We're pleased to have this month's 2B & 2Q with Christopher Waters, the Co-Founder and Editor of Vines, an established Canadian wine & food publication.

We met Chris at the Canadian Wine Awards where he was a Judge back in August, and it was a pleasure to finally meet him after months of reading his fine magazine!

Chris has co-authored four editions of the Vines Buyer's Guide to Canadian Wine, so he no doubt knows wine and Canadian wine...and we salut that!

Chris also acts as a wine appreciation coordinator at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University.

Chris will be leading a Tutored Tasting at this year's Gourmet Food and Wine Expo, alongside other great experts, including yours truly ;) For more details about the show and to get your tickets please visit here

Don't miss out on the Nov/Dec Harvest issue of Vines Magazine on stands now. And please check out Chris' weekly wine column, "Waters and Wine" and more of his published articles archived at http://www.watersandwine.com/

2 Questions

1. There’s been all sorts of buzz about the Canadian wine industry with Wayne Gretzky, Mike Weir and Dan Aykroyd now in the mix. What can we look forward to for the Canadian wine industry in 2008?

I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the celebrity wine rush. Beverly Hills 90210 star Jason Priestly recently joined the ownership team of Black Hills Estate Winery in the Okanagan Valley. All the cool kids are doin’ it!

Celebrity star power notwithstanding, the real excitement surrounding Canadian VQA wine, thankfully, is going to be what’s in the bottle — the wines. The good news is that Canadian wine has never been better. And it’s getting better all the time. Ontario’s 2007 vintage is shaping up to be a classic, with a range of good to great wines (red, white, pink, sweet, still, sparkling and other) produced.

As far as general trends go, upcoming releases from Le Clos Jordanne, Norman Hardie, Lailey Vineyard and John Howard’s Megalomaniac label are going increase the excitement surrounding Ontario Pinot Noir. Likewise, Okanagan Valley producers CedarCreek Estate Winery, Church and State Estate Winery and Mission Hill Family Estate Winery are turning the heat up with killer versions of Syrah/Shiraz. The thing for consumers to know is that these are still small-batch wines that sell out quickly. They need to keep abreast of their favourite wineries by signing up for newsletters, joining wine clubs and, of course, reading VINES so that they don’t miss out on the best wines being made in this country.

2. What inspired you to work in the wine industry?

I was born and raised in St. Catharines. You might say, I grew up with the modern grape and wine industry. My summer job through university was working at Hillebrand Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake as a tour guide, summers 1988-1991. I was leading wine tastings before I was legal to drink. At the time, Hillebrand was owned by Germany’s Scholl & Hillebrand, which made it clear that the world of wine was bigger than what was happening all around me in Niagara. That knowledge was underscored by Hillebrand’s extensive staff training. I was hooked.

There wasn’t a lot of call for 22-year-old wine writers, so after graduating from the University of Waterloo (St. Jerome’s College) I focused my journalistic efforts on music writing, mostly for Toronto’s Exclaim! Magazine. Walter Sendzik and I launched VINES in November 1998 because it was clear that no one was effectively telling the story of Canadian wine. (Turns out there wasn’t much call for 29-year-old wine writers either, so I effectively created a job for myself…) Over the years, our editorial focus expanded to cover international wines as well as the homegrown product, but we never lost sight of our initial goal to share the wonderful experience — the wide range of aromas and flavours, the passion and emotions, the philosophy and poetry — that only wine can bring to the senses.

2 Bottles

Bottle One
Vineland Estates Winery 2006 Elevation Riesling
Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula $25
A new tier in Vineland’s portfolio, the Elevation wines are expressions of estate grown fruit specifically sourced from the Niagara Escarpment. Winemaker Brian Schmidt puts the emphasis on rapier sharp acidity, purity of lemon and lime fruit and gripping minerality. This is a beautiful expression of Niagara Riesling. www.vineland.com

Bottle Two
Finca Flichman S.A. 2006 Misterio Malbec Oak Aged
Argentina $9.95 (028803)
A new listing in Ontario from Finca Flichman, one of Mendoza’s oldest producers. The Misterio Malbec is riper, more approachable and enjoyable than many sub-$10 bottles, but its rustic flavour profile isn’t going to be for everyone. There’s a floral element on the fragrance and the suggestion of walnuts and black licorice on the lingering finish of this dry red wine that will charm those looking to try something new.