iYellow Wine Club: South Africa Earth Day Taste + Tweet‏

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By Megan Stulberg | Photos by Alice Prendergast

You know that dreadful folk song, “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”? If you replace “99” with “14” and “bottles of beer” with “glasses of wine” then you have my Tuesday evening. The iYellow Wine Club is a group based in Toronto that invites its members (and guests) to sample wines from all over the world, and meet and mingle with Toronto’s fellow winos. When I received an invite to attend their “South Africa Taste + Tweet”, I jumped at the chance to spend Earth Day 2014 learning about the growing sustainable wine industry. Hosted at the iYellow wine cave (243 Queen St. W) with an alleyway entrance, the event was hard to find but definitely worth the struggle.

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The moment I walked in the door, the coat in my hand was swapped with a glass of Pinot Grigio. Sweet to the taste, this was a great drink to start the night off with. Guests were given markers to label their glasses with in order to avoid confusion. Next up was a Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc. John McFarland recommended that guests pair this wine with a camembert cheese in order to balance the drink’s slight astringency, as this wine is less fruity than most being sampled. I decided to switch over to red at this point, and continued alternating back and forth throughout the night. Apparently this is a no-no — who knew? Ah well, a rookie mistake. Next I sampled Honey Badger Sweet Red 2011, a 95% Shiraz and 5% Pinotage from Western Cape. This wine was by far the sweetest of the night. Perhaps a little too sweet for regular consumption, but perfect if having a small glass with dessert. iYellow Wine Bar used the terms “approachable” and “picnic” to describe the new Inception Pinot Noir. My photographer/self-proclaimed wine connoisseur called this “the soda of wine” due to its easiness to drink and lack of aftertaste. A full-bodied beginner’s wine that should be monitored, due to its 13% alcohol content.

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About halfway through the evening, a short presentation was given by Oliver Kristen, founder of The Grape Grinder. Oliver described the importance of eco-friendly wine, explaining that Grinder’s goal is to make a better product while encroaching less on the environment — keeping their “ecological footprint” to a minimum. Oliver explained that most South African wines, including Grinder’s, are labelled with a sustainability seal that certifies the wine has been produced sustainably, can be traced back to its exact origin, and confirms that it was bottled in South Africa. Individual bottle seal numbers can be checked online at swsa.co.za. After trying the Grinder Pinotage, I tried another Pinotage made by Cafe Culture. Hints of a smokey mocha were tasted in this; definitely one of my favourites. I was told that it would be paired well with a smoked meat or a pasta dish. Of the Pinotage wines, Grinder tasted smoother and Cafe Culture felt a bit heavier. 1625591_10154040716125133_7813166010512065751_n 10268399_10153962197650538_2126312175_n Next I tried a glass of Roodeberg red, the label describing it as a “classic blend of red varieties”. I found this wine to have a slightly lighter body than the other reds without losing that concentrated rich flavour. Seven glasses done, seven to go! If you’re wondering how I was even still vertical at this point, you’re not alone. Wine #8: The Pavillion Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. iYellow Wine Club used the terms “mellow,” “easy,” and “mineral” to describe it. Fruity and flavourful, my photographer and I both agreed that its aftertaste was strong but sweet, similar in taste and consistency to Bellingham Big Oak Red 2012, which we tried next. At this point I switched back to white, opting for a glass of Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2013. This was not only my personal favourite, but the most popular wine of the night for everybody! The aggressive taste was an overall crowd-pleaser, and I overheard guests describing the wine as “punchy”.

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Number 11: a glass of Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2012. This wine had a rather bitter taste. I enjoyed it, but its bold aftertaste was a bit too strong for my palette. Number 12: A second variety from The Pavillion: a Chenin Blanc Viognier from 2013. An incredibly dry and crisp wine that I liked very much. At this point in the night, my handwriting had become increasingly problematic. In my scribbles about this wine, I can make out “smells floral and tastes carbonated, so it’s pretty great”. Trust my drunken hand. Number 13: A 2011 Shiraz also from Durbanville Hills. This wine had a definite earthy taste to it, brought out by a variety of spices. Number 14: Place in the Sun Shiraz 2012. The sweet spiciness of this wine made me want to turn it into sangria and serve it alongside heaps of guacamole to all my friends.

Overall, this was a great night! I loved having the opportunity to learn more about the sustainable wine movement. To keep up to date with iYellow Wine Club’s future events, go “like” them on Facebook. Interested in seeing more from the night? Check out anything my fellow guests might have posted while live tweeting with the hashtag #ILoveSAWine.

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[CONTEST] Angela Aiello Founder of iYellow Wine Club Inspires New Generation of Winos

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If you’re like me, wine only meant what was cheapest and what was easiest to consume. I never really understood their was difference in wine and flavours until I reached my late twenties and I discovered my passion for good wine from different regions.

Oddly enough, there are many other like-minded young urban professionals in Toronto who also share this passion for wine-tasting and good food. This is where iYellow Wine Club comes into play, filling in a void in the Toronto’s urban market. Angela Aiello, owner of iYellow offers a unique wine club that host monthly wine events at an affordable cost and specialize in reputable wineries region each month.

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The secret to iYellow’s success lies in Aiello knowledge and love of wine. I chatted with her about the club, building wine confidence and what people can experience.

(1) Tell me about iYellow Wine Club and how did you come up with the concept?

iYellow Wine Club was created when I moved from wine country to Toronto and wanted to share wine with friends. When I moved to Toronto in 2005 after University, I worked in the wine business for close to a decade. I had a fun time throwing wine parties built around wine education for friends, which inspired iYellow Wine Club. Now the club is 10,000 members strong!

(2) For people who are attending the wine club, what if they don’t have a background in wine – should they feel intimidated?

I’ve designed the iYellow Wine Club to be fun, social and very un-intimidating. Wine has always been so stuffy, and I think it needs to be more indie. The vision has always been around helping people understand wine, not making them feel stupid just because they don’t know. One of the greatest things about wine is that no one knows everything, so we all get to learn together.

(3) What is the average cost per class and what does an attendee get?

We run over 24 classes per year for iYellow Wine School and with each class you receive a tasting and tutorial through 6 wines and light food pairings. You can also book a small group or corporate experience through us as well, we have a really cool venue for you to use. When you enroll in 4 or 8 classes you receive a diploma as well.

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(4) Does the world of wine only end at red and white? What other kinds of wine are there that people may not know about and can experience through the club.

The world of wine doesn’t end anywhere!! There is so much to learn from sparkling wine to fortified, there is so much great juice out there!! The only way to learn about wine is to taste it and I think, you need to live it! That means it becomes a lifestyle where you love to eat, sip, travel and enjoy life.

(5) People think that wine can be a very expensive beverage to purchase but does the iYellow Wine Club help recommend good bottles in varying price points?


I’m a BIG believer in anything that offers value! So yes recommending great value and good tasting wines is what we’re all about. But more than anything we’re about Wine Confidence and by that I mean we help give you the tools to make your own decisions on whether you feel wine is your favourite or worth the money.

(6) Who are the type of people to attend and join?

A glass of wine unites everyone, but suffice it to say that we are all wino’s, foodies, travellers and friends!

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Fat Girl Food Squad is giving away a pair of tickets to iYellow Wine Club’s November 18th VQA Blind Tasting. It’s easy to win!
Contest runs from THURSDAY NOVEMBER 7th and ends on THURSDAY NOVEMBER 14th @ 5PM.

1) Like Fat Girl Food Squad on Twitter.

2) Like iYellow Wine Club on Facebook.

2) Tweet the following: “Send me to the VQA Blind Tasting with @iyellowwineclub #FGFSlovesiYellow”