Who is Robert Howells? He describes himself as “an accidental connoisseur of wine and a Vayniac” on his twitter profile. Thanks to him, a new portfolio of Greek wine is now available in Vancouver, Canada.
Immediately after my appearance on Wine Library TV in May 2010, Robert started following me on twitter and began to engage. He was yearning to explore Greek wine, but was dismayed by the limited availability in British Columbia. A few weeks later, I received an email from John Clerides, the owner of Marquis Wine Cellars: “One of my Twitter friends, Robert Howells, suggested I get in contact with you regarding Greek wine.”
I suggested some of the well known Greek producers to him, and in the end he brought in some solid wines from Gerovassiliou and Biblia Chora through their North-American based importer. But John wanted more than only established wineries; he was looking to include less well known growers who craft wines that are unique to their environs. In addition, prices had to be at an entry level, as British Columbia has the highest taxes on wine in North America, a whopping 123%. Lastly, his focus was on indigenous Greek grape varieties.
In the ensuing months I put together a portfolio of wines for Marquis that is truly unique and includes nine different indigenous Greek varieties from five wineries:
Karanika (Amyndeo, Florina): Terra Levea Assyrtiko and Terra Levea Grand Reserve, a blend of Xinomavro, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mega Spileo (Peloponnese): White, a blend of Lagorthi and Assyrtiko and Red, a blend of Mavrodaphne and Black of Kalavryta
Tetramythos (Peloponnese): A Roditis and an Agiorgitiko
Vrinioti Winery (Evia): ‘IAMA white, a blend of Malagousia and Assyrtiko
Domaine Zafeirakis (Tyrnavos): A Malagousia and a Limniona
The portfolio has just now been released into the market; you can find the (yet incomplete) listing here.
All of this happened because of Robert Howells’ passion. He put out the word about Greek wine, and connected me with Marquis Wine Cellars. Such is the power of word of mouth. The next time someone starts a conversation with you, you better be there to engage. It leads to connecting with your community and sometimes, to results far beyond. Thank you, Robert, for reaching out!