Dave Pieroway is the new Customer Experience Manager at The Port, the NSLC’s new flagship store. It’s a title that Pieroway says “is geared for someone like me that wants to learn and provide new experiences to our customers. I think being a sommelier these days doesn’t mean you have to work in the dining room of a restaurant. It’s just about relating a love and understanding of wine in a number of different ways. It’s a new age for sommeliers.”

Can you describe the route you took to become a sommelier and wine expert?

I’ve held a lot of different positions over the last 20 years between here in Nova Scotia and Ontario. I eventually landed in the Niagara region of Ontario. I began going to tasting rooms and various vineyards on Sunday afternoons. One day I said to my mom “I think I want to become a sommelier.” I ended up taking a master taster program, to test the waters before jumping into a sommelier program. Needless to say I didn’t stop there. I went to work at Peller Estates, where I had the opportunity to host a number of dignitaries, visiting Masters of Wine, winemakers and celebrities. You could say the wine bug bit me.

You obviously have a passion for wine. Can you describe the courses you have taken?

Absolutely! After taking the master taster program, which went very well I might add, I walked into the CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers) classroom and met Bruce Wallner, one of Canada’s only Master Sommeliers. By the second class I knew what a Master Sommelier was. I really benefited from my exposure to Bruce and other top sommeliers. Bruce, and my other instructors and mentors, really pushed me to further my education with WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) and CMS (Court of Master Sommeliers). I have my WSET Level 3 and am working toward my Diploma (Level 4). As for the CMS, hopefully if things go well this August, I’ll get my Court of Master Sommeliers Level 2. It’s a 40-question exam, a blind tasting exam and I will need to perform Champagne table service. It will definitely be two or three hours of intense pressure. After that, I plan on working toward my Advanced Sommelier course from ‘the Court.’

Can you describe your thoughts about your new position and describe the new store?

I can’t wait to welcome customers to The Port. It’s really an exciting place. When you walk into the store, you can see how much intelligence and science has been used behind the scenes to determine the layout of the store and language of the signage. For those coming to the store for the first time, I‘d suggest that if you are planning on spending 15 minutes here, expect your experience to take an hour. There are so many things to check out. It’s a very customer-friendly environment. We have a number of tasting machines where customers can sample wine. There will be an events room where we will showcase winemakers and visiting wine professionals, and then there is the Rare Finds room. It’s done up like a cellar. It will be a lot of fun. There are going to be some great wines. We’re very lucky and blessed with the offerings that will be showcased there. It’s quite impressive. It’s exciting going here every day. It’s not a place where you’re waiting for questions about wine. It’s a place where we are responding to questions, and providing insights, every moment of the day. I think this kind of customer interaction is priceless.

Peruvian Shrimp and Cherry Tomato Salad

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 cloves garlic, minced; sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add 12 large Peruvian shrimp, turning frequently until shrimp are cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, make the salad by placing 2 cups cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves and 1/4 cup crumbled feta in a bowl. Combine with 3 cups mixed greens and drizzle with 2 extra tablespoons virgin olive oil and 1 lemon, juiced. Serve salad with shrimp on the side along with some grilled corn.

  • 4 servings
  • Prep Time: Less than 30 minutes
  • Total Time: Less than 30 minutes 

Grilled Corn

Turn barbecue to medium-high heat. Remove outer leaves of 4 ears of corn, leaving the innermost leaves attached. Combine 4 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon smoked paprika. Brush the corn with the butter. Place corn husks on grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently. Serve immediately.

  • 4 servings
  • Prep Time: Less than 30 minutes
  • Total Time: Less than 30 minutes

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Kung Fu Riesling, USA, $22.79

Rock band manager turned vigneron Charles Smith crafts lauded wines from his winery situated on the outskirts of Seattle in Washington State. This medium-dry Riesling boasts lots of peach, apple and pear-like flavours and lingering dry finish. A great match to shrimp dishes such as our featured recipe.

Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir, New Zealand, $45.79

Cloudy Bay became an icon of the New Zealand wine industry thanks to their super stylish and elegant Sauvignon Blanc. Not to be outdone, their Pinot Noir is similarly refined with flavours delicate flavours of cherry, cranberry and spice leading to a lingering dry finish. A great match to grilled salmon or a plate of fresh local cheeses and cured meats.

Pio Cesare Barolo, Italy,$72.49

Add a little class to the occasion by serving up this classic Northern Italian red wine. Its savoury, floral and cherry-like flavours and long finish is a great match to full-flavoured grilled fare such as lamb chops brushed with olive oil and seasoned with fresh rosemary.

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