Tag Archives: wine reviews

John Schreiner, our E. B. White of wine

John Schreiner, who has been celebrating Canadian vino for longer than many of us have been able to drink legally, is the E. B. White of our wine world.

A long-time writer for The New Yorker, E. B. White is perhaps remembered best for children’s books like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. But he was also a superb essayist who wrote endlessly (and, it seems, effortlessly) about the day-to-day activities on his Maine salt-water farm. Possessed of an infallible sense of story, White captured moments of universal appeal in prose that was elegantly structured, deceptively simple and forever memorable. 

John Schreiner shares many of these characteristics and is, hands-down, the best writer about Canadian wines. The latest edition of his Okanagan Wine Tour Guide is filled with examples that make the point. 

Setting the stage for a discussion of sustainable practices at Burrowing Owl, he opens with a vignette of winery founder Jim Wyse tending the many bluebird and bat boxes on the property. At the Crowsnest Winery in the Similkameen, he gives almost as much space to bratwurst and homemade bread as he does to the wine in a successful effort to capture the friendly and fastidious character of the winery’s European owners. At Meadow Vista Honey Wines in West Kelowna, Schreiner slyly documents the lifelong, 24/7 busyness of owner Judith Barta without once mentioning the word “bee”.

This is a writer of superb instincts, in control of his material and his language. There aren’t many of them. In fact, every Schreiner review fills the page with an engrossing narrative about the origins of the vineyard and its owners. His miniatures (most are only a few hundred words in length) stitch people, place and product together in verbal harmony.

When you have a craving for good writing about Canadian wine, no one will quench your thirst better (or faster) than John Schreiner.