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Unreserved Wine Talk

238 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


81: Tasting Wine Like a Detective with Ontario's Best Sommelier Emily Pearce-Bibona

What does it take to win Ontario’s Best Sommelier competition? What’s it like performing in front of a set of very stern-eyed wine judges and a live audience? What is the smartest question you can ask your sommelier in a restaurant? What is the deductive tasting technique and how can it help you drink better wine?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Emily Pearce-Bibona, Certified Sommelier and founder of Femmes du Vins.

  • How did Emily go from government employee to sommelier?
  • What’s aspects of wine are involved in the Ontario’s Best Sommelier competition?
  • What does it take for you to be named Best Taster?
  • How do you cope with intense pressure during competition?
  • How do you train for sommelier competitions?
  • When should you use a deductive tasting technique?
  • How can you describe the tasting experience with Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling wine?
  • What's the most important rule you should remember when pairing wine and food?
  • Which questions should you ask your sommelier to get the best wine suggestions for you?
  • How can you subtly indicate your wine budget to a sommelier?
  • Why is taking a wine course an important part of expanding your palate and becoming a better taster?
  • How can a trip to the grocery store improve your wine tasting skills?
  • Why should you approach learning about wine tasting like you would playing an instrument?
  • Why does Emily love Burgundy Pinot Noir?
  • How can you approach improving your tasting vocabulary?
  • How does Emily train for sommelier competitions?
  • Why should you try grower's Champagne?
  • How does Emily handle it when guests send back their wine in her restaurant?
  • What should you do as a guest if you don't like the wine?
  • Why does Emily love Ca’ Del Bosco Cuvée Anna Maria Clementi Franciacorta?
  • What are the top wine tips Emily wants you to remember?
About Emily Pearce-Bibona

Emily is the sommelier at Barberian’s Steak House in Toronto and part of the group Femmes du Vins.  After a day-long series of competitive challenges in front of a panel of expert judges, peers and the public, Emily triumphed to win the competition at the Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts at George Brown College on March 5, 2017.

Emily began her wine journey in Toronto and is now a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. She has worked in top hospitality positions throughout the city. Her passion for learning continues as she pursues the Master of Wine program, offered in the UK. As a contributing writer for Decanter Magazine, Emily writes about the Canadian wine scene.


To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the

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