Bill Zacharkiw

Bill ZacharkiwBill began his wine journey as a restaurant owner in Montreal.  A few years later, he became head sommelier at one of Quebec’s top restaurants.  His writing career began in 2004 with the The Caveman’s Wine Blog, one of the internet’s first. For the last 5 years, Bill has been the weekly wine writer for the Montreal Gazette. His articles are carried across Canada via National Post.com and other newspapers, making him one of Canada’s most widely read wine writers. Bill can be heard on CHOM FM (Montreal) every Friday morning to chat about Wine that Rocks.  He has judged international wine competitions in Canada, Chile and New Zealand where he is known as the critic who prefers to taste barefoot.  He is now also a principal critic on WineAlign’s Quebec website, Chacun son vin.

Read our interview with Bill below…

1. How many years have you been working with wine?
Since I opened my restaurant in Montreal in 1990.

2. What was your first wine related job, article, or assignment?.
First ever piece was in 2003 on my blog, The Caveman’s Wine Blog – the fourth in the english language, back when they were referred to as “weblogs.”

3. Is there a grape or style of wine you are personally attached to?
Reds that are “thin” and refreshing. Most whites. I’m just allergic to oak flavouring. Fruit rules!

4. What was your first Canadian “aha” wine moment?
Drank a bottle of early 1990’s riesling from Cave Spring maybe 10 years ago. Always a fan of riesling, I was amazed that we could achieve something so magnificent with this great grape in Ontario.

5. Which grape(s) do you feel is/are Canada’s best bets in terms of producing top quality wine?
Canada shows great diversity in terroirs but it remains a cool climate growing country. Key is to grow the right grape. Nova Scotia is perfect for bubble grapes, PEC for chardonnay, Ontario for riesling and gamay, Okanagan for the Alsace varieties. Many more great examples as well.

6. What would you like consumers to know about Canadian wine?
That it is a work in progress, and that the progress is happening, at light speed. Many have probably only tried that shitty CIC wine. That is not Canadian wine. We can compete globally.

7. How many years have you judged Canadian wine?
Since 2008.

8. What do you enjoy most about judging at The Nationals?
Exchanging opinions with opinionated critics. And to get a snapshot of what is happening in each of our country’s regions.

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