Averill Creek Vineyard – Crafting Community from Vineyard to Glass

Amazing visit tour and tasting @averillcreek in “The Provence of Canada” 🇨🇦

Enjoyed their great stone terrace and tasting/sales floor hosted by a delightful crew @courtneyg_84 @kaliphilp @marygarcia801

Founded in 2001
MD and Entrepreneur Andy Johnston and partner @wendyjohnston2016
carved out the vineyards and winery on the slopes of Mt. Prevost
118 – 240 meters above Sea Level

Cowichan means “Warm Land” – #FunFact the area is located in Canada’s only Maritime Mediterranean climatic zone.

New plantings of Chenin Blanc and Gamay (yay!) will broaden the range of varietals

Will be very interested in what @averillcreek winemaker Brent Rowland @brenowino creates next
with his low-intervention, craft wines proving themselves wine community favourites.
From vineyard to glass.

Go visit! You will be very glad you did.

Represented and distributed by @masseywines available direct from the winery, at select private retailers and thoughtfully curated restaurant lists near you.

#wine #Cowichan #CowichanValley #vancouverisland #canada #joue #somenos #charmedelile #rosé #sparkling #blackberry #pinotgris #pinotgrigio #pinotnoir #gewurztraminer #foch

#❤️gamay #cheninblanc #winery #vineyards #coolclimate #maritimeméditerranée #aspect #acid #site #freshness #honest #southeastfacing #CraftingCommunity #vineyardtoglass

Drink Well! Culinaire Magazine’s Finest Italian Liquor Store Selection 2020

Culinaire Magazine Finest Italian Liquor Store Selection British Columbia 2020

We are very honoured to win the Gold Award for CulinaireMagazine’s Finest Italian Liquor Store Selection British Columbia 2020 at The Village Liquor Store, West Vancouver.

As the world’s 5 largest export market for Italian wines, Canada clearly has a crush on Italy.

There is no one way with Italian wine. Italy is deep and highly diversified and in its modern infancy. Italian wine is simultaneously ancient and futuristic! You see that reflected in our selections of producers, broad regional representations, focussed on less travelled denominations and incredible comfort in offering you something varietally exotic and “I never heard of…”

The Pandemic has changed how wine influencers, sommeliers and wine pros interact with guests. Some have gone virtual with Zoom or other platforms, others digital with online stores, all the while brick & mortar retailers like us have been somm-ing every damn day since March.

With significantly more time and money being spent on in-home dining and enotaining, retailers more than ever are the in person go to’s for wine culture connections. We like to say (while physically distanced and wearing masks of course) that “We sell knowledge as much as wine, and pleasure, and human contact” 

We have gone out of our way to curate an affordable “Bere Bene” Italian selection of organic, biodynamic, vegan, sustainable and natural wines that include sparkling, pet-nat, refermented in bottle, metodo ancestrale and col fondo offerings. Our efforts are supported by a diverse younger clientele and the wine curious of all ages. We engage our patrons with in-person one on one caring wine guidance that connects our audience with the wines story, back to the land, the culinary culture and the people that created it.

Amari, Vini, Vermouth and Vivace

Informative, descriptive, and entertaining shelf talkers unleash a “Silent Sales Force” for those who prefer to self shop. We reinforce our attention getters with social media posts that provide deeper narratives with the aim making fun + funky wine culture more accessible, approachable, and digitally shareable.

We wish you good health now and into the future.

🙏🏼 #gratitude

Drink well my friends.

Celebrating World Lambrusco Day – June 20th

Lambrusco is a mosaic of identities, with different souls. Traditional, yet paradoxically little known. Join me on a tasting journey as we discover true Lambrusco.

If you haven’t tried artisan craft Lambrusco you should and here’s why:

The resurgence of artisan and craft production provides a wide range of styles to explore that are cuisine friendly.

Lambrusco is a family of grapes mostly grown in Emilia-Romagna where iconic Italian cuisines originate – Salumi, Parmesan Cheese, Parma Ham, Balsamic Vinegar, Mortadella, Bolognese, Tortellini, Lasagna and Gnocco Fritto.

What grows together goes together.

Types of Lambrusco:

Lambrusco di Sobara (Modena) – most famous, abundant, most fragrant (wild violets), lightest in colour
Lambrusco Salamino – appearance salame, abundant, ‘best’ combination of grace & fragrance, power & body
Lambrusco Grasparossa (Castelvetro,Reggio-Emilia) – considered one of highest quality, ripener, deep colour
Lambrusco Maestri (Parma) – hardy, fruity creamy, appealing, deepest black/purple colour, complex


Medici Ermete ‘Phermento’ Lambrusco Metodo Ancestrale
Fermentation: refermented in-bottle
Varietal: Lambrusco di Sobara
Tasting note: opaque-y, pinky, layered with bright red fruits mixed with tree fruit puree, earthy, complex and totally engaging
Price: est $43 CDN

Villa di Corlo 2016 (DRY) Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro D.O.C.
Fermentation: in-tank ‘Martinotti’ method
Varietal: Grasparossa di Castelvetro
Tasting note: deep, dark, DRY, blackberry jam, iris florals, slightly tannic, a Modena classic
Price: est $27 CDN

Rinaldini ‘Vecchio Moro’ Lambrusco dell’Emilia I.G.T.
Fermentation: metodo classico
Varietal: 85% Lambrusco Grasparossa, 10% Ancellotta, 5% Marzemino
Tasting note: “the champagne of Lambrusco”, dry, deep purple fruits, cacao, red berries, firm frothy with a tight pearl
Price: est $40 CDN

As we celebrate #WorldLambruscoDay think about Lambrusco when you’re planning your summer picnics and celebrations!


Until next time, you’ll find me where wine is always on duty and needs to make a good impression.


#RealLambrusco #LambruscoSecco #WorldLambruscoDay2020 #SilenceoftheLambruscos #MetodoAncestrale #wine

Cornucopia@Whistler 2019

Join the fun at Cornucopia, Whistler’s perennial celebration of food and drink, November 7-17, 2019.

I’ll be your wine guide at these drink seminars – hope to see you there!

Love Gamay (click to buy tickets)

Winemakers in British Columbia and Oregon are embracing the sensual charms of this delicious red wine. Gamay has been gaining in popularity, getting increased attention and presence on retail shelves and restaurant wine lists. It even has its own hashtag #GoGamayGo.  Tyler Dawson leads this stand-up seminar tasting a range of Gamay from the Pacific Northwest, highlighting the character of this grape and why it’s fan base is growing. Sunday, November 10th, 4:00 – 5:00 pm.

Silence of the Lambruscos (click to buy tickets)

Emilia-Romagna is a regional gastronomic powerhouse and Lambrusco – sparkling red wines of this region – are a perfect match for the iconic and expansive cuisine.  Lambrusco’s characteristic frizzante fizz and high acidity shout ‘refreshing and food-friendly’. Tyler Dawson leads this stand-up guided tasting of Lambrusco is paired with Emilia-Romagna DOP delicacies. Sunday, November 10th, 2:30 – 3:30 pm.

Top Value Wines (click to buy tickets)

This annual seminar is devoted to wines that offer exceptional quality at a range of price points.  Daenna Van Mulligen, Tyler Dawson, and Rachelle Goudreau will share their recommendations for great value bottles, and guests will taste a selection of their top picks.  A great way to discover your next go-to favourite. Saturday, November 9th, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm.

Craft Beer for Wine Lovers (click to buy tickets)

Finally, a blind date you’ll actually enjoy!  This annual seminar introduces wine drinkers to complementary beer styles, and vice versa.  Love dry Rieslings?  An India Pale Ale can have some of the same characteristics.  Wild about Witbier?  Try an aromatic Gewurz.  Tyler Dawson and Ken Beattie lead an eye-opening guided tasting that will give you new appreciation for how the other half live. Saturday, November 16th, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm.

Tune in for future posts that include selections from these seminars.

Until next time, you’ll find me where wine is always on duty and needs to make a good impression.


Recommendations for your Summer Wine Play List

Like music, wine selections are influenced by mood and occasion, culture and personality.  And just like a good music playlist, my handful of recommendations are intended to expand your wine experience and share it with others.

Today’s wine groove: light, bright, sparkling, natural, wild, white, rose & red.

The wines mentioned below are available in British Columbia mainly through private retail stores, select restaurants and direct from the winery for BC wines.

Summer Wines June 2019 (2)

Sparkling wine is a go-to wine for celebrations big and small and is incredibly versatile when considering cuisine pairings.  Here are two sparkling wines worthy of inclusion in your summer sparkling repertoire:

Nichol Vineyards Extra Brut Rosé

In honour of Canada’s 152nd birthday on July 1st, “Canada Day”, this is a stand-out sparkling wine from Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, BC, made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Delightful acidity, red berries, rhubarb and biscuits.  Est. $31

Medici Ermete Phermento Frizzante Secco Rosé

This sparkling Italian wine is made from 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara grapes in Metodo Ancestrale style, fermented in bottle with no disgorgement.  Its cloudy pink hue, rich frothiness and crisp acidity reflect the diversity of Lambrusco wine styles. Layered with bright red fruits mixed with tree fruit purée, this earthy and complex wine is wonderfully engaging. Est $37

White:  Kitsch Block Party 2018

A party in a glass. This white wine from Kelowna, BC, is a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir grapes.  Dry, delicately aromatic, orchard fruits and citrus.    Est. $25

Rose:  Domaine Vacheron VdF Le Rosé XVII 2017

This vin de France is a rosé made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, is Demeter Certified Biodynamic, whole cluster, direct pressed, wild fermented, and four months in tank.  Complex, structured with pinot crunch, crisp and dry.  Food friendly with its delicate tannic structure. Charcuterie anyone? Est $60

Red:  Viña Ilusión ‘Prana’

A tempranillo from Rioja, Spain. Organic, carbonic macerated, wild fermented crushable tempranillo juice, this Joven style wine has fresh, juicy and broad tender fruit.  Think summer strawberries and cherries.  Est $29

Red:  Rust Wine Co. Gamay 2018

Winemakers in BC are having a go at Gamay and Rust Wine Co, from the Similkameen Valley, BC, has a stand-out. Wild fermentation, partial whole cluster, 1/3 carbonic maceration and aged in stainless steel produces a ripe yet fresh style.  Spicy aromas and flavours of peppercorns, strawberry jam, Bing cherry, chipotle and classic Similkameen earthiness, and bright acidity. It’s a versatile food wine – think Pacific salmon with grill marks, charcuterie or just slightly chilled on a deck with a view.  Est. $25

Red:  G.D. Vajra 2018 Claré J.C. Langhe DOC Nebbiolo 

Wow! This wine is ancient and futuristic at the same time.

Claré J.C. is a Nebbiolo made according to a 1606 note from the House of Savoia jeweller Gian Battista Croce. This wine is a time-capsule into an era when Nebbiolo wines tasted fresher, lifted and slightly crisp. If you’re young-at-heart, brave and curious about Piemonte’s forgotten past, this is a wine for you.  100% Nebbiolo, 1/5 whole cluster, partial carbonic, finished in stainless.  A sensory thrill ride, slightly hazy, pale ruby red, crushed cranberries, Twizzlers, white pepper, red florals.  Est $40

Stay tuned for news about my upcoming seminars:  Love Gamay and Silence of the Lambruscos.

Here’s hoping these recommendations inspire you to expand your summer wine groove. If you’re up for sharing what’s on your summer wine play list, we’d love to hear it. Drop us a comment below.

Until next time,



#summerwinerecommendations #wine #sparklingwine #canadaday #bcwine #similkameenvalleywine #staffpick #amazingrosé #roséallday #rosé #organicwine #biologique #rioja #lambrusco #piedmonte #nebbiolo #naturalwine  #GoGamayGo #tempranillo #bcgamay  #demeter #nicholvineyards #mediciermete #stilebrands #kitschwines #selectwinemerchants #viñailusión #sedimentarywines #rustwine #bacchusgroup #giuseppe_gdvajra #altus_wines

Wine is a thirsty business if knowledge is your thing

Having a growth mindset can be especially rewarding in the wine universe, and some would say this is particularly true as we strive to know more about the complexities, civility and celebration of Italian wine and culture.

I’ve been fortunate to visit Italy on a half dozen or so missions, to VinItaly as well as various specific regions.  Being in wine country, meeting with winemakers “in situ” is the best classroom – but not the only one – to peel back the many layers of Italian wine and culture.

I’ve had my eye on Italian Wine Central for a few years – I’ve always been impressed by their content and generosity as an open source for knowledge.  In January, I enrolled in their Italian Wine Professional (IWP) course to expand and refresh my understanding of Italian wine. During the course, I came to realize that Vino Santo is a rabbit hole not fully illuminated in our information age. So, I gathered what I could from my own experiences as well as multiple other sources on Vino Santo. The result is the focus of this blog post, an abstract from my IWP presentation.  (To hear more from me about the IWP course, please read the end note.)

Vino Santo:  a famous and fascinating Italian dried grape wine

vin santo elegant image

Vino Santo or Vin Santo, also known as “Holy Wine” or “Saints’ Wine”, has a long and storied history.  Its significance is that Vino Santo carries a unique and diverse identity in the Italian wine context depending on where you are in Italy.

  • Vino Santo reflects the historical and cultural heritage that is essentially Italy.
  • It’s directly tied to ancient religious practices and ceremonies of the Catholic church.
  • It predates modern Italian wine law.
  • Vino Santo defied capture by definition in any one particular wine law in any one specific region until 1997.
  • 29 separate DOC exist in almost half the provinces of central and northern Italy. *
  • One origin story of the name Vin Santo comes from the Greek island of Santorini, which the EU recognised as home of dried grape wine in 2002.
  • Passito – or appassimento – is the name of the air-drying process and is borrowed from the Greeks, and is derived from Passum, the raisin wine made in ancient Carthage (Tunisia)

* A list of the provincial DOC and their disciplinare will appear in a future post.

Prior to 1997, Vino Santo was only permitted as Vino da Tavola in Italy, which is significantly different than its current multitude of DOC designations.

Provinces that produce Vino Santo include Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and Trentino.  No other DOC wine comes close to matching the pan-provincial scope of this Holy wine. Tuscany is the most prolific province with 22 Vino Santo DOC not including the sub-zones or Riserva designations. For a place with zero wine law for Vino Santo prior to 1997, Tuscany has sure made up for lost time.

Style, Colour, Sweetness and Quality

Vino Santo can vary widely depending on grape varieties and production methods. While white grapes, such as Trebbiano and Malvasia in Tuscany, are most widely used, red grape varieties, such as Sangiovese, can be used to produce a rosé style wine. When red grape varieties are used, the wine is often labelled as Occhio di Pernice, which has its own DOC classification in several regions of Italy.

Sweetness levels vary from dry secco to off-dry abboccato, to the more common semi-sweet amabile, to very sweet dolce.   The wines can also be fortified with grape spirit added during fermentation, like Port or Rivesaltes. These fortified examples are labelled as Vino Santo Liquoroso.


The colour of wine can range from a pale to dark amber to even neon orange.  Various levels of oxidation from different aging requirements and practices develop different levels of rancio (nutty) and other volatile aromas and flavours.

Drying processes for Vino Santo are either on or off the vine, indoors on mats or carriages or tied together and hung from rafters. This is distinctly different from the heat-soaked southern Italian practice of dehydrating outside on mats in the direct sun.

Some Vino Santo winemaking traditions use a madre (mother sediment), like sourdough bread, for fermentation.

 Pravis Vin Santo Arèle – one of the world’s greatest sweet wines


(photo credit Tyler Dawson @ VinItaly)

My tasting notes:  mesmerizingly good sweet wine with flavours of peach, pineapple, lime, white flowers, hazelnuts, almond paste, tropical fruit jelly, and vibrant fresh acidity with rich complex viscosity and sweetness. Long, persistent and crescendo finish with the high acidity. Pictured here with a Colomba di Pasqua, a dove-shaped Easter Cake similar to Panettone with candied peel and pearl sugar. This is a classic pairing especially served around Easter Week.  Vino Santo is also commonly enjoyed with biscotti.

A very rare gem of a wine that is bound to raise your spirits and quite likely to readjust your perspective on how amazingly alive Vino Santo can taste.

Additional Information:

Winery: Pravis
Region: Trentino
Denominazione: Trentino DOC Vino Santo
Varietal: Nosiola
Winery Special Name: Arèle
Vintage: 2005

This particular wine owes its name to its production process: the Nosiola grapes are left to dry on special wooden racks called “arèle” up to their crushing period, which is carried out during the Settimana Santa (Holy Week). The mosto (juice) so obtained is fermented and remains for at least three years in oak barrels that get topped up to reduce excessive oxidation.

It is produced using Nosiola grapes, a prized and exclusive variety to Trentino. Only the loose straggly clusters are selected, that is the bunches with large, distanced berries and sufficiently ripe to ensure a high sugar content.

While the grapes are left to dry on racks, noble rot or in Italian, muffa nobile (Botrytis cinerea) will concentrate and impart the distinctive honeycomb aroma and taste it is prized for. The combined action of time, air and noble rot on the grapes result in a 50 to 80% weight loss: this means that with 100 kg of fresh grapes, yield only 15-18 litres of nectar for making Vino Santo. After crushing the grapes, the must is separated from the sediment, decanted and racked into small oak barrels. Here natural fermentation begins, which will progress very slowly because of the high sugar content.

The wine is aged for a minimum of 50 months. The annual production of Trentino DOC Vino Santo is generally not over 50 thousand bottles per year.

Grazie mille. Thank you for sharing my interest in Vino Santo. For client appreciation, education, market entry and program strategies, please contact me here.

Until next time,


To date, there are about 330 certified Italian Wine Professionals (IWP) internationally.  I was very pleased with the curriculum, the dialogue, the exam and my result – IWP, Honors designation.  There are many learning options available for anyone interested in advancing their Italian wine knowledge. Contact me if you’d like to hear more about my recommendations.

Research sources for this article include:





#Vino Santo #driedgrapewine #Holywine #Italianwine #dessertwine #sweetwine #passito #apassimento

What’s in an acronym? WX meets CX.

I’m excited to connect and align with organizations who have a real focus on CX. CX is the de facto acronym for Customer Experience, an intentional strategy and integrated process that aims to provide clients with consistent meet-and-exceed experiences when they interact with you. Kapow!

Education and entertainment through shared experiences – and with a relevant takeaway – is where Tythewineguy ‘enotainment’ fits into this story. Since wine, food and culture are all common interests, weaving them together in a client event creates magic. Think enriched connections and shareable stories.

For years clients have put their trust in me and value the expertise I bring to compliment their in-house teams and support their engagement initiatives through what I’ll call WX – aka Wine Experience.

Here’s a snapshot of recent events to get you thinking about adding WX to your CX mix.

Natural Born Thrillers – aka the natural wine movement


Working with this international professional services firm for many years on their tech sector client events is a delight. A forward-looking and innovative approach to wine themes and selections align with the DNA of this group. Curating and animating a range of organic, biodynamic and natural wines is definitely on trend and provided more than a few ta-dah moments for the 130 guests.

French Pop Classics

billaud bottle

When this luxury real estate company wanted to take their agents wine knowledge to the next level for the benefit of their clients, we looked no further than Chablis.  Chablis is the archetype of cool climate Chardonnay, an iconic French wine and place that is revered not only in Paris but around the world.  The outcome of this tightly curated experiential tasting for 25 was increased knowledge and understanding of the different tiers of Chablis, and an appreciation for the weight, concentration and majesty that is Premier Cru and Grand Cru Chablis.

Outtake:  Billaud-Simon 2014 Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre and Billaud-Simon 2013 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos

If you want your CX to include WX, then I’d love to connect and curate an experience uniquely tailored to your client needs.

Until then.


#naturalwine #chablis #winetasting #guestenrichment #cx #customerexperience #wineexperience #tadah #wineguide #winepro #wineseminar #wineeducation

You appreciate. They appreciate. Happy Holiday Wine Gifting.

Wine:  it’s an experience and you can wrap it.

Wine retains its rightful place as a gift-of-choice during the holiday season for both giver and receiver. It’s personal, shareable, celebratory and ceremonial, and compliments and enhances any culinary experience. Wine appreciates (if you’re patient and cellar it for another day) and it is a gift of appreciation.

Many of my clients engage me to navigate the vast wine world for them and curate a selection of unique wines that reflect their appreciation for their clients, employees and business partners during the holidays and throughout the year – as well as their own personal requirements for entertaining and cellaring.

You’ll find me where wine is always on duty and needs to make a good impression.

Best wishes for a festive holiday season and a happy new year.



Cornucopia@Whistler, Nov 2018

Looking forward to another year as a presenter at Cornucopia, Whistler’s signature food + drink event.

You’ll find me at these seminars – hope to see you there!

Top Value Wines;

Cabernet Franc: From best-supporting player to leading role;

Chenin Blanc:  Live with style, age with grace;  and

Craft Beer for Wine Lovers


In Vino Veritas

The truth is there is no one way with wine. 

My journey has and continues to lean to experiential learning driven by curiosity and context.   This means face-to-face time with winemakers, wine families, wine exporters, wine consortiums and wine import agents….attendance at global wine events, on trade buying missions, and more.  I’ve also been influenced by many luminaries, past and present, who’ve contributed their knowledge and inspiration through literature (that’s a future blog post).

The over 100 thousand wine enthusiasts I’ve met, face-to-face, to this point in my career in fine wine retail and hospitality, whether they’re consumers, clients or any of the people mentioned above, have shaped my knowledge and understanding.

My wife and many of our friends enjoy wine, wine country, wine culture and cuisine. They’re curious and they want a story. Lucky me.

This is my way with wine.

What’s yours?