About Gregory Edwards: 'Born in Montreal, the events described below took place in Toronto, Canada, where I started my career in banking and Steve in railroad logistics, before I moved to London in 2000. Today at age 46, my passion for wine has been burning bright for the last 20 years, even my kids would say my favourite drink is wine! I have been fortunate over the years, thanks to some well planned holidays and business travel, to taste wine in some of the loveliest wine growing regions in Canada, America, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, South Africa, Switzerland and Australia.' His (unedited) entry in our seminal wine competition follows.
Me, a young man aged 26 and it was the mid 1990s. My parents, Barrie and Barbara, both originally from Jamaica enjoyed wine on occasion. They had fallen in love with wine on a trip in 1967 taking them to France, Italy and Switzerland. Despite their love of wine, I never "got it" – of course I would have the occasional glass, however in those days I was far more interested in my new job, my pints at the local pub and my friends.
I fell into the habit of meeting my best friend Steve each Thursday at our local Pub, located mid distance between our places of work. Over a few pints, we caught up each week on our budding careers, shared updates on our University friends, sports and intermittent love life. After two solid years of our Thursday routine and with the Millennium approaching, things were beginning to change. Steve began to travel for work. One night, Steve said we should grab dinner – after which he said I should try this new drink he had discovered called port wine.
Sitting in a dark leather chair, talking the night away, this newly discovered liquid slipped down my neck. I had never had anything like it, it wasn't the sweetest but the sheer complexity of the wine – I was tasting wine, not drinking wine. That moment changed everything for my relationship with wine. A simple 10 year tawny changed left an indelible mark.
Drinking that tawny port wine, discovering it's complexity, understanding the process and time to create this nectar from the World's oldest demarcated wine growing region altered by relationship with all fermented grapes juices. Three years after my first port encounter, I visited Porto and the Douro Valley: its people, scenery, history and architecture cemented what has become a real and ongoing passion. I was very fortunate enough to visit and stay at the historic Graham's winery in 2003. One of my personal highlights was sipping a Dow's 1978 Tawny Reserve on Concorde somewhere over the Atlantic. I pushed the boundaries of my passion celebrating Christmas with the family with the Graham's Ne Oublie in 2012. I have also now completed WSET level 3 helping me learn even more. Best courses and tutors ever!
Today, some of the most memorable nights with friends and family involve discovering a new bottle of wine in all its guises, especially one from the Douro Valley. My parents are so proud, I finally "got it".