#ItsDateNight with Toronto Wine Expert, Lauren Power

She's the mastermind behind the wine lists at Toronto’s hottest restaurants!

We’re sitting down with some amazing Canadians who are dishing on all things datenight. From their own first date stories, to dating pet peeves, a look into their businesses and life, advice, and more!

Who she is

Meet Lauren Power, your Toronto wine expert and importer! She’s the person behind some of your favourite Toronto restaurant, bar, and hotel wine lists like Hotel X Toronto, Soluna, Mademoiselle TO, and more.

LP: I have been living, loving, and working in the world of wine since my family opened Tre Amici Wines over 20 years ago — a wine and spirit importing company. I grew up travelling and working alongside my family and was officially added to the payroll in 2017.

I noticed a lack of affordable and time-friendly wine training and wanted to offer people an experience that was individual, curated, and interactive. I now offer private, corporate, and wine tasting events that are personalized, knowledgeable and fun! I’m your in-office and at-home expert on wines, spirits, and everything in between. 

Let’s talk love languages

LP: Quality time and acts of service. A night in with my favourite bottle of Champagne? Yes, please. 

You’re on a date; what bottle of wine do you hope your date opens?

LP: Since I live and breathe wine, most dates go $$$ to try and impress me (which honestly does the opposite haha). I love when someone picks a bottle they can speak to, maybe from a winery they have visited or from the country they/their family is from. A wine that someone has a connection to is 10x better than a random bottle off the shelf. 

What are some favourite local date night spots near you?

LP: Casa Madera at 1 Hotel for amazing food, wine & cocktails; Melrose on Adelaide for charcuterie and a glass (or bottle) of wine; Minami for Sushi.

Your take on Ontario’s wine country and regions?

LP: Ontario just doesn’t have the growing season popular wine regions like Italy and California do. When drinking Ontario wines, I say stick to varietals that grow well in colder climates like Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Baco Noir.

There is so much great wine to explore, and I see a lot more coming out of Ontario.

What’s the most important thing when creating a wine list for a restaurant/bar in Toronto?

LP: A good mix of classic and unique varieties and price points, while paying compliment to the cuisine and style of the restaurant.

I like to say ‘if it grows together, it goes together,” so if the restaurant is doing authentic Spanish cuisine we like to explore a variety of Tempranillos and use whites like Albariño and Godello.

What wine would you recommend to someone who loves beer?

LP: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Syrah. 

What’s a common misconception about wine you hear all the time?

LP: A common misconception I hear about wine is that sulphites are the reason for hangovers. I hate to break it to you, but you’re just really dehydrated. A small percentage of the population has a sensitivity/allergy to sulphites that may cause them to feel sick after a night of wine drinking, but you’re likely just not drinking enough water in between/after drinks.

One glass of water for every glass of wine, and electrolytes before bed. Tomorrow you will thank yourself!

[Editor’s note – Was this the most helpful thing you’ve ever read for anyone else? I definitely blamed my wine hangovers on sulphites before!]

photos by photogonist.ca

What would you recommend to someone looking to impress their date with a wine and food pairing?

LP: Keep it simple! The intensity of the wine = intensity of your food. When you’re picking a lighter dish like a white fish, go for white wine (but with Salmon you can do a lighter red like Merlot). When you’re looking at heavier meat like steak, go for a red wine like Cab Sauv.

If you’re anything like me and love a spicy dish, you’re going to want to go with something a bit sweeter like a Riesling. All wine and food pairings are subjective based on your own personal taste preferences – so explore and have fun with it!

How do we book a wine tasting with you?

LP: Wine tastings with me can be booked through my website here or by emailing me at lauren@treamiciwines.com.

It’s time for a dating story (that involves wine somehow, of course)…

LP: I could spend an entire day writing out all of the stories I have…

One of my favourites includes a guy spending 45 minutes bragging about how ‘well-connected’ he was in the wine world. He told me he had a ‘wine guy’ who works directly with small family vineyards and picks wines just for him.

When I tried to explain I had a similar business, he told me I didn’t understand how it worked and that what I did must have been on a much smaller scale.

He continued talking about the wines he got and one of the labels he mentioned stood out. I totally changed my demeanour and pretended to be enthralled and wildly impressed by his stories until I was able to ask him the name of the company.

When he blurted out my family business name, I very confidently stood up,  put my business card on the table and left. 

Celebrate your new wine knowledge with these bubbly and food pairings to impress your next date!

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