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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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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How to Pick a Wine Class? Learn About Wine to Satisfy Your Thirst

You’ve started to learn about wine and find yourself thirsting for more knowledge. Choosing a wine course can be challenging, especially with so many options these days. Selecting the right wine class depends on your goals: 1. Is it to become more knowledgeable as a wine drinker and to increase your personal enjoyment of wine? 2. To find a new hobby that you and a friend or partner can pursue together? 3. To learn more about various wine regions in order to plan gastro-vacations? 4. To make a career change or start one in the wine industry? I’ve always felt […]

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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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Sommelier Courses: French Language + Fresh Focus Video

In the video chat, Tom Vigeant, Coordinator of the Sommelier Certificate Program at La Cité Collégiale in Ottawa, talks about the courses offered in this French wine program. You can also watch our other video chat on the 5 worst questions to ask a sommelier. What makes La Cité collégiale Sommelier Program different from the George Brown or Algonquin College Sommelier Program? From the Wine and Spirits Education Trust or WSET courses? Is your sommelier program aimed at the wine enthusiast who wants to learn more about wine but not necessarily work in the industry or is it for industry […]

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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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Sommelier Program Graduates: Algonquin College

Although those who enroll in the Algonquin Sommelier Program are primarily from the National Capital Region, the program also has graduates who have traveled from other regions, provinces and the United States for the express purpose of taking the program, a testament to the Algonquin Sommelier Program’s wide reach and respect. Veronique Rivest, pictured above, is the double winner of ‘Canada’s Best Sommelier’, winner of ‘The Best Sommelier of the Americas’ 2012, top-12 finalist ‘The Best Sommelier of the World’ competition 2007 and 2010 and second in the 2013 ‘The Best Sommelier in the World Competition’. Véronique is also a […]

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