Greg MacDonald 2010
I grew up in Niagara’s wine country and attended the Grape and Wine Festival parade every year as a kid, but my wine journey really began in Toronto when I graduated from York University’s theatre program in the early 1990s and promptly got a job selling wine at an Ontario wine shop on Queen Street West. I think I knew less than nothing at the beginning.
Because of (or perhaps despite of) the spotty wine knowledge that I had accumulated in those early years, I landed a job as an office temp at the LCBO working for Vintages in 1999. This is where my interest in wine really began to spark. I took the LCBO product knowledge courses and then dove into the IWEG courses eventually transitioning from customer service to writing and researching for the Vintages publications. Besides numerous trips to the vineyards and wineries in Niagara I was also lucky enough to travel to Germany and visit the Rheingau and Mosel regions. Recently I’ve enjoyed a stint managing the kosher wine portfolio and Specialty spirits portfolio at the LCBO as well as assisting the New World wines buyer at Vintages. I’ve also enjoyed teaching eager students for IWEG on occasion.
I hope to travel more, particularly to the wine regions of France, Italy and Spain. South America is also on my wish list. I’ve recently started a small but varied collection in my cellar and I hope to keep that growing. (Admittedly I have always been a consumer of wines – it doesn’t usually last long at our house.)
Outstanding memories of your studies with IWEG – favourite books, tasting with friends, inspiring moments, white-knuckle moments……...?
I loved our Diploma level tasting group – so much fun and the open discussions were eye opening. These were great for gaining confidence in blind tastings and learning other perspectives of the industry. The Niagara trip was fantastic – getting an in-depth look at the vineyards of Henry of Pelham with Dan Speck, tasting terroir with Ann Sperling at Southbrook. Not to mention the dorm room pillow fights! (Probably kidding) Some books I found helpful (besides The Oxford Companion to Wine) were The New France by Andrew Jefford, The New Italy by Daniele Cernilli & Marco Sebellico and The New Spain by John Radford. I also highly recommend reading Jay McInerney’s A Hedonist in the Cellar should you have any moments of doubt regarding your love of wine.