“You would have to drive 6,023km from Alderlea Winery (Vancouver Island) to Domain de Grand Pré (Nova Scotia) to experience the side by side tasting that we are starting this Masterclass with!” With these intriguing words, Carl Boucher (Carl’s Wine Club) set the stage for an unforgettable evening celebrating Canadian wines from coast to coast. The atmosphere was filled with excitement as over 60 attendees gathered to embark on a sensory journey through 11 Canadian wineries, their stories, and the passion behind their creations.
In a span of just under 3 hours, a diverse group of wine novices, enthusiasts, and industry veterans got to witness the passion and dedication from panellist such as Richard da Silva (Da Silva Vineyards & Winery – Naramata BC), whose family started farming on the Naramata Bench in 1959 after immigrating from Portugal; and from Brian Schmidt (Vineland Estates Winery – Vineland ON), whose family started out in British Columbia, then moved to Niagara and helped introduce the widely used Weis Clone of Riesling to many vineyards across Canada.
What quickly became evident was the shared thread that wove through the panellists. Despite their geographical separation, they were united by an unbreakable bond rooted in their love for farming and the artistry of winemaking. Lighthearted anecdotes peppered the discussions, offering glimpses into the personal journeys of these winemaking pioneers. From Lou Puglisi’s (Bella Terra Vineyards – Niagara-on-the-Lake) bold decision to invest in a neighbouring farm instead of buying his first car, to the animated conversations about the significance of appellations in wine production and marketing, each story added a layer of depth to the evening.
The hosts of the event, Carl and Mira Boucher of Carl’s Wine Club, masterfully steered the conversation, infusing it with energy and curiosity. Their seamless integration of unique wines, including the exclusive Montepulciano Rosé by D’Angelo Winery BC, and their thoughtful questions to the guest speakers kept the audience engaged throughout. The palpable excitement of Carl and Mira for Canadian wines was contagious, spreading quickly among the audience.
Reflecting on the evening, attendee Ross Macfarlane shared:
“My favourite parts of the event were hearing Richard Da Silva from the Naramata Bench praise the red wines of Niagara, and overall being able to taste BC, ON, and NS wines side-by-side. I would definitely love to see more events like this, especially if accessing wines from other parts of the country becomes simpler.”
Indeed, the desire to access a diverse selection of Canadian wines from various provinces was a common theme that emerged from conversations that night. This shared sentiment birthed a question that lingered in the air during the relaxed afterparty in Bella Terra Vineyards’ tasting room: Will there be another Pan-Canadian Wine Masterclass?
When John Skinner, the visionary behind Painted Rock Estate Winery, was approached about featuring his renowned Red Icon wine alongside other Canadian gems, his response was immediate and resounding.
“As an industry, we have to work together to not only build a reputation for Canadian wines internationally, but also here at home. As the old adage says, a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Brian Schmidt, a seasoned attendee of countless wine-related events both local and international, was effusive in his praise for the Pan-Canadian Masterclass.
“The Pan Canadian Masterclass is without a doubt one of the best I have been a part of… start to finish… entertaining, engaging, compelling all while still maintaining a professional atmosphere. Carl and Mira really knocked it out of the park… I look forward to this becoming an annual event… I would commit right now to flying to BC for the next one…”
In a country as vast and diverse as Canada, the unity forged through the art of winemaking is a testament to the power of shared passion. From the rocky terrains of British Columbia to the lush landscapes of Nova Scotia, the Pan-Canadian Wine Masterclass celebrated not just the wines, but the stories, connections, and dreams of the individuals who pour their hearts into each bottle. As glasses clinked and conversations flowed, it was clear that this event was more than a tasting; it was a celebration of Canada’s rich winemaking heritage and the promise of an engaging and thriving future.
About Carl’s Wine Club:
Founded on Canada Day in 2020, Carl’s Wine Club is free to join and features a different Canadian winery each week via social media and e-mail. Members can learn more about each winery and have the option to purchase a tasting pack from that winery. With over 10,000 members across Canada, Carl’s Wine Club is dedicated to helping wine enthusiasts discover – and fall in love with – Canada’s wines.