Remembering the Moselle

A year ago, I was wine touring through the Mosel River Valley in Germany with  Avalon Waterways on the beautiful Avalon Visionary.  Visit my article on this wonderful experience  Wine touring by River Cruise at 

Related blog on this site

Wine Touring on the Mosel River Part 1


Winetouring by Westerdam


I discovered this winter, that wines get seasick.

We had booked on a 19 day cruise through the Panama Canal on Holland America’s Westerdam  and I was almost as excited about exploring the international wine menu as our many ports of call.

My voyage of discovery started ashore in San Diego,  with  San Pasqual Summer Vine rosé made from passion fruit with a touch of habanero.  (Everything  in San Diego had a touch of habanero). You will never read a wine review about this wine but for rosé lovers it’s a “must try.”

The Westerdam’s wine list was an exciting assortment of wines from South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand the States and even Mission Hill Merlot from Canada.


Wine tasting with winelovers from Victoria BC.

Surprisingly I couldn’t find a white wine that I liked.
I even went to a special wine tasting event and  a group of us savoured  five whites from a number of countries and none of us could actually identify a single flavour.  The reds were better especially the oaked and appasimento wines but the whites just didn’t cut it. Continue reading

Wine Touring on the Mosel River. Part I

There is wine touring by car with a disgruntled designated driver, wine touring by bus with a load of strangers who all need to be poured off the bus after five hours and then there is wine touring by river cruise. The ultimate way to wine tour – a true voyage of discovery:  Our ship was the Avalon Waterways Visionary, our waterway was the Mosel Valley, the Rhine Gorge and Rhine River to Amsterdam, and the wine predominantly Riesling but definitely not all. Continue reading

5 Top Reasons to take a Wine Tour

On the road with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours

On the road with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours

Treat yourself to a real wine tour in 2015 – the kind with a bus, a guide and an itinerary. It’s worth the cost in terms of information, safety and pure enjoyment. Here are my top five reasons why to pay for the experience, at least for the first visit to a wine region.

1 No Designated Drivers

It’s hard not to swallow when you are tasting wines even if you are just taking a little sip, they add up. Designated drivers often succumb to the “just a taste” offers of their friends. The cost of an official wine tour is a fraction of the cost of a DUI charge and the consequences of losing your licence. Pay for the tour, and you will all have fun, learn a lot and come home with a Continue reading

South African “braai” wines

Sosaties picture from the Wats4Eats website

Sosaties picture from the Wats4Eats website

It’s South Africa’s National Braai Day today Sept 24.  Braai means Barbecue. You might ask why we are celebrating Barbecue Day now when winter is just over the horizon, but for South Africans who are in the southern hemisphere this is the first of spring, when you set the chairs on the deck despite the cool breezes and say “Come on sun, bring on the good times.”

I guess that’s why they market Canada’s Braai Day on Sept 20 before the first day of fall as a final celebration of the great barbecues of the summer before you put the patio furniture away Continue reading

Why did I hate this wine?

Melnik Castle, a thousand years of history, the largest vineyard in Bohemia, impressive barrel cellars that may once have been dungeons, and massive oak wine barrels built on site emblazoned with the family crest and other carvings. What’s not to love?

Actually, the wine. Continue reading

Wine & Chocolate – South African Style

There are perks for being a wine blogger. Recently a South African Wine Cooperative, Durbanville Hills, contacted me about doing a wine and chocolate tasting with their Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz.

When they first contacted me, I explained that I was not a sommelier or a wine critic. I am totally incapable of producing tasting notes  and  I write from the point of view of a wine tourist  They repeated the offer.

I had been doing a series called Wine of the Week over the winter on this blog site when it was impossible to get out of the house, much less wine tour and many of those blogs had been about wines known for excellent wine and chocolate pairingss, so they still wanted to send me wine and chocolate for sampling.

Why did I agree to a South African wine pairing?

Victor Titus leading a tasting at Nelson Creek Winery

The decision to write this blog was not due to the offer of free wine and chocolate however tempting that may be. I was born in South Africa when my British parents were posted there with the Royal Navy. My first wine tour  was when I returned to visit in 2005. At the time, I was more interested in the social aspects of post Apartheid South Africa and the wine industry than the wine. (see my blog Raise a Glass of Pinotage to Nelson Mandela) So before I agreed to their request, I asked about their social action programs and I was incredibly impressed by what I read.

Durbanville Hills is not in the usual South African wine regions of Constantia, Stellenbosch or Paarl. It is a business run by nine vineyards in partnership with Distell (the South African Wine and Distillery Association) . It is  located just 20 minutes from Cape Town with a spectacular view across the bay of Table Mountain. I’ve stood on the top of Table Mountain and have seen this area in the distance before the clouds of the “table cloth” rolled in.

Environmental, ethical and social activism Continue reading

Toasting the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival with Canadian wine

Golden Week ended today in Japan. It is a week of  national holidays which includes Showa Day marking the birthday of former Emperor Showa, then Constitution Day, then Greenery Day dedicated to the environment and finally Children’s Day. Like people the world around, the Japanese celebrate with food and wine. Surprisingly some of those wines are coming from Prince Edward County in Ontario.

Four County wineries Karlo Estates, Norman Hardie, Hinterland and Closson Chase have all been selected by Japanese wine importers to be part of their collection of premier Canadian wines.

I visited Japan ten years ago for Cherry Blossom Festival when our daughter was teaching there and among our memories was a fabulous dinner with a local Japanese broadcasting executive and his impressive knowledge of European wines. It’s surprising how much Japanese you can speak after several glasses of wine. I wonder if he’ll be checking out Canadian wines this year. Continue reading

Raise a glass of Pinotage to Nelson Mandela

My first wine tour  ever was in South Africa, in 2005.

I was born in South Africa, the same year that Apartheid became law. My British parents left 18 months later. For many years, I was ashamed to admit it was  the land of my birth. I boycotted South African wines as well as other products. Ten years after Mandela had been freed, it seemed the time to go back and visit.

I discovered an incredibly beautiful country that had undergone a massive social change. Continue reading

Summer in Provence

This week’s guest blogger is Giannina Medal-Knupfer from I have toured this part of Provence and the Riviera in the fall and am realizing how wonderful the summer would have been. Enjoy!
 P.S. You might enjoy the guest blog I wrote for the winerist in return on Wine Touring in Nova Scotia

Lavender Fields, Rosé Wines and Art
 By Giannina Medal-Knupfer
 The Winerist

The South of France is a dream destination for wine travelers during the summer and traveling to Provence will prove to be a true treat to the senses: the endless days of sunshine feeling warm on your skin, the cooling taste of the Rosé wines, the shades of purple provided by the endless fields of lavender, not to mention their scent filling up the air. At Winerist, we are always trying to uncover the particularities of wine regions that make them so special to visit, and we believe lavender season in Provence is definitely one to look out for! Continue reading