Treat your team to some vino Italiano

Get ready to bust out your best karaoke rendition of O’Sole Mio because tonight, it’s Viva Italia! Always a crowd pleaser, you can’t go wrong with Italian wines. You’ll have your team bonding over their shared love of Sangiovese in no time. 

To start

Kick off your tasting adventure with a delicate white, like a Sicilian grillo or a pinot blanc from the Trentino-Alto Adige region (don’t be surprised if the label’s written in German since it’s close to the Austrian border). If you really want to get the conversation flowing, serve Lambrusco, a rare red sparkling wine that’ll get the whole team talking.

First course

Soave, from the Veneto region of Italy, is the perfect wine to pair with fish or white meat. Its new generation of producers continues to surprise, like the house of Filippi, represented in Quebec by the agency Oenopole. 

Second course

Got some Barolo fans in the group? Aglianico del Vulture has a similar profile but gives your guests the chance to try something different. Paired with a slow-cooked whole beef buttock, it’s guaranteed to steal the show. For those who find strong tannins taste like a board of 2×4, opt for a glass of Etna rosso, a smooth and silky wine that will soothe even the pickiest of palates. 


In the sommelier world, sweet dishes call for sweet wine … but where’s the fun in following all the rules? End your meal in style by serving a Quebec ice wine topped with dry prosecco (one of Robert’s faves!) to cut the sweetness. Franciacorta, a sparkling wine from Lombardy made with the champagne method, features fine bubbles and a lingering finish. One of Italy’s best-kept secrets, it makes regular prosecco look like Pepsi! Try it once and prepare to be addicted.

Start a new trend by sampling some up-and-coming products

Whiskey and microbrewery beer tastings are so 2015! Start your own trend with an xeres sherry or sake tasting—two great alternatives that are slowly gaining popularity in Quebec. Xeres sherry, the toast of Spain Forget your grandma’s sherry.


Xeres is a bone dry variety that’s as delicious as it is versatile. Thanks to the creation of flor, a thin layer of yeast that forms on the surface of the wine during the fermentation process, fino and manzanilla sherries develop unique aromas of green olive, brine and walnuts—perfect for aperitifs. Serve with an antipasto platter of dried sausage, Manchego cheese and pickled artichokes and you’ll turn even the most skeptical guests into sherry believers.


If your idea of sake is a hot and sticky liquid served in small earthenware glasses, think again! Quebec now imports top-quality sake at an affordable price, giving us all the chance to enjoy Japan’s favourite spirit export. Junmai ginjo is a variety of sake made from 60% polished rice grains, made to enjoy cold while you eat. Elegant, fresh and floral, it pairs perfectly with fried dishes, mushrooms or red meat dishes like rack of lamb with a zaatar crust. Sake isn’t the only great spirit to come out of Japan.

If your colleagues are tired of traditional whisky tastings, mix things up with some Japanese bottles—like the Nikka Yoichi Single Malt, a hidden gem that comes highly recommended by Quebec Whisky.  

How to chill a glass of white wine quickly

Do you often forget to put your bottle of white wine in the fridge and it's not cold enough for aperitif time? We have something for you!

To cool a glass of white wine quickly, without diluting the taste, add frozen grapes to it. Remove the grapes from their bunch, place them on a plate in the freezer, once frozen, keep them in a plastic bag designed for this purpose. Very simple and Oh how effective!