If you think you know something about BC Wine but you don’t know who John Schreiner is, then you still have a lot to learn. Wine in BC (and Canada) has not always been as good as it is now. At least a generation of wine drinkers (or maybe two) now does not remember when Canadian wine was the butt of jokes and probably shouldn’t have been consumed by humans before 1994. John saw the potential and began writing about it in the 1970s, publishing his first book about BC wine in 1984. As he says, he was a friend of BC wine when BC wine had no friends.
I first read one of John’s books more than 20 years ago, met him for the first time soon after that, and he’s been an inspiration and a mentor to me for well over a decade. John and I can talk about wine a lot and we both seem to lose track of time. Our affinity for the wines, the industry, and the personalities of the people in that industry seems to drive both of us. It’s always such a joy to get to chat with John.
He’s got a new book of memoirs out now called “Goodgrog: A Life in Wine and Journalism”. It is filled with stories of his vast experiences from growing up in small town Saskatchewan to travelling the world as a journalist. This provides the “terroir” from which Canada’s most prolific wine writer emerges as the author of 19 books about wine in BC and Canada. It’s a truly fascinating read to learn about someone who is more often out of the spotlight than in it. He knows so much about the wine industry in BC but that information only flows one way. Who is this guy? This book answers all of those questions.
It was a beautiful spring day on the back deck at his home in North Vancouver. We began the chat over a beautiful glass of Mirabel Chardonnay and chatting a little about one of his few non-wine books.
This week I chat with Charlotte Messines, who works at Thompson and Scott who produce the Noughty Wines in London, England. Never heard of that winery? Well, they produce a whole line of no-alcohol wines that are really taking off right now. They’ve been on my radar for over a year when I was sent samples while writing The Sipster’s Pocket Guide, volume 2 (which is out now). I was really intrigued by the non-alcoholic category and when I found out that my friend Charlotte was working there, it seemed like a great excuse to catch up AND learn more about non-alcoholic wines. Charlotte has a history in the Okanagan – I met her back in 2018 when she was working at Wild Goose in Okanagan Falls and we have stayed in touch over the past 5 years.
This is the second part of my conversation with Natalie MacLean, one of Canada’s most recognizable wine personalities. Look for her new book, Wine Witch on Fire in bookstores now or order it online through her website. She is offering some juicy bonuses if you buy the book on her website at WineWitchonFire.com. You can also get free companion reader guide with tips for book club discussion questions and organizing an informal wine tasting with friends. This is available at www.WineWitchonFire.com/Guide
Her new book, Wine Witch On Fire – Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much – A Memoir is out now and available everywhere. BUT she is offering some juicy bonuses if you buy the book on her website at WineWitchonFire.com. You can also get free companion reader guide with tips for book club discussion questions and organizing an informal wine tasting with friends. This is available at www.WineWitchonFire.com/Guide
You can also buy it directly from me by sending me an email. Let me know how many you’d like, if you’d like them signed and personalized, and where they are shipping to and we will work something out using e-transfer. Also, if you are in the Okanagan, I can also arrange to personally hand you a copy somewhere. (Now, THAT is customer service!)
DJ Lady of the Mist, aka my friend and occasional musical partner Misty Rose. I’ve known Misty for about 7 or 8 years now and together we form the guitar and flute duet called Pairing Notes. Sadly, it took a long time for us to come up with that name. (For some reason, she didn’t like Flutar, which was one of my suggestions – don’t know why. Weird.) Anyways, Misty and I talk about all kinds of cool things including the disturbing lack of night life in the Okanagan and what wineries can do to help bring it back. She absolutely dazzled the crowd at a winery event last summer and got a lot of people talking because along with spinning tracks, she plays ridiculous flute riffs over top which makes for an amazing performance that you really have to see for yourself.
Blair Gillingham is the winemaker now at Howling Bluff Estate Winery in Naramata but for has been in the wine business since he was a teenager. There aren’t a lot of people in their early 40s who can say that they’ve experience well more than 20 vintages, which he’s done in many countries around the world, which he’ll be talking about. Blair is super down to earth about wine and winemaking. He was a hard-core listener to my old podcast, Wine Country BC back in the day – even remembering things about them that I’d forgotten about. He brought along a couple of tank samples to try as well, which was really cool. Enjoy my chat with Howling Bluff winemaker Blair Gillingham. Cheers!
Wine and social media used to be a classic pairing. Wine enthusiasts found an outlet for their passion and generously shared their experiences on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to share with their friends and learn about others’ experiences at the same time. But something has changed. Is social media still the place for wine lovers to congregate? Is it a constructive and beneficial element in our lives?
This podcast is an exploration of social media as I’ve been observing it in 2023, after 15 years of taking part in it.
Jennifer and Kent Molgat from The View Winery and Vineyard and Ward’s Cider in Kelowna are on the podcast this week! If you have a copy of The Sipster’s Pocket Guide to 50 Must-Try BC Wines, volume 1 – turn to page 108 (reminds me of “Helm to 108!” – if you know what movie that is from, leave a comment below) where you will find the View’s Pinotage Reserve featured there – an amazing wine that they have been growing and making there since they started. It’s kind of a Cinderella wine in that it is underappreciated and nobody really understands just how beautiful it is. AND IT IS! I’ve had it through several vintages over the years and good vintage or bad vintage, it’s always a great wine, which is why I featured it in Volume 1.
I’ve met Jennifer many times over the years but Kent only on the odd occasion. He is a professional broadcaster and so I hope I was able to up my game above being a hack podcaster in his presence. I think I did ok. Thank goodness for editing. We had a great time and probably could have chatted for a lot longer. Hopefully, they will come back again soon.
This week I am delighted to bring you an interview with Tonia McArthur. Although Tonia is trained in with WSET, she has developed a brilliant way to help you score wines that is accessible but without pandering or dumbing anything down. She put it all in a book called “High Five Wine Scoring System”. In this podcast you will hear about what makes it such a brilliant and revolutionary book about wine.
Talking with Tonia was like chatting with a new old friend and I am grateful that she had time to meet up with me. Unfortunately, our recording location at the Beanery Café in Summerland was a little on the noisy side so the audio quality is a little less than stellar for this podcast. My apologies for that. I hope it isn’t too distracting for you when you listen.
“High Five Wine Scoring System” is available at Indigenous World Winery in West Kelowna, JoiRyde Winery at the District Wine Village in Oliver, and other local wineries.
You must be logged in to post a comment.