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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Bring Your Own Bottle BYOB Wine to Restaurants Tips

Bringing your own bottle of wine to restaurants is now legal in many provinces and states, but what are the rules of engagement? I shared some tips on CBC radio this week on the etiquette of doing so, including the types of wines to bring, corkage fees and tipping. You can listen to that conversation below … Does the thought of bringing your own wine to a restaurant make you feel cheap and arrogant? Get over it by practicing good BYOB etiquette. 1. Even when the practice is legal, check if the restaurant allows or encourages it. When you make […]

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The Worst Wine Mistakes Not to Make: Wine Etiquette

You can watch the full wine video here. The hosts of CTV’s The Social love their wine. We shared a few good glasses together as well as some laughs on wine etiquette — how to avaoid being low-classy with wine ;) You can also read my story on The Grapes of Gaffe. Find out the answers to these “pressing” wine questions: How do I hold a wine glass, by the stem or the bowl? Hold your glass by stem—otherwise your hands will warm the bowl and the wine, and leave unsightly fingerprints. Your wine glass should never be poured more […]

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Wine Review of the Week: National Waiter’s Day Wine

Steve Cranny, a graduate of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) program, has selected our Wine Review of the Week to celebrate National Waiter’s Day, May 21. A toast to all those hard-working heroes of the restaurant industry! #NationalWaitersDay Here’s Steve wine review and rating: Until I became involved in the Industry I had no idea how hard service professionals work to make other people happy. So in honour of National Waiter’s Day and all of those great service people I would like to recommend a wine that I have enjoyed across several vintages. The Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino […]

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Toronto Sommelier Masters 4,300 Bottle Wine List

Mark Moffatt, wine director at Bosk restaurant in Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel. What was your most memorable wine experience? While I was working as a sommelier at The Fairmont Palliser Hotel, we created a display of an entire vertical of Château Mouton Rothschild from 1945 to 1994. Learning about each of these bottles, and the stories behind them, motivated me to learn more about wine. What would you be doing if you weren’t a sommelier? I would be an Extreme Sports athlete in winter skiing.  I have always loved skiing, and I haven’t yet met a jump, cliff or ledge that […]

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Taboo Sommelier Talks: Ontario Wines + Restaurant Wine Lists

Markus Carl is the wine director and sommelier at Taboo Resort, Golf and Spa in Gravenhurst, Ontario, about 90 minutes north of Toronto. Carl shares a range of tips, from which wines to take to the cottage to which ones to drink when listening to Johann Sebastian Bach. While you were growing up, was wine a part of your family’s life? There was certainly wine around as my father had an extensive collection of Bordeaux from the late 1970s and early 1980s, including some Sauternes, that rich dessert wine from the region, which at that age struck me as particularly […]

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The 5 Worst Questions to ask a Sommelier Video

In the video below, Tom Vigeant, the coordinator of the Sommelier Certificate Program at La Cité collégiale, answers the 5 worst questions that you can ask a sommelier … 1. Are you going to try to sell me an expensive wine? 2. Shouldn’t I just order your cheapest wine on the list, that’s the best value right? 3. I’m on a date and have a price in mind, but don’t know which wine. Are you going to make me say the price out loud to help me choose? 4. You recommended a wine to me, I’m tasting it and I […]

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Halifax Sommelier Pairs Wine and Seafood with Titanic Menu

Avery Gavel, assistant manager and sommelier at The Five Fishermen restaurant in Halifax, shares his insights about pairing wine and seafood, creating historic meals with wine and his take on Nova Scotian wines. What was your first wine experience? I grew up on a dairy farm in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the oldest of five children. Wine wasn’t part of our family traditions, not even special celebrations. Communion in church was grape juice, even. My first wine experience was at The Five Fishermen in the early 1970s when I was 24 and on a double date. We ordered the cheap German […]

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Atelier Restaurant Ottawa: Food + Wine Video Review

When we decided to make reservations at Atelier Restaurant in Ottawa, we discovered that we’d have to wait several weeks for a Friday evening reservation. Such is the popularity of this award-winning restaurant that specializes in molecular gastronomy, and is one of my favourite restaurants in this city and across the country. I had written a profile of the superb sommelier Steve Robinson several months ago for Ottawa Magazine, the sister publication of Toronto Life. Now it was time to revisit and try the new summer menu with Steve’s pairings. It was spectacular, with whimsical dish names like “You’ve Got […]

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Wine and Charcuterie Pairing at Halifax Wine Bar

Heather Rankin is co-owner (with her brother, Christian Rankin) of Obladee Wine Bar in Halifax. The oldest of five kids, she was born and lived in the Halifax area until she was a young teen, when her parents moved to the fishing town of Port au Choix on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. After studying at St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS, and at Carleton in Ottawa, she spent 15 years working in web development in places like New York and London, England. “It was when I was in London that I decided it was time to move back […]

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