Vegan Wine: Wait…what?!

Weird but true: not all wine is vegan. Yes, you read that correctly. But how can a product made of fruit not be vegan you ask? Well, it’s not a matter of the fruit but instead a winemaking process! Sediment is a natural result of the winemaking process. At some point all wine will have sediment in it, it’s up to the winemaker to choose if they want to leave the sediment in the wine or if they’d rather remove the sediment by way of filtering and fining. If they choose to remove the sediment they can either pursue one of two options. The first is a more prolonged process of letting the wine rest in a vessel, naturally and slowly the sediment will settle in at the bottom. If time is of the essence, then winemakers can accelerate the process by fining the wine – and this is where a wine can lose vegan status. Fining wine often (but not always) involves the use of animal by-products like isinglass (fish-based gelatin product), gelatin, egg whites or casein therefor rendering the wine non-vegan. These products will bind to the very fine sediment making it much easier to filter out both the sediment and the fining agent. Just make things more complicated, animal by-products are not always used, and there are other options for winemakers to use like bentonite. But as with many things wine, the information isn’t always readily available on the label. If you’re vegan and you choose to pursue drinking only vegan wine, here are some tips: – Look for wine labelled as Vegan (aren’t we helpful!), usually found...

Wine & Chip Pairings

Move over wine and chocolate – you were never really that good together anyway – wine and chips are here and they’re a pair built to last. Before the pairings, there is one thing that needs mentioning, the only rule I would apply to such pairings. Though it’s particularly relevant to wine and chip pairings (cue greasy fingers) it should be a rule that is applied at all times. I urge you to take this oath: “I solemnly swear that when pairing wine and chips, I will use stemmed wine glasses and hold said glass by the stem – greasy, chip residue laden wine glasses are gross.” Now, with no further ado – five of my favourite wine and chip pairings. Zinfandel & BBQ This was the first magical moment of wine and chip pairings for me – it’s opened so many delicious doors, even sparking this blog! A nice, big, juicy Lodi (California) Zin and specifically Old Dutch BBQ chips is a match made in heaven. Spicy, fruity – everything I want in a contrasting pairing. Sauvignon Blanc & Dill Pickle For this pairing I lean to either Italian Sauvignon Blanc (Feudi di Romans) or Loire (Wally). Both have great acidity and that classic freshness but the herbaceous characters that you may be used to in New Zealand Sauv Blanc is toned way down. Champagne & Plain If you’re a wine geek or a chip aficionado and you haven’t enjoyed this pairing all I have to ask is, what are you waiting for!? A classic harmony – salty, bubbly and mineral driven. Caution: also a little addictive… Pinot...

What’s Up in the Vineyard: Winter Edition

Think all is quiet in the vineyards? Think again! Vines may appear to be quietly resting under a blanket of snow, but there is more than meets the eye! Working in the vineyard during the winter definitely doesn’t seem as glamorous as the summer, but the winter work done by the vines and cold hands is of the utmost importance to the upcoming vintage. First of all, the vines will go into a sort of hibernation mode. They’re worked hard all spring, summer and into fall to produce fruit and now they need a rest and prepare for winter. Now vines aren’t totally like bears and just hit snooze for a couple of months, things are happening under the surface.  Before they can settle in for the winter freeze, a process called root flush is underway. Vines are sending out small offshoots of roots to get nutrients and water to survive the winter. Vines have a quite remarkable ability to resist freezing thanks to this process! The vines aren’t doing all the work either, a careful process called winter pruning is also underway by careful vineyard workers. The winter prune lays the foundation for the upcoming vintage, before a breath of spring is even in the air. It’s during this time that yield management begins. If there are too many buds left on the vine that can result in too much fruit, which may not allow enough nutrients to spread around so the fruit is poor. Alternatively – not enough buds and there may not be enough fruit. You may be asking, why winter prune? Well, if it’s too...

Why I Don’t Do “Dry January”

Let me first preface this by saying: this isn’t some kind of declaration suggesting that excessive drinking, drinking more than you’re comfortable with, or for that matter, that drinking at all is cool. There is absolutely nothing wrong with periods of sobriety, or total sobriety. But I do drink and I don’t believe in dry months, here’s why. We’ve all been there, hearing about a great new cleanse or some trendy new diet – most of us have tried at least one of them. If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried to entirely restrict something from your diet for an extended period of time anticipating some ah-mazing results. But any time I did that, I found myself miserable and craving the things I “wasn’t allowed” even more than normal. I’d either cave and just quit four days in, or miserably slog through the time and then as soon as I was “allowed” to enjoy something again, I’d totally overdo it. Restriction followed by indulgence just entirely defeats the purpose! So if you’re just going to down a bottle of wine on the first night of February, was it really worth it? So what do I do instead? Some of you know I’m a competitive powerlifter (if not, you can read all about that here, if you’re interested). What powerlifting and a career in wine has taught me is that everything is better in balance and moderation. I’ve worked hard to have a good relationship with food, and as a hazard of the job, I have to have a good balance with alcohol too. I absolutely believe there is the...

Best Brunch Pairings

You know you’re an adult when you brunch harder than you party – or at least that’s the case for my friends and I. It’s no breaking news story that life is busy so what used to be a regular Friday night with too many hi-balls and late night pizza has turned into yoga pants clad brunches at home. So in honour of our annual tradition, “Brunchmas”: here’s 4 of my favourite brunch worthy bottles and killer pairings. Nova 7 and French Toast As far as brunch goes, this is really the quintessential wine! Nova 7 is an aromatic, lower alcohol (7%), slightly effervescent, perfectly sweet wine made in Nova Scotia! Pair it with French Toast and bask in the deliciousness that is sweetness with the perfect splash of refreshing acidity. Nova 7, $28 Pinot Noir and Duck Confit Waffles This is one of Nathalie’s favourites – so if you try it, thank her! I’m constantly struggling to decide between sweet or savoury dishes at brunch and this is the best of both worlds, besides duck is just delicious. Like the dish, this wine is like a happy crossover of earthy Burgundy roots meeting a plush Oregon fruit to make you one unbelievably delicious pairing. Try Perroud Bourgogne Confidences, $33 Rosé and Grown Up Grilled Cheese Full disclosure: we’re not against a classic grilled cheese, but to class it up for brunch we like to opt for fancier cheeses. Try Gruyere, Mozza, Gouda or better yet – just go to Peasant Cheese and put yourself in their capable hands, grab some Sidewalk Citizen bread while you’re at it! Pair...


Whites with snappy acidity and vibrant flavours that will awaken your senses

Our crisp whites offer lovely refreshing acidity and a nice citrus punch; these wines will revive you and make you feel like you’re enjoying fresh fruit in an orchard in the middle of July. Think about of the last time you were out somewhere in the heat of the summer; one of those days when the pavement was melting, the paint was peeling off buildings and all you could think about was how badly you wanted something to quench your thirst. When you stumbled onto a lemonade stand and took that first sip, you were cured.

We can’t say our wines will cure dehydration but they are a great option while you’re enjoying patio weather.



You’ll find varietals like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Riesling and Vinho Verde and more!



Loved for their understated qualities these whites are beautiful and exotic

Talking about mellow wine is like talking about a classic film star. She’s a lady with international acclaim and classic appeal. Mellow wines don’t jump up and down screaming for attention; instead they prefer to lure you in with their quiet charm and feminine wiles. Swirling a nice Viognier or Pinot Gris is all about soft, intricate and attractive flavours that might make you think about your favourite perfume, stepping into a flower shop or leaving a patisserie where they’ve just taken almond pastries out of the oven. This is Sophia Loren in a glass.



If you enjoy varietals like Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer or Chenin Blanc you’ll love this style!



Whites that ask to be a muse. This is Claude Monet’s water lilies’ in a wine glass.

Lavish and luxurious wines with all the razzle-dazzle. Think about the things in life that make you feel like you’re living large. Imagine yourself wearing layers of pearl necklaces, leading a ticker tape parade, eating popcorn laced with truffle oil and lounging on the king bed of the Ritz Carlton penthouse all at the same time. Lush wines are what we drink when we’re feeling on top of the world and when we want to celebrate life. This is 4th of July fireworks and the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve all rolled into one beautiful gold package. Bottoms up!



Varietals like Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier are found here.



Ruby reds with a timeless style and appeal; wines that will never go out of fashion.

Elegant reds ask you to dig a bit deeper. Some people enjoy them for the romantic ideas they conjure while others enjoy the subtle nuances that each bottle possesses. We can’t think of a better way to describe elegant reds than talking about Coco Chanel. Think about No. 5, the little black dress or the most importantly the iconic Chanel suit, a true couture item that is well lined, carefully crafted and something that will always be in vogue. An elegant wine is like a nice stroll along the promenade in the seaside town of Biarritz or a day at the ballet in red maillot.



Here you’ll find Pinot Noirs, Gamays, Chiantis and more!



Reds that are pleasant from start to finish

Supple and velvety, smooth reds are a real crowd pleaser; something that everyone loves. Like a popular jazz standard, the best way to sum up these wines is to think about hearing Miles Davis on vinyl. Everyone has heard those tunes and when the horns come in on the track you can’t help but connect over the sheer universal joy in hearing something so incredibly smooth and pleasing to the senses. Miles Davis was one cool dude and that’s how we feel about the wines in this section. You’ll feel like you’re slipping on a new pair of driving gloves every time you pour yourself one.



Varietals such as Grenache, Merlot and mouth-watering blends can be found here.



Our deepest most complex reds; these wines make a statement

Full and flavourful with an intense fruit core, these reds are the talk of the town. Bold wines have an intensity about them that not only commands your presence but also asks you to stay a while. Pretend for a minute that Clint Eastwood has just walked into a bar, stared at you for a long hard second and proceeded to put out a cigar out on his forearm before challenging you to an arm wrestle. You’re heart might skip a beat but you’ll be happy that you tried it. That arm wrestle might be one of the best things you ever do in your life. That’s how we describe a bold wine.



Food friendly varietals like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are right at home here.



There’s nothing quite like hearing that cork pop!

Call us crazy but the sound of a cork being popped just makes everything better. Headaches dull, clouds seem to part and even the sound of crying children can be drowned out by the wonderful thought that you’ll soon have a stem in hand and an effervescent treat to tickle the end of your nose. A glass of bubbly just spells a plain good time. It might be a celebratory drink with friends, an excuse to get all gussied up for a fabulous night out or it might just be a date with the couch to watch Sex and the City re-runs solo.



Here you’ll find everything from Champagne to Cava, Prosecco, Lambrusco and everything in between!



Wines made with a little extra TLC

What are you going to find in this section? You’re going to find late harvest nectar, ice wines, delectably sweet Rieslings and 5 puttonyos worth of sweetness. And why are you going to love these wines? The grape juice that you’ll find in our Rich section took a lot of extra TLC to make the transition from vine to glass and can be used to make some of the most magnificent food and wine pairings known to man. We just have 3 words for you: Oysters and Sauternes.



This style houses dessert wines like Sauternes, Ice Wine and Tokaji.



Simple and Straightforward

When you think of simple and uncomplicated you can’t help but think of a guy in his college freshmen year. The beers that we’ve categorized as Clean are straightforward and unassuming with bright flavours and not too much complexity. You’ll enjoy these beers more than a keg stand and find them to be about as fresh as a 19 year-old guy at an all girl frat party. Big time!



Light and easy, simple Lagers, Pilsners & Blonde Ales.



Find your zen on our beer wall

Life Coaches and self-help books will tell you that balance is the key to a happy life. That may true but when we’re talking about a balanced style of beer we’re talking about the merits of a good pale ale with well integrated hop and malt flavours. Balanced beers won’t help you understand the deeper meaning of life but they’re still worth sampling for their easy-drinking quality. Take that Deepak Chopra!



Brews such as Brown Ales, Red Ales, Cream Ales, Black Lagers & Dunkels.



For your fun side, beers not meant to be taken too seriously

There is fruity like the Village People and there is fruity like wonderfully citrus kissed Hefeweizen, warm kirsch Belgians and bubbly orchard fruit ciders. While there is no denying the fun of disco and flamboyant cowboys, our Fruity section will give you options to keep you singing and dancing all year long. This is an amiable selection to accompany garden time, dinner parties and of course they pair wonderfully with dessert.



If you’re after a Cider, Radler or any fruit infused brew, you’ll find it here alongside Wheat beers.



The safe way to have an intense experience…

Here’s a short list of things that are truly intense: squirrel suit jumping, big wave surfing and the insane ramblings of Gary Busey. While our Intense selection of beers could be described as big and loud, they certainly won’t lead to death on impact, shark attacks or being verbally abused on Celebrity Apprentice. You’ll love the IPAs and scrumptious Trapist ales. Gary agrees.



Some like it hopped! Here you’ll find IPAs, DIPAs, Trappist brews, Sours & Barleywines.



Beer that leaves an impression

Powerful, sturdy and strapping are all great words to describe the Robust section. Everything you find here possesses strong brawny flavours that leave a lasting impression. Just think back to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s version of Conan the Barbarian; despite the horrifically bad acting that comes with those 80s classics we just can’t help but love the brute force and thick accent. Conan would call you an infidel for drinking anything else.



Home to heartier brews like Stouts and Porters & some Barrel Aged offerings.



We have many amazing wines in our online shop.

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Effortless and exhilarating in any season

It’s undeniable, Rosé is in vogue. It’s enjoying a renaissance following the White Zinfandel craze that swept North America in the 70’s. Today, Rosé is the queen bee. Rosé is your ever fashionable friend. It’s the timeless accessory you can turn to in any season. In the spring it’s like wearing peeptoe shoes on a warm day. In the summer, a breezy dress. In the fall it’s the perfect boots and in the winter, a cozy knit scarf.



Rosés are the product of a myriad of varietals, some of the most common are: Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cinsault.