Wining and Dining in Business – A Cautionary Tale

Let’s face it, wining and dining are an integral part of business these days.  The act of taking a potential client out to dinner, or furthering your career over lunch with the CEO can be one of the most stressful, and rewarding experiences you will face as a professional. And frankly, I think it is easier than golf!

I was doing some reflecting the other day as to what experiences in my life really sparked me and pushed me to dive into wine.  Eventually,  I discovered a new calling and decided to make wine my career.  When it comes right down to it, I never would have taken this path if it were not for my background in Business Development and Sales.

Out of University I spent the first 12 Years of my career in Finance, Fine Art and then Real Estate and Construction.  I was a professional Business Development Strategist and Salesperson in each of the roles I held.  Being in that world involved glorious dinners, with very well to-do individuals, that I desperately wanted to do business with. Each and every business meeting, networking event, or dinner always involved some aspect of food and wine.  Not only that, but after doing homework on my clients, I quickly learned that MANY of them looked at wine as a hobby.  They cared about it, and they knew their stuff.  Whether they collected it, took vacations to wine regions, or simply got a thrill of showing off their wealth by ordering something rare and expensive on the menu, it was often a major point of conversation.  When I started out, I knew very little about wine.  Looking back, I laughably realize I knew nothing.  But I thought I did.

Wine is a great topic of conversation in business.  Bonding over a well chosen bottle can be a catalyst to great success – If you know what you are talking about.   Continue reading “Wining and Dining in Business – A Cautionary Tale”

How to properly store your treasures… Even without a cellar

Picked up a special bottle, or found yourself unable to consume your treasure for an extended period of time?  Don’t have a beautiful custom cellar in your home?  Not to fret! Thinking a wine rack in the kitchen would be perfect?  You may want to save your money.  Check out the below video!

Continue reading “How to properly store your treasures… Even without a cellar”

Ageing with grace… How to I.D. and pick out an age worthy bottle of wine

In my last post I talked about what happens to wine as it ages, and some may read it and think that I do not favour aged wine.  NOT TRUE!  There are amazing age worthy bottles out there, that will offer up a sip of heaven if you are patient.  You just have to find them!

So you are out shopping and want to find a bottle that you can keep away for a special occasion 5+ years down the road.  What do you look for?

First of all, you have to enjoy savory characteristics in your wine.  For more info on why, and what happens to flavors in wine as it ages, see my post Some things are better with age… SOME

In order for a wine to age and develop well, it has to have specific structural components that ensure it A) Does not turn to Vinegar or B) Generally start to taste Gawd Awful.  Think of it like a well built building.  If it is made up of poor quality materials, that were not assembled correctly… it won’t last.

These structural components are as follows: Continue reading “Ageing with grace… How to I.D. and pick out an age worthy bottle of wine”

Like a fine wine, some things are better with age…. SOME

Make special note of the words “SOME” and “fine” above!

How many times have you been told that wine is better with age?  Whether it be directly or indirectly, there is a common misconception around wine that can be summed up as “the older the wine, the better it is.”

However, the reality of this is simply not the case.  I had the pleasure of professionally reviewing 271 Wines this past year – a tough task, I know!  One of the key components to my assessment of a wine, was blindly evaluating it’s age, and it’s ageing potential.  When I took my WSET Level 3 Advanced Exam we had to correctly identify the age of a wine blind.  Needless to say, through plenty of practice, I learned a thing or two!

The reality is, not all wines age well.  Continue reading “Like a fine wine, some things are better with age…. SOME”

Champagne was made for Celebrating…

With party planning and the holiday season right around the corner, we often turn our thoughts to times of celebration with loved ones over festive beverages like rum and eggnog and sparkling wines.  What better way to celebrate than with Champagne!

When planning your purchasing of a great bottle of bubbles, there are a few things to consider, but most importantly remember that most sparkling wines taste great with EVERYTHING!  Christmas Brunch – think a great bottle of Prosecco or Champagne.  Finger Food Christmas Party with tonnes of flavours… Turkey or Ham roast dinner that you just spent all week preparing with 50 different side dishes… give all of that hard work the wine it deserves and spring for a bottle of savoury Champagne.  Then of course there is New Years Eve and you realise maybe you need a few extra bottles.  You get the picture… special events deserve special wine.  The reality is that sparkling wine is very food friendly, and was made for celebrating with friends and family.  There is no better time to indulge than when surrounded by those you love.  Champagne is a culturally accepted luxury. Continue reading “Champagne was made for Celebrating…”

Vinho Verde – Conde Villar 2015

A Wine Review and Tasting Note

4/5 Stars

Conde Villar Vinho Verde Loureiro 2014 on Vivino

Best Vino Verde I have ever had!  We had the pleasure of tasting this in our WSET 3 class last night, and it had me longing for a hot summer day. There are few wines on market at this price point of under $20 that are as enjoyable.

I must admit that Vinho Verde is not a wine that I typically think to pick up very often, but this one made me change my mind!  I had found too many of these to be a little flat on flavour characters, and a little too 2 Dimensional, but not this one!  If you like wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, Gavi, Pinot Grigio… you will enjoy this. Continue reading “Vinho Verde – Conde Villar 2015”

Some Thoughts on Pinot Gris

A Wine Profile and Review

There are two names for one grape variety in the world of wine, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio.  However the wine styles associated with these names can taste quite different.

Unlike grapes for Pinot Grigio that tend to be picked earlier in the season to make highly acidic, neutral, green fruit profiled wines, grapes for Pinot Gris style wines are left to hang and mature to a greater depth of ripeness.  What does this mean to the wine drinker?  Well it is the difference between eating a partially green acidic tomato from the vine, and one that is left to mature into a rich red fruit that has fuller flavour and ripe sweetness.  If Pinot Grigio were a person they would be a lanky teenager with braces, and Pinot Gris would be their sophisticated much older sibling sporting a pant suit and patent heels. Continue reading “Some Thoughts on Pinot Gris”

Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival 2016 – Top Picks


Friday Afternoon I had the pleasure of attending the Industry Only Sneak Peek for the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival hosted by Sobey’s/Safeway Liquor and Liquor Connect.  The event every year is in my opinion, the best Wine and Food Festival offered at Stampede Park, and this year was no exception.

Compared to some of the other festivals, the quality of food and wine sampling here goes above and beyond.  Tickets get you entry into the event, and then sample tickets can be purchased separately.  Want to try a glass of Taylor Fladgate’s 1863 Single Harvest Port?  This once is a lifetime chance will set you back a mere $70 worth of tasting tickets- compared to a $4000.00 bottle.  The majority of the wines and food samples offered will set you back 3-10 tasting tickets, so not to fear if you don’t feel like purchasing hundreds! Continue reading “Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival 2016 – Top Picks”

Perfect Pairings – Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

With Turkey Day around the corner the question often comes up “What Wine should I serve for Thanksgiving?” The key is to pick a wine that is not overpowering and food friendly – so save your Cabernet Sauvignon for a good steak dinner instead.

Here are my recommendations with Turkey Dinner: Continue reading “Perfect Pairings – Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner”