Brent Gushowaty here. I originated this web site in 2013 and I have been involved in the retail and hospitality portions of the wine trade for over 45 years. I am based in Vancouver British Columbia.

I recently hosted some wine tastings on Zoom with friends and found that they worked very well. We had fun, and learned about the same wines together.  Encouraged by this, I am now offering a range of online Zoom wine tastings. These tutored tastings are designed to be mostly fun, but also offer the opportunity to learn a little more about wine.  There will be insider tips you can use immediately to get more out of a glass of wine as well as information on storing, serving and choosing wine or any other wine topics you are interested in. Aside from tasting the same wine together you can get the answer to any question about wine you’ve ever wanted to ask.

In the next few months I will be offering a more complete set of tastings here that will include some very specialized sessions involving British Columbia pinot noir wines (my specialty).  But this pre-launch selection of tastings of both B.C. and imported wines is being offered at introductory pricing. These tastings make a great gift for anyone who enjoys wine when there is an occasion to celebrate such as a birthday, retirement, engagement or anniversary.

Tastings last for up to 2 hours and payment is by Etransfer (email) or Paypal to brentg@telus.net

My Wine Background

I am currently writing a book on British Columbia pinot noir and am a certified wine judge with the B.C. Guild of Wine Judges.  I began this web site bcpinotnoir.com in 2013 to explore and promote these excellent wines being made in B.C.. My wine education includes the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level Three wine designation and six months of wine study through Christie’s auction house in London, England.  My wine related work has ranged from working as a wine representative to managing a wine bistro and working in sales at a B.C. VQA wine store. 

What I Offer

A Genial, Guided Wine Tasting With You – Not a Wine Lecture
There is no end of information available in books and online regarding the world’s wines, their constituent grapes, vineyards, geography and more if you want to dig deeper into the subject.  But my experience has shown me that most wine drinkers are first interested in learning some further basic information about wine or more about their favourite wines, as well as getting tips on tasting and serving. That said, tastings can be created for whatever level of wine knowledge you possess.

What Happens At The Tastings

Tastings are very flexible and can be completely customized to your taste, depending on preferred wine styles and your interest, but most tastings will have four parts.

1. How to Get the Most Out of a Glass of Wine
Ever wonder why some people seem to find more in the smell and taste of the same wine than you do?  Tasting wine seems straight forward, but there are a few simple practical techniques and pro tips that can greatly increase how much sensory information you can pull from a glass of wine. This is a quick (approximately 10 – 15 minutes) overview that will improve your ability to sense, examine and understand better every glass of wine from then on.

2. Brief Introduction to and Background of the Wine(s)
Wine is a giant jigsaw puzzle of grapes, geography, wine making techniques, climate and more. To help understand, remember and piece it together, I will give you a quick background on some of the important features of the wine(s) we taste.

3. Tasting & Discussing The Wine in Our Glasses
Identifying, naming and talking about the myriad aromas and flavours in wine is exceptionally difficult for everyone but the only way to improve on it is to try.  Together we will talk about some of the elements we find in the glass. This can be very helpful if you are trying to remember the particular wine and understand where it fits into the overall world of wine. There are no right or wrong answers, we will just be exploring what’s in the glass together.   

4. Answering Your Wine Questions
There are no silly questions at these tasting sessions either.  At any time, feel free to interrupt me and ask any question about wine you have ever had.  I can usually give you an answer or explanation to your question right away. If requested, I can also easily add other wine topics you are interested in:

  • How and why to decant wine
  • How to open a bottle of wine
  • How to open a bottle of sparkling wine with control and confidence
  • Wine storage
  • Glassware
  • Other Topics

Tasting the Same Wine Together Online – With a Guide
At tastings In my own wine journey, I found that I learned the most when guided by someone who knew more or usually much more about wine than I did. Tasting the same wine with their help let me better identify and understand what I was finding in the glass. Gathering in the same room to taste wines together these days is not feasible but online video meetings via Zoom and other applications have opened up a whole new set of possibilities for effective and fun group wine tastings. In fact, in some ways it is easier to gather this way in the comfort of your own home, versus scheduling and traveling to and from one location.

How We Can All Taste the Same or Similar Wine
The key to making this type of tutored tasting most fun and effective is for all participants, ideally, to be tasting the same or very similar wines. I will identify a store nearest you where the wine(s) are available for purchase. This can save time and shipping charges though If needed, wines can often also be delivered to you from a local store.  For tastings that include imported wines (i.e. non-Canadian wines) and where identical wines are not available, I should be able to find wines for purchase in your area that have similar key components such as grape, geographical area or style. 

As I am based in Vancouver, British Columbia, I have also created a number of tastings of wines made in B.C.. So if you are a B.C. resident, this can be a good chance to taste the interesting and harder to find B.C. wines.  Unfortunately, B.C. wines are not readily available outside of B.C. though there are a limited number of wines available that can be shipped anywhere in Canada. Obtaining B.C. and other Canadian wines from outside Canada is sadly almost impossible. 

Wine Purchase Not Absolutely Necessary
If you would like to pay to attend the tastings but not purchase wine(s) that is perfectly fine. Many people still find it valuable to participate because of other wine information covered in the tasting sessions or they may simply wish to have the opportunity to ask wine related questions.

How It Works

1. Choose a Selected Tasting Or Request a Custom Tasting
I have created a variety of Selected Tastings below that include:

  • Reds & whites, 
  • Imported & B.C. wines, 
  • Value wines & special bottles 
  • One, two & three bottles tastings (additional wines of your choice can also be added to any tasting)

Custom Tastings – Explore New Wines or More of A Wine Style You Already Enjoy

I can also design a custom tasting for you for any area, country, region, grape or style you already enjoy or are getting interested in. It’s an opportunity to be introduced to similar or better value wines you may not know about.

Booking A Tasting

Whether you are choosing a tasting from the list below or wanting a custom tasting, please email me at brent@telus.net with any questions or to confirm which tasting you are interested in. For the sake of simplicity and communication, please have one person who can act as the main contact for your group.

Once you’ve chosen a tasting, please email me a suggested date and time that works for your group. Once I confirm I will send you a Zoom invitation link for the agreed time. 

2. Confirm, Book and Purchase Tasting 
When the date, time and tasting are confirmed please send payment by Etransfer (email) or Paypal to brentg@telus.net

3. Buying Wine For Your Tasting 
Once you have confirmed and sent payment, I will identify the store(s) stocking the wine(s) included in your tasting nearest to each participant and communicate that information to you by email so you can purchase.  I will provide my own identical wines for the tastings.

SELECTED TASTINGS

(Note that all prices listed below are in Canadian dollars and do not include applicable taxes and bottle deposit. Store wine prices listed are typical for the wine but can also change without notice and may vary by area or store.)

White Wine Tastings – Imported Wines

Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand Vs. France

This tasting contrasts two distinct styles of sauvignon blanc. The classic heritage style for sauvignon blanc comes from the two French villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume but the leading new world style has its home in New Zealand. This tasting shows how the two styles differ and how they overlap. 
Wine Style – Crisp Dry White
Registration Fee: $180.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours.

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Sauvignon Blanc – Cloudy Bay Marlborough – $37.00
Sancerre – Chateau de Sancerre – $33.00
Both wines – $70.00
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

California Chardonnay Styles

Here are two different California chardonnays that demonstrate the range of styles available there. The J Lohr is more savory and lean with a touch of minerality. The Rodney Strong comes from one of the best areas for chardonnay in California and has more evident but very well balanced oak. 
Wine Style – Well balanced,oaked, medium bodied, smooth white
Registration Fee: $160.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
J Lohr Riverstone Arroyo Seco Monterey – $26.00 + taxes
Chardonnay Rodney Strong Sonoma Chalk Hill –  $30.00 + taxes
Both wines – $56.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

French Value Wines

Here are three dry, well balanced, great value wines from the South of France.  It is more difficult to find good value in white wine versus red but here are three that fit the bill.  
Wine Style – Well balanced, savory, medium bodied, smooth white
Registration Fee: $145.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Roussillon Blanc – Chapoutier Bila Haut – $18.00 + taxes
Pays D’Oc Viognier Marsanne – L’Olivette Organic-  $17.00 + taxes
Pays D’Oc Viognier – Paul Mas – 14.00 + taxes
All three wines – $49.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Elegant French Whites (chardonnay based)

This tasting compares chardonnay styles from two different sub-regions of Burgundy – Chablis and Macon. Both have elegance and finesse and yet have different styles that show their region. 
Wine Style – Well balanced, savory, lighter bodied, smooth white
Registration Fee: $175.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Chablis – Drouhin Vaudon Reserve De Vaudon – $40.99 + taxes
Pouilly Fuisse – Chartron Et Trebuchet Chapelle –  $38.99 + taxesBoth wines – $80.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

White Wine Tastings B.C. Wines

B.C. Chardonnay Wooded and Unwooded

Two excellent examples of B.C. chardonnay that illustrate the flavours of both oaked and unoaked chardonnays
Wine Style – Well balanced, medium bodied, smooth whites
Registration Fee: $150.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Gray Monk – Chardonnay – Unwooded – $17.00 + taxes
Quails’ Gate – Chardonnay – $24.00 + taxes
Both wines – $41.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

B.C. Rieslings 

Two B.C. Rieslings are compared here, both from outlying areas of the B.C. wine map. The Orofino Winery is located in the Similkameen Valley that runs just West and parallel to the Okanagan Valley. The Fort Berens Reserve Riesling is from the Lillooet wine region of B.C.. A great contrast in riesling styles. 
Wine Style – Crisp Dry Whites
Registration Fee: $165.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Orofino – Riesling – $23.00 + taxes
Fort Berens – Reserve Riesling – $32.00 + taxes
Both wines – $55.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

B.C. Viogniers 

Here we taste two B.C. wines from the Viognier grape. Viognier originates in the Northern Rhone valley in France and is less well known but now developing an excellent reputation as grown in B.C. It usually shows spring flowers and touches of apricot or peach in its flavours. It’s delicate yet persistent.  
Wine Style – Well balanced, medium bodied, smooth whites
Registration Fee: $160.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Mission Hill – Viognier Reserve – $23.00 + taxes
Tightrope Winery – Viognier  – $24.00 + taxes
Both wines – $47.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

B.C. Gewurtraminers

Gewurtztraminer often shows exotic flavours of lychee and rose petal, grapefruit rind and some spicy candied ginger but here it is dry to slightly off dry, not sweet. In B.C., a bright acidity keeps it fresh. Wild Goose is one of B.C.s leading producers of this grape and Gray Monk were one of the pioneers of the variety over 25 years ago. 
Wine Style – Well balanced, medium bodied, smooth whites
Registration Fee: $155.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Wild Goose – Gewurztraminer – $19.00 + taxes
Gray Monk – Gewurztraminer  – $17.00 + taxes
Both wines – $36.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

B.C. Pinot Gris

Though these wines are dry, Pinot Gris flavours can include notes of pears, apples, sweet spices and even a hint of smoke or wet wool.
Wine Style – Well balanced, medium bodied, smooth whites
Registration Fee: $160.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Spearhead – Pinot Gris – $21.00 + taxes
Unsworth Vineyards – Pinot Gris $21.00 + taxes
Both wines – $42.00
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Red Wine Tastings – Imported Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel Comparison

This is a great opportunity to compare and contrast two grape types, from wineries in the Pacific Coast wine region – one from Washington State and one from California. Both express classic aromas and flavours of their respective grapes. A recent vintage of this Cabernet Sauvignon won wine of the year in the Washington State wine competition. And the Zinfandel is from one of the grape’s best regions in California, yet both are affordable and deliver a lot of flavour and complexity for the dollar.
Wine Style – Dry reds with fruit forward character
Registration Fee: $150.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours.

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Cabernet Sauvignon – Columbia Crest H3 Horse Heaven Hills – $24.00 + taxes
Zinfandel – Windstorm Lodi Old Vine – $19.00 + taxes
Both wines – $43.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Three Red Wine Values / Three Countries

This tasting features three wines of outstanding value from three different countries: Chile, Portugal and Spain.  All are dry, fairly full bodied with good concentration and flavour. The value here is quite amazing. 
Wine Style – Dry Savoury,reds
Registration Fee: $150.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours.

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Cabernet Sauvignon – Perez Cruz Reserva – $17.00 + taxes
Alentejano – Segredos De São Miguel – $15.00 + taxes
Carinea Reserva – Monasterio De Las Viñas- $15.00 + taxes
All three wines – $47.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Châteauneuf Du Pape – Vieux Lazaret 

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a French wine appellation in the Southern Rhone valley. Though up to 13 different red varieties are allowed to be part of the mix, it is usually grenache based. Châteauneuf Du Pape is know for being very complex, flavourful and elegant. This is a textbook example and is also very well priced for this type of wine. 
Wine Style – Dry Savoury,red
Registration Fee: $150.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Châteauneuf Du Pape – Vieux Lazaret – $42.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Affordable France 1

Both wines are from Southern regions of France, are fuller flavoured and present outstanding value. 
Registration Fee: $150.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 
Wine Style – Dry savoury red 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Minervoiis – La Condamine Paulignan – $23.00 + taxes
Cotes Du Rhone – Chapoutier Belleruche – $20.00 + taxes
Both wines – $43.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Affordable France 2

Bergerac is an area near Bordeaux with similar grapes and wine styles, here Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Chateau Besage has won several gold medals at Paris competitions. Chateau Canada sounds like a marketing gimmick but the winery was established over 200 years ago. Both wines are excellent value. 
Registration Fee: $150.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 
Wine Style – Dry savoury red

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Bergerac – Chaeau La Besage Grande Cuvee – $21.00 + taxes
Chateau Canada – Bordeaux – $21.00 + taxes
Both wines – $42.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

The Old Vines Difference

Two wines from the same producer show the extra flavour that older vines can bring to a wine. The wines are from the Monsant area of Spain. Both are full flavoured, made mostly from the Grenache grape and delicious but the wine from older vines shows an extra dimension. Both wines are also outstanding value and have received 90 + points from wine reviewers.. 
Registration Fee: $150.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 
Wine Style – Dry reds with fruit forward character

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Monsant Celler De Capcanes Mas Donis Negre – $19.00 + taxes
Monsant  – Celler Des Capcanes Mas Donis Old Vines  – $25.00 + taxes
Both wines – $44.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Two Spanish Grenaches

Two more outstanding value reds from Spain both made with the Grenache grape with one from older vines.  
Registration Fee: $150.00 includes up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 
Wine Style – Dry savoury reds

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
La Mancha Garnacha – Donino De Punctum Galerna  – $19.00 + taxes
Calatayud Old Vines Garnacha – Anciano – $17.00 + taxes
Both wines – $36.00 + taxes
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Red Wine Tastings B.C. Wines

Fort Berens Winery Pinot Noir Comparison

Here we will taste two levels of pinot noir from the same producer. Fort Berens is located in Lillooet. That may seem like an unlikely location for vineyards but it is one of the warmest regions in B.C. and their pinot noirs have won numerous medals at Canada wide wine competitions. 
Wine Style – Lighter, fruity reds
Registration Fee: $180.00 included up to three people (without wine). $35.00 per extra person . Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Fort Berens Pinot Noir – $33.00 
Fort Berens Reserve Pinot Noir – $40.00 
Both Wines – $73.00
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

B.C. Syrah Comparison

The syrah grape has proved to grow very well in the province. Here we will taste two excellent syrahs, both from the Southern Okanagan. 
Wine Style – Dry reds with fruit forward character
Registration Fee: $175.00 includes up to three people (without wine).  $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Black Hills Winery Syrah – $41.00 
Winemaker’s Cut Syrah – $27.00
Both Wines – $68.00 (Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Okanagan Bordeaux Blends Comparison

A Bordeaux blend can have any or all of five different grapes: Cabernet Savignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. These wines have shown consistently over a number of years that the Okanagan Valley can produce high quality Bordeaux blend wines at a competitive price. The Petales comes from the Oliver area and the Heritage Block wine is from Stag’s Hollow in Okanagan Falls. 
Wine Style – Dry savoury reds
Registration Fee: $170.00 includes up to three people (without wine).  $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Osoyoos Larose – Petales D’Osoyoos – $30.00 
Stag’s Hollow – Heritage Block – $27.00
Both Wines – $57.00
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Painted Rock Red Icon 

The 2017 vintage of this wine won Canadian Wine of the Year at the prestigious Decanter Magazine Wine Awards in London this past year. It is a Bordeaux blend with a touch of Syrah. Certainly one of the best in province.
Wine Style – Dry savoury red
Registration Fee: $170.00 includes up to three people (without wine).  $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Painted Rock Red Icon – $62.00 
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Osoyoos Larose – Le Grand Vin 

Osoyoos Larose is owned by the same owners of Chateau Gruard Larose in Bordeaux. Over 20 years ago they recognized that the Okanagan could make wines that were comparable to those from Bordeaux and purchased land in the Osoyoos area.. This is the top wine from Osoyoos Larose. 
Wine Style – Dry savoury red
Registration Fee: $160.00 includes up to three people (without wine).  $35.00 per extra person. Duration – up to 2 hours. 

Selected Wines for the Guided Tasting
Osoyoos Larose – Le Grand Vin – $49.00 
(Also feel free to add wine(s) of your choice to this tasting)

Future tastings will include series tastings such as:

  • Wines of Burgundy 
  • Pinot Noir around the World
  • Faces of Chardonnay
  • Exploring White Wine Grapes 
  • Exploring Red Wine Grapes

And More…  

Jus a reminder that I can also create a custom tasting for you for any area, country, region, grape or style you are interested in and identify the wines, where they can be purchased and their pricing.
Some Ideas:
 
Countries – Canada, France, Spain, Australia, NewZealand,Italy, South Africa, United States & more…
Grapes White Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Viognier, Muscat Red Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Sangiovese & more…
Regions – Burgundy, Bordeaux, Chablis, Rhone, Loire, Oregon, California, Okanagan Valley, Vancouver Island & more…

Tasting More of What You Already Like
You might be interested in simply tasting some more of a style of wine, grape or country that you already enjoy. I can design a tasting based on your current preferences and introduce you to similar wines you may not know about. If you would like to take this route for your tasting or if you have any quesions please email me at brentg@telus.net

Thanks for your interest.

Cheers,

Brent