Category Archives: Wine writing

In the Spirit of things

Sometimes I get in the spirit of sophistication and order a martini.  There are many great quotes about the Martini.  Gin or Vodka is a question for another time.

“A man must defend his home, his wife, his children, and his martini.”
Jackie Gleason

“He knows just how I like my martini – full of alcohol.”
Homer Simpson

”I had never tasted anything so cool and clean.” “They made me feel civilized.”
Ernest Hemingway novel Farewell to Arms.

“I never go jogging, it makes me spill my martini.”
George Burns

With this in mind I visited Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers in Beamsville, ON.  I had already purchased the White Rye from the LCBO but wanted to have a go at the Gin and the Eau de Vie. The Gin is a botanical lovers dream – delicate enough that I think the gin martini made with it should be straight. That’s so dry that you aren’t even allowed to think the word Vermouth while pouring it.  The people at Dillon’s also have a little bit of fun on their website – PulltheCork approved fun! In their Spirit descriptors they mention Papa Hemingway, Khan [the Mongolian ruler not the Star Trek guy], Smith and Wesson, and generally entertain throughout. Their collection of bitters would make any mixologist giggle like a school girl – well maybe only if they liked making cocktails – but you get the point.

If you are driving down the QEW past Beamsville stop in and have a look – their tasting room is simply stunning. Otherwise stop in at the LCBO – the Gin is dang good.




LCBO 358556 | 750 mL bottle Price $ 39.95 

LCBO 337600 | 750 mL bottle Price $ 37.95 

What the …

Stopped by the LCBO today. This was hanging on the exterior wall of the building. I’m not exactly sure what is going on here?  It looks like a Zara ad. Hey outrageously good looking [likely French] dude , watch out or that overly affectionate lady is going to spill red wine all over your new white sweater!


Phone a Friend

I had somebody text me the other day to find out if I knew where Newcastle Brown Ale was on tap in Guelph.  She referred to me as her “phone a friend” – a reference to the Who Wants to be a Millionaire game show.

It got me to thinking – how do you find out stuff like that in your city. I think Twitter is the answer to the modern “phone a friend”.  It certainly casts a wide “friend” net.  I tweeted at a local beer guy who got back to me within minutes.  Sadly there wasn’t any on tap here in Guelph.  But I thought that Mill Street Tankhouse Ale at the Wooly was a close second.

I think I would be okay if somebody tweeted me about where to find a wine.  So go ahead – “tweet a friend” @TravisOke

#Hashtag, whatever you want it to be.


Still Coping

Canada’s recent gold medal haul is certainly helping me cope with the polar vortex. I guess if it’s cold here we might as well get outside and skate on short tracks and get the gang together for some coed moguling.

Having neither the inclination to go upside down on skis, nor the knee cartilage to land safely on my feet, I have found my own way to come to grips with a long cold winter.


Nothing says “summer is around the corner” like a crisp Niagara Riesling.

Also, I’ve been making cooking videos and posting them on YouTube. My daughters do the filming and the eating. Check out my food videos here – because who doesn’t need more offal in their life?

Stop everything

I’ve decided to stop writing about wine until I catch up on my shovelling.

This winter has totally ceased to be amusing.

Speaking of “ceased” – maybe I’ll open a bottle of wine to ease my seized back.  After I write a brief letter…

Dear Weather Network,
I hate you.


P.S. How  do I have more snow than Wawa?

You’ve got mail

I would like to do my own rant about the mail service in Canada.  Specifically the volume of email that gets sent to me .  Today I came home to find 38 unread emails. 38!  Those are just the ones that made it past my Spam and Bulk filters – that my wife hadn’t read already. I’ve had enough. So here goes …

icon_emailDear J. Crew,  stop sending me three emails at 5 a.m. and then again at 7:30 a.m. That is not the one ankle boot I need this year.

Dear Apple Store,  stop making your email come up a different colour than all the rest.  It freaks me out that only you can do that.

Dear eBay, I’ve NEVER purchased anything from you ever. How did you even get my email?

Dear FaceBook, stop changing your settings every 3 hours – I’m again getting notifications from people I unfriended a year ago [sorry Mom]

And hey Starbucks … if one more 50% off my favourite latte coupon gets sent my way today and I’m sending 50% of my next latte across your cafe floor.

Thank you for listening.

PS – my apologies to those who expected something about wine in this edition of my wine blog

PSS – brother in Spain, you’re welcome for not saying anything about wine in this edition of my wine blog

PSS – my wife wouldn’t let me say anything bad to the people at Pinterest

Coldest Night of the Year

You know it’s cold out when the Kelvin scale makes more sense than the Celsius scale [Fahrenheit is just another German word that makes me giggle].  It’s 240 Kelvin tonight by the way.

How on earth is a man supposed to warm up on a night like this? It’s hard to think clearly when I’m mad at the fact that tomorrow is my garbage day and global warming is clearly just a left-wing conspiracy designed to get me to stand in the cold, sort my garbage and freeze my right-wing off.

Thankfully brother-in-law from PA thought ahead and bought me a nice bottle of Port for Christmas. If you don’t drink port then it’s time to make and keep a resolution to do so in 2014.


Noval Black isn’t available at the LCBO but they have a nice selection nonetheless. Photographic proof is shown below. Start with a ruby port, or a late bottled vintage if you can get one.  They run under $20 and can warm you up for an extended period of time!

20140106-185931.jpgAnd using “nonetheless” more often in casual conversation was another one of my new year’s resolutions. Hooray for 2014.


I recently heard New Years Resolutions referred to as a “to-do” list for the first week of January. Personally, I love the NYR.

I’ve been asking around to see if any people have NYRs concerning wine drinking and buying. Here are the responses I received.

Editor of a “large” metropolitan newspaper, “I resolve to find ‘the’ wine that both my wife and I enjoy.”  My solution –  stop trying to find a wine you both enjoy and open 2 bottles.

Linktrap John, “Pay attention to food and wine pairings chocolate” – and then he sent me a photo of a Merlot with a Toblerone. Sorry John, I can’t help you.

My brother-in-law, “Drink more of your wine ” – Hey, I may borrow that and try and drink more of other people’s wines too.

My daughter, “Dad, I don’t even drink wine” – fair enough.

This year I resolve to drink more Rioja, Côtes du Rhône, and Australian Shiraz. Like my friend Rob said, “Hey, those our resolutions every year?” – fair enough.

What are your resolutions?


I’m no lawyer but …

This past week a man from California, Rudy Kurniawan, was convicted of selling fake rare wines [we're talking millions of dollars] and convicted by a US federal jury. He may get 40 years in prison – which he can, in part, thank himself for.

However, I think his money was wasted on his lawyer. “He just wants to be accepted” was the final defence to the jury. That’s all you got? In front of a Federal jury?

Also, the accused must take some of the blame in this case. A courtroom reporter notes, “He stood in front of the jury in an ill-fitted grey suit“.  What the heck is he thinking?  His future is on the line and he wears one of his ill-fitted suits.  Rudy! You own a Lamborghini and a collection of absurdly expensive watches. It would kill you to get to a tailor?

The story is here in the Wine Spectator.


Even the artist’s rendition clearly shows an ill-fitted suit

A few of my favourite things

Four years and 300 blog posts later it’s time to look back at a few of my favourite things about PulltheCork. I know this seems a little self-serving but as my brother-in-Spain pointed out,  being self-serving is really what blogging is all about in the first place.

Favourite thing number …

5. Being picked up by the Mercury’s online paper and getting the gig as restaurant reviewer for the Guelph Mercury and the KW Record

4. My four attempts to alert the public on the dangers of drinking water when a nice rosé would do

3.  Getting free stuff through Natalie MacLean’s contacts and from Muskoka Brewery!

2. Being reposted by my inspiration in blogging Billy Munnelly

1. The satisfaction that I get when my wife and her sister [sister-in-law in Spain] giggle at what I write

Thanks folks

PS Special mention to the blog post Hello my name is Shiraz Bordeaux 

marios gift

Stay thirsty my friends – and thanks Mario


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