Hi, I’m Nat!

Nothing speaks to me the way that wine has spoken to me. The connection to history, culture and people is never-ending. It creates connections, and amplifies the experience that one can have in and outside of the hospitality sector. When we profess our love of wine, we are saying that we appreciate a seemingly limitless scope of geography, science, history, art, and flavour. It cannot be understated how meaningful connections play into our love of this world. The good meals we share with the riveting company and the wide-eyed wonderment from a truly expressive wine or the surprise from a new, unexpected bottle are universal infatuations of the wine lover. 

As someone who grew up and started my initial studies of wine in the city, I was self assured that I understood the nuances of different soil types, blocks and appellations. However, it was moving to Niagara in 2020, and working on a vineyard that helped me understand the subtlety of slope and weather variations, as I’d go through, in the scope of an hour, a single cold morning to a blistering afternoon in July.

In some ways almost more importantly, I have learned the importance of human culture. Certainly exposition, drainage and soil hydrology are important, however the human touch is a notion that is sometimes forgotten, especially when you don’t have contact with those making the product. From the meticulous hands that work in the vines, to the brilliant minds of the cellar (though neither is mutually exclusive), it is the impact and choices of the people that truly make the wine. 

These days, it is driving up the escarpment, windows down on a hot summer afternoon, with Missy Eliott as my ride-or-die climbing higher and higher away from Lake Ontario that I realise a drive in any direction will yield me an unparalleled supply of outstanding wines and equally fantastic people.

Wine, as life, is constantly changing and evolving. In and outside of the bottle, the numerous factors that are taken into consideration are vast. Looking back, I contemplate the euphoric memories that I’ve shared with other wine lovers as we’ve explored some of the more contemplative questions that, perhaps, start with an innocent-enough wine related questions and quickly devolve into more broad topics like “The Merits of Art”, “What is hard work?” and most interestingly “What am I doing with my life?”.

When calling into question the state of the world, and our place within it, nothing marries escapism and conversation like a restaurant. I truly appreciate these moments (and of course the wine that goes hand in hand) as more often than not they are shared in a social space, such as a restaurant or bar. Once spaces for entertainment and trade, gastronomic hot spots have been integral to our development as a society and culture. When considering how I have been challenged and surprised by a dish, customer or fellow diner, I cannot help but be grateful for these shared spaces. Bars and restos will always have a place in our society as long as we crave intimate moments with strangers and connections to things beyond who and what we are today. 

I believe that decisiveness is a form of bravery and a quality that is to be admired in those that pioneer an industry, especially one that, at its core, is agriculture. A tediously fickle industry that depends on human reliability and the ever-changing weather patterns, this is a salute to those that, despite challenges and “curve balls’ ‘ manage to stay decisively experimental while taking the road less travelled. We are the lucky ones who are allowed to reap the benefits of their determination.