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Unreserved Wine Talk

264 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


238: Old Vines, Land Stewardship and the Future of Ontario Wine with Carolyn Hurst, Westcott Vineyards

Why is it a good idea for winemakers to invest in old vines? What does it mean to be a good steward of the land? What unique challenges does the Ontario wine industry face in the next five years?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with winemaker Carolyn Hurst.

You can find the wines we discussed at



Three of you in Canada will win a bottle of one of Carolyn's fabulous wines. To qualify, all you have to do is email me at and tell me that you’d like to win a copy. I'll choose three people randomly from those who contact me. Good luck!



Which entrepreneurial game did Carolyn love to play as a child?

How did summer school in France change Carolyn’s life?

What made Carolyn want to get involved in the wine business?

Which special moment was the most memorable for Carolyn in her wine career so far?

Why is it a good idea to invest in old vines?

How does Carolyn’s motivation to be a good steward of the land inform her business decisions?

What is the Niagara Escarpment, and how does its unique features influence its wine?

Why does limestone soil impart a specific taste to wines?

What’s holding Ontario wines back from increasing local market share?

Which basic facts should you be aware of when it comes to the Ontario wine industry?

Which challenges are being faced by Ontario wineries, and what is needed to achieve economic sustainability?


Key Takeaways

Carolyn’s explanation of why old vines are precious and important to the quality of the wine makes a solid case for winemakers to invest in them.

I like how Carolyn describes being a good steward of the land for the next generation and making that a big part of her consciousness in terms of how she operates.

I was intrigued by Carolyn’s description of the unique challenges the Ontario wine industry faces in the next five years and was surprised at both its economic impact and that the wines still aren’t well represented on many wine lists.


Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live

Join the live-stream video of this conversation on Wed at 7 pm ET on Instagram Live VideoFacebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video.

I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?

Want to know when we go live? Add this to your calendar:


About Carolyn Hurst

Carolyn Hurst is president of Westcott Vineyards in Niagara, Ontario, which she founded with her husband Grant Westcott in 2006. Since 2017, she has been the Chair of the Board at Ontario Craft Wineries, representing more than 100 wineries in the province. Previously, she has been the president of three successful technology companies. She also has significant experience in the restaurant/hospitality industry earlier on in her career. She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario.





To learn more, visit


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