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Caring for Red Wine: Tips and Best Practices

Caring for Red Wine: Tips and Best Practices

Red wine lovers understand that there's more to its appeal than just the taste and aroma. The rituals of storing, serving, and enjoying red wine add to the overall experience. By taking proper care of your red wine, you can ensure that when it's time to open a bottle, the moment is truly delightful, just as the winemaker intended. Here are some helpful insights and guidelines for caring for your beloved red wine.

1. Proper Storage

Maintaining the proper temperature is crucial for storing red wine. It's recommended to keep it between 55°F and 65°F (13°C and 18°C) to preserve its flavor and quality. Avoid sudden temperature changes, as they can negatively impact the wine's characteristics. If you don't have a dedicated wine refrigerator or cellar, look for the coolest and most consi­stent area in your home to store your red wine. Store your wine bottles horizontally to keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out. This ensures that no air seeps in and spoils the wine. Keep it Dark: Wine, especially red, is sensitive to light, particularly UV rays, which can degrade it. Store bottles away from direct sunlight and use incandescent bulbs if lighting is necessary in your storage space.

2. Serving Red Wine Decanting:

Certain wines can benefit from the process of decanting, which involves allowing the wine to breathe. This technique helps to soften the tannins and unlock its flavors. To decant a wine, carefully pour it into a decanter, being mindful to leave any sediment behind in the original bottle. Choose a wine glass with a wide bowl when serving red wines. This design allows for better aeration, enhancing the wine's aroma and helping you fully appreciate its flavors. Serving Temperature: Though we often hear "serve red wine at room temperature," this doesn't always apply, especially in warmer climates. Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir can be served slightly chilled, between 55°F to 60°F. Fuller bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon are best served at 60°F to 65°F.

3. Opening the Bottle

When examining a wine, one useful indicator of its condition is the cork. A moist cork suggests that the wine has been stored properly, whereas a dry or crumbly cork may signal potential problems. Investing in a high quality corkscrew is essential for opening bottles smoothly and with minimal risk of cork breakage.

4. Prolonged Storage and Aging

While not all red wines improve with age, those that do can provide a remarkable exper­ience when opened after several years or even decades. If you plan to age your wine: Monitoring humidity is crucial for aging wine. The ideal humidity level should be around 70%. This helps in preventing the cork from drying out while also avoiding excessive mold growth. Limit Vibrations: Be mindful of constant vibrations in your wine storage area, such as those caused by refrigerators or heavy machinery. These vibrations can disrupt the aging process of your wine. Make sure to store your wine in a quiet and stable location. Consider investing in a wine cellar or cooler if you're dedicated to aging wines. These specialized equipment can help maintain the optimal environment for wine storage.

5. Enjoying Your Wine - Track Your Collection: Use a wine journal or app to note down your tasting experiences and track the wines in your collection. This aids in understanding your preferences and the evolution of wines over time. Enjoying wine is always better when shared with others. Consider hosting wine tasting parties or joining a wine club to explore new wines and engage in discussions with fellow wine enthus­iasts.

Conclusion Caring for red wine may seem complicated, but it's really about respecting the art and skill that goes into making each bottle. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that every glass you pour embodies the passion and expertise of its creation. So, let's raise a toast to the vintners and to your commi­tment in preserving their craft. And most importantly, let's celebrate the delightful journey of enjoying red wine. Cheers!

Vinho Verde – The White wine with a colourful name

What’s the winning combination for summer’s ultimate thirst-quencher? Crisp acidity, low alcohol, and a hint of fizz all come to mind when picturing the perfect patio sipper. It’s time to get familiar with one of Portugal’s best white wines, Vinho Verde – a seasonal favourite known for its incredible value.

While Vinho Verde does indeed translate to “green wine”, it’s not a grape nor a blend but rather refers to the northern Portuguese region of Vinho Verde, a Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC), and the wine that comes from there. The majority of wines from Vinho Verde are made from a blend of native white grapes including most notably Alvarinho and Loureiro, however, a few others also make the cut, including red varieties. While over 85% of Vinho Verde is White, the wines from this region can also include Red and Rosé styles! So if this so called “green wine” comes in White, Red, and Pink where did it get its name? It’s because ample rainfall over the region makes the landscape verdant year-round. A visit to the area would leave even the most experienced travelers in awe of lush, green rolling hills dotted with orange tiled rooftops of family homes.

Sounds intriguing but what does Vinho Verde taste like?

White Vinho Verde wines are released within three to six months of the harvest which means they typically exude fresh and fruity flavours of lemon-lime, white melon, gooseberry, and blossom and are best enjoyed right away. Thanks to its quick bottling time, fermentation occurs in the bottle which is historically what caused that satisfying yet subtle spritz in many wines. Wine enthusiasts loved this accidental carbonation so much that many winemakers now add a touch of carbon dioxide at bottling to create that refreshing fizz, however, not all Vinho Verde is spritzy.

Another reason we love it for balmy August afternoons? The lower alcohol content keeps things nice and light.

Its thanks to these qualities that makes Vinho Verde white wine a great match for a variety of warm weather dishes – it plays nice with lightly fried seafood (calamari, anyone?), Greek salad, rotisserie chicken, and tuna sashimi to name a few. Just remember to keep things light and bright to create the ideal pairing combo.

We can all agree that one of the best parts of summer is spontaneous afternoon patio sessions that turn into late night laughs and conversation so when those quick visits last a little longer than planned, you won’t feel bad about cracking a bottle or two of Vinho Verde since it tends to offer unbeatable value for the price compared to other white wines from countries with higher land and labour prices.

If you’re looking for something with a little more depth though, Vinho Verde also comes in single-variety examples using the above mentioned Alvarinho or Loureiro grapes and while they’re less easily available in Canada, they are worth the hunt and can even be age-worthy. Alvarinho displays tropical aromas and Loureiro leans more floral.

Next time you make a visit to our stores or find yourself perusing online for that new favourite summer white wine, head to the Portugal section and surprise your friends at this weekend’s gathering with some knowledge about Vinho Verde as you fill their glasses with wine.

Check out a few of our favourites:

Quinta da Aveleda Loureiro and Alvarinho Vinho Verde

Sogrape Gazela Vinho Verde

Jose Maria de Fonseca Twin Vines Vinho Verde

Flores QL Vinho Verde

Casa Santos Lima Mosaico Vinho Verde

Portal da Calcada Vinho Verde Espumante



Eco Conscious Wines

We’ve all heard the terms used loosely and sometimes interchangeably but what do these certifications on our wine bottles actually mean? Over the last couple decades as people have become more and more conscious about what they consume and spend their money on, everything from bananas to coffee and the clothing we wear have eco-friendly options. The wine industry too has gone a bit more “green”.

Though there is some overlap and labels can add to the confusion, think of each category with these principles:

Organic: Purity of product using non-synthesized ingredients.

Biodynamic: Holistic agricultural health.

Sustainable: Mitigation and reduction of wastefulness.

Vegan: Made without the use of animal biproducts.

Shop eco-conscious wines here.

Deeper Look:

Organic: Wines are made with organically grown grapes without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals. All additives (fining agents, yeast etc) are organic, no GMOs are allowed, and sulfite addition is limited.

Biodynamic: Like organic wines, biodynamic wines contain no chemicals or additives throughout the winemaking process. In biodynamic wines though, the winemaker must take the entire ecosystem into consideration – vineyards must maintain exceptional soil health and vintners must time their planting schedules with lunar cycles to ensure agricultural health.

Sustainable: Sustainable wines aim to protect the environment, support social responsibility, maintain economic feasibility, and produce high quality wines by preserving biodiversity on vineyards to ensure soil health, implementing recycling measures that conserve water as grapes are growing, and utilizing renewable energy technology like solar.

Vegan: Vegan wines are made without the use of animal derived ingredients like milk protein, egg whites, and fish bladder used as fining agents which remove tiny particles of sediment in a wine. It should be said that when used, these fining agents impart no flavour to the wines at all. With vegan friendly wines, winemakers will either leave the particles to sink naturally or use non-animal fining products.

Let’s be honest, deciphering wine labels can already be a daunting task and with the addition of new buzzwords and badges, you might be left with more questions than answers but we hope these descriptions will help you decide what’s important to you when making your wine selections.

Shop eco-conscious wines here.

California Dreamin'

With such a diverse terroir, California is home to more than 100 grape varieties and over 24,000 hectares of vineyards spanning the state! Think decadent Cabernet Sauvignon, sophisticated Pinot Noir, luscious Chardonnay, and so much more from both legendary estates and small-batch establishments whose wines are highly sought by California wine enthusiasts.

From Sonoma County to Napa Valley, California has earned a reputation for producing quality wines that are always popular around the dinner table. Luckily, we don’t have to be there in person to capture everything California wine has to offer. Take a dive into the Golden State’s past while exploring some of their most famed wine regions with us!

Before the area became known as “wine country”, a group of missionaries from Spain planted the state’s first known vineyards in 1769, though they were used solely for religious purposes. It wasn’t until the Gold Rush, when thirsty miners arrived in droves, that California’s first actual winery was born. While there is some contention of who gets the title of oldest winery in California, most sources give the credit to D’Agostini Winery in Plymouth established in 1856 followed shortly by the more well-known Buena Vista which was the first to make wine from European varieties in Sonoma County in the year 1857. Both of which are still in business today!

The California wine industry saw many ups and downs in the next 100 years: first the phylloxera epidemic which made its way from Europe to cause havoc in the vineyards and then the Act of Prohibition which caused hundreds of wineries to shutter. Despite these setbacks, the industry was able to make a quick recovery on the world stage at the ground-breaking 1976 Judgement of Paris when a selection of California wines beat out top wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux in a blind tasting held by mostly French judges.

Today, California ranks as the world’s fourth largest producer with 1,200 wineries across the state! Of the four main wine regions (North Coast, South Coast, Central Coast and Central Valley) the North Coast, which is home to Napa Valley, is especially renowned. Here you’ll find legendary American Viticulture Areas (AVA) like Rutherford, St Helena, and Oakville with the likes of Caymus Vineyards, Raymond Vineyards, and Robert Mondavi, respectively. Here, Cabernet Sauvignon is King and Chardonnay is Queen.

Travelling west to Sonoma County, Pinot Noir thrives thanks to cooling influences from the Pacific Ocean. Here, AVAs like Knights Valley and Russian River Valley have also had their fair share of attention thanks to famous residents like Beringer Vineyards and Rodney Strong Vineyards.

While Napa Valley and Sonoma County in the North Coast are often the first to come to mind, California’s diverse terroir also includes Lodi in the Central Valley which is known for Zinfandel; Paso Robles, Monterey, and Santa Barbara in the Central Coast whose offerings range from Merlot to Rhône style blends, and Temecula all the way in the South where the dry and warm climate is ideal for Syrah.

Join us in raising a glass to the resilience, creativity, and passion of California winemakers who share the fruits of their labour with the world!


Click here to browse our vast selection of delicious California wines.

Support Local buy BC Wines

Who doesn't love BC wines? It's so important to support local. Local farmers, small businesses need support. Bouquet refers to wine's aroma. Wine, women, and song – not necessarily in that order. Strong notes of cedar, gin, with a cinnamon finish. A popular but unconfirmed theory claims that Malbec is named after a Hungarian peasant who first spread the grape variety throughout France. Women have a higher fat content than men. What does this have to do with wine? Because fat doesn't absorb alcohol, women get drunk faster. The host of a dinner should take the first sip of wine to assure his guests it is not poisoned. Boxes, while repugnant, hold viable vinos. Sauvignon blanc is light, grassy, and herbaceous. High-end corks are handmade. Gulp. Thunderbird is a screw-top classic. Aroma, bouquet, nose – wine is smelly business. An inimitable flavor is found in barrels. Trichloroanisole in the cork can impart musty, mouldy overtones. Such a wine is called "corked." When Cabernet Sauvignon is paired with steak or dishes with a heavy butter cream sauce, the tannins are neutralized, allowing the fruits of the wine to be more noticeable. Wines that are named for a region are always capitalized – Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Rioja, Chianti, Lambrusco, etc. Sulfites are found in nearly all wines, produced by the yeast during fermentation. Tannic, full-bodied wines are described as chewy. The word "sauvignon" is believed to be derived from the French sauvage meaning "wild." A grape in the glass is worth two on the vine. Delicacy is prized in pinot noir and riesling. In California, the main stylistic difference in Cabernet Sauvignon is between hillside / mountain vineyards and those on flatter terrain like valley floors. Smoky is usually a byproduct of oak barrels, or, less often, of drunken arson. The term meritage is a blend of merit and heritage, and usually describes blended California wines. Sommelier is an elegant euphemism for professional wino. Acidity is a naturally occurring component of every wine. Red wine was associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians. It may be the oldest known type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin contact method. Wine grapes grow almost exclusively between 30 and 50 degrees latitude north and south of the equator.

The Quaranvine Papers Belle Italia

We honour the wines of Italy today with empathy and optimism: soon the cafes will reopen, the wine will flow and the music will start again. The things that make Italy one of the world’s hearts will return as vibrant and vital as ever - I will be at the front of the line to drink it all in.

Salute. We begin with the Italian Red Wine Of The Year, as chosen by Italians:

Piaggia Carmignano Riserva 2016, Carmignano, Tuscany. Boasting roughly the same Sangiovese-to-Cab/Merlot blend as Tignanello, the wines from the village of Carmignano are still Terra Incognita to many Canadian wine collectors but by rights they shouldn’t be: the true Tuscan values are in the hinterlands and this 2016 Riserva by Piaggia is an elegant, nearly-perfect tribute to that northern terroir. Carmignano’s Cabernet Sauvignon plantings go back to the 1500s when one of the Medicis became queen of France, and she imported her favourite French grapes to these hills that overlook Florence from the north-west; It’s weird that so many Tuscan traditionalists freaked out in the 1970s when the Antinoris blended Sangiovese with Cab – that same so-called Super Tuscan formula had been baked into the Carmignano cake for centuries. Dried and fresh cherries sing lead on this track but they let others take solos: blood orange, mint, plum and lavender all get to belt out a line or two. Repressed intensity follows on the layered palate, the structure is dense but not angry, a good deal of fruit comes back onto the long finish, accompanied by its fondue-friend Chocolate. This is actually pretty tasty now but I suspect a future legend – 20 years cellaring time is possible, 4 years is advisable. Remember when you saw the ads for The King’s Speech and you thought “Oh that’s obviously going to win the Oscar”? This. Red Wine Of The Year: Gambero Rosso. 5 6-packs available, $65.98 +tax

Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2015, Montepulciano, Tuscany. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Because of Michele Manelli’s dedication to sustainable everything, the wines are packaged in diminutive, unassuming bottles that don’t even look like they could hold 750ml (they do) so as to decrease the carbon footprint needed to ship them. We carry wimpy little White Zins with more imposing bottles than this. It’s all a trick, however: like a hand grenade wrapped in a pink scrunchie, the wine trapped inside is a beast of many claws – I can’t believe it hasn’t already escaped given that the bottle’s so thin. Deep notes of iron and smoke hover above the black fruits and violets, you can almost smell the sunburnt soil through the plums. Carries the same body and structure as a Saint-Estephe, or maybe a tractor… This Sangiovese needs further imprisonment – 2 years should do the trick – but will be quite stunning on the other side of that. #11 – Top 100 of 2019, Wine Enthusiast, 94 points Wine Spectator, 4 6-packs available, $44.98 +tax

Tenuta San Jacopo Caprilius 2015, Valdarno, Tuscany. Remember how “Montepulciano” is the name of a grape and the name of a Tuscan wine village, but the Montepulciano village grows Sangiovese and the Montepulciano grape is never grown in Tuscany? Ok, forget all of that because this is a Tuscan wine made out of Montepulciano, oopsy. Besides being a fish-out-of-water, oh-no-the-Ghostbusters-crossed-the-beams kind of specimen, Caprilius is actually quite delicious, and certainly pushes the pleasure buttons earlier and more frequently than the last two wines. Big, round and loveable with spiced blueberries and blackberries, this is a rich, opulent wine from just outside the Chianti appellation, bursting with body and just generally in a good mood. Didn’t know the Montepulciano grape could get this large. Sheer concentration will allow aging but there’s no waiting period, this is a way-tasty little paradox already. 97 points (Platinum) Decanter, 3 6-packs available, $64.99

Trinoro Le Cupole 2017, Val d’Orcia, Tuscany. What’s the name of that thing that always stands back up with a smile after it gets punched? Oh, right: Trinoro. The 2017 growing season was so hot and dry in southwestern Tuscany that proprietor Andrea Franchetti said that the “Val d’Orcia became the Sahara, the grapes were all skins!” As a result, the 2017 red wines from Trinoro are denser, deeper and darker than Goth eyeliner, and the hydric pressure on the vines led Andrea to let Merlot drive the bus in Le Cupole, instead of the usual leader Cabernet Franc, whose berries looked like Voldemort after all the Horcruxes were broken. Le Cupole 2017 is a rich, ripe affair despite the drought, the velvety Merlot brings the love and the co-stars Cab Franc and Petit Verdot bring the brisk balance. Leathery plums and blackberries rule the roost. This has been a super popular wine in my Vintage Room for years, I’m sure many of you have older vintages in your cellars, but I guarantee you’ve never had one quite like this. 93 points Robert Parker, 2 cases available, $57.98 +tax

Dal Forno Romano Amarone della Valpolicella 2012, Valpolicella, Veneto. I keep telling people that I’ve never been run over by an Italian sports car, but I’ve drank Dal Forno so maybe that’s not true. The apprentice to Giuseppe Quintarelli has emerged as the King of Precision and Munitions: Romano Dal Forno’s chromed drying rooms (called Fruttaios) look like NASA test chambers, and his wines taste like the universe - vast and unending. Romano took the rustic, local Amarone practices and used new tech to refine each of them to maximum effect. In fact, “maximum” is the word that applies to every aspect of his winery and wines, soup to nuts. This is the maximum extraction, power, pigment, intensity and longevity that humans can wrest from the local grape varieties Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. If Romano were permitted to start with a heavier grape like Cab, our known universe would fold in on itself. Sweet spice, brandied cherries and charcoal dominate the nose, the body and finish both scream “Ozymandias!” for hours. The sheer concentration and price preclude it from being a Wednesday Wine (but oh, what a Wednesday), as does the fact that he makes hardly any wine – I was allocated one six-pack and already sold one bottle. 97 points James Suckling, 96 points Robert Parker, 96 points Decanter, 5 bottles available, $534.98 +tax

Domini Veneti Vigneti di Jago Amarone della Valpolicella 2013, Valpolicella, Veneto. The Jago hamlet overlooking Negrar, north of Verona, supplies the Corvina-led fruit salad that comprises this friendly dragon. Started in 1989 by an established co-op (co-ops are owned by grape growers) called Cantina di Negrar, Domini Veneti’s mission was to start making amazing wines, standing apart from the starkly functional wines that the co-op was famous for (some co-ops make really good wine but they are often Purveyors of Meh). You can’t just “decide” to make great wines, can you? It doesn’t work like that, does it? Evidently it can work exactly like that because the wines from Domini Veneti have been stellar pretty much since the starting pistol. Their emphasis on terroir – not a priority of even some of the best Amarones – has been a calling card, and this wine from Jago sings. The expected dark fruits are balanced by citrus rind astringency and a truly exotic nose tied together by tobacco and vanillin. They don’t submit to American reviewers but they’ve racked up some European awards: Gold – Mundus Vini, Platinum/Best In Show Decanter World Wine Awards, 97 points Decanter, 2 6-packs available, $91.98 +tax

Pieropan Calvarino Soave Classico 2016, Soave, Veneto. An intensely perfumed, balanced white wine grown in volcanic soil (the Calvarino vineyard), and one of the last wines made by Leonildo 'Nino' Pieropan, considered by most to be the Father of Soave. Nature gave Leonildo a gift for Pieropan’s 45th anniversary harvest: a long, mild, dry autumn where the thick skins of Garganega got extra hang time to soften and collect knowledge and wisdom; the nose is teeming with lime zest, marzipan and stone fruit, accompanied by smoke, stones and spice. Big, dry footprint in the mouth, balanced by elegant acidity, amaze-balls. #6 – Top 100 of 2019 Wine Enthusiast, 96 points Wine Enthusiast, 94 points Robert Parker, 3 6-packs available, $41.98 +tax

Now we're cooking: How summer wines can brighten your menus

Cooking with wine

Summer sipping calls for crisp whites, light-bodied reds, delicate roses, or bubbles, ideally served on a breezy, sun-splashed patio alongside good friends. But once the mercury rises, wine can go much further than the glass itself. It can also be easily incorporated into summertime cooking in several deliciously creative ways.

Wine has a way of enhancing the flavours of various ingredients, giving dishes added intensity and depth. It’s no wonder French chefs use it liberally, though it has far more uses than in rich, robust stews. Here are a few ways wine can brighten your summer menus.

    1. Deglazing

This is a simple cooking technique where you add a liquid to a pan to dissolve the food particles stuck to the bottom and then use that mixture to make a flavourful sauce.

Try Il Padrino Pinot Grigio for a beautiful plate of fresh, pan-seared shrimp or prawns and scallops.

    1. Marinating

Wine marinades are just the thing for grilled meats, whether it’s beef skewers or top sirloin. Flank steak makes for an easy summer dinner. Combine your favourite spices with brown sugar and two cups of a bold red such as Monte Rosso Tempranillo. Marinate in fridge for five hours. Drain, grill, and serve with a crisp green salad.

    1. In broth


White wine is ideal in a steaming pot of fresh mussels, the shellfish making for a light, memorable meal. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot, then sauté shallots and garlic until soft, about two minutes. Turn heat to high then add one cup of crisp white wine such as Santa Rita Winemaker’s Lot Sauvignon Blanc

and bring to a boil. Add three pounds of mussels, scrubbed and debearded, and cover. Steam until shells open, about five to eight minutes. Discard any mussels that stay closed. Top with parsley and serve with slices of crusty baguette or oven-baked fries.

    1. Poaching

Simmering foods in a wine-based liquid gives them a supercharged flavour and is far more interesting than using water alone.

Poached juicy Okanagan peaches make for an easy, elegant, and impressive dessert. Peel and halve the fruit then simmer in simple syrup with three cups of fruit-forward white wine such as the Shy Pig Traminer Riesling for 10 minutes. Allow to cool then serve peaches with vanilla-bean ice cream or Greek yogurt.

For variations, try pears, apples, strawberries, or any other fruit that’s firm, almost hard. Poaching will soften fruit significantly, so avoid any produce that’s soft to begin with as it will fall apart when cooked.

Fruit can be poached in red wine as well. It’s best to use a variety with ripe berry flavours, such as Vive La Vie Red Blend

To go with so much tasty fare, consider a making a batch of sangria. The colourful, celebratory, and refreshing drink is perfect for patio parties.

    1. Summer Sangria


    • 1 Bottle of Rose – Try La Serrana Rose

    • 1 cup Pineapple juice

    • 1/2 cup Vodka

    • 1/4 cup Triple sec

    • 1/2 cup Simple syrup

    • 1 Lemon, cut into thin rounds

    • 1 Lime, cut into thin rounds

    • 1 Orange, cut into thin rounds

    • 6 oz. Raspberries (1 package)

Serve over ice.

A general rule when it comes to cooking with wine is to have a glass to sip at the same time. Chefs always say to cook only with wine you enjoy drinking: that doesn’t mean you have to purchase a special-occasion wine, but by opting for a bottle that you know you like on its own will yield the best results in the kitchen.

Another tip? Because wine contains alcohol, be sure to add it at the start of cooking so the alcohol has a chance to burn off. If you add it to a dish near the end of cooking, the taste can be unpleasant. Looking for more wine tips? Try these clever hacks at home.

For more ways to use wine in summer cooking, visit Everything Wine, where knowledgeable, friendly staff members can share all sorts of tips and tricks. Its newest shop in Vancouver is now open—the largest private liquor store in the entire province. It’s at 8570 River District Crossing, near Marine and Boundary.

There, you’ll find more than 4,000 varieties from all over the globe, including B.C.’s finest, and a fine-wine selection in the Extensive Vintages Room. The tasting bar is open daily from 2 to 6 p.m., just as at all other Everything Wine locations: 998 Marine Drive in North Vancouver, 112-15735 Croydon Drive in Surrey, or 31 – 2401 Millstream Road in Langford on Vancouver Island.

Visit the store online at for more details.

 This story was created by Content Works. Postmedia's commercial content division, on behalf of Everything Wine. 


Say cheers to wine-based cocktails this summer

Sabrine Dhaliwal, bar manager at UVA Wine and Cocktail Bar, says the appearance of red and white wine in cocktails is on the rise.
Sabrine Dhaliwal, bar manager at UVA Wine and Cocktail Bar, says the appearance of red and white wine in cocktails is on the rise. ALLISON KUHL

Craft beer may be insanely popular these days, but wine’s appeal remains unshakable. And with cocktail culture thriving, creative wine-based drinks are on the rise. Ready to switch things up from farmhouse saison and double IPA? Make room for the Mendoza Julep and the Beaujolais Cobbler.

Check out the numbers that point to wine’s increased popularity: a recent Gallup poll found that 50 per cent of drinkers say they consume wine more often than beer, and 35 per cent drink more wine than any other alcoholic beverage. The biggest shift from beer to wine has been among 18- to 29-year-olds and women.

The glory of the grape doesn’t surprise Sabrine Dhaliwal, bar manager at UVA Wine and Cocktail Bar. She says not only are people enjoying learning about wine in general, they seem to be especially keen on trying more unusual bottles in particular.

“We have our Chardonnays and Pinot Grigios that are staples and that are beautiful and delicious,” Dhaliwal says, “but people are asking for really funky, unique wines, which is really cool,” she says, pointing to varieties like Pecorino (such as the 2014 Platinum Sogno Pecorino d’Abruzzo), Vermentino (Fattoria Di Rocca Delle Macie Campo Maccione, 2015), and Nebbiolo (try the Beni di Batasiolo Langhe, 2014). “We have so much information at our fingertips. Access to information is making people more adventurous.”

That openness to trying new things applies to cocktails too. While the Whiskey Sour is a classic example of a cocktail that calls for wine—in this case, a red-wine float—people may be seeing more fancy drinks featuring various wines on bar menus.

“I work with a lot of wine-based spirits—sherry, white port, port, vermouth—but is it time for red and white wine to appear more? Absolutely,” Dhaliwal says. “People are getting into that style of drink—low-proof cocktails with no hard spirits. People want to go for dinner and have that cocktail beforehand and have that cocktail after, but they don’t necessarily want to drink two Manhattans or two Old Fashioneds.”

Sabrine Dhaliwal’s Garden Dancer includes sweet green apple liquor and tart lemon juice, but the star is Sauvignon Blanc. ALLISON KUHL

Garden Dancer

Dhaliwal has just created a special wine cocktail; here’s her recipe to try at home:

    • 0.50 oz. Giffard Manzana Green Apple Liqueur

    • 0.50 oz. Stones Ginger Wine

    • 0.75 oz. Jasmine Green Tea Syrup

    • 0.75 oz. Lemon Juice

Combine all ingredients (except wine) in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for about seven to 10 seconds, strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, top with Kipu Sauvignon Blanc and garnish with an orange twist. Best enjoyed with a group of friends on a sunny patio.

Robyn Gray, head bartender at Prohibition in Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia, says that the most popular wines there are Pinot Grigio and Prosecco. He points to the latter as the ultimate wine for making standout cocktails.

“Prosecco really works well with cocktails because of the type of its bubbles,” he says, which don’t lose as much carbonation in a fancy drink as Champagne does. Made with dry sparkling wine, gin and simple syrup, the French 75, he says, “is one of the most delicious drinks there is.

“Plus, Prosecco cocktails are perfect for summertime and for sipping on the patio,” he says.

Robyn Gray

Robyn Gray, head bartender at Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s Prohibition, recommends the sparkling wine-based cocktail the French 75. 

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Spritz is another sparkling-wine based cocktail that Gray loves. Aperol is an Italian aperitif. “It’s so good; it’s bittersweet, refreshing,” he says. “It’s not going to weigh you down with heavy alcohol. It’s light and really fun, something you can have during the afternoon.”

Here’s how to make it:

Pour 1.5 ounces of Aperol into a glass with cubed ice. Fill with half Prosecco (try the Riondo Collezione) and half soda water. Garnish with an orange slice. “It’s so easy to make and so delicious,” Gray says. “That and the French 75 are absolute superstars in the cocktail world.”


Those who want to try their hand at mixology at home can turn to the friendly staff at Everything Wine for help coming up with winning combinations. They have all completed training with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the world’s leading wine education program.

“I cannot walk into that store without spending a ton of money and an hour,” Dhaliwal says. “There are so many really cool things there; I’ll go ‘Wow; I didn’t know this was in our market.’

“Our guests have become so much more knowledgeable and hungry for information, and they’re seeking out those really cool things in wine.” The more they learn, they become more intrigued, she says, adding that Everything Wine’s staff have the knowledge to help people discover new labels they’re going to love. “The people who work there really know their stuff.”

To help channel your inner bartender, visit Everything Wine at 998 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver, 112-15735 Croydon Dr. in Surrey; or 31-2401 Millstream Rd. in Langford on Vancouver Island. Feeling lazy? We deliver, too! See for more details.


This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Everything Wine and first published on Vancouver Sun.

Wine-lovers rejoice: Clever hacks to see you through summer

Wine on patio

Sunny summer days call for kicking back on a patio, cracking open a bottle of wine, and toasting the season with good friends.

It also calls for genius wine hacks — little tricks that every wine lover needs.

“With summer, there are the classics: how to chill wine quickly and keep it cool in the sun,” said Kady Smith, an assistant manager at Everything Wine. “To chill wine, dampen some paper towels or a tea towel and wrap it around the bottle, then put it in the freezer. It only takes about 10 minutes. To keep it chilled, place the wine in a bucket of ice and keep it cool by adding salt to your bucket. Salt will lower the freezing temperature of the ice.”

Smith, who has studied wine and has been in the industry for 10 years, shared a few other hacks to make your summer sipping delicious:

Fantastic Frosé

Also known as frozen rosé or a rosé slushy, this cool drink is having its moment in the sun.

The simplest way to make it is to pour rosé into popsicle or other freezer moulds; the wine won’t freeze completely, and after about 25 minutes will be ready to transfer into glasses.

You could also pour a bottle of rosé into a blender along with two cups of strawberries, one-half cup superfine sugar, one-third cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, and ice and blend until slushy.

For any version of the pink drink, Smith recommends Barton & Guestier Cuvée Speciale Rosé ($16.99): “It’s fresh, it’s crisp, and it has lots of cherry characteristics, and it has a little bit of sweetness on the finish,” she said.

Wine picnic

Chill out

What to do when you’re going on a picnic but don’t happen to have a wine insulator on hand?  Head to your clothes drawers.

“Being a true Vancouverite, I have those insulated hiking socks,” Smith said. “Any sock for outdoor activity will work. Throw a cold bottle of wine in one of those when you pack your picnic, and you’re good to go.”

You can also use frozen green or red grapes to keep your wine cold, without adding ice cubes which would only water it down.

Cool reds

When it comes to chilled wine, most people might think of crisp whites or those fruity rosés. In fact, some reds work nicely on ice, too. “Anything on the lighter-bodied side or more fruity side in its profile actually tastes better slightly chilled,” Smith said. “A lot of red-wine drinkers don’t like white wine, but want something more refreshing in summer. A lighter, really fruity red wine really does benefit from a little bit of time in the fridge.”

Try Les Valentine Carignan Syrah from France ($18.99), a fruity, approachable red with hints of plum and baking spices that would go beautifully with a charcuterie plate for those summer evenings when you don’t feel like cooking.


Useful cubes

If you happen to find yourself with leftover wine, pour it into ice-cube trays. You can use it for cooking, to make sauces — or, if it’s a favourite wine that you often have on hand, the next time you open a bottle, plop a few cubes into your glass so you can cool it down with the same wine.

Quick cocktails

Wine-based cocktails are becoming more popular, but you don’t need a fully decked-out bar to make some delicious ones at home. Simply pour a fruity red wine over ice with lemon or lime soda. Try Cappo Shiraz from Spain ($11.99): “It’s got lots of ripe and juicy fruit characteristics and has a nice, lush finish,” Smith said.

If you’re making sangria, instead of triple sec, consider a splash of bourbon for a little edge. A fuller-bodied red like California’s Blackstone Merlot ($18.99) is a great pick for this classic summer evening drink. Interested in experimenting with some new wine cocktails? Try one of these.


Everything Wine’s River District store, opening soon at 8570 River District Crossing in South Vancouver and other locations — at 998 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver, 112-15735 Croydon Dr. in Surrey, and 31 – 2401 Millstream Rd. in Langford on Vancouver Island — will have their tasting bar open daily from 2-6 p.m. and offer free delivery on orders of $200 or more. Visit for more details, to order online or for some happy summer sippers!

The best way to learn more is to talk to Everything Wine’s approachable, friendly staff, who are eager to answer any questions and can suggest wines to suit every taste, occasion and budget. Samples are available at the tasting bar daily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visit in person at 998 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver, 112-15735 Croydon Dr. in Surrey, 31-2401 Millstream Rd. in Langford on Vancouver Island or shop online at

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Everything Wine and first published on the Vancouver Sun's website.

Article by G Marion Johnson.

Wine 301: How to perfectly pair food and wine

Lisa Giovanella, assistant to the buyer at Everything Wine, explores the famous wine-making region of Burgundy, France. 

Lisa Giovanella, assistant to the buyer at Everything Wine, explores the famous wine-making region of Burgundy, France.

Once you learn how to taste wine like a pro, you’re ready to take it to the next level. Pairing wine with food can turn a great meal into an unforgettable one, and discovering exactly how to come up with winning combinations is part of the fun.

Lisa Giovanella, assistant to the buyer at Everything Wine, remembers the first class she ever went to through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), a globally recognized certification program.

“We were all handed a plate with a cluster of grapes, a block of brie, a slice of lemon, and a spicy Dorito chip,” Giovanella said.

Granted, corn chips — never mind nacho-flavoured ones — may not be the first thing that come to mind when it comes to food-and-wine pairings. But the Dorito made sense once Giovanella learned more. “It was a really good way to explore a spicy flavour and how that affects the taste of the wine,” she said.

It turns out that to balance and contrast spiciness, you want a wine with a bit of sweetness. The point of pairing food and wine is to bring out the best of both, making each one taste better.

“There’s a saying that goes: ‘One plus one equals three’,” Giovanella said. “Both the wine and the food may be really good on their own, but when you can find that perfect match, it enhances the whole experience.”

While the best matches ultimately come down to your own personal taste, there are basic rules to follow.
The flavours of both food and wine can be enhanced with the right pairings.
The flavours of both food and wine can be enhanced with the right pairings.

“The initial idea everybody has is that you would have a white wine with a white meat or fish, and a red wine with red meat, but there are a lot of things to consider beyond that,” Giovanella said.

A key consideration is body. Also known as weight or heaviness, this refers to the way a wine feels in your mouth — whether it’s light, medium, or full. If you’re eating something light and delicate, you want the same qualities in your glass so that neither the flavours of the dish nor the wine are going to overpower each other.

“If you have a really robust red wine, you want a really robust structured meal to go with it,” Giovanella said. “You want to match the weight or intensity of the dish to the wine.”

Here are a few basic guidelines to get you started on your gastronomic adventures:


Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc — On the lighter spectrum of white grape varietals, these are terrific pairings for lighter white fish, such as cod or halibut. “You want something simple, not overly flavoured — no heavy sauces, but rather delicate, lemon, light herb flavours,” Giovanella said. “You don’t want anything too oily or heavy, because then you’re going to be out of balance.”

Chardonnay and Viognier — Whites with some oak or aging are a bit heavier and go nicely with cream sauces or foods with buttery, oilier, richer textures. Great with roasted chicken or salmon. These full-bodied whites work nicely with richer foods, but can’t handle the extra structure behind red meats.

Riesling — With a little bit of sweetness, this wine works beautifully with spicy foods or those with intense flavour. Cajun, Thai, and Indian foods are classic matches.

A robust red such as a Malbec or Shiraz will enhance the flavours of a red meat dish.
A robust red such as a Malbec or Shiraz will enhance the flavours of a red meat dish.


Pinot Noir and Merlot — On the lighter spectrum of reds, these wines are fresh and versatile. They can be enjoyed with bold, flavourful white meat such as roast chicken, duck, or pork, as well as with red meat and salmon.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Malbec and Shiraz — These reds tend to be heavier and more robust, pairing well with steak, roast beef, venison, and ribs.

Sparkling wine

“Sparkling is really nice and refreshing on its own, but it also pairs really well with a wide variety of foods throughout a meal. Try a white sparkling with starters, popcorn, and even deep-fried foods,” Giovanella said. Sparkling rosé pairs nicely with chicken, salmon and mushrooms.

There’s another simple trick that experts turn to: “What grows together, goes together.” Think of Italy, home to some of the world’s most flavourful tomatoes, for example. That fruit has naturally high acidity, just like wines from Tuscany. No wonder, then, that Sangiovese or Chianti works so well with pizza or a tomato-based pasta dish. More broadly, wines from the Mediterranean go beautifully with Mediterranean dishes.

While the pairing of food and wine may be a world unto itself, at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference. “It really is a kind of trial-and-error exploration,” Giovanella said. “Just because something is a classic match doesn’t mean it’s the best match for you. You have to go with your preferences and instincts.”

If you’re still not sure of your instincts, staff members at Everything Wine are there to help you. Each and every one of them has completed the WSET Level 1, meaning they can help you pick a perfect bottle for your next dinner party or family gathering. Questions about wine and food pairings are the most common ones they get. “That’s one of our favourites,” Giovanella said.



This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Everything Wine and posted on Vancouver Sun.