Plonk Wine Videos Stumble Blindly into Brilliant Insight

At last, wine web videos that actually blend humour and personality. The online series Plonk crushes tired old wine talk, yet slyly mixes in wine education without a bitter after taste. The creators of Plonk get it: you can’t begin to educate without entertaining … first, foremost, forever. My thanks to the intrepid Beppi Crosariol for featuring the series in his Globe and Mail wine column yesterday. It deserves the attention, and is certainly getting it with 88,000 views and climbing quickly.  Now that’s viral. My favourite scene is in episode four when Chris, the host, gets Rocky-style training on […]

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Wine’s Finest Movie Moments: The Award for Best Cabernet in a Supporting Role Goes to …

On Global Morning Live, we chat about how Hollywood’s most memorable characters, from James Bond to Hannibal Lector, have always had a little help from the wine bottle … and help yourself to those I nominate as the best wines in a supporting role for watching the Oscars this year. By Natalie MacLean Although this year’s Oscar-nominated movies have many merits, oenophiles are bitter over the lack of great wine scenes. For example, couldn’t The Wolf of Wall Street show a little class and decant some Chateau Margaux in the midst of all that excess? Leonardo DiCaprio’s last pivotal wine […]

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Which Women Shine with Wine in the Movies?

Wine, women and … the movies. As we celebrate the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF 2014), here’s a look at some of the cameo roles that wine and women have played in film as terrific co-stars. In The Seven Year Itch (1955), Marilyn Monroe, moves into a Manhattan apartment above Tom Ewell, a married man whose family has gone to Maine for summer vacation. When the two get together for an innocent glass of champagne, the bottle explodes—and he gets his thumb stuck while trying to stop the overflow. That makes for lots of double-entendres about pent-up pressure and powerful thumbs. […]

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Hollywood + Vine Oscars: Wine-Loving Movie Stars

By Natalie MacLean On CTV’s The Social, we we chat about winemaking movie stars … can you guess who made which wine? When I think of the Oscars, I think wine. Why? For many film industry luminaries, conspicuous consumption such as owning a yacht or even a restaurant is so 2013. These days, if you really want to show some class, you own a winery. There’s no better photo opp than one with you and your trophy wife or boy toy pruning the vines or pressing the grapes. That’s why movie actors, directors and producers are getting their hands dirty, […]

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Walk in the Clouds: Winemaking in the Movies

In anticipation of the Toronto Film Festival #TIFF kicking off this week, this is the first in a series of articles about wine in the movies. First, I’d like to nominate a few of my favourite Oscar-worthy Canadian wines in honour of TIFF being held in Toronto: Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir Painted Rock Red Icon Blue Mountain Brut Sparkling Luckett Vineyards Phone Box Red Stay tuned for more nominations this week. Now let’s travel back to 1995. Although not written as a comedy, the movie A Walk In The Clouds offered many laughs for […]

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New Wine from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have just launched their first wine, a lovely, pink petal, bone-dry rose from Provence called Miraval Rosé. The wine is being released in the LCBO Saturday. The couple owns the winery and estate Château Miraval, even though you’ll find no reference to them on the label. This wine doesn’t need to ride on the back of their celebrity: it stands alone as a terrific, refreshing rose with aromas of small field strawberries, orange zest and light spices. Should I add though that there’s a hint of drama on the nose, with a surprise twist finish? […]

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Champagne and James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Bollinger and Dom Perignon

James Bond was one of the first action heroes to make wine connoisseurship seem masculine and sexy. (Most of he-man flicks don’t lend themselves to the quiet reflection of wine: try to imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger sipping a silky burgundy to relax after an extended car chase.) In the Bond flick, Die Another Day, 007 is freed after fourteen months of torture in a North Korean prison. The first thing he wants? A shave and a bottle of 1961 Bollinger. In GoldenEye (1995), a female psychiatrist asks him what he does to relax. Bond presses a button on the dashboard of […]

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What is Wine’s Role in Modern Madness? Finding Our Humanity Drop by Drop

Editor’s Note: I wrote this magazine piece on wine and civility 13 years ago, after 9/11. However, the search for civility in everyday life has more resonance than ever, with the riots in Ferguson, ISIS, Jian Ghomeshi, Gamergate, unfettered consumerism, and the mysogenous micro-aggressions that women face daily on social media. I welcome your thoughts here: never lose is your voice. In Vino Civilitatis The trouble with moderation is that it’s hard to get excited about it. Until now. After September 11, moderation seems to be rarer than a California cult cabernet. Finding the moderate and the civilized in everyday […]

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Pairing Wine + Art: Sommelier Courtney Henderson

Courtney Henderson, sommelier at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Frank Restaurant in Toronto, shares tips on pairing wine with art, finding the gems on a restaurant wine list and the artist with whom she’d love to share a great bottle. What makes your wine list unique? We have thirty red wines, thirty white and six sparkling, with six by the glass for red and white and three for the sparkling. More than 85 percent of them are Canadian. We feature Vintner Quality Alliance (VQA) wines that includes lots of local gems such as Niagara’s 13th Street Pinot Gris, Nyarai Sauvignon […]

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The Grapes of Gaffe: Social Anxiety + Wine

My friends know that I write about wine for a living; and over the years, they’ve sought my counsel as earnestly as they’d a physician friend for advice about their ailments. Sometimes even the savviest wine lover encounters situations so fraught with anxiety, they make her wish she could crawl into a bottle and pull the cork in after her. So from one who has been thrust into the role of a vinous Agony Aunt, here are some guidelines. These suggestions may not be the classic Miss Manners answers to vexing vinous events, but they might just get you through […]

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