Hi, I'm Rachel
My goal to is to help you succeed in your wine studies.
I'm a wine lover, and wine writer.
My love of fine food dates back to childhood, when I developed hand signals for the animal crackers before I could even speak.
After a background in finance, I completed a culinary diploma (Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts) in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, where I graduated at the top of my class. Since then, I’ve worked in some incredible kitchens, and cooked for some very famous peeps (and tasted many impressive wines) as a private yacht chef.
My love of wine dates back to a sip of Chateau d’Yquem a friend’s dad ordered for us at a fancy restaurant when I was 20. Cue technicolour fireworks – honey, apricot, a marmalade flavour brighter than life. Wow, how’d they get all those flavours in there? I had to learn more.
Since then, I’ve successfully completed the prestigious Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma. Wine education is a big investment and the studying was intense, but it's worth it. I worked through levels 1 – 3 of WSET with Distinction, and was thrilled to receive a scholarship from Les Dames d’Escoffier society towards my wine studies. In 2016, I was awarded the challenging Italian Wine Ambassador designation by Vinitaly. I'm a Judge at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London, on the panels for wines of Canada and the US.
A degree in classical archaeology and the ancient history of Greece & Rome from UBC comes in handy when pondering how things like the production (and enjoyment) of wine has changed over the last 4000 years or so! I volunteer as a director at the beautiful VanDusen Gardens, and am a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and the Guild of Sommeliers.
A passion of mine is gardening, and providing food in the form of delicious flowers and seeds (and grapes!), for the many birds, bees and bugs that visit our land.
The travel bug has bitten big time. I’ve been all over the place, usually to somewhere with incredible food and preferably some vines nearby. In Canada: the Okanagan, Similkameen, Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, Prince Edward County and Niagara. In the USA, pretty much every wine region from Walla Walla to Napa Valley, plus Long Island. I’ve also toured extensively through Italy, France, England, Greece, Turkey, and NZ & Australia. Next on the wishlist is a trip to Portugal to try some hearty home cooking and drink Port in the Douro.
My husband and I own a small organic vineyard in the sunny Similkameen, where we grow a rainbow of wine and table grapes, plus walnuts, apricots, plums, apples, and ground crops like garlic and tomatoes. You can find my first book, Winetripping: Your Guide to the Best Wineries of BC Okanagan & Similkameen on Amazon.