Sommelier Identity Crisis

I had an identity crisis early this year. For so many years I had worked in restaurants and was known to friends and family as a sommelier. Then, I decided I wanted to learn more about the LCBO and took a job with a wine agency. It was a tremendous learning experience and I saw first hand just how inefficient the LCBO is and how hard it is to get wine into the province. It takes a great deal of hard work from truly passionate people to get wines through all the red tape. Not to mention the delivery guys that have to wait in the cold and rain at the board before having to bring the wine to a restaurant. In this market, they are the unsung heroes. But I wanted to get back. I had put down my corkscrew. I was not using the skill set and doing the things that I identified with as being a sommelier. When I was introduced to people and was called a sommelier, I felt fake, like I should turn in my pin. At home, I even stopped drinking from my tastevin. Above all, I was not working in a restaurant. I […]

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Presto Card needs work

Fuck off Monday. And figure yourself out Presto Card! There are still many problem that need to be sorted out before the Presto Card can be fully functional. The Card is teasing us with what it could be. It needs work, and quick. There is no app for the Presto Card so I am forced to log in online. The process is safe and secure but also arduous and time consuming. Having to do so through a browser on my phone would be even more frustrating. The machines where I can load a card are scarce and often broken. Take the one at the Bloor and Spadina station on a Monday at 6pm. Please take it. And fix the fucking thing! Trying to load my Presto Card at the TTC station is often not possible as they are different businesses. The machines on a streetcar are simply useless as they only take payment. They can’t reload my Presto Card, forcing me to do so online. What’s the point of having a new fleet of streetcars if they are not fully ready for service? Why can’t I pay through an app? One that would also allow me to check transit times. […]

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Why I cycle

Last week was 16 degrees celsius This week it was minus 26 with the wind chill. Considering I live in Toronto, and it is the middle of February, this week’s temperature is much more in line with how things should be. When people ask me if I’m cold, I say no. Which is normally the truth. Generally I’m very warm. It’s my fingers and toes that make a liar out of me. Yet I cycle to work. Every day. I cycle because I work in a location that is not easily accessible by public transit, the TTC. You would think that working in an office on a major street would prove to be easy to get to, but it’s not. Should I want to take public transit, the trip goes something like this. I walk 5 mins to get to the nearest transit stop. Then wait another 5 mins or more for the streetcar to arrive. When I board the streetcar it takes about 20 mins to where I need to get off. That is already more than the length of time it takes me to ride my bike to work. And once I am off the street car, I […]

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2015 Burgundy Vintage from Alex Gambal

I recently received some very detailed and first hand information about the 2015 vintage in Burgundy from Alex Gambal and I thought it was worth sharing. Enjoy!   From Alex Gambal…   Dear Friends, Many of you have asked and have patiently waited to hear “what the heck is happening” in Burgundy? I can safely tell you that the center is holding and that the vintage will be a good to great one. This said, at the moment it is difficult to pin down what it is or what it does NOT resemble. As one gets a bit more experience in all things related to the big “L” word, life, if one is wise one should tend to prognosticate less and offer options more. Therefore for a change of pace I will give you observations, some hints but few conclusions. However, I can give you ten bullet point certainties: The vintage will result in a huge debate: outliner, classic, aberration, early drinking, age worthy, etc., trust me there is going to be far too much ink spilled over this. What vintage is it like: I can tell you it is not 2003, 2005 or 2009 but it has elements of […]

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Beer in Ontario Grocery stores

As you might know by now, there will be beer sold in some grocery stores in Ontario as soon as December. That is less than 2 weeks away which is just in time for the holidays. Jingle fucking bells. Here are the details released today.

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Writings about my passion for wine, and the people, places, and stories connected to it.