About VineRoutes

Helping you navigate the world of wine

Wine is a wonderful thing. It can emanate romance and intrigue, spark discussion and debate. It can evoke a sense of place or inspire a cherished memory. It is contemplative and complex with a story behind every bottle, every label, every vintage and every winemaker. With VineRoutes, we aim to share some of these stories with you.

VineRoutes is an Ontario, Canada based platform that intends to provide insight not just on Canada’s wine regions, but on a variety of regions around the world. And there are so many to celebrate.

Supporting our local industry

Ontario, Canada is a relatively young region, not to mention very small by comparison to the likes of Tuscany, California and Bordeaux. But the wine here is making a case for itself. People the world over are taking notice of this tiny region and holding on tight to the bottles that they’re able to get – if they can get any at all. We’ll provide a local perspective with great depth here, sharing stories and reviews, giving more credence to this very under-the-radar region we like to call home.

BC makes A+ wines too!

Canada’s other major wine region is the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It is here where premium wine flows like the waters running off the Rocky Mountains, thanks to a climate that suits grape growing perfectly. We can’t wait to share what we know about this amazing place and we know you’re going to love the wines that we’ve been privileged to discover and taste just as much as we do.

Expanding our horizons

Did you know that there are more than 75 countries producing wine in large commercial quantities? Fact: Canada isn’t even ranked among the top one third in terms of tonnes produced. (FYI Canada ranks 28th). So there’s a lot of ground we can cover here. And although we can’t necessarily get to them all, we do want to explore as many countries and regions as we can so as to share our perspective.

Our Team

Carmelo Giardina, VineRoutesCarmelo Giardina – Founder, Editorial Director

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.

Key regions of interest: Ontario, British Columbia, California and Tuscany.

Paula Henriques, VineRoutes

Paula Henriques – Co-Founder, Managing Editor

Paula has been in the publishing business for more than 20 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 Director 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.

Leah Spooner, VineRoutesLeah 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 16 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.

Key regions of interest: Niagara, Okanagan, Argentina and New Zealand.

Priya Rao
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 Prince Edward County’s Grapevine Magazine, Restaurants Canada and Priya also created and co-hosted the TV show, THE DRINK, for Bell FIBE TV1. Written contributions primarily focus on vegan food & wine experiences, however, she also brings her background in TV to the mix, hosting a variety of VineRoutes Video segments.

Favourite regions and varietals: Veneto for its Amarone; Alsace for its Rieslings; Chablis and Châteauneuf-du-Pape from France.

Jennifer Huether, MSJennifer 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.

Shannon Mastaler, VineRoutesShannon Mastaler – Co-Founder, Creative Director

Shannon has been in publishing for almost 20 years and previously worked as an editor and designer at a variety of Ontario newspaper and magazines. She is now co-owner of marketing agency PS MediaHouse, with Paula Henriques. With VineRoutes, Shannon oversees the brand’s look and direction, and is responsible for developing a brand strategy that works best and can be further understood by our intended audience. This includes all advertising materials, branded content for social media, product sales and affiliated partnerships.

Favourite regions and varietals: Niagara for its Rieslings and Pinot Noir; Spain for its Cava; Bolgheri for its super Tuscans.

Additional Contributors

Natalie Gardner
Jordan Mazzanti

Rest of Team

Rodrigo Flores – Developer
Shawn Munro – Lead Graphic Designer
Gabriela Castillo – Consulting Designer

Ashley Hughes – Sales & Marketing Manager
Tara O’Grady – Advertising & Sponsorships

Find out more about advertising with VineRoutes:

Download the Media Kit