He’s a construction lawyer by day and wine personality by night of the blog Pop & Pour.
Peter Vetsch desperately wanted to be a palaeontologist as a child, but from the age of 12 people told him that he’d make a good lawyer.
“I like the idea of taking and defending a position, and I tend to be fairly inquisitive about things”, he explains. Born in Edmonton, Vetsch took political science and philosophy at university, before studying law in Victoria, BC. Now a construction lawyer here in Calgary, he is also a presence on Calgary’s online wine scene through his popular blog Pop & Pour. So how did that happen?
“It came about not accidentally, but off the cuff,” he says. “My first son wasn’t a good sleeper at all, and so we would do shifts – I would stay up till midnight every night to let my wife get four or five hours of solid sleep before her night time insanity started, and I would be sitting on the couch watching TV for hours once everyone else was asleep.”
He decided he needed to do something more productive, and his interest in wine had been growing; he’d been reading on the side, and buying more bottles to taste, so decided to devote this time to something more creative – and started a blog. “The thing about the internet is there’s no barriers to entry,” Vetsch says. Writing a couple of reviews a week, he’s now over four years into the blog and had another child since then, but says it’s been hugely rewarding and helped him get more connected with wine.
“It rounds out my life a little bit,” he adds, “my work life is great intellectual stimulation, I have my kids and my family life, and this is my soul nourishment side I guess – a passion project.”
So what is the bottle that Vetsch is saving for a special occasion?
A 2013 Max Ferdinand Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese. “I’ve been trying to collect wines that are able to age sufficiently from the birth years of my kids,” says Vetsch, “and there’s nothing more impressive, visually, than a magnum of German Riesling, it’s massive! And it’s instantly celebratory; it’s probably my most favourite kind of wine – ‘specially from the Mosel Valley where this one is from. So it’s from my favourite vineyard, the producer’s name is Max (his son’s name), and it’s 2013.”
Vetsch was at the right place at the right time, in line to pay for another wine in one of his favourite wine shops, when he saw the person before him had a gigantic bottle that could only be a magnum of Riesling. Vetsch reacted quickly, asking if they had any more. “It doesn’t matter how much it costs, I’m buying one. And they had one left so I grabbed it and off I went,” he grins. “It wasn’t hugely expensive for what it is, but it’ll easily cruise into when we’re going to open it.”
And when will he open the bottle?
June 16, 2031 is the official day – Max’s 18th birthday. “It’s going to be hard to look at it longingly until then, but it’s a fun way to connect your kids with wine,” saysVetsch.
“They both smell my wine every time we have dinner because they have a natural curiosity for it, and they’re starting to understand that wine is more than just a drink. It’s a good way to connect my passion with my family and an experience for everyone to share. It makes it a fun countdown to the celebration, especially in a situation like this when you’re planning the big reveal, it will a lot of fun when the day arrives.”