I am a Steveston resident who has taught secondary biology, chemistry, history and geography in Richmond for over three decades. Although I am retired from high school (it took me 33 years to graduate) I now teach science education and the principles of teaching at the University of British Columbia.
Most of the wines I review are in the 'affordable' $10 - $25 range, wines that are within my teacher budget and probably the budget of most of you. I appreciate that reviewing wine is not a scientific enterprise. It is quite subjective. Robert Parker, of Wine Advocate fame, has a bias towards big and fruity wines and gives higher scores to those that suit his palate. That is like thinking Moonlight Sonata will be better if you amplify a piano and make the music much louder. Consumers are also influenced by a wine's label, when or where you are tasting the wine, the order of a tasting....so many factors that make reviewing more a personal thing. I don't claim to be an "expert" and I don't have a Masters of Wine. But since the 1970's, I have tasted thousands of wines on my own, in my wine appreciation classes, and at professional tastings. I certainly have a solid background on what makes a wine, fine, but I admit I have biases.
Its very trendy to score wines out of 100 points based on several factors such as smell, taste, balance, finish, etc. Critics of this quantitative marking scheme point out that art critics never assign a grade for the Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. I agree with them and I am keeping my ratings simple. I only have three categoies. Hightly Recommended are first class, excellent wines that deserve an A which I would rate in the high 80's or 90's if I wanted to be a member of the scoring guild. Recommended is still worth trying, very good, B+, mid 80 points. Good is not a strong recommendation, but a decent C+. I don't plan on panning any dogs as I just won't waste my time or my blog's space reviewing them.
One of the reason's I have had a fascination for wine is because it encompasses so many subjects that I love: chemistry, biology, history, georgraphy, travel, food, cooking, and of course discovering something new. I also had the good fortune to teach in Adelaide, South Australia, smack dab in the middle of the wine country. That year Down Under with hundreds of wineries at my doorstep, really immersed me in the enchanting world of wine.
Returning to Richmond, I worked seven years on air at CISL Radio and hosted a daily wine show. There I was able to meet wine personalities from around the globe and taste a tsunami of wines that as a teacher, I would not be able to afford. During that time, I also worked as a freelance wine journalist for the BCLDB and local newspapers. Since 1989, I have pursued my affair with wine, teaching night school wine appreciation throughout Metro Vancouver, including Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, Langley, Vancouver, Capilano University, and UBC. In my continuing education courses,
I try to bring my passion for the grape and my experience teaching to my adult students who just want to discover what’s so fascinating and enjoyable about wine. My secret is to keep things simple: let people taste lots of different wines, throw in a bit of education, and keep it fun. My favourite wine? The one I'm opening next! I love adventure and life-long learning; enjoying wine provides plenty. I hope this little blog will provide you with ideas and tips that will encourage you to discover more on this fascinating subject. Cheers!!!