When I first washed up on these shores back in 1997 and suddenly found myself working as Sommelier at Toronto's staid and soporific Granite Club, I'll admit that I was rather intimidated and confused by the process of purchasing beverage alcohol that is the norm here.
The first wine agents I had been introduced to had been of the boorish and bullish I-have-a-massive-big-gaudy-gold-Rolex-watch-and-Andy-Brandt-on-speedial variety, and, to be honest, sucked all of the romance and passion out of the wine world that I loved so much. It was all quite off-putting actually.
It was around this time I was introduced to Rob Groh, who was working with Miriam Rogers at her wine agency, Rogers and Co. It sounds so strange to say it now, but I remember being both inspired and comforted by Rob's integrity. His gentle, informed, and measured manner, an undeniable passion for the wines he was selling, and a terrific sense of humour that often swung to the self-deprecating, made him both a worthy role model and co-conspirator... and that rings true until this very day.
With his agency The Vine about to celebrate fifteen years of business in 2015, I felt it was time to interview a gentleman who I have always looked to as the perfect example of a modern Wine Merchant.