Toronto’s Hidden Wine Club for Drinkers (Snobs Need Not Apply)
Enter from the back alley; it’s the door covered in yellow graffiti.
These are probably the last words you’d expect to hear from someone giving you directions to a wine club in Toronto. But they will get you to where you need to be: iYellow Wine Club on Queen West.
If the entrance doesn’t give it away, the laid back atmosphere in iYellow’s underground cavern betrays that this is no ordinary drinking establishment.
You can do away with any preconceived notion of what you might expect a “wine club” to be (refined, exclusive, snobby, even?) and instead embrace these adjectives: relaxed, friendly, with the odd bit of tongue-in-cheek, for fun.
The founders are fun–not fussy!
Founder Angela Aiello and Education Director Taylor Thompson are an ebullient pair that remind their patrons that drinking wine is meant to be enjoyable–now there’s a novel idea!
There’s just the right balance of knowledge and free-flowing wine in iYellow’s “wine school” classes, and the pair will likely have you giggling giddily by the end. Given the laid-back nature of the evening I am somewhat taken aback to find out that Taylor is also the Wine Director at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto.
iYellow seems to be full of surprises.
Crowded around wooden table tops with wine barrel stands, iYellow’s patrons sip and savour through a tasting course that feels more like a close friend’s soirée than an educational class.
Home away from home
The space is intimate and cozy, with airs of a speakeasy.
Old wine crates are stacked to form bookshelves that carry hefty tomes like The Taste of Wine and The Wine Bible. You could take a seat in one of the comfy leather couches and settle in for the evening, or the week. After a few glasses it would be easy to imagine you might live here–at least until Angela kicks you out after closing.
Most useful wine tip
Thanks to Taylor I now know how to properly aerate my sips without inadvertently choking or dribbling them everywhere: he advises putting teeth to tongue and slowly drawing in air through the small gaps in between.
I make a mental note to remember this as I giddily raise my sixth glass to a surprising and delightful new watering hole. This is a club for wine lovers and drinkers, not critics, so check your snobbery at the door.
On this trip: Wine class supplied by iYellow Wine Club.
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