About MyWinePal and Links

MyWinePal’s Motto

Karl MyWinePal at the Gala
Karl MyWinePal at the Shine a Light Kidney Gala (Photo Courtesy Tracy Riddell Photography)

Drink Good Wine.  That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine.  What is good wine?  That can be a different thing for each people.  Some people prefer red wines.  Some only like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Some people are very price-sensitive, while others have near unlimited budgets.  There is good wine at all price points and for red/white/sparkling/fortified wines.  I want to help find these wines for you, and post them on MyWinePal.

Who is MyWinePal?

MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk. I have been the president of the South World Wine Society in Vancouver, BC since 2003 and an executive member since 2002, but now retired from that post so that I can spend more time on MyWinePal.  The inaugural South World Wine Society tasting was held on February 17, 2000. Ever since, the SWWS has showcased the wines of Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa. By being part of this Society, I attend many Trade events, trying wines that are not yet available to the general public, as well as wines just coming to market. I also have made wonderful relationships with agents and consulates here in Vancouver. I also helped bring in guest speakers from the wine Trade, hosted our events, wrote reviews and managed the SWWS website, and lead some tastings.  I have worked for the Mark Anthony Group, which represents the Mission Hill Estate Wines, Ganton and Larsen Prospect Winery, and Sonora Ranch, to name a few.

I also have taken the internationally recognized wine education courses offered by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). The UK-based WSET is recognized as the pre-eminent professional wine and spirit educational institute and is the gold standard in wine education. I have passed the WSET Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced certificate courses. With the Advanced course, I received a “Pass with Distinction“, which is the highest level for this particular certificate. I am serious about wine and love to share my experience with you.

I also have the “Rioja Wine Diploma“, certified by the Control Board of the DOCa Rioja, and the Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Level One certification.

Karl Kliparchuk Rioja Wine Diploma and Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Level One certification
Karl Kliparchuk Rioja Wine Diploma and Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Level One certification

My expertise is in southern hemisphere wines, and wines from British Columbia (Okanagan).  I am increasing my knowledge of wines from Washington, Oregon, and California to give you better advice and insights to the wines from these regions.  I love French, Italian, and Spanish wines.

What Others Have Said About MyWinePal

I am glad to have met many people that have become friends in the food, wine, and travel trade here in BC and beyond.  One of my friends, Richard Wolak, aka @vanfoodster talked about my wine curation abilities on The Best and the Foodiest on CKNW January 27, 2015 Part 1  Give it a listen, and if you need help with organizing your wine at your restaurant, or you want to build a small collection at home, please contact me at contact@mywinepal.com

From Norma Rosenthal, Public Relations & Marketing, Freelance Writing, Wine Columnist

“Karl is one of the most knowledgeable, skilled and well informed writers that I have worked with. His passion for wine, food and travel is clearly reflected in the articles he produces.”

Dana Lee Harris from Dana Lee Consulting Ltd. says

“I have known Karl for many years and he truly loves tasting wine and sharing his knowledge.  He takes the process of tasting wine very seriously and it shows in the depth that he covers in his articles.  He comes prepared to interviews with wine makers, showing them he is interested in them, and they respond in kind.  I recommend Karl not only for his skills as a wine reviewer, but as an individual who has experience meeting with wine makers and visiting wineries to learn more about them.”

In the Fall of 2023, I was interviewed by CKNW radio about the forest fires in BC and the possible effects on our grape harvest.  Listen to the radio interview.

Contact MyWinePal

 My First Wine Article

Fortunately, with the Internet, there is an archive of most, or all, of the web pages in the world.  I checked the wayback website and found what I think is the first wine article that I wrote and published online.  It was a Pinotage tasting that was held with the South World Wine Society here in Vancouver in February 2003. Below is the text from the article, or if you would like to see the link to the article with pictures you can click here.

Our February Tasting

Pinotage from South Africa

Dr. Hennie van Vuuren
Director of the B.C. Wine Research Centre at UBC

The Wines We Tasted:
Backsberg 1999
Beaumont 2000
Bergsig Estate 1999
Boplaas 1999
Fairview Amos 1999
Kaapzicht Estate 1999
Kanonkop Estate 1998
Kumkani 1999
L’Avenir Estate 1999
Wildekrans Estate 2000

Our Setting:

Seasons in the Park Restaurant,
Queen Elizabeth Park

This tasting was dedicated to the Pinotage grape. Pinotage is a unique varietal with its origins going back to 1924 in South Africa when Pinot Noir and Cinsault (locally known as Hermitage) grapes were crossed.

One of the great benefits of being a member of the South World Wine Society is to taste these wines, which all but one are not available for purchase in BC. The wines selected for this evening are well recognized internationally and many are among the Cape’s Top Performers as ranked in the John Platter Guide.

Our reception wine was a Libertas Chenin Blanc which had a refreshing full aroma of ripe pears. Our speaker, Dr. van Vuuren had noted that the Chenin Blanc grape has been used for brandy production in South Africa in the past.

Hennie began the tasting by giving us some background on the birth of the Pinotage grape, discussing the two grapes which were crossed for this varietal. The Pinot Noir grape is not very hardy in South Africa compared to Cinsault. Cinsault on the other hand does not have the flavour of Pinot Noir. Crossing the two grapes would hopefully extract the best aspects of both grapes. Hennie had mentioned that from the crossing of these two varieties, 6 viable Pinotage seeds were produced, and these 6 seeds have populated the Pinotage vineyards of South Africa.

The Pinotage wines were mainly full bodied, with deep colour. Bouquets varied from sweet, dried fruit to barnyard, leather and oak. Taste covered spicy, oaky, plums, bacon, fruit and tannic.

A few wines stood out amongst the group. The Beaumont was quite different in that it had a very fruity bouquet with lots of fruit and cherries in the taste. It was a very easy to drink wine with no tannic aftertaste. Three wines which all rated highly in our favorite wine votes were the Fairview Amos, L’Avenir Estate and the Kanonkop Estate wines. The factor that all three of these wines had in common was a barnyard bouquet. While not overpowering, the bouquet brought in additional complexity to these wines.

The Kanonkop Estate also is known for making Pinotage world famous. Of all the wines, the Kanonkop had the most prominent barnyard bouquet. There was also leather in the bouquet. One comment from the group was how well this wine went with lamb. For those people that have not attended one of our tastings, we are served very flavourful appetizers from the restaurant. We all try the wines on their own and then with food. Sometimes a wine on it’s own may not be remarkable, but when paired with a certain food, the wine shines. It was remarked that the Fairview Amos wine would be a very good food wine also. It’s bouquet had barnyard, plum, bacon and light oak. The taste was oaky, spicy, smoky with soft tannins.

A surprise wine was poured at the end of the tasting. Dr. van Vuuren and the rest of the attendees were asked to guess the age of the wine. A few guessed 10 years old, but it was revealed that this Pinotage was from 1970! It held up very well over the past 32 years. The wine was Paarl Selected Pinotage. It had a brickish colour, with a barnyard and stewed prunes bouquet. The flavour of the wine was very much like port.

Tasting Selection
Our favourite Pinotage wines are:

1. L’Avenir Estate 1999
2. Kanonkop Estate 1998

Here are some links to interesting wine-related websites. If you have some favourite sites, please let us know and we will add them over time. Cheers.

Country and Region Info
Argentine Wines Wines from Argentina
Wine Australia Wines from Australia
Wines of Chile Wines from Chile
New Zealand Wine Wines from New Zealand
Wines of South Africa Wines from South Africa
BC Wine Institute Wines from British Columbia
Bordeaux Wines Wines from Bordeaux
Winecountry.IT Italian wines and food
Wines from Spain Wines from Spain (in English and Spanish)
California Wineries Mall Detailed listing of wineries across California

Magazines and Websites to Order Wine
Wine Access Magazine A Canadian wine magazine
Wine Spectator An international wine magazine
Wine and Spirits Magazine International wine, spirits and food
Wine NZ Magazine A New Zealand wine magazine


I enjoy helping others and have assisted The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC and Yukon Branch with their Wine Wall for their Annual Kidney Gala in the past.

Kidney Gala Wine Donation pdf

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