Château Margaux in the Digital Age: There’s no Looking Back

Many years ago, before I started studying wine, I had an opportunity to drink a Château Margaux at an advertising client lunch. I declined, because I knew my associates would expect me to say something pithy about the wine, and the weight of that expectation was crippling. I could describe the colour, but after that,…

Bordeaux’s Château Cos d’Estournel: A Digital Future Guided by the Past

  “Is the wine as good as the architecture?” asked my professor-of-architecture friend when I sent him a photo of Bordeaux’s Château Cos d’Estournel. “And then some!” I say, as I attempt to absorb a lecture on “Saracenic style” – a mix of Indian, Islamic and classical architecture, a result of the British colonization of…

Bordeaux Breakdown: Do the Big Châteaux have Social Savvy?

You’re a prestigious, classified château in Bordeaux and you sell 90% of your wine without lifting a marketing finger (en primeur, anyone?). So why would a region with centuries old traditions embrace social media platforms? As it happens, the itinerary for my inaugural trip to Bordeaux was decided by a Twitter post exploring that very…

Culmina Family Estate Winery: The Triggs of the Trade

I don’t think it would be a stretch to describe Culmina’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Sara Triggs as a tour de force. Like Gordon Fitzpatrick who you met in my last post – Sara is a second-generation winemaker, and like Gordon, a descendant of Canadian winemaking royalty. Sara’s parents are Don and Elaine Triggs (see…

Second Generation Winemaking Families: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Sparkle

Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Hudson, Angelina Jolie, Rashida Jones…….Sara Triggs? Gordon Fitzpatrick? What do they have in common? Some serious star power and a lot of familial fame. In the next two posts, you’ll meet the sons and daughters of industry legends who have stepped out of their parent’s shadows to carry on a family tradition….

Taste the Place: The Terroir Symposium & the Terroirnomics of Local

Terroir – muses Jay McInerney in his book, Bacchus and Me – is essentially the Burgundian inspired word for ‘dirt’ and dirt, he argues, is really just a proxy for ‘location, location, location’. Whether it’s the wine we drink or the food we grow – location and dirt are indeed at the root of all…

CheckMate: Anthony von Mandl’s Master Class in Terroir Curation

Checkmate Artisanal Winery: 4799 Wild Rose Street, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, BC CheckMate doesn’t boast a high-end, architecturally inspiring winery – yet. What it has, instead, is a chessboard of ten, site-specific, small-lot vineyards in the southern region of the Okanagan Valley that provide a fabulously distinct range of Chardonnay and Merlot fruit. If you are a…

Harry McWatters: The Force behind the BC Wine Industry

He’s been called a legend, a maverick, the godfather of wine and British Columbia’s Robert Mondavi. As I chat with BC wine pioneer, and Okanagan Valley resident Harry McWatters about the highlights and lowlights of the BC wine industry over the last half century, I can’t help but think he’s the grape growing equivalent of…

The Niagara Escarpment’s Culinary Haven: The Good Earth Food & Wine Co.

It’s Saturday morning and I’m following Lake Ontario and the “Golden Horseshoe” arc that so aptly describes the southwest journey from Toronto to the Niagara Peninsula. Another 30 minutes of drive time, and I can visit one of the world’s most famous landmarks – Niagara Falls. But I won’t be a maid in the mist…