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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

  • Weird Grapes Part Two: Unusual reds are yummy!

    I worked wildly to wrangle an amazing alliteration alluding to the wonderful wines we wrested from peppy, personable pourers at the Brandon Wine Society’s special season-starting session, which featured uncommon, usually unconsumed grapes, at least in this part of the world. But as you see, I failed miserably.
  • Odd grape varietals offer oenophiles interesting options

    Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling. All of those are common white grape varietals most people are acquainted with, right?
  • Silver Patron Tequila an amazing indulgence

    It was, to be sure, a night to remember. My friend Doug was REALLY surprised when his family and a large group of pals, including my husband and me, celebrated his 50th birthday (which was actually this past Monday) two months early — on July 12th — at the Pelican Yacht Club in Ninette.
  • Montecillo Rioja Reserva is a great Spanish red

    Slowly, we raised the glasses to our lips, which were already parted in anticipation. As the brick-red liquid danced over our taste buds and slipped down our eager throats, our eyes met over the dinner table. Wantonly, we gazed at each other, sharing the moment, just we two. This slice of time was ours, and ours alone. As the wonder of this ethereal experience slowly dissipated, our minds caught up to our senses and our eyes widened, almost in disbelief. Locked in a stare that seemed to last an eternity, we finally lowered our glasses, and almost as one, said, “Ahhhhh.”
  • Bargain chardonnay a steal for the price

    It’s always great when you can find a reliable wine, something that hasn’t changed at all over the years, especially one that continues to be available to you at a reasonable price. Even though I think I’ve outgrown something — well, one ‘thing’ in particular, but bear with me for a moment — it’s really cool when I can go back to it and realize my palate can still appreciate something I think I’ve ‘gotten beyond,’ for lack of a better phrase.
  • Special sparkler stoppers save bubbly for another day

    I love bubbly. And it’s not like that’s a major revelation or anything. Regular readers of this column have witnessed me rave on and on about the wonders of sparkling wine for years now. But I love Champagne, I love cava, I love prosecco, I love sparkling shiraz, I love crackling rosé — I mean, unless it’s really sweet (and there are lots of those out there), I’m crazy about bubbly wine.
  • These reds are great paired with grilled meat

    Even though it’s summertime, I continue, as do many people, to drink red wine. While some folks think it’s a bit heavy for the warm season — and I agree with that sentiment as it applies to sippers, at least for me — I still really like red wine with red meat. I’ve gotten into the habit in the last year or two of having a glass of white — with me, that usually means Chardonnay — before dinner as my treat for having survived the day. And if we’re having fish or chicken, I’ll stay with white for the duration of the evening.
  • "Flavoured" beer: A good thing? Or bad?

    So I’ll be the first to admit it. I know nothing about beer. But I know what I like. And that’s the key to enjoying anything. Don’t try to overrule your taste buds. If you like it, drink it. What anybody else thinks doesn’t matter. Make yourself happy.
  • Great food and fine wine on U.S. side of Metigoshe

    So as I explained in last week’s installment of Vine Lines, my cousin Paige got married on the U.S. side of Lake Metigoshe last year. Having grown up in Goodlands/Deloraine, and in the family cottage on the Canadian side of Metigoshe, she wanted to get married at the lake on which she’d spent her youth. But since there are few services for a wedding on our side, she opted to have her wedding across the border. I was amazed by what I found there, and wanted to share this fabulous little escape with readers of the Brandon Sun who, like me, may not have been aware it existed.
  • American side of Metigoshe has lots to offer winos and foodies

    I’m a huge believer in supporting Manitoba and Canadian businesses. But while I’m not an advocate of cross-border shopping, neither am I dead-set against it. In this day and age, many of us have to try to make our dollars stretch further than ever before. And there’s no question there are sometimes bargains to be had in the U.S. and in other destinations abroad.
  • These two whites are perfect for warm-weather sipping

    I realize that by making this statement, I’m risking the wrath of Mother Nature. But it seems like summer has finally arrived. And while I enjoy red wine in the summertime (and I know lots of folks for whom it’s their preference all year long), like many who aren’t strictly red wine or white wine drinkers, I still gravitate more toward white when the weather’s warm. I’ll still have red wine with red meat, of course, but the pre-dinner glass will almost always be white, especially at this time of year.
  • One wine -- and three responses to it

    Never let it be said that wine-drinking isn’t an adventure. And it’s an adventure that can present itself in many episodes, even when just one wine is involved.
  • Fair Trade wines are winners for everybody

    Sometimes I’m completely blown away by people’s generosity and consideration for others. I’m humbled, even. I wish I could be as thoughtful as folks who figure out ways to help those in need just by deciding on a simple plan of action and then sticking to it.
  • Milestone column revisits consistent favourites

    I’ve never really understood why folks make such a big deal about round numbers. But even though I don’t get it, I buy into it all the same. There just seems to be something special about multiples of fives or tens or quarter-centuries — something milestone-ish about those particular achievements, whether in age, in duration or in perseverance.
  • A Lobsterfest letter of thanks to Lt. Col. Richard Goodyear

    Dear Colonel Goodyear, I tried in vain to chat with you last Saturday evening in Shilo, but you were a busy guy that night, and since I hadn’t met you before, it was difficult to try to pick you out of a crowd! But I thought perhaps this public forum might be a decent way of letting you know how much I — and many, many others — appreciated Lobsterfest, which you (and I’m guessing an army — ha! — of dedicated volunteers) staged for members of the public to enjoy.
  • Much more to a cork than meets the nose

    I’ve noticed an interesting trend recently. And perhaps it’s not so new. Maybe I just haven’t been paying enough attention.
  • Change in palate calls for change of plan

    I think I know what my problem is. Well, scratch that. Problem? Singular? I’m dreaming! There are so many things wrong with me, they’d fill an encyclopedia. Or at least a bunch of screens in Wikipedia. (This is me, trying to stay current with the times. And failing. Miserably.)
  • Scotland's Innis & Gunn makes great beer

    I love people who share. And while a lot of folks share on a regular basis, and do so quite willingly, there are others who are horrified by the idea.
  • Zinfandel the best match for barbecue-sauced meats

    Ah, summer. The time for beaches, bonfires and barbecue.
  • Many moms will like this -- and it's perfectly pink, too

    I’ve found my honey-mustard-glazed salmon wine! Finally!
  • Lifelong love for Chardonnay seems gone, gone, gone away

    It seems I'm off Chardonnay. And I'm completely freaked out.
  • VacuVin still surprising after all these years

    Some things just bear repeating. And my amazement about the effectiveness of the VacuVin is one of them.
  • Bargain whites hint of summer just around the corner

    I have no way of knowing what the weather’s like outside as you read this column. Submission deadlines for special features are always well in advance of publication. So if it’s a glorious 23 C outside, the above headline might seem ridiculous, although I’d hope folks might be open-minded enough to realize this is still April, and anything can happen. I remember the occasional May blizzard, which, while unwelcome, always served to remind us where we live: Manitoba, where saying ‘the weather is unpredictable’ is always a massive understatement.
  • Wineglass etiquette causes nasty case of 'wine thumb'

    About six weeks ago, I was out with a group of colleagues and friends celebrating my pal Jill’s 40th birthday. We had a great time — Champagne to start (my favourite, Veuve Clicquot Brut) — followed by fabulous prime rib at Echo in the Royal Oak Inn along with a WHOLE lot more wine — the Beringer Founders’ Estate Chardonnay ($16.99) and the J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon ($20.22), both from California. We indulged in said beverages in those ultra-large wineglasses that are all the rage now, and which really trap aromas as well as allow the wine to breathe much more than smaller vessels do.
  • Pair sweet with sweet -- there's no denying it works

    It's much easier to change one’s mind about a particular type of wine when the product you try is delicious! While that might seem like sort of a ‘duh’ statement, what makes it somewhat revelatory, at least for me, is that in the case I’m about to relate, I previously thought I couldn’t ever, under any circumstances, like this particular varietal.

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