Brookstreet Sommelier Rene Wallis Wine Tips

  Rene Wallis, sommelier at the Brookstreet Hotel’s restaurant Perspectives, in Kanata shares, his tips on choosing from a wine list, unusual food pairings and favourite holiday wines. Where did you grow up? My mother raised my older sister, Angela, and I on her own in Ottawa’s French village of Vanier, a bilingual community where everyone knew each other. Wine wasn’t on the dinner table, but my good friend’s Portuguese parents made their own wine. At his tenth birthday party, I bit into a large piece of hot pepper on the pizza, filled my glass from a large pitcher of […]

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Ontario Produces Such Great Wines – Maclean’s Magazine

This story about Ontario wines by Jessica Allen in Maclean’s Magazine deserves to be shared widely: she makes some excellent points about Ontario wines … By I spent American Thanksgiving with friends in Washington D.C. They’re enthusiastic wine drinkers and the last time they visited this side of the border they couldn’t contain their excitement over a variety of Niagara wines they’d enjoyed. So, I brought along a couple to share. They did not disappoint. But I did: when they asked me how it’s possible that cold Ontario could produce such standouts, I babbled on about Southern Ontario being on […]

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Southern Ontario Sommelier Alliance Picks Best Ontario Wines

There are some incredibly fascinating insights about the Ontario wine industry in this new report from the Southern Ontario Sommelier Alliance (SOSA), published exclusively here first. The top sommeliers working in Ontario’s most respected fine dining restaurants provide their opinions on the best wines in Ontario. Is your favourite wine here? If you buy wine, read on to create your insider shopping list. If you make wine, review this report to see what the top influencers are saying about your wines.This expert guide sets the bar high and the provincial wine industry is up to the challenge. Winner of the […]

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First Wine Competition: Southern Ontario Sommelier Alliance

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Southern Ontario Sommelier Alliance as well as how the competition was organized and the scoring system. I must say that I was impressed with the level of professionalism and thorough evaluation of the wines involved. Read the results of the wine competition here. I look forward to more great initiatives from this group that will support the Ontario wine industry. What would you like to see this group do? What Is SOSA? SOSA is, the Southern Ontario Sommelier Alliance. We are a group of Certified Sommeliers, educated in Ontario, certified by both the Canadian […]

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Restaurant Wine Lists: Vintage Tips Video

In the video chat below, Lance Hurtubise, CEO of the Vintage Group, a collection of restaurants based in Alberta and Prince Edward Island, chats about great wine lists and service. Wine plays a central role in both Lance’s restaurants and in his life. He’s also just launched his own line of wines. Before we dive into this topic, tell me about your race-car driving mother. You were very young when you started in restaurants: how old were you and what did you do? You started Moxie’s restaurants in 1986: how did you come up with that concept? Let’s talk about […]

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Canada’s Best Sommeliers​: Celebratin​g our Wine Wizards

A toast to Véronique Rivest who won the Best Canadian Sommelier Competition in Halifax on September 17, as well as to the finalists, Will Predhomme and Élyse Lambert. Semi-finalists included Bruce Wallner, Robert Noel and Bertrand Eichel. They all participated in extensive written exams, blind tasting, wine list correction and an hour-long simulated restaurant service in front of a live audience in their second language. You can watch two video interviews about the sommelier competition with semi-finalist Bruce Wallner.   Winner Véronique Rivest Les Fougères Restaurant Chelsea, Quebec Congrats to our hometown gal on her extraordinary win: we are so […]

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Top Sommeliers Compete for National Title: Video Part 2

We continue our video chat below with Master Sommelier Bruce Wallner about Canada’s Best Sommelier Competition in Halifax this month. We find out why the Quebec sommeliers are such fierce competitors (think Cobra Kai in the Karate Kid) and the next competitions for the successful candidate. You can also watch part one of our video wine chat. You may also enjoy these video interviews: Master Sommelier: What does it take to become one with Scott Carney, MS Icewine and Chocolate Pairing Video Blue Cheese and White Wine Pairing: Video Part 3 Restaurant Wine Service: The good, the bad and the […]

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Canada’s Best Sommelier Competition: Bruce Wallner Video

In the video chat below Bruce Wallner, recently named Ontario’s Best Sommelier, talks about participating in the Best Canadian Sommelier Competition this month in Halifax. He’s already a certified Master Sommelier and has worked in restaurants around the world, including Australia, Spain and the UK. We also talked about what made him want to become a sommelier originally (some interesting comparisons with the world’s oldest profession), the role of a sommelier and what he enjoys most about the job. Tell us about the competition: who enters and what do you have to do to compete? This event is hosted by […]

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Pairing Wine and Dessert with a Sommelier and Wine Importer

Andrew von Teichman This interview was published in a recent edition of my column in Homefront Maagzine. Andrew von Teichman, Toronto sommelier, winemaker and wine importer, talks about wines to pair with summer desserts. You’re a sommelier by training, but now own a winery and wine agency. Why did you go into those fields? My father was a co-founder of Pelee Island Winery in southwestern Ontario, so I had a chance to work in the vineyards and cellar during high school summers. I wasn’t forced to do this; I just decided to apply for a job there one summer and […]

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Weddings: Champagne & Wine for the Happy Couple

This interview with James Tidwell, Master Sommelier was published as one of my columns in Four Seasons Resorts Magazine. James has lots of terrific tips … Champagne is the ultimate drink of celebration, especially at weddings, according to James Tidwell, Master Sommelier at Four Seasons’ Cafe on the Green in Las Colinas, Texas. “Champagne toasts many milestones in life,” Tidwell says, “but one of the most important is the dedication of two people to spend a life together.” We asked Tidwell for his insights on how champagne makes a wedding more memorable at the resort. James Tidwell, Master Sommelier How […]

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