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About Chuck Byers

Sneaky Sipping

Monkey Wine

My closest recollection with wine goes back to age 9 when my parents were celebrating something that has long faded from memory. However, I do remember sneaking a sip of the red liquid in the bottle and almost gasping as the dry, acidic liquid made my face contort into several variations.

Some 16 years later A friend shared a bottle of vintage German wine (one with a monkey hugging the bottle centre) with me! Vintage wine—I wanted to know more!

The Beginning

Book of Wine

It was the “James Bond” era and the “Shaken, not stirred philosophy ruled the “Big Screen”! It seemed cool to know wine! To impress I purchased Terry Robards “Book of Wine”. I knew nothing about the subject with the exception that it came from grapes (I was even wrong about that—since wine can be made from almost anything!). However, my foray into wine “caught me”! I found that the history, science, geography, and cultural aspects of wine not only intriguing but captivating.

By the 1980’s I was hopelessly smitten. I read everything in sight. I still have some of the original Wine Spectator “Newspaper formats”! By the ‘90’s I became quite conversant with wine though not an expert by any means.  

The Offers  

Rendezvous For Dinner

Around the beginning of the ‘90’s, I was asked to write a small column for a newspaper called “The Bowmanville Gazette”. That led to other columns in other papers/magazines such as: Oshawa-Whitby This Week, Oshawa Post, East of the City, West of the City, Centre of the City Magazines and several other periodicals and this led to my producing hosting several television series: Wine Companions, Wine Dining, Adventures in Wine Country and Two in a Vineyard.

I also wrote several books: Taste of Durham (1996), Matter of Taste (2004) and Rendezvous for Dinner (2006).

Travel and Celebrities

The perks of being involved as a published and televised wine writer/consultant are the related items such as wine tastings, dinners, travel and meeting special people.

I have traveled to many wine regions both domestic and around the World. Europe, Middle-East, South America, United States, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland have seen my foot prints. Life is good and exciting.  

This led to the meeting and interviewing of many super people and celebrities such as: Donald Ziraldo, Donald Triggs, Karl Kaiser, Charles Sandeman (of Port fame), Archbishops of Toronto Cardinal G. M. Carter and Cardinal T.C. Collins, Actors Fess Parker (Davey Crockett), Sam Neill and not yet President Ronald Reagan, Horse Whisperer Monty Roberts, Racecar driver and winery owner, Mario Andretti.

And of course, there were (and still are) the countless people I met every place I visited and became friends with. Anyone who has insular thoughts about “others” only has to travel to these destinations to learn and know that we are all the same trying to live as best we can.

My World 

My world is an exciting mixture of new and old faces, new tastes and new horizons. I hope that most would be able to experience what I have but to those who have not had the fortune, I try as best I can to convey these feelings/experiences to them.