Helping you navigate the world of wine
VineRoutes has quickly established itself as one of Canada’s leading wine media brands, with its website, newsletter and social channels reaching a steadily expanding consumer audience.
With a combined focus on local, national and international coverage, VineRoutes provides influential content and independent advice to a global readership. Our editorial ethos embraces wine and drinks lovers of all levels, with a focus on trade and lifestyle topics through the beverage lens.
As the newest consumer wine publication in Canada, VineRoutes was founded in Ontario in 2020 by Carmelo Giardina following the success of his wine and spirits columns published across the country.
Furthermore, it was a brainchild of Paula Henriques and Shannon Mastaler, two marketing entrepreneurs with a success-driven track record in publishing, content development and business branding. The duo, in collaboration with Giardina, had a goal to develop a national-level publication property, featuring a collective voice.
Our small, but wine savvy network of writers provide an accessible and expert view on the world of wine and beyond for curious readers with an affinity for drinks culture, travel, modern food and dining and approachable wine education.
VineRoutes Media’s fast-growing consumer and trade touchpoints include a thriving website, a social media platform boasting over 15,000 followers, and a highly engaged online newsletter. An in-person event series is currently in the works.
Ultimately, we aim to help our readers navigate the world of wine, spirits and beer through the interesting people and places behind them.
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Carmelo Giardina – Founder, Brand Principal
Carmelo is a former journalism graduate and now marketing and PR professional working with major clients that include Rockstar Energy Drink, Coca-Cola, White Claw and Miller-Coors. He began writing about wine as a freelance writer for luxury lifestyle publication West of the City Magazine in 2017. A variety of publications spread across Canada now feature his writings on wine and spirits. In addition to being the lead writer for VineRoutes, Carmelo is the brand’s point person for strategic partnerships, content development and brand expansion.
Regions of interest: Ontario, British Columbia, Tuscany, and the Douro Valley.
Paula Henriques – Co-Founder, Managing Editor
Paula has been in the publishing business for nearly 30 years, first working as an editor & features writer for a number of newspapers/magazines, and eventually co-founding PS MediaHouse in 2012 – a full-service marketing agency based in the Greater Toronto Area. Paula’s role is crucial in the management of VineRoutes. As someone who rallies the team and keeps things organized (and on time), she works closely with the editorial team on the operations side, while also keeping her finger on the pulse of sales & marketing and prospective partnerships.
Favourite regions and varietals: Niagara; The Douro for its Port wines; Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
Shannon Mastaler – Co-Founder, Lifestyle Editor
Shannon has been in publishing for over 20 years, previously working as a restaurant and spa reviewer, luxury travel writer, and as an editor and designer at a variety of Ontario newspapers and magazines. She is now co-owner of marketing agency PS MediaHouse, with Paula Henriques. With VineRoutes, Shannon oversees and contributes towards the website’s Lifestyle editorial section, building on its food & wine, travel and hospitality focused content. As a co-founder of VineRoutes, Shannon also helps develop a brand strategy that works best and can be further understood by our growing audience.
Favourite regions and varietals: Niagara for its Rieslings and Pinot Noir; Spain for its Cava; Bolgheri for its super Tuscans.
Leah Spooner – Contributing Editor
Leah has a diploma in Tourism Management that includes Wine Appreciation. She headed straight into the wine industry that she’s now been a part of for almost 20 years and obtained certification from the Wine Council of Ontario (now Ontario Craft Wineries). After achieving her Sommelier L1, she made her way to WSET3. Along the way, she has added a South African Wine certification, Canadian Wine Scholar, and is currently working on her French Wine Scholar certification. She also manages a popular wine review page on her Instagram @leahspooner_wine.
Regions of interest: Niagara, Okanagan, Argentina and New Zealand.
Gillian Marks, PhD – Contributing Editor
Gillian is a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS®) from the Wine Scholar Guild and has a Wine and Spirits Education Trust – Level 2 Certification in Wine. Her career in Nutrition, Toxicology and Risk Assessment has brought her from England to Southern California and she has lived and worked across the US, South Korea and Canada. Gillian is presently the Senior Director of Environment, Health & Safety and Risk Programs at San Diego State University, and when she is not fully engaged in keeping SDSU safe, she exercises her passion for Sherry and French wines seeking out opportunities to educate, write and learn as often as possible.
Regions of interest: Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Paso Robles and Spain.
Priya Rao – Contributor
A foodie and wine lover, Priya Rao has been active in the world of vegan food & wine since 2011 and is the co-founder of the duo, The Social Herbivore with Master Sommelier, Jennifer Huether. She has written for Grapevine Magazine and Restaurants Canada. Priya also created and co-hosted the TV show, The Drink, for Bell FIBE TV1. Written contributions primarily focus on sustainability topics and vegan food & wine experiences, however, she also brings her background in TV to the mix, hosting a variety of VineRoutes Video segments, both for the website and our social media platforms.
Favourite regions and varietals: Veneto for its Amarone; Alsace for its Rieslings; Chablis and Châteauneuf-du-Pape from France.
Lidija Biro – Contributor
Lidija’s interest in wine began over 35 years ago when she founded a wine club, The Grape Friends, in order to learn more about wine regions, grape varieties, and food & wine pairing. After retiring from teaching, Lidija enrolled in the Winery and Viticulture Technician program at Niagara College to deepen her understanding of winemaking and grape growing, graduating in 2015. Since then she has earned a French Wine Scholar certification and has earned her WSET Diploma. Lidija blogs about wine and travel on her personal site divinevines.wordpress.com.
Regions of interest: Ontario, Loire Valley, Sicily and Hunter Valley.
Jennifer Huether, MS – Special Contributor
Jennifer’s love affair with wine started in her early twenties, and she has made it her full time job ever since. Academically, Jennifer passed both her Diploma of Wine and was Canada’s first female Master Sommelier. Passionate about uplifting women in wine, Jennifer has been a volunteer and mentor for several organizations, including CAPS, Vinequity, GuildSomm and Femmes du Vin. You can find her now curating the list at Fresh City Farms, teaching or chatting about plant-based food and wine.
Favourite regions and varietals: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from around the world, especially Burgundy, Central Otago, California and, of course, Canada.
Rest of Team
Rodrigo Flores – Developer
Shawn Munro – Creative Designer
Gabriela Castillo – Consulting Designer
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