National Wine Day Prompts These Thoughts

Introduction May 25 is National Wine Day and in honour of that, I think it’s worth exploring how wine, as a beverage, has influenced our culture. Wine has been an integral part of human history from ancient civilizations right through to the modern day. It has become deeply associated with culture, power and prestige in a way that no other beverage has. Most of what I’m going to share with you today is based on a magazine piece about wine and civility that I wrote two months after 9/11. However, the search for civility in everyday life has more resonance […]

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Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Writing Red, White and Drunk All Over

Introduction What role have books played in my exploration of wine regions around the world? What’s it like tasting ultra high-end wine? How is wine portrayed in literature? Today we’re talking about all that and more in a behind-the-scenes peek at Red, White and Drunk All Over. Today’s show is a little different from the usual. I’m excited to share this episode from the Behind the Bookshelves podcast, where I was interviewed by Richard Davies. Richard has kindly given me permission to include this interview on my show for you. If you love books as much as I do, be […]

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Wine Scores: Misleading or Helpful to Consumers?

Introduction It’s unbelievable to consider that there’s a huge industry of specialists dedicating their lives to wine in the form of writers, sommeliers and critics. Why has wine inspired us in a way no other food or drink does? In this episode, I explore the questions around why we score wine in the first place, whether they really matter and if you should trust them.   Highlights Can you really trust a score from someone who has just been drinking? Why do we rate wine in the first place? How does the Australian show system compare to wine scoring systems […]

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Making Scents of Wine: How to Describe Wine’s Aromas

  We had a great chat on Global Television’s Morning Show Friday about how to recognize and describe the aromas in wine. Click the arrow above to play the video. Describing wine often has a faint whiff of condescension over a robust layer of barnyard by-product. The adjectives seem to be the fruit of over-ripe imaginations: when I hear “muscular,” “tight,” “rakish,” it’s hard to tell whether the critic is talking about wine or Brad Pitt. “Perfectly integrated” is how I’d describe my son’s multi-racial nursery school; and “legendary concentration” is what I need to figure out my income tax […]

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Scandalous Wine Women on TV

Introduction I have to confess: I am obsessed with Alicia Florrick, the successful attorney on The Good Wife, and Olivia Pope, the high-powered Washington D.C. “fixer” on Scandal. In this episode, I’m going to share with you my secret obsession with the wine drinking habits of these women on television and what I believe that says about our cultural relationship with wine.   Highlights How have alcoholic beverages featured with women on TV changed over time? What do Alicia Florrick and Olivia Pope have in common with Philip Marlowe? How does wine act as a key plot device on Scandal? […]

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What are the Hottest Wine Trends? (Video) with Darren Oleksyn

What’s the difference between orange wine and natural wine? Is blue the new orange when it comes to wine? What are the hottest trends in the world of wine? Our guest this evening has been working as a journalist for 28 years, and writing about wine for the past 5, for one of the country’s largest newspapers, the Calgary Herald and before that, for Wine Access magazine. He has judged at wine competitions and in 2013 he wrote Uncorked: The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s Best Wines Under $25 with friend and fellow wine writer Shelley Boettcher. … and he joins […]

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Video: Wine Supertasters, Vinotype Quiz and Your Taste in Wine?

On CTV’s The Social yesterday, we chatted about how to find your Vinotype, or taste in wine. Click the arrow above to play the video. We also discussed what a Supertaster is: “Someone who lives in a neon taste world,” according to researcher Linda Bartoshuk, “whose taste sensations are roughly three times as intense to them as non-tasters.” I’ve also heard compared to having 500 fingers rather than 10. So yes, I was tested, did the blue dye tongue test and measurements with Tim Hanni in California (see our video chat below). You can take Tim’s quiz to find your vinotype […]

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Austrian Wine is more than Gruner: Embrace the Unique

By Mymi Myriam Mozart, the Alps, Baroque architecture and Schnitzels are some of the things that spring to mind when thinking of Austria. This alpine country is sadly not often first associated with wine, but when it is, the perception is that it produces mainly sweet wines. That’s quite odd for a country that has been making wine for over four centuries, whose value of recent exports has grown by an impressive € 6 million, amounting to an outstanding sales record of € 145 million (according to the 2014 Austrian Wine Statistics report). Austria ranks at #19 as a wine producing […]

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Frothy Tales from the Vino in Villa Festival: A Primer on Prosecco

By Jacky Blisson In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Prosecco sales skyrocketed internationally. The popular explanation was that Champagne drinkers were trading down to accommodate shrinking wallets. This may have been a key factor spurring the initial upswing, but Prosecco sales continue to soar, unmatched by other non-Champagne sparkling wines. Many attribute Prosecco’s long term success to its vibrantly fruity and uncomplicated style. Others suggest that the refreshingly low alcohol, typically a modest 11 to 11.5%, is the main appeal. Yet this seems an to be over simplistic analysis. It fails to take into account the incredible expression […]

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Men Versus Women Winemakers: Battle of the Bottles?

  In honour of International Women’s Day #IWD2017 on March 8, we chatted with one of Canada’s best winemakers, Ann Sperling, who just happens to be a woman ;) You can click on the arrow above to watch our interview. You can also read more than 75 comments here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/natdecants/posts We discussed Ann’s pioneering work with biodynamic and organic viticulture, her various vineyards across Canada and in Argentina, and her own approach to winemaking. Want to get one of Ann’s wines? You have a wide choice: Southbrook, Versado, Sperling Vineyards and she has consulted for Benjamin Bridge. You’ll also find the specific wines […]

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