I've been following these posts for a while, and notice that Ontarians offer valuable notes and tastings. Any interest is establishing something
in the GTA? Not necessarily at a commercial venue as has been suggested. Besides co-ordinating dates with everyones busy schedules, what seem to be the snags?
Original Post
Definitely have interest in an offline, even an informal one, but venue seems to be the pressing issue. It just depends on how many people are interested in attending. I'd be more than happy to open up my apartment to forumites, but it's not terribly large so anything more than 8-10 people for a tasting might be difficult depending on format. Dinners are a max of six at my place.

The holiday season is always difficult to co-ordinate schedules, but I think an offline would be possible in January if there is interest.
I host a local wine club of 20+ people at my place every month or two, but the problem is that I live in Brooklin (north of Whitby and 20 min east of Markham). Yup, I live in the boonies!!!

And resturants are too expensive due to the liquor laws in Ontario.

Any other ideas? I could host, but most Ontario forumites seem to live downtown or in the West end.
Baird, I live in Unionville and would be willing to host an event. For those of you downtown, I'm close to the 404 and the 407. As far as a venue, that's open for discussion. Let's just start something up and add to it progressively. Slan, are you in?
We tried to organize something a couple of months ago, but it fell apart over our inability to find a decent venue where we could BYOB.

My suggestion is that we should be less ambitious to start. Let's not try to do a dinner, but simply a tasting. Perhaps at someone's home. One thought that futronic had last time was to use the party room of a condominium, but we didn't seem to have any condo dwellers.

As for location, with all due respect to the suburbanites, my thoughts are that we should try to find a spot that people can get to via TTC or GO Transit.

I'm open to pretty much anything. The key is avoiding paying 300 percent markup on restaurant wines. An informal tasting would be best (no need to have the host go to any more trouble than providing the location, bread/water, etc).

Not wanting to sound too much like Paul Simon, but I agree to start small with tastings. Personally, whatever works for the majority is fine with me as far as locale. To expedite things, I can be reached at jester728@rogers.com.
I concur with futronic that some time in the new year we should plan to organize an inaugural tasting. There certainly appears to be lots of interest from forumites. Wink
My other recommendation would be to have this on a weekend, preferably on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon/evening. I can already tell that an offline with this much interest will mean that at least a case of wine will be opened. Smile

Another vote for TTC/GO Train access. I don't think anyone should be driving.
Sorry about the date. With all the enthusiasm and interest, I lost my sense of time. Yes, Saturday January 24th 2004!!!!
Keep the ideas rolling. We should do this as democratically as possible. If people wish Aussie vs "blank", let's discuss it.
If the date appears to be agreeable to most, let's ink it and try to work on a place.
It appears that we already have 5 people confirmed. In order to keep things managable the first time around, I'd like to suggest that we keep the group size between 8-10.
Next step: Location
Any volunteers? Any suggestions?
The consensus is to have it accessible to public transportation. I concur unless you have a
designated driver.
I'm confident we can solve the location issue.
If that's the case, we could do it single-blind so we are sure that no wine is duplicated. The other option is to only have the host know what wines people are bringing to prevent dupes.

Or we could just have a boatload of wine from any region and just enjoy things that way! Smile
I live in the Beach so I'd be happy to host, but if people want to hold it elsewhere, that's fine too. It's definitely TTC accessible, right off the Queen Streetcar. There's also a GO station at Main/Danforth, or there's the GO at Union and it's a 15 minute cab ride away.
Hey, isnt anyone watching the hockey game tonight??. I hope I'm not the only Leaf fan out of the bunch. The score is 4-3 Toronto Vs. Rangers after 2. And if you havent been watching, Domi and Barnaby have gone twice so far. Domi totally dominated the second one. So, where were we?
Still deciding between brining by mini verticals of Rosemount Shiraz or Wolf Blass Yellow Label. I think all of you will be impressed by these hard to get "cult" wines!!! That is if I don't send them to the next Ritchie's wine auction to be sold. Big Grin
Keep the ideas flowing, folks. A few thoughts on some of the suggestions above:

1) I would keep any theme quite broad. I suggest a broad array of wines that have been discussed here recently.

2) Drth: I'd be happy to bring a bottle of RWT.

3) Futronic: loved the Back to the Future reference! LOL

4) January 24 works for me.

5) Other thoughts (besides Aussie Shiraz) include: 2000 Bordeaux, 1999 CalCabs

6) If the group wants to stick with an Oz theme, I'm good for the RWT, some Dead Arm (various vintages back to '97), Marquis Phillips and a few others. Anyone willing to pony up a Grange?
I'll have to bring a couple bottles - I can't show up to a tasting without at least one bottle from Italy. Smile

As for the Aussie theme, however, I've got some stuff, but they're recent vintages, and not "big names" except for the Dead Arm. Actually, I think everyone in this group has at least a couple bottles of Dead Arm. lol. I would imagine the easiest thing to do would be to pick a theme, if desired, and then people can post what they want to call "dibs" on to ensure no duplication.
You will probably get better group participation if they at least know what the wines are. I find that many people are quiet and afraid to be completely wrong in a double blind. If a specific region and or year is chosen, that might be enough info to go on.

Just a suggestion! Although I have no problem being completely wrong.... hasn't bothered me in the past. Wink
For those of you that care.. Leafs won 5-4. tlily, you would of been proud. Nolan scored the first goal and nearly took on Simon. That would of been 3 games in a row that he got into a fight. I think with the two black eyes he was already sporting, he made a wise decision. Thats 6 wins in a row
Thanks for offering your hospitality. Before we confirm, I have a few other ideas I'd like to pursue.
I'll take into account all of the excellent suggestions, and over the next few days we can decide on the format. Regardless of what is selected, it appears that all the forumites are amenable to any offline event that offers a chance to taste and learn.
Pyang: We'd love to have you, eh.
I might be interested in the offline.
The schedule for january for work isn't up yet...so put me down as tentative.
As for aussie shiraz, I don't mind. I don't have much in good aging wines. Only one of bottle of 98 dead arm, so keeping that. The 2001 should already be well represented.
I have a few choices: 95 Wolf Blass Black Label (but it's a cab/shiraz), 98 Wynn's Michael Shiraz, 97 Ebenezer Shiraz, Vertical of St-Hallett Old Block (95-98).

I am like many from this board.. I have tons of relatively new vintage Aussies, but nothing really old. I can bring 97 E&E Black Pepper, 97 Elderton Command, or just about anything D'Arenberg made from 1998 to present. I have a few better aged options if we go Bordeaux, Napa Cab or Super Tuscan.

Looking at peoples comments, it appears that there is a great deal of interest in Aussie wines.
Anybody want to include some Bordeaux for contrast? I happen to have some French reds that I've been holding onto for some time, and would be delighted to sample with enthusiasts.

Are we OK with Aussie/Bordeaux? PLMK.
I'll be checking out sites this week that would meet our criteria (downtown/accessible/reasonably priced,etc...).

Thanks for all your feedback,comments and suggestions. Things are shaping up.
With the help of some contacts, I may be able to arrange the event at a downtown restaurant in a private room. No corkage fee. No obligation.
I have also looked into hospitality suites at downtown hotels and waiting to hear back. It will undoubtedly take several days or a couple of weeks to finalize arrangements, but rest assured that we are on the job. Things are progressively shaping up.
Excellent work, Dok. Looking forward to hearing about the options.

With respect to a private room and restaurant access, maybe those detail are best kept to email. I'd hate for the LLBO to be browsing the site and give the restaurant a problem.

Maybe I'm just paranoid.
I already had you penciled in. You're the 8th
person confirmed. A little birdy told me you'd be
Futronic, your paranoia is parallel to mine. As we get closer to the event and I have more information, I'll ask all confirmed to send me their email addresses and a list of what wines they intend to bring. I'll ensure that there is adequate variety and no dupes.
Does everyone agree with Aussie/Bordeaux? Razz
As far as Aussie wines are concerned, I'd like to NOT restrict it to Shiraz, but any red. Cab/Cab blends, etc.....
As we get closer, I'll ask for people to submit their choices. Probably best to wait until after the holidays and see what people buy/receive for presents. Maybe a Grange?
We still have "50 sleeps" to arrange what I hope will be a memorable event. Smile
I'm in need of your email addresses in order to facilitate communication and expedite the tasting.

If there is enough interest and/or wines, would you prefer flights or blind tastings?

If you already know what you're prepared to bring to the event, please LMK at jester728@rogers.com. Things can always be changed at any time.

I'm still waiting to hear back from 2 individuals about venues, but 1 spot has been tentatively secured. Smile
on the wine: the event is taking place Saturday January 24th/2004 from 7:00pm-?

Oakvilleal: I have no intention of excluding spouses if they're as obsessed as the rest of us.
My wife may drop in at the end (designated driver) and sample some flights/tastings. Though she enjoys wine, her lust for the juice pales in comparison to mine. She's way more pragmatic! PLMK however, in order that we have enough stemware, food, etc.....

Thanks to those of you who have responded to my email about venue. I'm still waitng to hear from
2-3 others.
As much as I'd like to participate, my Saturday evening activities will include my family. I see little enough of them as it is and I'll be away for two weeks prior to the 24th. It wouldn't do to spend my first Saturday night back going out drinking. I'd sure be pissed if my wife tried that.

Perhaps next time.
As much as I'd like to participate, my Saturday evening activities will include my family. I see little enough of them as it is and I'll be away for two weeks prior to the 24th. It wouldn't do to spend my first Saturday night back going out drinking. I'd sure be pissed if my wife tried that one on me.

Perhaps next time.

It looks like the tasting will be a combination of Aussie Shiraz and Bordeaux. I can bring something from either category, so let me know if you need wines from one region or the other in order to even things out a bit, and then I'll give a couple of suggestions from my cellar.
Looks like things are really rolling.

I can bring some Ironstone pressings or some 2000 Chateau Malmaison if you wish. Perhaps some Balmoral Syrah?

I can also submit some 1999 Justin or cakebread however, it sounds like we are drinking either aussie or bordeaux.

Now....where's that Screwpull?
A bit of an update with respect to the tasting:

Things are in good shape - DoktaP has made some excellent preparations for the tasting. We're not going to post the location of the tasting, because we don't want the LLBO/LCBO showing up and cancelling our fun - yes, yes: paranoia at its finest.

Anyway, here are the flights we'll be tasting:

Flight #1 - Bordeaux

1975 Chateau Brane-Cantenac
1982 Chateau Palmer
1994 Chateau L'Evangile
1996 Chateau D'Ardennes
1999 Chateau D'Armailhac
1999 Chateau Lynch-Bages

Flight #2 - Aussie Others

1995 Wolf Blass Black Label
1998 Chateau Reynella Basket Pressed Cabernet Sauvignon
1998 Penfolds RWT
1998 Penley Estates Cabernet Sauvignon
1999 Elderton CSM
1999 Rosemount Mountain Blue
2000 Rosemount GSM

Flight #3 - Aussie Shiraz

1997 Penfolds Bin 28
1998 Merrivale Bin 338
1999 Leasingham Bin 61
1999 Penfolds St. Henri
2000 Pirramimma Reserve
2001 Elderton (January TAA! Smile)
2002 Marquis-Philips

Unless someone changes their mind with their selection, this is what we'll be having. Great lineup in my opinion!

Tasting will be single-blind and top wines of the flight will be ranked 1-5. Lowest sum of scores at the table will be WOTF, etc.

Really looking forward to seeing everyone on the 24th!

Edit: Added the '98 Reynella Basket Pressed Cab to the Aussie Other flight.

[This message was edited by futronic on Jan 12, 2004 at 08:55 PM.]
Futronic: Thanks for posting the flights. I think we're pretty much set unless anybody wants to contribute any more to their cirrhosis.

Slan: Sentiments are mutual. It will be nice attaching faces to names. I'm looking forward to meeting all participants.

Plans: We're getting down to the nitty gritty.
Everything should be organized by the end of this week. Just in the process of finalizing menu items etc... Looks like a veal dish with
a "medley" of veggies, some cheeses and fruit for dessert. We'll have plenty of bottled water,
breads, etc.... Hopefully, the stemware will be anything but those 4 oz samplers. Though I'm sure I will have forgotten something, we should have the bare essentials (corkscrew and wine). Smile
The menu is set. Beef Tenderloin with roasted potatoes and veggie medley. The wines have already been posted by futronic and arranged in flights.
Stemware provided by the wine establishment.
The guest list is finalized and includes forumites: drthvader, carriedca, baird6869, futronic, slan, oakville_al, maverickdrinker, myself and 2 worthy friends.
TN's should be posted shortly after the event on the 24th and will include the TAA as well as notes on Marquis Philips.
I've stayed out of this thread up to now because it breaks my heart that you guys are finally doing an offline and I'm going to miss it! Frown But I must say now that I'm very impressed that you're pulling it off, even more so than I'm impressed with the wines! Keeping the location secret is smart, the wine police probably have spies everywhere.

If we get to Toronto during March Break, perhaps another offline can be arranged.

Have fun!

snow sucks.......
We're looking pretty good for tomorrow.
Futronic has been exceptionally helpful with
his computer expertise and enthusiasm.
I can't think of any loose ends, but I'm sure things will come up tomorrow.
I suppose that this is all part of the learning curve and will give us room for improvement.
Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. Smile

Bump. The oldest existing Toronto offline thread on the forum. Almost 15 years ago. Great that dok, fut, otw and bman are still here (some less often than others).


  • doktap
  • futronic
  • baird
  • slan
  • oakvilleal
  • drthvader
  • maverickdrinker
  • carriedca


Others on the thread who couldn't make it:

  • otw
  • bman
  • pyang

I think pyang and I did make it in the end?  We offlined at Bodega with futronic and Dok and some others at some point.  I think the first, or one of the first Toronto WS Forums offline was at an Italian restaurant with Dok, futronic, Baird and Slan, as I recall. Well before BYOW was legal - someone knew the chef and we snuck in the bottles. And wives attended too!

sunnylea57 posted:

I've reported Stormfiber's spam posts (and other bot-like accounts that have shown up here recently) but it appears that WS has pretty much given up monitoring this forum. Not only are users abandoning it, so have the administrators.

You should stow away with VinT on his next trip our way. We’ll then have something to participate here about. 

billhike posted:
sunnylea57 posted:

I've reported Stormfiber's spam posts (and other bot-like accounts that have shown up here recently) but it appears that WS has pretty much given up monitoring this forum. Not only are users abandoning it, so have the administrators.

You should stow away with VinT on his next trip our way. We’ll then have something to participate here about. 


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