Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wine Confidence: 5 Questions with Angela Aiello

Recently I had the privilege of sitting down with Angela Aiello, wine expert, entrepreneur and owner of iYellow Wine Club (get it? iYellow?) Not only is she clever with a pun, Angela is also a seasoned vet in the local food and wine industry with experience from Niagara and Toronto under her belt. We met at the Cafe in The Drake Hotel for a glass of wine during my recent trip to Toronto.

In her glass: Val D'Oca Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Superiore (Veneto, Italy, $11)

In my glass: Megalomaniac The Narcissist Riesling (Niagara, Canada, $12)

I can't remember how I first heard about iYellow Wine Club, but I do remember seeing Angela on Steven and Chris, where she often stops by to share her wine expertise. I wanted to know more about this wine blogger who turned her passion into a successful wine education and events club with 5500 members, so I thought it might be fun to ask Angela 5 Questions:

After the Harvest (ATH): What do love the most about teaching people about wine?

Angela Aiello (AA): I love building peoples' "wine confidence". It's all about bringing people joy by empowering them to learn what wines they like and why. Seeing people go from zero wine confidence to knowing why they like certain wines is so rewarding. Building wine confidence is about building a person's self-awareness when it comes to food and wine.

ATH: Have you ever thought of becoming a winemaker?

AA: Many times, although I prefer to leave that to those who do it so well. But it's definitely been on my list of things to do, it would be a great learning experience.

ATH: Do you have any favourite food and wine-related movies or books?

AA: Movies? A Good Year, Bottle Shock and Sideways. With books I tend to prefer wine texts such as Wine & Society but I also collect vintage wine books. I've also noticed that wine and food references are becoming more prevalent in television and film lately.

ATH: Tell me about one of your most recent wine events.

AA: On July 22nd (in conjunction with Wine Australia), iYellow put on the Outback BBQ. There were over 200 people in attendance enjoying BBQ fare from The Food Dudes catering and 34 different Australian wines. A great time was had by all!

ATH: What is something you've learned thus far through your experience with iYellow Wine Club?

AA: I've noticed that there are 4 types of learners when it comes to wine: there's the social learner who enjoys events, the educational learner enrolled in our wine school, the experiential learner who signs up for wine tours and the self-motivated learner who uses our online content. At iYellow Wine Club we cater to all of these different types of clients and we strive to create a fun atmosphere where people can build their wine confidence in the way that suits them.

Not only was my Riesling the perfect tonic for a hot, humid day but meeting Ange was also quite refreshing! It's great to know there are women in the wine business out there who love to teach and approach wine education in such a fun way! If you'd like to build your own wine confidence, check out iYellow Wine Club!

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