Pairing Gift Wines with Personalities

Introduction Why does wine make such an ideal holiday gift? Which wines are the best to give, especially when you don’t know the personal taste of the recipient? Are there some wines you should never give as a gift beyond Two Buck Chuck? How can you match the gift wine to the personality of the giftee? We’re always talking about pairing wine and food, but how about pairing wine with the people on your holiday gift list? After all, when you give the gift of wine, doubles are fine unlike toaster ovens, there are no wrong sizes unlike that ugly sweater and […]

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Bring Your Own (Wine) Bottle (BYOB) Etiquette

  Top Fan Paul E Hollander · Don’t often visit chain restaurants preferring more the locally owned ones. But Coopers Hawk Winery and Ruth’s Chris have excellent lists. Guyanne Desforges · 15:29 I find that good restaurant don’t allow or charge too much…the last time I brought wine at a restaurant was at Vieux Dulude in Quebec. (it’s been a while). however after tonight’s discussion, I will call around and choose a restaurant where we can bring it. Jenn Havers · 8:11 We “over bought” some wine in California on our honeymoon, so ended up enjoying a few in restaurants over the last few days of our trip! […]

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What’s Minerality in Wine? Plus California Wildfires

Introduction What it minerality mean when it comes to wine? Is it a taste? A feeling? Or some bogus concept meant to keep wine mysterious? What’s the latest with the devastating wildfires in Sonoma wine country? Why are winemakers wary of cannabis producers? It’s not what you might think. And what is a new wine group doing to help with a balanced life? On today’s episode of Unreserved Wine Talk, I’m taking a deep dive into the controversial concept of minerality, assessing the impact of recent wildfires on California wine country, discussing the controversy between cannabis producers and winemakers and […]

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Seafood Pairings, Flying Corks, Sober Curious

Introduction This past Friday, in a scene not unfamiliar to Champagne lovers everywhere, one Wimbledon spectator lost control of his cork, which then made it’s way onto the court and stopped the men’s match. But not to worry, I’ve got you covered.  On today’s episode, I’m sharing the exact method you can use to avoid disaster when opening your bubbly. We’re also going to talk about another challenge for many wine lovers – pairing wine with seafood. From cod to oysters, salmon and more, I’m giving you my best insider tips to help you find a pairing you’ll love. Finally […]

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The Worst Wine Mistakes Not to Make: Wine Etiquette

 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 avoid being low-classy with wine ;) Click the arrow above to watch the video. 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 […]

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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 two months after 9/11. You can also listen to this as a podcast here. 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 life has become all the rage. Few things embody these values more than wine, and the food we eat with it. A river of wine flows through most of human history — from the ancient clay […]

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How to Taste Wine Like a Pro at a Winery or Restaurant

On CTV’s The Social yesterday, we chatted about how to get the most from your winery visit, including what to bring, what to ask and how to spit your wine. You can watch the full video here. However, when you’re at home, please don’t spit the two lovely wines that I selected for this show: Rosehall Run Pinot Noir and Viewpointe Auxerrois ;) I absolutely love it when there’s a strong reaction to any segment we do on The Social: it means we’re engaged and passionate about wine! When I mention that there shouldn’t be sediment floating around in your […]

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Tale of Two Niagara Wineries: Reif Winery Makes Big Impression

As a photographer, I capture many wonderful moments in life, with no two moments ever being quite the same. This weekend,  I found out in my travels to the Niagara Region, the same can be said for its wonderful abundance of world-class wineries. This is my story about visiting two wineries in the Niagara region at opposite ends of the spectrum, one small and one large, to see just how different they really were with respect to service style, approachability, ambiance and overall experience. In Part One of Tale of Two Wineries, I wrote about my experience visiting Ravine, considered to most as a […]

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The Paperbag Princess: She Who Brings Her Wine to Restaurants

As we walk into La Colombe restaurant, we’re greeted with warm light and laughter. All the tables in this modest 36-seat bistro are taken, except the one we reserved. On every table there are open bottles of wine that the diners pass back and forth, topping up their glasses. Occasionally, someone reaches discreetly under the table and brings up a new bottle. I spent my early adult years in Nova Scotia and Ontario, so I’ve been trained to select wine politely from the restaurant’s list. I’d no more bring my own booze than I would my own cutlery or linen. […]

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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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