A bit about myself

I loved wine from an early age, very early, as in way before drinking age. Way, way before. In some parts of Europe, there is no such thing as a legal drinking age for wine, right? (Wine is a food group, a birthright.)

In truth, my grandfather had a small commercial production. When I joined all my cousins during summer vacation visits, we as kids were happily running to the cellar to bring always fresh, always cellar temperature, demi-carafes of rose, sweating in the sweltering heat, to the table laden with good food, and surrounded by my family. When we asked to try some, we were allowed a taste, diluted with water – and I liked it.

Fast-forward many years. Now, I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In Ontario, almost all wine and other alcoholic drinks are sold through the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s ubiquitous LCBO stores. LCBO counts a couple of amazing things to its name, some given, some earned. By its nature, as a monopoly in a big market, LCBO has a great purchasing power, which provides us consumers with a fantastic choice and decent prices. And, by a stroke of genius, though it’s been many years since, LCBO introduced the concept of Vintages releases, where every two weeks there are hundreds of new wines added to the shelves, in small quantities, to explore, to learn about, and to taste. Oh, my!

Why the name?

How to choose from myriad of different bottles? I like all types of wine. In fact that is why I love wine – for its variety of flavours that can make for a happy match with all different kinds of food.

Over the years, I discovered which wine critics’ tastes are similar to mine, and in choosing which wines to try, relied on their advice. But my shopping cart was overflowing, and my limited cellar space began to fill at an alarming pace. I had to find a way out of this conundrum. And I did. Simply, I decided to choose from interesting wines that cost less than $20*.

After all, there is a significant difference between a $10 wine and a $20 wine, said one of my profs**. At that price range, the price difference reflects more hands-on work, more thought put into soil and berry selection and more cellar care that goes into the wines on the higher point.

Talking to some kindred souls recently, I realized that I am predominantly tasting wines in a narrow range, price-wise, and felt crestfallen. But, it appeared they did a similar thing! And there might be others. Maybe you do it that way too.

That range appears to be $15-$20, which turned into inspiration for the name for this blog. Sometimes, they are a bit less, sometimes they are a bit more, but mostly they are between $15 and $20. And still, the choice is vast! Welcome to my/the world of 15 to 20 wine.


* These are Canadian dollars. I am sorely aware that some wines cost much less elsewhere compared to where I buy them, such as Californian wines in the US, or Tuscan wines in Italy. But, someplace (even throughout Canada) they surely cost more. In either case, feel free to share, but please don’t rub it in if you are one of the lucky ones.

** That is, one of my professors from the  Algonquin College Sommelier program in Ottawa, where I graduated in 2005.


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