Meet the Nerds

David Lobe

DL1977 Warre’s Port. That’s what did it for him. Up until that night in 2002, David had dabbled in wine, even appreciated it at some level, but the birth year Vintage Port showed him the sheer pleasure, amazement and joy that a special bottle could elicit.

Since then, he has travelled to Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, the Rhone, Piedmont, Tuscany, Sicily, Margaret River, Wachau and many other wine regions to get a sense of what makes their wines special. In addition to travel, David has completed his level 4 (Diploma) through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and has been published in the World of Fine Wine.

Dave’s favourite regions are: Burgundy, Piedmont, Champagne, Bordeaux, Northern Rhone, Wachau and Naousa.

Dave’s favourite producers are: Bartolo Mascarello, Domaine Dujac, Giacomo Conterno, Rhys, Domaine de Chevalier, Chateau Rayas and JL Chave.

Memorable Quote:
“[after tasting a wine blind] This wine shows a real sense of place. I’m just not sure where that place is.”

Andrew Little

ALAndrew began his journey into wine when he realized that there was something to a d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz. The rest is history, he has quickly come to appreciate many classic regions and enjoys feeling like a boss at fine establishments.

Andrew’s favourite regions are: Bordeaux, Northern Rhone, Burgundy, Champagne, and Sauternes.

Memorable Quote:
“If it’s not gross I’ll like it.”

Greg O’Neal

GOGreg unknowingly became entangled in the world of wine over 10 years ago while attending University in his home province of Saskatchewan thanks to acquiring a taste for drinking sweet boxed Rieslings while (or instead of) cramming for exams. His interest quickly evolved into an obsession after studying abroad and relocating to Ontario and being exposed to a wider selection and access to local wineries. Greg’s journey may have remained a painstaking solo expedition if not for the fortuitous encounters with many passionate, knowledgeable, and unbelievably generous wine enthusiasts along the way, not the least of which include the fellow winenerds.

After bumping into David Lobe in an online wine forum in 06-07 they made the leap to meet ‘offline’ when they realized they lived within walking distance of each other. They quickly decided they had much in common and promptly started the first of many variations of a local wine club. Dave’s enthusiasm for wine was infectious and Greg knew there was no going back to boxed Rieslings after they had been exposed to countless world class wines and coaching on tasting by a fellow online forum member and trained sommelier.

Greg has since taken numerous wine courses himself out of curiosity, including the WSET Level 3 Advanced Certification and immersed himself in learning everything possible about wine. To his wife’s delight, Greg attempts to turn every family vacation into vineyard hikes, wine bar sampling, and dank cellar tours including a 5 week trip through Piedmont, Rhone, Provence, Corbières, and N Spain.

Greg’s favourite regions are: Piedmont, Tuscany, Loire, Burgundy, Rioja, Jerez, and Bordeaux. Greg loves to try new wine regions, styles, and varietals in the constant search for hidden gems.  He also has a reputation for slipping unusual suspects into blind tastings such as Mexican Petite Syrah, Hungarian Kekfrankos, and Perricone from Sicily to challenge preconceived notions and keep things interesting.

Memorable Quote:
“If this were 100% Pedro Jiménez we would be declaring it the wine of the night.”

Chris Vandermarel

CVA young avid wine enthusiast, Chris grew up in a household where wine was always at the dinner table. He was taught the love of wine by his father and came to appreciate the interplay of wine and food. Chris loves to cook and pair wines that over-deliver for their price.

For a high-school graduation present, his father took him on a two week vacation to France. There they visited the left and right banks of Bordeaux, and toured and tasted at Château Pontet-Canet. This triggered Chris’ interest in French culture and wine despite not yet reaching legal drinking age in Ontario. After graduating from university his father poured a 1988 Château Latour and 1988 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande over a leisurely lunch. Chris was hooked and he began visiting Niagara wineries and tasting everything he could to quickly gain experience.

In 2012 Chris connected with Andrew online and through this connection met the other fellow nerds. He has come to enjoy geeking out on wine as frequently as time permits. Chris has visited Tuscany, Bordeaux, the Southern Rhone, and Provence and looks forward to many more wine travels.

Chris’ favourite regions are: Bordeaux, Tuscany, the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Traditional Producers Southern Rhone, Rioja, and Champagne.

Maciej Pach

MPMaciej’s favourite regions are: Burgundy, Northern Rhone, Champagne, Alsace, and Mosel.

Memorable Quote:
“It’s like picking peanuts from poop.”

Steve Kim