Weekly Show

July 28th, 2018 – Naramata Bench Releases!







Summer 2018


Real warmth in the day. Sunrise at 6am.

AND new releases from BC’s wineries.  Perhaps, the very best time of the year.

We spent almost 5 glorious years on the Naramata Bench.

It was everything we had hoped it would be. A mix of farms, food, wineries and really fine people.

Now, when they make their annual New Wine Release trip into Vancouver and Victoria  it feels like old home week.

I have the wonderful job of sitting down and getting re-acquainted with familiar faces and new wines.

For you wine fans  joining us, it’s a chance to perhaps,  find your wine of the year or at the very least your Spring/Summer.


Our guests this week include:

Val Tait  – Winemaker and GM at Bench 1775  www.bench1775.com

Senka Tennant – Co-Owner &  Winemaker at TerraVista www.terravistavineyards.com

Dominic McCosker – Winemaker at La Frenz www.lafrenzwinery.com

Riley Hollenbach – Winemaker at Red Rooster www.lafrenzwinery.com

Kathy Malone – Winemaker at Hillside www.hillsidewinery.ca

Matt Mikulic – Winemaker at Three Sisters  www.3sisterswinery.com/Wines

Bob Ferguson – Co-Owner & Winemaker at Kettle Valley  www.kettlevalleywinery.com/

Del Halliday – co-owner and winemaker at Elephant Island www.elephantislandwine.com

Gavin Miller – co-owner and winemaker at Upper Bench  www.upperbench.ca

Lindsay O’Rourke – Co-owner and Winemaker at Tightrope  www.tightropewinery.ca






The Canadian Winery of the Year starts next week’s show

Plus its Kurtis Kolt’s Top Drop 2018

 Guests include:

Paul Leary President Ridge Wines

David Patterson – GM/Winemaker Tantalus

Justin Fairweather – Partner Alpha Box and Dice

Jane Ferrari – Winemaker/Storyteller Yalumba

Jay Drysdale – co-owner/winemaker  Bella

DJ Kearney – New District.ca

Simon Black – Winemaker Montalto

Virginie Taupenot – Taupenot Merme








July 21st, 2018- Okanagan Falls


OK Falls Welcomes The Wine World




Every Spring the wine regions of BC show up on the West Coast.

This week it’s Okanagan Falls.  The wineries of the region share Skaha Lake – just south of Penticton.

OK Falls – Noble Ridge and John Schreiner

Just a head’s UP They throw a great Summer event called Party in the Park  July 6th in Kenyon Park (on the beach)

Starts at 5PM.  What a night!!



Winemakers and Principals pouring and taking us through the wines include:

Evan Saunders – Winemaker at Blasted Church https://blastedchurch.com

Christie Mavety – Family Member/Owner  www.bluemountainwinery.com

Gerry Thygesen – Owner –Winemaker  Skaha/Krase Legz  https://www.krazelegz.com

Alison Moyes – Winemaker  Liquidity Wines https://www.liquiditywines.com

Janice Stevens-Meyer  – Co-Owner Meyer Family Vineyards https://www.mfvwines.com

Daniel Bibby – Co-Owner Nighthawk Vineyards  https://www.nighthawkvineyards.com

Jim & Leslie D ‘Andrea – Owners Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery www.nobleridge.com

Lauren Skinner – Family member Painted Rock Estate Winery www.paintedrock.ca

Julie Rennie – Co-Owner Pentage Winery https://pentage.com

Larry Gerelus – Co-Owner Stag’s Hollow Winery https://stagshollowwinery.com

Alan Dickinson – Owner/Winemaker Synchromesh Wines www.synchromeshwines.ca

Roland Kruger – Owner/General Manager  Wild Goose Vineyard https://wildgoosewinery.com

Back row

  1. Evan Saunders, wine maker, Blasted Church
  2. Jim D’Andrea, Proprietor, Noble Ridge
  3. Ian MacDonald, Proprietor, Liquidity

2 back row

  1. Larry Gerelus, Proprietor, Stag’s Hollow
  2. Linda Pruegger, Proprietor, Stag’s Hollow
  3. Roland Kruger, Proprietor,  Wild Goose
  4. Janice Stevens, Proprietor, Meyer Family Vineyards
  5. Julie Rennie, Proprietor, Pentage

3 back row

  1. Dan Schell – Agent (Nobel Ridge)
  2. Michael Garrett, Agent (Pentage)
  3. Alison Moyes,  winemaker Liquidity
  4. Barb Mills, Agent (Liquidity)
  5. Leslie D;Andrea, Proprietor,  Noble Ridge
  6. Lauren Skinner, Director of Sales, Painted Rock

Front row

  1. Tysha Pope, Crescent Hill Winery
  2. Carson Pope, Crescent Hill Winery
  3. Terry David Mulligan
  4. Daniel Bibby, Proprietor, Nighthawk Vineyards
  5. Christie Mavety, Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars



Events Archive | OFWA – Okanagan Falls Winery Associations

Okanagan Falls Wineries Map & Wine Tour Guide | OFWA



Naramata Bench







July 14th, 2018- Van Wine Fest part 2!


Hour Two of 2018 VanWineFest




Last week’s show focused of Spain and Portugal.

This week its friends and neighbours.

BC, Washington, California, Nova Scotia and a final Spanish Winemaking Star Alvaro Palacios.

Loved doing this hour.  Winemaking friends from all over sharing thoughts and opinions.

VANCOUVER, BC – FEBRUARY 26: The 2015 Vancouver Wine Festival at the Vancouver Convention Centre February 26, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick)


We talk about the Alberta Wine Ban and its effect.

I felt it was important that I ask the question “What are you pouring here today and why?”

Co-hosts were Sandra Oldfield and Daenna van Mulligen (The Wine Diva). They did a great job!

www.WineDiva.ca  /  https://sandraoldfield.com

Guests include:


DJ Kearney – Wine Director www.NewDistrict.ca

Christine Coletta – Co-Owner of Okanagan Crush Pad (Haywire)   https://okanagancrushpad.com

Galen Barnhardt – Winemaker at Monte Creek. Kamloops https://www.montecreekranchwinery.com/

Chris Turyk – Brand Ambassador Unsworth. Cowichan Valley https://www.unsworthvineyards.com

Bruce Ewert – Co-Owner/Winemaker L’Acadie Vineyards. Nova Scotia www.lacadievineyards.ca

Howard Soon – Head Winemaker Vanessa Vineyards www.vanessavineyard.com

John Skinner – Owner Painted Rock www.paintedrock.ca

Nikki Callaway – Winemaker Quails Gate https://www.quailsgate.com

Kurtis Kolt – The Bottle / Georgia Straight. Top Drop Vancouver. www.kurtiskolt.com

Calla Bischoff – Sileni Estates NZ https://www.sileni.co.nz

Jim Robertson – Stoneleigh  NZ  www.stoneleigh.com

Alvaro Palacios – Spanish wine legend  www.rarewineco.com/producer/alvaro-palacios

Ray Signorello –  Owner Signorello Estates. Napa  https://signorelloestate.com

Randy Ullom  – Chief Winemaker – Kendall-Jackson.  Sonoma www.kj.com

Eugene Mylnczyk.  Master of Wine . Charles Smith Wines. Washington https://www.charlessmithwines.com


We’re heading for Okanagan Falls..or rather they’re heading to Vancouver.

Pouring their new releases for 2018 are winemakers and owners from

Blasted Church

Noble Ridge


Stags Hollow

Wild Goose

Meyer Family


Painted Rock

Crescent Hill


Blue Mountain




In two weeks it’s the winemakers and wines of The Naramata Bench







July 7th, 2018- 40th Van WineFest Part 1- with The Wine Diva



1,450 Wines. 16 Countries. 173 Wineries. 51 Events. 8 days. 25,000 wine fans.

It’s Hour One of our coverage of the 40th VanWineFest at Vancouver Convention Centre.
Spain and Portugal are the feature regions and they have sent their very best owners, winemakers, and wines. Many wines tasted for the first time in Canada.
With the invaluable co-hosting help of The Wine Diva Daenna van Mulligen and Sandra Oldfield.

This Saturday’s guests include

The leader of Portugal’s “Duoro Boys” The charming Cristiano van Zeller.
Miguel Torres (founded 1870)
Gloria Collell (winemaker Segura Viudas)
Joan Cusine (prop. Paras Balta/Gratavinum.) Orig vines planted by Romans
Plus The Stars from Campo Viejo, Bodegas Atteca, Bodegas Alvear, Alvara Palacios. Is he The New Spain?
And then we dive into Port. From Portugal David Guimaraens head winemaker at Taylor Fladgate, Rupert Symington of Symington Family Estates (Dow, Warre, W&J Graham)
And Jorge Ramos from Fonseca

We start with special guests:

Cristiano van Zeller (Quina Vale D. Maria) www.quintavaledonamaria.com  Leader of Portugal’s “Duoro Boys”
Miguel Torres (since 1870)  www.torres.es/en/home
Gloria Collell (winemaker Segura Viudas) https://www.seguraviudasusa.com/
Joan Cusine ( Paras Balta/Gratavinum.) Orig vines planted by Romans. https://paresbalta.com/www.gratavinum.com/

Fredrico Lleonart  Campo Viejo https://www.campoviejo.com/

Miguel Gil   Bodegas Ateca  http://gilfamily.es/en/

Fernando Alvear  http://www.alvear.es/index.php/en/

David Guimaraens  Taylor Fladgate https://www.taylor.pt/

Rupert Symington – Symington Family Estates https://www.symington.com/

Jorge Ramos – Fonseca Port Wine  www.fonseca.pt/

Paul Wagner – Featured Speaker  www.balzac.com/    – http://www.rickandpaulwine.com/

We kick the whole show off with these very special friends:

 Harry Hertscheg Exec Director of VanWineFest  www.vanwinefest.ca
DJ Kearney. Wine Director at  www.newdistrict.ca
Sandra Oldfield @SandraOldfield
Co-Host – Daenna van Mulligen/ The Wine Diva www.winediva.ca

Please check out www.vanwinefest.ca   for more information


Please check out www.vanwinefest.ca   for more information


Next week: Part Two!

June 30th, 2018 – BC Shellfish Festival in  Courtney/Comox and Memories of Bourdain.



12th  BC Shellfish Festival in  Courtney/Comox and Memories of Bourdain.



Year in &  Year out  The BC Shellfish Festival is one of the very best
gatherings of Chefs in Western Canada.

They come to compete, to showcase, to  meet their suppliers & their
customers. Best of all, the chefs come to hang with each other and take a
break from the daily grind.

Shellfish Grazing

First and foremost the festival celebrates sustainability.  In oceans,
lakes, rivers and farms.

The chefs who guest today not only bring their culinary talents to work
every day, they also let their diners know that where your fish comes from
is as important as where your water &  wine comes from.

This is a wildly successful festival that takes place in and around
Courtney-Comox on Vancouver Island. The Comox Valley produces more than 50%
of BC Shellfish and the most oysters in Canada. If you’re a chef..this is
your Yankee Stadium.

judges and team

The last segment of Tasting Room Radio will be all about remembering the
late Anthony Bourdain.

With comments from his friends Tojo, Pino Posteraro,
Ned Bell, Quang Dang and Nathan Fong. Also comments  from Sabrine Dhaliwal,
Matthias Fong and Sal Howell

Check out this fantastic Guest List:

Chef Hidekazu Tojo – Tojo’s  Restaurant   tojos.com/Splash.html

Chef Ned Bell – Ocean Wise, Vancouver  seafood.ocean.org

Chef Pino Posteraro – Cioppinos  https://www.cioppinosyaletown.com

Chef Nathan Fong – Fong on Food https://www.fongonfood.com

Melissa Craig – Barefoot Bistro, Whistler  bearfootbistro.com

Quang Dang – Araxi Bistro, Whistler  https://www.araxi.com

Lisa Ahier – Sobo  Tofino www.sobo.ca

Sal Howell – Founder-Owner  River Cafe/Deane House  Calgary

Chef Matthias Fong – River Cafe, Calgary  www.river-cafe.com

Rebecca MacKenzie – President Culinary Tourism & Host of Terroir Symposium

Shawn Hall – Spokesperson for BC Fish Farmers Association

Sabrine Dhaliwal – UVA Wine Bar  https://www.uvavancouver.com


Tojo and friends


None..we’re taking a vacation and will be repeating some of the very best
shows from this year.

Vancouver International Wine Festival

The Naramata Bench Pours in Victoria

Okanagan Falls pours in Vancouver.

June 23rd, 2018- A Tour of Saanich !


A Four Stop Stroll through Saanich :


Saanich is that gorgeous stretch of farmland on the drive from the BC Ferry
Docks in Schwartz Bay, Vancouver Island  into Victoria.

The idea for the show was suggested by Corey Wood, transplanted Albertan.

(Corey is the tech/creative director for TRR and MulliganStew the  show and

He kept reminding me that he was surrounded by growers,  farmers, and
artisans who should be recognized.

DeVine wines and spirits, Church and State Winery, the brand new

Deep Cove Winery in North Saanich and the award-winning Sea Cider.

DeVine Wines and Spirits

Ken Winchester  ( DeVine Wines and Spirits)

Ken Winchester

Devine was created by John and Cathy Windsor in 2007 out of a 25-acre piece
of land located in Saanichton on the Saanich Peninsula land. Originally a
grape farm supplying organic grapes to local wineries, the decision was soon
made to open an onsite winery and experiment with various types of grape
varietals to see which ones would thrive.

Early grape varieties included:
Pinot Gris and Noir, along with the Austrian white grape Gruner Veltliner.
The winery has since diversified to include other varietals over the years.
The first vintage was produced in 2009, and today, the farm produces over
2000 cases of wine

Distiller Ken Winchester has been experimenting with turning grapes into a
base spirit for gin and other spirits over the last couple of years. His
philosophy is focused on being a local winery and distillery, using
Vancouver Island ingredients first and wherever possible. The winery’s
grapes are now all grown locally making De Vine’s gins among the few using
island grown ingredients for their base spirit.

Ken Winchester has been a winemaker and distiller for more than 20 years.
Ken studied winemaking at the University of California, then planted
Winchester Vineyards in Paso Robles, California. Back in Canada, Ken
produced award-winning Pinot Noirs, consulted for other Island wineries, was
the first winemaker at Church and State and even came up with the name and
taught viticulture at UBC.

He studied distilling at Michigan State and
apprenticed at Bruichladdich Distillery in Scotland. In 2007 Ken launched
Winchester Spirits, the first distillery on Vancouver Island, and created
the iconic Victoria Gin. Ken has consulted for deVine since its first
plantings, and became its Winemaker & Distiller. deVine produces
terroir-driven, organic spirits including Gins, Whisky, fruit Brandies, and

The great thing about the distillery is it doesn’t  have to pay the bills at
deVine. They  have a successful winery that makes 2,000 cases a year.

We found Ken at deVine is his cellar and barrel room..completely surrounded
by the implements of his craft.

We even had time to talk about his wines as well.

FYI – on this home page you’ll find a video companion to this conversation –
shot & edited  by..wait for it ..Corey Wood



Danica Jeffrey – Church and State Wines

Church and State are right around the corner from deVine wines and spirits.
Frankly, everything is “right around the corner” relatively speaking.

This wonderful vineyard was the dream of former owner Kim Pullen.

Kim was always pushing the wine boundaries in BC.

Being one of the first to locate the winery in Saanich but then bringing his
grapes from the Okanagan.

Hiring  Napa Valley winemaker Bill Dyer, formerly with Burrowing Owl.

Rather than bringing Okanagan grapes to a Vancouver Island winery, in 2008,
Church & State owner Kim Pullen opened a second crush facility in a leased
packing house in the south Okanagan. A second tasting room opened in 2010 on
the winery’s Coyote Bowl Vineyard on Black Sage Road.


The Brentwood Bay winery was launched originally as Victoria Estate Winery.

Church and State  was  named producer of Best Canadian Red Wine six times
since 2009, Best Canadian White blend three times since 2013 and received
countless Gold medals, Best in Class awards and Trophies for both red and
white wines.

Even though I much preferred the original labels..the wine inside is still
classy and very well made.

The surprise is how great the winery and restaurant are as a destination.

I was originally going to be talking to GM Tony Buree but his dentist had
the final say and thus Danica was kind enough to step in front of the
microphone and take his place.



Elyse (Owner/Manager ) & Tasem Ramadan (Owner/Winemaker)  Deep Cove Winery

Pascal Madevon – Vineyard and Winemaking Consultant)  Deep Cove Winery

Elyse and Tasem

This is quite a story..

The original winery was called Muse.


A wonderful young couple,  Elyse and Tasem Ramadan decided to change their
careers and take over this beautiful little winery.  It’s the closest to the
Ferry terminal and right across the street from the iconic Deep Cove Chalet.

Two things needed to change.

The winery has been completely rebuilt and made into a destination for
weddings, meetings and tastings.

The second change? The wines had to be much better and that’s where they
made a wise decision and hired winemaker and consultant Pascal Madevon
(Osoyoos Larose. Culmina)

WoW!  I’m impressed.  With the wines, the winery and the dedication shown by
Tasem and Elyse.

Right out of the June 1st starting gate, this is a winery that could affect
wines made in  Saanich into the future.

But..and it’s a BIG BUT they don’t make very much wine.  Have a listen to
the amounts available.

(I think Tasem said there were 6 cases of a delicious Foch)

Pascal Madevon was saying he hadn’t worked with  Foch since France.

This story was a really nice surprise.  You can find it and them in North





Kristen Needham – Founder and Cidermaster at Sea Cider

Kristen Needham

Kristen  credits her father Jim for first planting the orchard bug in her
when she was a teenager.

Then , like most teens, she took off to see the World.

Kristen decided  to return to the idea 16 years ago. It took her five years
just to set up the operation before she bottled her first batch of cider.
She took a huge risk early on – planting more than 1,300 trees of “inedible”
apples in her orchard.

Sea Cider – Saanich

How difficult is Cider making?  Check this out.

As she told Kim Kalinowski (Medicine Hat News)

“‘Bittersweet’ is a traditional English-style cider. It is made from
Dabinetts and Yarlington Mills apples, and a few other varieties, that are
really unheard of.  They are basically inedible, and you can’t buy them. And
yet, if you are going to make a truly traditional, English-style cider in
North America, you really have to grow those apples yourself.”

Sea Cider is not just a Saanich/Vancouver island success story. Through its
amazing growth and award winning ciders, it has become one of the very best
Canadian success stories. Period.




I’m more than pleased to sit back and let Kristen tell the story. They all
should be this good!

If you’re looking for the nuances of cider..this is the interview for you.

Many of us grew up drinking a horrible sweet juice that was passed off a “a
cider”. THIS is cider the way it was meant to be.  It’s not for everyone but
neither is wine or beer or cocktails.


Final Word.

If you’re making plans to come to Vancouver Island consider spending a day
in Saanich with deVine, Church and State, Deep Cove and Sea Cider.




http://www.saanich.ca/#d=21 <http://www.saanich.ca/#d=21&m=5&y=2018&v=month>


The 16th BC Shellfish festival.  Courtney-Comox

Guests include:

Nathan Fong


Pino Posteraro

Ned Bell

Quang Dang

Lisa Ahia

Sal Howell

Matthias Fong

Sabrine Dhaliwal

Eva Chin

Melissa Craig

Shawn Hall

Rebecca Mackenzie

In conversation about BC’s fishery and their menus PLUS a very special
segment on memories of Anthony Bourdain from friends Tojo, Ned Bell, Pino
Posteraro, Quang Dang, etc.

June 16th, 2018- The Wickaninnish Cookbook and Natural Wines


The World has lost a singular voice and soul Anthony Bourdain.

We’ll start this week’s show by talking to George Sui who, with his Memphis
Blues BBQ partner Park Heffelfinger hosted a sublime after hours gathering
of Vancouver’s best chefs in the Summer of 2002.

Barbara Jo (Barbara Jo’s Books for Cooks) brought Anthony to Memphis
Blues..on Broadway. She also invited Rob Feenie, Tojo, David Hawksworth.
Vikram Vij and others.

They drank, talked , ate and smoked until 2am!

George takes us back to that memorable moment.., and for that we thank him.


The Wickaninnish Cookbook and  trading shots with Jay Drysdale (Bella) & Matt Sherlock (Lock & Worth)




The Wickaninnish Cookbook – Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge

Executive chef Warren Barr and Managing Director Charles McDiarmid

 ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2018: “On the furthest west coast of Vancouver Island, the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, B.C., has been a destination for visitors from around the world since its opening in 1996, the Pointe restaurant a pillar of the town’s flourishing culinary scene. Their first cookbook gathers signature recipes from former and current chefs and focuses on regional techniques and seasonal west coast ingredients.” The Globe & Mail 


Since the Wick first opened in 1996, it has become a destination for travelers attracted by its rustic elegance, warm hospitality, and incredible west coast cuisine. This cookbook highlights the distinctive  dishes (and the stories behind them) that have made The Pointe Restaurant a destination dining experience like no other, and captures the spirit of spectacular natural surroundings, west coast life, and scenic ocean-to-table dining.

Memorable recipes from the Wick are coupled with signature recipes from current and former chefs–Warren Barr, Rod Butters, Matthias Conradi, Mark Filatow, Justin Laboissiere, Duncan Ly, Andrew Springett, and Matt Wilson–and combine cutting edge techniques with fresh, seasonal ingredients, to create a distinctly contemporary, west coast cookbook.

Inside you will find both sophisticated and accessible recipes that speak to the Inn’s longstanding commitment to farm- and ocean-fresh ingredients, and strike a harmonious balance between the bounties of land and sea that surround the Inn. The Wickaninnish Cookbook offers a chance to visit life on nature’s edge, and discover dishes from one of the most prestigious kitchens in Canada.


Guests on Tasting Room Radio are  Charles McDiarmid,  Managing Director  (His family conceived of and built The Wick)

And current Executive Chef Warren Barr.



Matthew SherLOCK and Ross HackWORTH.  Lock and Worth. 

Jay Drysdale and Bella…


Matt Sherlock – Lock & Worth (VanCourier)

 Want to get a sense of BC’s wine future?  Matt and Jay will be a the very front, leading the movement.

Honest, single vineyard wines of time and place – priced for everyday consumption.

Mathew Sherlock

 “We strongly believe that one should be able to drink high quality, single vineyard (non-commodity), small production wines that are priced reasonably from British Columbia. We plan to be around 20 years from now, not by becoming a large company but by creating a sustainable business within our community. For us part of that means making wines that always over deliver

 Sherlock and Hackworth farm organically and work the vineyards by hand whenever possible. They use native yeasts for fermentations, limited sulfur, and a gentle touch that avoids punch downs or pumping over or racking during élevage. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration.

Up the road at Bella, is a winery owned by Jay Drysdale and his wife, Wendy Rose. Bella only makes sparkling wines and only works with Chardonnay and Gamay Noir.

Bella ’s annual production is 2000 cases, split between a vineyard series and a natural series. Each wine in the vineyard series highlights a single grape, from a single vineyard, and single vintage. Dry-farmed and organic vineyards from Kelowna to Kamloops supply the fruit. The natural series uses the same vineyards, plus Bella’s four-acre estate vineyard.


The vineyard series wines are made using the traditional Champagne method, with commercial yeasts and sugar added to the wine to trigger a second fermentation. Jay and Wendy make the natural series wines by pressing whole cluster grapes and allowing wild yeast fermentation to begin in neutral barrels.

No additives, allowing fermentation to finish in the bottle.  This process is called méthode ancestral and Bella is the first winery in western Canada to use it.

The natural process causes some of the bottles to be cloudy.  As Jay has said “Yes, they’re cloudy. Get over it”

Here’s a quote from a go-to wine human Kurtis Kolt in the Georgia Straight

 “Natural wine.  It’s wine made with minimal intervention. This means organic (and sometimes biodynamic) farming (without the use of pesticides and such), naturally occurring ferments with wild yeasts in the cellar, and winemaking without fining, filtration, or manipulation”.












Saanich Tour

Church and State

deVine Wines and Sprits

Sea Cider

Deep Cove (Grand Opening)



BC Shell Fish Festival in Courtney-Comox



June 9th 2018-Top Drop Vancouver Part Two & Chateau Wolff is alive and well




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!



Matt and Natalie Riga  – Chateau Wolff (Nanaimo)

That’s not a typo.  This small winery is tucked into the south facing hills above Nanaimo, Vancouver Island.

If you listen, you’ll hear how this winery was planted by Harry von Wolff in the early 90’s.

When Harry passed away..his vineyard was left to fend for itself but somehow survived over the years.

It now means that Matt and Natt (and daughter Sienna) are now the proud owners of 25 year old vines. Some of the oldest on Vancouver Island. Very small lots but very interesting wines. The Pinot Noir is sublime..if you can get your hands on it.



The Wickinninish Cook Book

Saanich in an hour, featuring

  • deVine
  • Sea Cider
  • Deep Cove (with Pascal Madevon)
  • Church and State.

June 2nd, 2018-Top Drop Vancouver


It’s Top Drop Vancouver 2018   (Part One)




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)


St. Innocent



Stina – Croatia

Wines of Spain

Stories we’re working on:

The Wickinninish Cook Book

Chateau Wolff – 20 year old vines in Nanaimo

BC ShellFish Festival

“Walk around the Neighbourhood” in  Saanich

Church and State/Sea Cider/deVine/Deep Cove



Podcast on iTunes



May 26th 2018- All star chefs with BC ingredients and a Master Class on Boutinot Wines



If you check out the guest list below – you’ll know this will be a busy interesting hour.

We start with Executive Chef David Hawksworth and his Chef du Cuisine Quinton Bennett.

They created a Spring Journey Menu which includes ingredients from all over of and several from Alberta.  We’re talking true local at Hawksworth. The menu features a uniquely illustrated map of the province, which shows the origins of each dish.  The menu also highlights the full flavor potential of our BC.

Spring Journey Menu requires full table participation.  This is a shared experience.

Here’s the menu…Enjoy!!



  • asparagus and ricotta salad prosciutto, grape  22
  • albacore tuna  radish, burnt nori emulsion    24
  • pan roasted scallop  popcorn sweetbread, chanterelle, green apple  26
  • pacific squid   peanut, nashi pear, crispy pork chili vinaigrette  24
  • spring velouté  pickled potatoes, watercress  21
  • foie gras parfait  pear, walnut, brioche  27
  • pork belly  kohlrabi slaw, apple, apricot, chicharrón  25
  • poached pheasant  rhubarb, garlic herb aioli 25


  • chicken breast   ibérico, charred asparagus, buttermilk  42
  • sablefish  barley, black garlic, king oyster mushroom  51
  • yarrow meadows duck breast  beets, horseradish, chamomile, split jus  43
  • pacific halibut  chaga broth, foraged greens  46
  • alberta beef striploin  shortrib croquette, caramelized onion royale, spinach, red wine jus  57
  • lobster tail  squash and mushroom agnolotti, black truffle, hazelnut  49
  • lamb  merguez, lemon yogurt, cauliflower   52

For Two, Sharing:

  • alberta beef ribeye 
  • german butter potato, wild mushroom, bone marrow, green peppercorn, red wine jus  130
  • Spring Journey Menu
  • peas   curd, elderflower
  • prawn   sea vegetable, wild rose
  • smoked salmon  maple, spruce, horseradish
  • pheasant  allium, almond cream
  • bison   pine, nettle, wildberries, carrot
  • chaga   mushroom, chicory
  • rhubarb   wood sorrel


Unsworth pours at Vij’s  (Chris Turyk-Unsworth & Mike Bernardo –Wine Director)

 I don’t believe there’s any tougher wine pairing challenge in Vancouver than Vij’s.

Vikram has repeatedly stated that there are 5 layers of spices in many of his dishes and it takes a brilliant wine director choosing exceptional wines to pair with a wild spiced meal.

Chris Turyk new what he was doing when he and Father Tim brought their new releases in Vij’s last week and poured with Mike’s food choices.

We started with:

  • Charme De L’lle
  • Pinot Gris
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Allegro
  • Rose

2016 Pinot Noir and 2015 Reserve

And I think I saw some Tim Buck wine go by as well.

From the kitchen Mike presented:

  • Mini Mutton Kebabs
  • Sweet Potato and Spiced Ricotta  “cookies”
  • Lamb Popsicles
  • Spiced Cassava Fries
  • Vegetables (Cauliflower, spinach. potato)
  • Vegetable Papri



Boutinot Wines  (Rhone Valley)

(Chief Winemaker Eric Monnin, The Wine Diva plus rep Matt Thirlwell and  Canada Rep Megan Cole)

We met at Ancora Dining and Patio. (Across from Granville Market – foot of Howe St)

Eric Monnin brought with him six wines from his portfolio. (I think he mentions that they now make 20 Million bottles)

Poured on the day were

  • Domaine Boutinot La Fleur Solitaire CDR Blanc
  • The Tea Leaf – (South Africa)  2016
  • Le Petit Chat Malin Rose  2017
  • Domaine Boutinot Les Cerisiers CDR Rose
  • Domaine Boutinot La Cote Sauvage Cairanne CDVR 2014
  • Domaine Boutinot Les Coteaux Schisteaux Seguret CDRV  201

As always Daenna van Mulligen (The Wine Diva) brought her invaluable experience to the table. A very welcomed partner.


Eric was as charming as his wines.


With Eric were Matt Thirlwell from Vintage West and Megan Cole Representative for Boutinot in Canada.  We asked both for an overview on Boutinot – its history and place in the World of Wine



…and finally its friend Chef Ned Bell with insight into the upcoming BC Shellfish Festival in Courtney-Comox.  June 8-17

Ned is all about shellfish sustainability. All you have to do is “just ask him” and off he goes.


An award-winning list of local, national and international celebrity chefs has now been announced for the 12th annual BC Seafood Festival, a 10-day celebration in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, B.C. from Friday, June 8 to Sunday, June 17, 2018.  Tickets to select public events will go on sale starting at 9:00am on Friday, April 13th.

This year the 2018 event is unveiling the next generation of the festival by extending the highly anticipated BC Seafood Festival Signature Weekend to three-days featuring new events and celebrations including celebrity chef demonstrations, award-winning shellfish and seafood tastings, interactive & educational displays, and competitions including the famous Fanny Bay Oyster Shucking Competition and the OceanWise™ Chowder Challenge.  Guests and visitors may purchase a Signature Weekend Day passes to enjoy some of these weekend highlights:

  • Learn to Cook BC Seafood at two different Celebrity Chef Demonstration stages
  • 15+ Seafood Tasting Stations – Meet the Producers and Chefs
  • 15+ BC Craft Beer, Wine and Spirit Tasting Stations
  • Live Music Performances
  • Largest Kids Interactive Zone featuring numerous Touch Tanks and Interactive Displays, and Seafood Cooking Classes, plus the first visit to the Festival by the Vancouver Aquarium AquaVan!

Check out the website below. You won’t believe the list of chefs attending.

It’s like a culinary  all-star game.



 Top Drop Vancouver 2018

At least 15 of the very best winemakers and principals – all in one room.


  • Domaine Taupent-Merme
  • Dtina (Croatia)
  • St.Innocent (Oregon)
  • SpottsWoode  (St Helena)
  • Ridge Vineyards (Cupertino)
  • Yalumba – Barossa (Jane Ferrari)
  • Alpha Box and Dice – (Australia)
  • Blackbird Vineyards (California)
  • Bella Wines ( Naramata)
  • Kurtis Kolt – Organizer.  Co-founder)