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Vine Lines

About Diane Nelson:

Diane Nelson is a long-time journalist and former Sun staffer who really likes wine. A lot. Chat with her online at

  • Goats or Côtes is a tough call for wine lovers

    Two wines. Two countries. Two different “Worlds.” I’ve wanted to do a comparison between this duo of wines for ages and I finally got around to it a few weeks ago.
  • Choices abound for Easter meals -- and wine pairings

    Ham, lamb, turkey or spam? I sort of feel like I’m parroting (ha!) one of Monty Python’s most well-known routines with that last option. But trust me — it isn’t a joke. Well, mostly not.
  • Spring rosés bloom

    A bottle of white, a bottle of red … Perhaps a bottle of rosé instead. With credit to Billy Joel for my parroting of his lyrics from “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” there’s something about spring that always has me thinking rosé.
  • Beer a pleasant change of taste for this wino

    It was with a great deal of trepidation that I approached the subject matter for today’s column. Don’t get me wrong — Cody Lobreau is a nice guy and I was looking forward to learning what I could from our resident beer expert. And I’m all for cool little change-ups — tomorrow is April Fools’ Day, so we thought we’d have some fun and pull a little switcheroo on you unsuspecting readers by exchanging our regular areas of focus for a one-day-only gag.
  • WestJet's latest complimentary wine offering delicious

    Free wine. It’s rare for me to ever turn down an offer like that. Because if I don’t like it, I don’t feel compelled to finish it. And while I can be picky — well, let’s be honest here, I’m very picky — there still aren’t too many wines I’ve ever found that were undrinkable. There have been a few, but not a bunch.
  • Toast the occasion with Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Timing, as they say, is everything, and while I’ve struggled for 10 years to come up with appropriate subject matter for St. Paddy’s Day, Ireland is not exactly known for its wine. One could add a tiny drop of green food colouring to a glass or bottle of white wine to play along, I suppose, but that’s not really terribly authentic.
  • Big, beautiful reds worth the investment

    It’s always great to try new-to-you, or in this case, new-to-me, wines that end up being particular treats. I’ve confessed before that I usually find my favourites, keep buying them and don’t seek out anything else. But happily, and luckily, I often have the chance to try certain wines without committing to the cost of a bottle.
  • Examining labels a must when it comes to wine

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — read those labels! And you know who should be taking this advice?
  • Wines to make every day worth celebrating

    It’s a bit frustrating, really. Although I guess it should be the opposite. The very day the Valentine’s Day installment of Vine Lines appeared in The Brandon Sun, I found three additional wines that were more than worthy of inclusion.
  • Share a fine wine with your Valentine

    Ah, Valentine’s Day. A time for love, romance, flowers, chocolate, special food, and for many of us, fine wine. This is the annual Vine Lines Valen-Wines column, where I recount and recommend some stunning wines that should warm the heart of your beloved, or turn the head of someone you might be interested in getting to know better.
  • Three superb Spanish wines to sip and savour

    Just one. Out of six samples, that was all I liked.
  • Revisiting Frei Brothers Cabernet good move

    A change is a good as a rest. Or a rest is as good as a change!
  • Young adults seeking quality wine a great thing

    The texts started flying back and forth between here and Saskatoon at 7:25 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30. “Di, I need your help,” began the exchange. “Two different bottles. Whites or Blush. It’s for drinking with my girl tonight. Help!”
  • Life is a Cabernet -- get some!

    I love red wine. Anyone who read last week’s Vine Lines column knows that. But while I like all sorts of reds, if I had to pick just one, it would have to be Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Question poses wine dilemma that leads to agonizing choice

    “So if you had to pick only one kind of wine to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be — red or white?” I was horrified by the question! Only one colour — forever and ever and ever?
  • Some beautiful bubblies for New Year's Eve -- or anytime

    “That smells like unbaked bread.” I looked in astonishment at my husband as he made that pronouncement about the Mionetto Prosecco Treviso Brut from Italy.
  • Seasonal selections to enhance holiday celebrations

    Christmas dinner. For me, those two words conjure up fond memories of decades gone by, when our immediate family would be joined by — or would join — grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins — sometimes dozens of the latter — and sit around one or two tables celebrating the joy of the season and our delight at simply being together.
  • Aerators make great gifts and improve inexpensive wine

    I like good wine. Well, considering I write this column, that seems sort of a ridiculous statement, doesn’t it! I think most people like good wine — nobody sets out to drink something that sucks.
  • Vintage Veuve an incredible indulgence

    I’d never had this before. Sure, I’d tasted plenty of Champagnes. And it’s certainly not because I can afford to buy them, because I can’t. It’s just that I’ve been fortunate to have been given the opportunity through my wine work — the incredible one-time-only Champagne tasting as an adjunct to the Winnipeg Wine Festival six or seven years ago springs to mind — or gifts from crazy-generous and loving friends, to taste one of the world’s most revered beverages from a variety of vintners over the years.
  • Francis Ford Coppola Winery a spectacular Sonoma experience

    Dear Mr. Coppola, Thanks to the efforts of a lot of people, including Peter Wilk, Melanie Eldridge, Olivia Koufakis, and many members of your on-site team, my husband and I enjoyed a fabulous day — the best of our entire time in Sonoma and Napa — at your lovely winery in June of this year.
  • William Hill and Louis M. Martini superb Napa wines

    I’d never tasted anything quite like it. Aromas and flavours of stone fruit and tropical fruit, a faint mineral quality I really liked, and man, was it buttery. OMG! Velvety, smooth, but still with a spine. I’d found my new Chardonnay.
  • Tastings vary in price, but offer unique wine memories

    Free? Thirty dollars? Or even more? Those are the pricing options for wine tastings around California’s Sonoma County and Napa Valley. As in most situations, you get what you pay for. But sometimes, happily, there are surprises, too.
  • Westman Wine Festival a wildly successful event

    It’s getting to be a habit, one that I’m extremely happy to indulge in each and every year. The Westman Wine Festival, which took place Oct. 26 and 28 at the Victoria Inn, was, as expected, a roaring success once again. The gala dinner on Wednesday was, in my opinion, the best Winefest dinner in the 14 years of the event’s existence.
  • Visit to Rodney Strong a mind-blowing experience

    I love Rodney Strong. Well, let me qualify that. I’m sure Rodney Strong himself was a very nice man. But it’s the wines produced by the vineyards he established and that bear his name that have earned my affection and admiration. Over the years, I’ve tried several Rodney Strong wines, thanks to generous friends who have made the trip to the vineyard in Sonoma County and have brought me back treasures, such as the Rodney Strong Knotty Vines Zinfandel, which I love to this day. I was also introduced to Rodney Strong Vineyards products by a dear friend whose name is Rodney, which makes this connection even more special.
  • Alcatraz authentic but Pier 39 a tourist trap

    For reasons I can’t explain, I’ve always wanted to see Alcatraz. Perhaps it’s just the mystique of the island prison. Maybe it’s all the stories about notorious prisoners who were incarcerated there — Robert (The Birdman) Stroud and Al Capone spring to mind — and the exciting and frightening tales of escape attempts.

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