Phil’s wine

Phil Andrews is probably most recognized as the managing editor of the Guelph Mercury.  What is little known about Phil is that he recently entered the world of wine making.  Admittedly that involved pouring a packet of yeast into a container at the wine shop in a suburban strip mall, but a wine maker nonetheless.

Phil’s venture into wine began with a Pinot Grigio started on St. Patrick’s Day this year. He has named it Pinot Greenio (or something like that). Historically, this may be the first time that alcohol and St Patrick’s day have ever gone together.

Phil arranged a meeting with me, as the resident wine blogger, to drop off  a bottle of the wine.  I gave him my word that I would be honest in my assessment.  For his part he wanted me to sign a waiver  in the event that I went blind drinking his wine.

Pinot Grigio wines are meant to be consumed early.  This one qualifies as it is less that 2 months old. I opened it and gave a glass to my wife – not because I was scared of it. Her first response was “Mmm, this is light”.  Now Phil, I think you should be very pleased with that.  Amongst the things that she could have said was, “Is this homemade?”, “Oh, I don’t like that at all”, or “What is this?”.

Verdict – We found the wine very light in colour, in the Italian style of Grigio  and light in taste.  It bordered dangerously on being watery but was crisp and acidic enough to keep us sipping.   We agreed that we would spend $8 on it at the LCBO.

Well done Phil the wine maker. Let’s arrange another drop off.

Color variations among different styles of Pinot gris. (L-R) Italian Pinot Grigio with a straw yellow color, Alsatian Pinot gris with a lemon color, Oregon Pinot gris with a copper-pink color

About Travis Oke

Wine writer / consultant View all posts by Travis Oke

6 responses to “Phil’s wine

  • Phil Andrews

    A fine review. I assume you never lost your sight in the consuming of the strip-mall plonk.
    I guess I’ll have to come up with labels for the remaining (and future) bottles.



  • John Matthews (@linktrap)

    Well, it appears you have given Phil the benefit of the doubt on his efforts. I think the wine making at the strip mall should end and be moved into someone’s basement and the cost of some real quality grape juice shared by each of you. Because this is such a good idea, you will invite me over when it’s ready!

  • Brad

    When you said you and your “wife” consumed this early, are you refering to the time of day? If so I have another comment to make.

  • Phil Andrews

    I’m sure you saw the related column:–add-it-to-my-resume-i-wine

    I also received a long bit of feedback from a local strip-mall wine making business. Yikes.

    Here it is:

    Hi Phil:
    Read your article with great interest obviously and want to thank you for raising our industry’s very low profile just a touch.
    would appreciate if you would read my sidebar comments to your edited article, thank-you.

    He obtained the backstory on the wine. Any good reviewer should engage in research about what they’re about to sample to better inform the process and Travis wanted to know why I had decided to make wine. well done We made a pinot grigio. In honour of the day of its crafting, we dubbed it Pinot Green-o. tongue in cheek n’est pas?
    The truth be told, the winemaking process was underwhelming for the kids and me. should be a not stressful event…I assumed it would be a fun, hands-on, grand sort of science experiment that took time, patience, great care and the help of skilled experts. quite frankly if you wanted to have an interactive experience I would hope our colleague would have offered you this Phil Instead, it was over within minutes. A woman at the store we patronized merely grabbed a giant juice-box-type kit, drained it, added water to the mix and had me open and dump a wee packet of yeast to the solution. which is required by law for you to do Phil It was then stirred — by her — with some gadget and I was told when to return for my wine. clear & concise He was gentle with me. He shared that he had made wine previously — though abandoned the practice after his second batch came out bad. not good for our industry as perception is reality and quality control/consistency is paramount He also savours shopping for wines and trying different ones. fair enough but our craft has many varietals & styles to select from as well On Thursday, he posted his review. It advised that his wife sampled it first — without being warned as to its origin. Her first comment was an “mmm” followed by an observation that it was “light.” this is probably a very fair observation as pinot grigio is not a full bodied wine so the typicity was there for this varietal type That’s a good first take, Travis wrote. for all us winers! He’d warned me he would enlist his wife. And if she first asserted “is this homemade,” I had concocted something more leaning to solvent use than a beverage for leisure sipping. we never use the term homemade in our winery because if your wine tastes like it is homemade instead of a wine of distinction & quality what’s the value proposition then?
    The review concludes that while my fermented mega juice-box product “bordered dangerously on being watery” this is probably because you purchased an entry level kit not a 100% juice product or a premium kit of higher quality raw materials which require less amelioration (addition of highly filtered water NOT tap water) he and his wife would spend $8 to obtain a bottle of it at an LCBO outlet. our industry can compete in the $8 bracket very, very well – our producers are the best in the world in this industry He even suggests another wine drop-off would be welcome. please give him a 1 year old aged red that has been fermented on skins!!! or perhaps a barrel fermented and aged single vineyard grow local/buy local Niagara chardonnay I’ll enjoy and share the remaining wine with more confidence. well done, as good wine takes time and your wine was still in bottle shock Phil. It probably would have been beneficial to decant this extremely young wine too.
    Perhaps, over a glass of my March 2012 variety, I’ll even ponder what compelling additions could be made to my bucket list now that it has grown shorter. ahhh, did The Winer mention that your finished wine is only as good as the raw products utilized?!
    Again, thanks for the article Phil and perhaps drop by sometime.

    Good Wine Takes Time!
    The Winer in The Winery

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