Q1. What is a Wine Tasting Club exactly?
A: Quite simply, a wine tasting club organizes events where members (and guests) can sample a flight of wines that have been selected to explore a specific theme. The theme could be based on a region (eg. Burgundy, Bordeaux), a grape varietal (eg. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir), or a specific winemaker (eg. Chateau Ste. Michelle, Hidden Bench) etc - any theme that the Board thinks would make an interesting experience.
Q2. How do the tastings work?
A. We taste samples of 8 wines in a "blind" format. That means you will not know exactly what you are tasting until you have had a chance to sample all the wines and rank your preferences on an evaluation sheet. A guest speaker provides more insight and information about the wines or the wine-growing region. At the end of the tasting we reveal what the wines were and share the group's and guest's scores.
Q3. What if I don't know anything about wine?
A. Then this Wine Club is for you! Our events allow you to learn in a fun and relaxed setting. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to wine. Everyone experiences wine differently due to their own individual palates. By attending our tastings you will learn what you like and use that information for your own wine-buying in the future. We also offer a "Newcomers' Table" with an experienced taster who will help guide you through the tasting. You can sign up for the Newcomers' Table as often as you like.
Q4. Why do people score and rank the wines?
A. We score and rank the wines according to which wines we like best to the ones we like the least. It's done for fun but also helps you remember which wines you prefer in case there's a chance to purchase wines like them in the future. Each table tallies the scores of its participants and the table scores are compiled to produce an overall group ranking - each tasting event tracks these scores for future reference.
Q5. How much do the events cost?
A. Each event typically costs between $80-$120 per member. Non-members/guests can attend, space permitting, at a premium (up to 40%). Price includes wine and light appetizers.
Q6. Do you sell the wines that are being tasted?
A. Unfortunately we are not permitted to sell wine. That said, most of the wines in our tastings are sourced through the LCBO and local wine import agencies, so if you find a wine you truly enjoy, you might be able to track down a different vintage of the same wine. Occasionally our guest speaker is a wine-import agent or winemaker who would be more than happy to assist you.
Q7. Is the Toronto Vintners Club affiliated with a winery or business involved with producing or selling wine?
A. No. We are totally independent of any wine-related business. This means that our buyers can buy any wine from any producer and do not have any conflicts of interest or implicit biases. This neutrality allows us to buy and experience wine from anywhere in the world.
Q8. Do you have a wine cellar or inventory?
A. Yes. TVC has built up an extensive wine cellar over the years. We store many of our wines for years. This gives our members the opportunity to taste wines that have aged and to appreciate the characteristics of a wine that is 5, 10, 15 or more years older than what they can buy right now.
Q9. Who are the typical members that join Toronto Vintners?
A. Anyone and everyone who enjoys wine or who wants to learn more about wine can join the club. Our membership comes from diverse backgrounds and is inclusive. What we all share is a love of wine and good food. Great friendships have been made at the Toronto Vintners Club. Is there a better way to meet people who share your interest in wine?
Q10. What is the cost to join and is there an initiation fee?
A. All our membership fees are outlined on our Membership Page. There is no initiation fee.
Q11. What is the purpose of the Membership Fee?
A. Membership fees help cover administrative costs such as wine storage, insurance, and general administrative expenses. This keeps the cost of tasting events low and supports our wine buying program. As a not-for-profit corporation any excess revenue is applied to the purchase of wine and holding events for our members.
Q12. As a member do I have to attend every event?
A. You can come to as many or as few events as you like. By having a membership you will always get advance notice and preferred pricing for every event. Some events sell out quickly, so it is a small amount to pay to get the early notice and be able to sign up before the event sells out.
Q13. How can I attend an event if I am not a member?
A. Anyone can attend an event, space permitting, at the guest/non-member rate which is at a premium to the member rate (up to 40%). As soon as an event goes "live" on the website, click on "Register/Buy Tickets" to sign up for the tasting. Tastings must be paid in full in advance in order to secure your place. We do not sell tickets at the door.
Q14. Where does Toronto Vintners meet?
A. Our in-person events are held at the University of Toronto's Faculty Club (downtown) at 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1C7. The Faculty Club is easily reached via streetcar from Spadina subway station (just south of Harbord St).
Q15. Do you sell tickets at the door?
A. No, we cannot sell tickets at the door. To purchase tickets in advance, go to the Events page and click on the appropriate link.
Q16. Can I get a refund if I am unable to attend an event?
A. Ticket sales/registrations are final. However, if the event is completely sold out and we have a waiting list, then we will issue a refund.
Q17. Can I bring a guest to an event?
A. Guests and non-members are welcome to attend all of our events. However, non-members pay a higher fee for each event they attend. Please Note: All tickets are sold in advance – please see the specific event page to order tickets on behalf of your guest.
Q18. What time do events start?
A. Tastings usually start at 6:00 PM with a reception wine. The formal tasting part of the evening starts at around 6:20 or 6:25.
Q19. Do you serve food with the wines?
A. Bread is always provided to cleanse palates, and light appetizers are served with the wines. Occasionally, we also organize specific food and wine-paired dinners.
Q20. How long does a tasting last?
A. Tastings usually run 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. If people need to leave early, they do. Or, feel free to linger after the tasting and chat about the wines.
Q21. What should I wear to a tasting?
A. Our location usually has a dress code of "business casual". Ties and jackets are not required. Please avoid wearing scented products to a wine event.
Q22. I am not sure I want to commit to a membership. How can I check out the club?
A. We totally understand. You can attend an event as a non-member which is at the premium to the members' rate. Then if you decide to join within 3 weeks of that event we will apply the premium you paid toward your membership fee. Our membership director will be in touch after your first event to see if you would like to join.