made with garden fresh ingredients!

Our garden is offering up plenty of goodies this time of year!  One of our favourites are the ‘little finger’ carrots!

This year I made the mistake of planting them too close together… and as a result my son dug up what he named “Mommy Carrot, Daddy Carrot, and Octo-Carrot”… c’est la vie!

If you have carrots you are harvesting from your own garden that are tender, I find you do not even need to peel them before cooking – they are so delicious, and pretty looking just with the tops trimmed off and sliced lengthwise!

Browned butter adds a rich and nutty flavour to the sweet carrots, and is always a crowd pleaser!

Continue reading “Simple Brown Buttered Carrots”

What makes it Prosecco?

Prosecco is a simple usually fully sparkling (Spumante) wine made in Northern Italy around the Veneto.  Predominantly made from Glera, with a small percentage of other varieties permitted in a blend – Prosecco is Italy’s largest individual wine region with nearly 35000 acres under vine.

Over 300 million bottles of this fizzy beverage are made annually… that is A LOT of bubbles! Continue reading “What makes it Prosecco?”

Everyday Celebrating can be AMAZING – with Prosecco

This past week we had the pleasure of being a part of The Amazing Airdrie Women Awards.  Every year this event showcases the incredibly talented, dedicated, strong, and generous women who inspire us all to be better people.  Together we got to pretend to be “Ladies Who Lunch” for an afternoon, and appreciate all of the good that is in this incredible group of people. 142 Amazing people… and I got to cheers to them all.

Incredible people need to be celebrated, and because of that Vine Life Wine Club was thrilled to toast the attendees with a glass of some of our favorite Prosecco. Continue reading “Everyday Celebrating can be AMAZING – with Prosecco”