The club's philosophy and purpose are to educate people about the joys of drinking wine, to sample and evaluate wines from all over the world, and to do so in the friendly company of others.
Toronto Vintners organizes wine tasting events for its members that feature exceptional quality wines from its cellar and through special arrangements with wineries and agents. On occasion, it also hosts wine/food events and dinners. Today, Toronto Vintners continues to be recognized by wine writers and the wine trade for its contribution to wine enjoyment, appreciation and education. All tasks are performed by volunteer members and procedural matters are kept to a minimum at events. The club is independent, non-profit, and has no trade affiliation.
We often serve a reception wine at the start of our events for people to mingle, meet and unwind while the wines are being poured out. We usually feature eight wines from a different region or vineyard or grape in a "blind" manner, meaning no one knows the identities while we taste. Sometimes we serve plates of appetizers with the wines. A guest speaker is often invited to provide us with information about the region and his/her comments about the wines after everyone has had a chance to nose and taste them. Everyone scores and ranks the wines in order of their preference and later in the evening, we tabulate the results to see which wines are the favourite and least favourite. The tastings are not competitive. Everyone comes out to have a fun evening. For more details about our tastings, click on the "Events" and "FAQ" links on the menu.
The Toronto Vintners Club was founded in June 1975 by businessman and entrepreneur Ted Turner (pictured at right) and incorporated on May 25th, 1977, making it Toronto's first and now longest operating wine tasting club. An article written by Bob Pennington of the Toronto Star back in 1975, appealed to the public to contact Ted Turner, described as "world traveler . . . head of a Toronto personnel agency, part-time actor and amateur winemaker" if they were interested in starting "a private organization dedicated to the serious study of wine." Having traveled to San Francisco where a Vintner's Club existed, Ted thought Toronto might be interested in, ready for and benefit from starting a similar wine tasting club.
The Toronto Star article brought in a flood of interest. The very first tasting was of Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style wines on Tuesday, June 17, 1975 at the Regency East Ballroom of the [then] Hyatt House Hotel and attracted 150 people. The cost of the event was $6.50 by mail and $7.00 at the door. The wines served that evening ranged in price from $2.10 for Sommet Rouge to $17.70 for 1966 Chateau Rausan Segla.
Here's the ranking order of the wines from that evening, with no. 1 being the favourite of the group:
The second event, a Riesling tasting, attracted 160 people and the rest is history - the club was born.