Weekly Show

October 6th, 2018- Fifth Annual Victoria Wine Festival


The Fifth Annual Victoria Wine Festival


As all festivals do, it started with an idea and a dedicated band of volunteers. Five years into its existence it’s become one of the highlights of the year in Victoria.

After talking with some of the perhaps 1500 attending,  two things became apparent.

The women outnumbered the men by a wide margin and I was surprised how many wine fans attending were not from Victoria.

Over 300 wines were showcased and the pop-up store from Vessel was crazy busy.


The Hatch – Andrew Melville.   Chief Steward and Storyteller

…We talk about Black Swift/The Hatch/Dynasty White/Rosso/Screaming Frenzy/Oak Street Vineyard etc

Andrew Melville – The Hatch



Road 13 –  Joseph Luckhurst Managing Partner. Canadian Winery of the Year

Joe talks us through the portfolio  and pours  GSM/Blind Creek Viognier/Stemwinder/Fifth Element/74K



Okanagan Crush Pad  – Mike West.  Mike is pouring and taking us through…

Free Form Ancient Method Sparkling Wine/Vin Gris/Waters and Banks/The Bub/Narrative/haywire/New Narrative Syrah & Cab Franc


Rust Winery – Kane Morgan Asst GM.  Pouring and focusing on  Single Vineyard & Single Varietal wines.

3 separate Merlots/Zin/Syrah/Gamay/ Rose from Pinot Noir/Pinot Gris/Riesling.



Wagner Family Wines  – Peter Lindenlaub Division Manager Canada.   A can’t miss portfolio

Caymus/Conundrum/Mersoleil/Emmolo/Red Schooner.



Stile Brands – Benjamin Philip  Acct Exec.  Specializing in Italian Wines

Cantina Tollo Mo Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo Riserva  2012 &2014/

Altesino Rosso & Brunello/Argiolas Vermentino & Sardegna/Bottega  Prosecco Brut/ Bottega Petalo Moscato/Medici Ermete Concerto Lambrusco



Unsworth  Vineyards– Tim Turyk  Owner.   Pouring from the Cowichan Valley

Unsworth Vineyards

Charme De L’lle/Allegro/Sauvignette/ Pinot Noir Rose/2016 Pinot Noir/Ovation



Hope Family Wines   Ex-pat Cameron Matches returns with wines from Paso Robles.

Hope Family Vineyards

Treana Blanc/Treana Cab/Austin Hope Zin & Cab/Liberty School Cab and Chardonnay.



Many thanks to Heather Wood and Kerry Sedran for their help with shots at the event!


  • Where did Merlot go?
  • Ned Bell – Is he a chef or a Food Preacher?
  • Tojo celebrates 30 years
  • The 2018 Judgement of BC




Streamed on site




September 29th, 2018- The Four F’s!


Year Seven of The Four F’s

(Food. Fishing. Fluids and Friends)

As all good things sometimes do..it started with a “what if”.

What if I put together some of my food and wine friends who loved fishing – and we all went fishing together but we also brought along wines we wanted to share and food we wanted to cook?

John, Mark, Terry and Rhys

Except for several years when one of them was just too damn busy,  the friends line up has been pretty much the same.

Here are some links on “the friends”

Basically, these are gents and artists you would love to hang with.


Chef Mark Filatow  Waterfront Bistro  (Kelowna)  https://waterfrontrestaurant.ca

John Weber – Orofino Wines (Similkameen)  https://www.orofinovineyards.com/about-2/

Rhys Pender – Little Farm Wines (Similkameen) and Master of Wine.  http://littlefarmwinery.ca/

John Weber, Mark Filatow, Rhys Pender

The really interesting thing with this group is that at times the fishing is EVERYTHING.

Then the Wines become EVERYTHING.

Then the food becomes EVERYTHING.


We dive into all three with a shared passion that seems to know no bounds.


For example –

Fishing – Except for this year we have always fly fished in the interior of BC. Skitchine Lodge, Cathedral Lakes, 7  Half Diamond Ranch , Tunkwa Lake.

This year we head for Campbell River on Vancouver Island and some Salmon Fishing.


Our home base was the gorgeous Gowlland Harbour Resort on the jewel known as Quadra Island, just off downtown Campbell River.

And most importantly,  our guide was one of the very best Mark Stewart from East West Charters in Campbell River.


TDM & Mark Stewart

So, here’s Mark with a boat build for four..now holding 5. As the rods went off..all four reaching for the now bouncing rod.

Surprisingly, it all went very well thanks to Mark Stewart and his 28 years of experience. We caught and released lots of wild coho..kept one hatchery coho.

John caught a Spring and everyone caught sockeye and pinks.

We were chased by dolphins who surfed in the wake of the boat as we cut through the water. Exhilarating!

We tasted Moscato d ‘Asti for breakfast..memorable.

Wines – We each like to bring wines that we think the group would find interesting.

A grand total of 22-25,  depending on who you talk to.

Wines from Croatia that Mark brought back from his summer trip there.

I brought a Viognier from France

John from Italy and Orofino.

Rhys from EVERYWHERE. Palo Portado for one

A Spectacular Education.

Chef Mark Filatow

Food – Chef Mark has always traditionally brought to these trips his gift of making something truly special from an assorted bag of goodies.

We know there will always be two Tomahawk Chops from Two River Meats in North Vancouver.

Tomahawk Chop

He’s usually chosen to cook these on an open campfire but this year we had the luxury of a BBQ. (In the Dark)

The rest of the meal started with a charcuterie board that was outstanding  It truly challenged the wines..

Including N’Duja made from #cheamviewranch pork from @tworiversmeats and @medleyorganics espelettes

Salad..exploded on the plates. Lobster mushrooms with toasted corn gnocchi and glazed delicata squash.

I dream about these meals..before and long after.

Let me finish by thanking those who helped make this wonderful trip happen.

The guys for one.  They all are busy.

John and Rhys were just starting their vineyard harvest. Mark Filatow may be the busiest chef in the Okanagan.

A minor miracle that they freed up.

Thanks go out to Mark and Anita Stewart. A formidable Team –  Son and Mother.


The staff at Tourism VI for the assist and support. https://www.tourismvi.ca/

The staff at Gowlland Harbour Resort/Quadra Island https://twitter.com/GowllandHarbour

Shawna Gardham for support and encouragement right from the start.



The 5th annual Victoria Wine Festival





September 22nd 2018- Back to the Okanagan!


Back to The Okanagan

(Roche – Desert Hills/Ursa Major – Fairview Cellars)


 Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Bill Eggert – Owner/Winemaker at Fairview Cellars – The Golden Mile

Bill Eggert

Bill will be speaking his considerable mind to start off the show.

But before he starts firing off one liners and certain people start ducking,  I thought it best to talk about his wines.

The names of these wines on the labels should tell you a great deal about the guy who grew and created them.

Two Hoots – A Cab/Merlot blend

Madcap Red – Merlot based blend

The Bear – The classic Bordeaux Blend

Bucket of Blood – Syrah and Cab or Cab Franc.

Iconoclast – The best of Bill’s Cabernet Sauvignon

There’s also an outstanding Cab Franc, a  stand-alone Merlot that deserves respect, Sauv Blanc that drinks beautifully, Gruner Veltliner that loves the Okanagan and two reds you want to know about

Bill’s making a Pinot Noir that given time and harvests will become an Icon.

Finally we come to The Champ – Fairview Cellars Cabernet  Sauvignon.  They should all be this good.

It’s a Premium single release but also makes Bill’s blends so much better.

As Bill told me years ago “ I taught the wine course in the Valley but I didn’t give away ALL my secrets”


We welcome back Bill Eggert of Fairview Cellars to Tasting Room Radio.

Please Stand back – this could get nasty.


 Dylan & Penelope Roche – Co-owners and winemakers .  Naramata Bench


Roche Vineyards… Naramata Bench Had we stayed in Naramata, Roche would have been our next door neighbour.  That alone makes me interested in their story… but it gets better the more you know.

Dylan grew up in North Vancouver, cycling took him to Europe and an interest in winemaking. Penelope grew UP in Bordeaux..surrounded by Chateaus and Castles. She was expected to take over from her parents and did so for a number of years but she also was looking for something else.

They met in a bar in New Zealand. They shared a beer or two and a realized they both were taking wine courses and they liked the same things about that life.

Dylan, Penelope and kids

Of course they got married and after searching and tasting they decided to start their winery Roche on the Naramata Bench.

At their location on the Upper Bench Road they were at the foot of a slope that had really well grown Zweigelt and Schonberger.  When they discovered how great  Farmer John’s vines were – they were off and running.

Now they’ve planted new varietals because as any fan of French wine knows, you must have a Bordeaux Blend in your portfolio… especially if you are FROM Bordeaux.

In 2017 they  planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Things are getting interesting.

FYI – When I tasted their first ever Chardonnay, from purchased grapes, I declared to anyone within earshot – it was perhaps the best Chard I’d tasted in 5 years in the Okanagan. Keep an eye on their Chard. It’s only going to get better as they grow their own grapes.

Lets head for their tasting room, right next door to where we lived and see what they’ve been up to.

That red barn in behind is where this show was created for the first 5 years.



Randy  and Rajen Toor –  Father and Son.  Winemakers and owners of Desert Hills and Ursa Major

The address is 4078 Black Sage Road.  That’s ghe epicentre of serious winemaking in the South Okanagan.

Big heat. Serious terroir. Where reputations are grown and created.

Randy has been showcasing his wines for years. Personally pouring his wines at winemakers dinners and media release events. Getting people’s attention one pour at a time. Well, we know who he is now, don’t we?

Randy Toor Desert Hills


Many awards and cases of wine later Desert Hills , for many wine fans and restaurants, is a go to portfolio.

Randy – first and foremost is a grower.  He’s got the goods and he knows it.

The Gamay is truly outstanding. Check out the Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cab Reserve, malbec and blends.

Whites?  Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chard, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, etc

Rajen Toor is Randy’s son and has his own vineyards and label – Ursa Major.  He also has  a career as an actor. We’ll get to that part in a sec.

Ursa Major features  BIG red blends..

A cab that’s huge.

A Syrah that’s all spice and black chocolate.

A blend called Borealis.

Oh..and the acting?  Rajen shot a new film in India  called Barefoot Warriors. A true story of a young broke soccer team who qualify for world Cup but get kicked out because they don’t have any soccer shoes. Coming this Fall we hope… just like the wines.

Rajen Toor




Next week – The Four F’s – Year Seven!

Fishing, Friends, Food and Fluids. (23 bottles of fluid)

Rhys Pender. Mark Filatow, John Weber and tdm

Fishing Campbell River with Mark Stewart at Gowlland Harbour Resort.

Victoria Wine Festival

Vintage Corks


September 15th, 2018- Cowichan Valley Wine Festival 2018


Cowichan Valley Wine Festival 2018!


There are a lot of great places in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley to hold a wine festival.

For several years it was called Savour and was on a dock over the water in Mill Bay.

The valley is located halfway between Victoria and Nanaimo with the closest town being Duncan.

The 2018 Festival may have found the perfect home at Shawnigan Lake School.

It’s like holding a wine festival at Yale… except greener!

We gathered at the Field House between Rugby Fields… you couldn’t help but feel relaxed and eager at the same time.

My job was to start the interviews as they gathered at 5PM because when 6PM rolled around it was Game On.

Two questions I wanted to ask were

“What are you pouring?”


“If The Cowichan Valley had to be known for just two wines – a red and a white – what would they be?”

 Lots of different answers but as we went along it became apparent that the red would be Pinot Noir.  The white?  Have a listen.

We also talked about the culinary side of the valley and how it’s growing.

Are you ready to meet 11 of the principals behind The Cowichan Valley?  They are a  diverse and very interesting  group, much like their wines.

Isn’t it time you visited The Cowichan Valley?

FYI – If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind accommodation location, you couldn’t do better than The MoonWater Lodge ! The views are truly west-coast spectacular!



On the newly paved stretch of the Malahat Highway, it overlooks “everything”.  Ocean, islands, forest in most directions and has its own restaurant.



Contact Lori Strandlund moonwaterlodge@gmail.com


Here’s your Guest List:

 Miranda Thorne   (Tourism Cowichan)  Executive Director     www.tourismcowichan.com

 Unsworth  ( Tim Turyk ) Proprietor  www.unsworthvineyards.com

 Enrico  ( Lorin Inglis ) General Manager  https://enricowinery.com

 Venturi-Schulze ( Marilyn Venturi)   Proprietor www.venturischulze.com

  Zanatta  ( Loretta Zanatta ) Proprietor  https://zanatta.ca/

 Cherry Point Estate Wines   ( Xavier Bonilla ) Proprietor  http://cherrypointestatewines.com/

 Damali ( Kennedy Saville ) Proprietor  http://www.damali.ca/

Emandare  ( Mike Nierychlo ) Tractor driver/co-owner. winemaker  http://www.emandarevineyard.com/

Averill Creek (Andy Johnston ) Proprietor  https://www.averillcreek.ca/

Deol ( Gary Deol ) Proprietor  www.deolestatewinery.com/

 Blue Grouse   ( Bailey Williamson ) Wine Maker  https://www.bluegrouse.ca

 Rocky Creek  (Linda Holford ) Proprietor   http://www.rockycreekwinery.ca/ 




Back to The Okanagan (Desert Hills, Roche, Fairview Cellars)

Food. Friends. Fishing & Fluids  with Rhys Pender (Little Farm and Wine Plus, John Weber (Orofino) Chef Mark Filatow (Waterfront Bistro Kelowna)

Heading for Gowlland Harbour Resort, Quadra Island, Campbell River!!


September 8th, 2018-Tantalus. Adorada. Il Falcone & Colin Linden Remembers Aretha


Tantalus. Adorada. Il Falcone & Colin Linden Remembers Aretha


Il Falcone –Chef Andrey Durbach  (Courtney BC)

 Andrey and Sian Durbach moved to the Comox  Valley, Vancouver Island almost  a year ago from Vancouver. They had been  running three downtown  Vancouver restaurants. High Tempo Rooms.

Sian and Andrey Durbach

Before he became an outstanding graduate of the CIA,  Culinary Institute of America in NYC, he had first made a name for himself in Vancouver working with Bishop’s, Il Giardino and Café de Paris.  He launched Etoile in 96.  There he learned the hard lessons of running a restaurant. Sold the place and hit the road re-learning the trade.

When Sian and Andrey returned to Vancouver 2 years later they partnered with Chris Stewart and opened Parkside, La Buca and Pied-a-Terre. Cafeteria followed with its $20 or less menu. My favourite was Sardine Can. A tiny room in Gastown.

No matter what the location I always noticed and liked his cooking.

Well,  imagine my delight to discover that Sian and Andrey had opened Il Falcone in downtown Courtney.

Why Courtney?

Andrey explains in the interview that he and Sian finally wanted to work for themselves and the best place was a former Mexican restaurant in Courtney. Surrounded by burnt yellow stucco walls enclosing  a courtyard filled with black cherry, fig and other fruit trees..you swear the restaurant was somewhere in Italy.  Perfect. We’ve been three times and all three we sat outside under those trees. Glorious.


And the food?  To die for.

Italian dishes with no excuses..Nothing but the best. It helps that they’re surrounded by hundreds of farms, fisheries specialists and foragers working the land. One of the best cheese makers in Canada is right around the corner.

Andre says he and Sian pretended to be Italians moving to the Comox Valley and they did what they’d do back in Italy..source and cook local. Cook like the Italians would.

The wine menu?  Almost exclusively Italian.

For anyone who’s travelled to Italy..no matter what small town you were in, there would always be one Italian restaurant as its centerpiece. That’s what they’ve tried to do here. Just off the beaten path..a discovery waiting to happen.

Is it worth the flight or ferry. Yes and absolutely yes.

As Andrey told Montecristo magazine..

 “My kind of diner is one who loves unctuous, delicious food, and is willing to chance the unfamiliar. It’s a diner who knows and trusts the kitchen and the servers, a person who wholeheartedly invests in the visceral experience of a meal. This is what I’m after.”

I guess the question for you is – are you that diner?



Margaret Leonardi – Adorada Wines (Mendocino)

 First and foremost, you should know that  Margaret has the expertise and training of a perfume maker. Wouldn’t you want to know what her wines taste like?   

(They are very  affordable)

Margaret Leonardi – Adorada

Margaret  began her winemaking career working with experimental grape varieties at Cottonwood Creek Cellars, where she ran a pilot program and crafted a number of awarded wines. From there, Margaret brought her expertise and adventurous spirit to Fetzer Vineyards, where her passion for exploring the novel characteristics of aromatic grapes, coupled with a desire to push the boundaries of conventional winemaking, translates to the intriguing wines of Adorada.

Adorada wines are crafted from premium California grapes in a sumptuously aromatic style, reminiscent of an ambrosial fragrance. Each bottle is finished with a luxurious draping of wax.

As Margaret notes:

We blended our Pinot Gris with a selection of aromatic white

grape varieties from premier vineyards throughout California.

Our highly aromatic Pinot Gris opens with Gravenstein apple,

Bartlett pear, honeysuckle and orchid on the nose.


A palate  of orange blossom, orange zest, lemon and honeydew

melon is underscored by a hint of delicate sweetness.

 For the Rosé blend, we selected a mix of aromatic red and white grape varieties from premier vineyards

throughout California.

Our Rosé opens with spice and ginger on the nose, balanced by fragrant aromas of red fruit and antique red Rose.

The palate is succulent and lightly sweet, with juicy watermelon and honeycomb flavors, framed by a zesty

hint of white pepper.



David Paterson – GM/Winemaker Tantalus (Kelowna)

Tantalus is situated on the eastern slopes of the Okanagan Valley, overlooking the shores of Lake Okanagan and Kelowna.

David Paterson -Tantalus

Originally known as Pioneer Vineyards, the site was first planted to table grapes in 1927 and today is known as the oldest continuously producing vineyard in British Columbia

David Paterson is a Kiwi and a Canadian, having been born in Vancouver. He received his winemaking degree from Lincoln University NZ & following time spent working in the local NZ industry he travelled the wine world gaining experience at premium wineries in Oregon, France & Australia.

He landed at Tantalus in 2009 and with many  successful vintages under his belt with the winery he took on the role of GM as well in 2016. Prior to joining Tantalus, David was working with celebrated South Australian producer Henschke Cellars.

As such he got to work the vineyards at the world famous Hill of Grace.  Riesling has always been the leader at Tantalus however, through  David’s guidance Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Blanc de Noir have caught our attention.

Outstanding wines and  leadership. That’s David Paterson at Tantalus.


 Colin Linden – speaks of Aretha and his 2018 wines.

 We know Colin as a member of one of Canada’s finest bands, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

We also know him as a solo performer with a history of great albums.

As a producer, writer and player he’s worked with Bob Dylan, Emmy Lou Harris, Robert Plant and Allison Krause, Lucinda Williams and produced many of Bruce Cockburn’s greatest albums.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings


When Aretha Franklin passed away I remembered a story Colin had told me about sharing a room and a stage with The Queen of Soul.

The “Room” was a ballroom at The White House and the stage was filled with an amazing collection of artists. Producer  T Bone Burnett asked Colin to play guitar in the “house band” and that’s how he found himself watching Aretha rehearse in the afternoon. (sitting in the chair that would belong to The President Barack Obama later that night. That chair.)

Later that night Colin and Aretha got a chance to talk.


I value Colin’s memory of Aretha and her very special place in music.

Then, as always, Colin and I finish off all our conversations with wine talk.

Whaddya drinking?  What’s the house pour?

He never fails to surprise me.

Enjoy!!  (pair some Aretha this weekend with your wine)





The Cowichan Wine festival

Heading back to the Okanagan.











September 1st, 2018 – Canadian Winery of the year- Road 13!


Welcoming The Winners Guests include Road 13, Fitzpatrick and Township7

 Every year in Canada Wine Align, the toughest wine competition in the country, announces its list of winners.
This week We welcome The Winners.

After being  a top 10 winery for many years Road 13 has finally found the #1 position.

Joe Luckhurst Road 13

In 2018, over 1800 wines from 257 wineries were in competition for the National Wine Awards.  Judging were 22 of the very best tasters in the country.
After winning 15 individual awards including a rare Platinum for their Roussanne Road 13 were given the coveted title Canadian Winery of the Year. 
I found  managing partner and son of founders Mick and Pam Luckhurst , Joseph Luckhurst  in the barrel room and cellar recently. Still enjoying the glow of the awards we talked about The Golden Mile, the dirt, what effect this may have on their wines and winery and why they made the decision to make Rhone style wines.
Congratulations to winemaker Jeff Del Nin, his team in the Vineyards and in the q, the tasting room staff, growers, distributors, marketing and media teams,.
Enjoy the ride while we enjoy the wines.
The other segment of the same competition that interests me is Top 10 Small Wineries. (annual production of 10,000 cases or under)
Ontario’s Two Sisters and Hidden Bench were 1&2.

Fitzpatrick Vineyards

Third was BC’s Fitzpatrick Family Wines who won 5 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze to become this years #3 Small Winery in Canada and #1 Small Winery in B.C. 
Gordon Fitzpatrick is well known to  Canadian wine fans.
In 1986 his family started Cedar Creek  Estate Winery and 8 years later they bought Greata Ranch located on the  main highway between Peachland and Summerland.
In 2014 Cedar Creek was sold to the Von Mandl Family and Gordon made serious plans for Greata Ranch, which has been somewhat forgotten over the years.
A mere 4 years later Fitzpatrick Family Wines have become a destination for fresh whites and a serious house of bubble.
I found Gordon on the back deck overlooking the Chardonnay and Pinot Vineyards and Okanagan Lake.
Congratulations again to the complete team that helped to create a rising star in Canadian Wine.
Finally we come to our old neighbour,  when we lived on the Naramata Bench, Township 7. 
Township 7 began their winery in the Fraser  Valley in 2000.
Several years later they bought a property on the  Naramata Bench.
New planting’s of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, wonderful Merlot and Malbec followed.
Mike and Lori Raffan created a wonderful destination known for its wine quality and focus.
Mike  is now the GM working with new owners.  He’s overseeing an expansion of both winery locations, new tanks, barrels, equipment, larger tasting rooms and the recent acquisition of the Blue Terrace Vineyard in Oliver.
Winemaker Mary McDermott joined the team after many years in Ontario. (Trius at Hillebrand, and 30 Bench)
She’s expanding small lot production and a fine wine program.
Watch for  Bordeaux Reds and Bubble.
All in all, you want to keep an eye on Township 7  and watch for their new labels and releases. This is going to be a very interesting story to follow.
Also keep an eye on their Langley location as well.
We met up with Mary and Mike at Ancora Waterfront Dining across  the water from Granville Market.
We tasted the new:
2017 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 Viognier
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and NBO 2014 Magnum
2015 Reserve Merlot
Cheers to Township 7


Cowichan Wine Festival
Tour of the Okanagan
Chef Andrey Durbach
Margaret Leonardi – Winemaker at Adorada in Mendocino

August 25th, 2018-Locals Only 3.0


13 guests for The Annual “Locals Only 3.0″The Artisans of Vancouver Island & The Gulf Islands.





It was an afternoon exploring the diversity & creativity of our coastal producers.

Through the interviews below we get to meet the farmers, fermenters and distillers that define our cool climate coastal appellation.


Event photos by @socialtyvr


This is Locals Only 3.0 – 2018

No fancy marketing campaigns or graphic trickery.  Just an opportunity to taste clean honest products from the producers who are defining our cool climate coastal appellation. 

  • Speak with the producers who were natural before it was fashionable
  • Learn more about distilling while speaking with a Master
  • Meet and taste with the people who planted the vines and then made the wine

Locals Only is about keeping it real, real honest and really local.


Organic estate farming , clean winemaking , neutral barrels & vessels, amphora, orange wines, concrete, spontaneous ferments, dry farming + way more. Discover the next destination you just have to check out.

Off Shore craft makers.


Guests include:

 Massey Wines –  Louise Fedyk.  Co-Organizer of event  http://www.masseywines.com/

 Mike Rathjen – Rathjen Cellars  https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgo92Vuntu8/

Mike Nierychlo –  Emandare Vineyards  http://www.emandarevineyard.com/    

Dave Brimacombe – Wayward Distillery (Unruly Gin/Vodka) https://www.instagram.com/p/BgpPVn3Hw0U/

Jason MacIsaac – Sheringham Distillery  https://www.sheringhamdistillery.com/

Andy Johnson  – Averill Creek  https://www.averillcreek.ca/

Loretta Zanatta – Zanatta Vineyards https://zanatta.ca/

Chris Turyk – Unsworth  https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgr0mocH0rh/

Bailey Williamson – Blue Grouse https://www.bluegrouse.ca/Home

Dan Dragert – Kutatas Vineyards ( Koo Tah Tass) You’re on your own. Well worth The Search.

Brenda Hetman-Layne – 40 Knots  https://www.instagram.com/p/BgkFfRknXdL/   

Marilyn Venturi –   Venturi-Schulze Vineyards  https://www.instagram.com/p/BgraOj7nK_o/

Julia Powell – Alderlea Vineyards  https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgtz5m0HCrX/







The Winner Special  (Sept 1)

Road 13 – Winery of the year

Fitzpatrick –  #3 in Canada and Best Small Winery


Tour of the Okanagan

Fairview Cellars


Desert Hills

Township 7


Chef Andrey Durbach – Brings Italy to Courtney

Margaret Leonardi – Winemaker at Adorada (Mendocino)

The First Cowichan Wine Festival










August 18th, 2018 – The BC Cider Festival!


The BC Cider Festival Year 2.  The Cider makers pour at The Pipe Shop.




Its Official..I’m a Certified Cider Head.

Happily, I don’t appear to be alone.

Lots of us are discovering that the sweet icky cider our parents consumed has disappeared. It’s been replaced by a growing army of cider makers..from around the World and best of all – right here in BC.

I had some catching up to do having missed the first BC Cider Festival.

I was delighted to find out that all of the participating ciders would be pouring at The Pipe Shop, foot of Lonsdale in North Vancouver.


The Pipe Shop

(The very shop that my Father,  HD “Pat” Mulligan worked in as WW2 was beginning)

I had a hunch that when they opened the main doors at 1:30 it was going to get crazy..and it did.

So, I started early as the tables were being set up and talked to as many Cideries as I could.

You can hear the room get louder and louder as first the staff worked the room, then the cider trade people tasted and finally when the  general public came in..I couldn’t even get near the tables and my work was done.

This was such a great  learning experience for me. My hope is that it’s the same for you.

There are so many great stories here. Ciders made from blends of apples, heritage apples planted and forgotten about over the years and apples discovered, grown and harvested in Vancouver’s East End.

Backyard apples made into first class Ciders.

I hope you  find your new  favourite cider in the next hour.  Cheers!!

Big thanks to Txotx Imports and Massey Wines.


Guests on this week’s  Cider festival Special include :

Txotx Imports  –  Sean Pisio    (Organizer)

BC Tree Fruits –  Nadine Harrison (asst. winemaker) Kelowna

Kate Pedersen – Left field Cider  (Logan Lake)

Naramata Cider Co – Miranda Halliday (co-owner)  Naramata

Ward’s Cider – Mike Anderson  (cidermaker)  Kelowna

Raven’s Moon – Quinn Ehrler     (owner and cellar rat)  Courtney

Nomad Cider – Brad Klammer    (Co-owner)  Summerland

Salt Spring Wild Cider   –   Mike Lachelt & Greda Lattey  (co-owners / cidermakers)  Salt Spring

Salt Spring Wild Tasting Room

Howling Moon Cider – Nik & Kate Durisek (owners / cidermakers) Oliver

Twisted Hills Cider – Kaylan Madeira (owner/cidermaker)  Cawston

Cedar Cider – Gabriel Jefferies (co-owner)  Hazelmere

Sea Cider – Kristen Needham  (founder / cidermaker)  Saanichton

Windfall Cider – Jeff Nairn (co-founder)  East Vancouver

Dominion Cider – Robin Cairns  (co-founder)  Summerland

The boys from Dominion Cider – (courtesy of Montecristo magazine)

Second Page   Samantha Chamberland   Courtney/Comox

…and the winners are:

  • Dry
    3rd Cedar Cider – Sprig
    2nd Nomad – Sparkling Sidra
    1st Twisted Hills – Pippens Fate
  • Medium
    3rd Second Page – Apple
    2nd Sea Cider – Bittersweet
    1st Salt Spring – Semi- Dry
  • Specialty
    3rd Salt Spring Wild – Bitter Orange Rosemary
    2nd Merridale – Mo Morrow
    1st Dominion – True at First Light
  • Fruit
    3rd Lonetree – Apple Peach
    2nd Merridale – Merri Berri
    1st Left Field – Joe Shack
  • HSB
    3rd Brickers – Sage, Peppercorn, Thyme
    2nd Lonetree – Ginger
    1st Saltspring Wild – Ginger Root





Margaret Leonardi – Winemaker at Adorada Wines (Mendocino)

Mary McDermott – Winemaker at Township 7

Chef Andrey Durbach – Brings great Italian for Vancouver Island

The first Cowichan Wine Festival

Okanagan Stories from

Bill Eggert Fairview Cellars

Randy Toor  Desert Hills/Rajen Toor  Ursa Major

Dylan/Penelope Roche  Roche Wines

Gordon Fitzpatrick – Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards (#3 in Canada and #1 Small Winery in BC)

And a visit with Joseph Luckhurst from  the Canadian Winery of the Year Road 13

The 7th annual Four friends fishing at Gowlland Resort Campbell River

(with Rhys Pender, Chef Mark Filatow, John Weber and meee)





August 11th 2018-Top Drop Vancouver Part Two & and EZRA CIPES CEO SUMMERHILL WINERY & LEADER OF THE OOTN’OOTS!




How much do I like the Top Drop wine series?

Well, I really only needed half a dozen interviews to make a one-hour special.

However, Kurtis Kolt and Jeff Curry always bring together some of the very best winemakers and owners in the World.  How they manage that, year after year, is amazing.

Of course, I ended up doing almost twice as many as I needed but when you see the guest list below I think it’s clear why I got carried away.

The wineries are in all cases organic, sustainable, terroir driven, just pure fruit and the work of time.

No additives, no tricks. Honest wines and winemakers.

Today’s guests are:

David Amadia – President of Ridge Vineyards  (Sonoma)

Since 1885 one of California’s leading wineries.  Paul tells a great story about how  Ridge came to be poured at The Judgement of Paris and what they’re pouring at Top Drop.


Beth Novak Milliken – President of Spottswoode  (Napa)

“Spottswoode Vineyard is one of Napa’s most well-known landmarks, and its winemaking team, owner Beth Novak, and assistants Rosemary Cakebread and Jennifer Williams, represents a trifecta of talented young women. When the history of Napa’s great vineyards is written, the 40-acre Spottswoode Vineyard, tucked behind the quaint town of St. Helena, will be counted among the finest grand cru vineyards of the region.”

Robert Parker


Emil Mehdin – Marketing Director Stina Wines. (Dalmatia, Croatia)

Croatia has been making wines for some 2500 years. If you listen to the pride on Emil’s voice I think you may understand how they became one of the World’s true wine countries.


Wendy Vallester –  pouring Wines of Spain.

  The last time I saw Wendy we were sitting on a sidewalk in Ribera del Duero Spain.  She was living in Spain with her husband, a Spanish wine educator.  They were guiding myself and Jason Priestley through the region’s vineyards for Hollywood and Vines TV.   Who better to tell the Spanish wine story than Wendy?


Mark Vlossak – Owner and Winemaker at St. Innocent Winery.  (Willamette Valley, Oregon)

The interview with this utterly charming man was 9 minutes.  I think I asked 3-4 questions..and he told 10 stories and walked me through his portfolio.

Once again I ask – if the winemaker is this interesting, surely the wines will be equally interesting and fine?  Well, they are!



We welcome back to Tasting Room radio Ezra Cipes CEO of Summerhill Pyramid Winery  Kelowna

Ezra Cipes

Summerhill is quite simply one of the busiest wineries in Canada. Three tasting rooms going full pull.

The visitors are a mix of wine fans, foodies, the curious, and tourists who have heard of this winery, its bio-dynamic/ organic wines and its pyramid.


The Cipes Family have always been dedicated to making  wines in a sustainable and caring manner.

Caring for the Earth is prime.

But, as Ezra explains, they have also been totally involved in playing music.

The latest project is the family band The Ootn’Oots and their latest album Electric Jellyfish Boogaloo.

The band is fronted by 11year old singer Ruth Cipes  with her Dad Ezra and Uncles Ari, Gabe and Mathew .

Ruth is such a surprise as a singer… real  promise in those vocals.

Songs are strong too.


FYI – If you’d like to see them live, they’ll be playing the Salmon Arms Roots and Blues Festival next weekend

Aug 16-19








August 4th, 2018 – Road 13 -Winery of the year and Top Drop Part One


Road 13 wins Canadian Winery of the year and Top Drop 2018 Part One




The phone rang at Road 13 this week. It was Anthony Gismondi from Wine Align looking for Joseph Luckhurst, managing partner and son of founders Mick and Pam Luckhurst.

Joe was delighted to find out that after moving up in the Top Ten wineries of Canada year-after-year..they finally nailed the big prize. Canadian Winery of the Year.

There were  1,850 entries from 257 different wineries from seven provinces however if you look at the total wins they had ..the prize was truly well earned.


Platinum  – Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Roussanne
Gold – Road 13 Vineyards 2017 Chip off the Old Block Chenin Blanc
Gold – Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Syrah
Gold – Road 13 Vineyards 2013 5th Element
Gold – Road 13 Vineyards 2014 Jackpot Petit Verdot
Gold – Blind Creek Collective 2015 Consensus
Gold – Blind Creek Collective 2016 Cabernet Franc
Gold – Blind Creek Collective 2016 Petit Verdot
Gold – Blind Creek Collective 2017 Viognier
Silver –  Road 13 Vineyards 2016 GSM
Silver –  Blind Creek Collective 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze – Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Seventy-Four K
Bronze – Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Jackpot Syrah
Bronze – Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Merlot
Bronze – Blind Creek Collective 2016 Chardonnay


We’ll visit Road 13 shortly and to a  sit down interview with Joseph.


Congratulations to the complete team behind the winery. To growers, hospitality, cellar and tank crews, crush rats, administration and marketing. Best of all Road 13 is one of our sponsors.





It’s The Main Event.  Top Drop Vancouver:  Terroir and Craft.

The best small wine festival everrrrrrrr.

Once again Kurtis Kolt and his partner Jeff Curry and a sensational team have convinced some of the very best winemakers to pour at The Roundhouse in Vancouver.

What they have in common is craft and care!

In Kurtis’ column in the Georgia Straight he said this:

Each year, our process begins the same. Our team casts out a wide net to British Columbia–based importers and wineries, asking for winery applications to participate in the event.  First and foremost, Top Drop wineries must fit with our general philosophy: that wines, indeed, express terroir or offer a sense of place.

Whether we’re talking vines grown in mineral-rich soils or under cool-climate growing conditions bringing bright acidity or in sun-drenched regions offering generous, opulent fruit and so on, we want those elements to be notable in the glass and for them to have arrived there authentically, rather than via heavy-handed additions in the winery.

Sustainable farming is also key. There is a high priority on those who employ these methods while farming their own fruit or who work with growers who fit the mould.

The other major component is a commitment to partner with producers who rarely visit Vancouver or have never been here before, so we can offer local wine enthusiasts a unique experience.

We came up with a roster of 33 international and local producers we’re extremely proud of.

The whole reason I do what I do for a living is to share my enthusiasm for awesome wine with those who may be pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down. It’s one thing to write or Tweet or Instagram about something and hope for the best, but all cards on the table: it’s a whole other thing when I can play a part in actually bringing these fantastic people and their wines right to you, and even be in the room when you try them!  Kurtis Kolt!


I went crazy and did enough interviews for Two Shows.. Here’s Part One

 Kurtis Kolt – Organizer and wine educator. Wine writer for The Georgia Straight.

Paul Leary – President Blackbird Vineyards  (Napa)

David Scholefield – Wines of Chile

David Patterson – GM and Winemaker at Tantalus (Kelowna)

Justin Fairweather – Partner. Alpha Box and Dice (Australia)

Jane Ferrari – Winemaker.Ambassador Yalumba (Barossa. Australia)

Jay Drysdale –  Owner/Winemaker Bella (Naramata Bench)

DJ Kearney – NewDistrict.Ca (Vancouver)

Simon Black – Winemaker Montalto (Australia)

Virginie Taupenot –  Taupenot-Merme   (France)



Stories we’re working on:

Road 13 – Winery of the year – The full story.

Fitz Winery finds a lot of new friends.

Elizabeth Gabay – Master of Wine and author of Rose. Understanding the pink wine revolution

Andrey Durbach – opens IL Falcone in Courtney

Margaret Leonardi pours Adorada

Township 7. New wines. New labels. New Directions.

NEXT /WEEK – Top Drop Two



Podcast on iTunes