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Savouring Wine with Shannon McClure

At The Wine Rack

with Christopher Reckord

Thursday, September 07, 2017

The growth in wine appreciation in Jamaica has certainly been noticeable, with a growing number of places to drink wine and an increasing number of wine events. Fresh on the heels of staging two successful wine-tasting events, I sat down with the new 'wine kid on the block', marketing and events coordinator Shannon McClure, conceptualiser and host of Savour Events.

Chris Reckord (CR): Are you a long-time wine drinker or newbie ?

Shannon McClure (SM): Time is relative, isn't it? It feels like a very long love and indulgence, but I guess it could be also perceived as a new-found love. It's been a few years, but I grew up in a home and family of wine lovers, so while the drinking was more recent the love was innate.

CR: How did you get involved with wine? Did you have an 'aha' moment?

SM: I grew up with a wine culture in my family home, enjoying a bottle or a few with family meals and the savouring aspect that comes with the unleashing of each cork. My involvement grew while living in Europe, with one stint in Brussels and one in France. While there, I had the opportunity to try and fail in wine discovery. I had total immersion in the vino culture which led me to my most prominent 'aha' moment with a paired meal. My brother-in-law chose a sensational bottle of Bordeaux which I thought would break all preconceived wine rules; it was paired with my menu selection, a Dorade Royale (fish similar to a red snapper). The freedom of that perfect pairing was a sensory experience that propelled me to become a total cork dork!

CR: What is your style of wine? Any favourites?

SM: My preferred style is for a wine that is easy to drink by itself but can also complement a meal. My taste buds tend to swing like a pendulum as the seasons pass, and I'll find myself obsessed with a particular type of wine depending on the time of year. My top three right now are: Merlot-dominant blends, Cremant and Rosť.

CR: How often do you drink wine?

SM: How often does the sun set? I tend to have a few glasses a week. A glass with dinner a few times a week is a good average and then the exploratory tastings when I'm in 'R&D' mode.

CR: Are you a collector of wines? (To drink or to hold)

SM: A bit of both. I'm constantly torn between the two thoughts, first, that a good wine is meant to be enjoyed and second, I want to build a cave/collection. I have a few special bottles currently stored, but I imagine that when the opportunity presents itself they will be enjoyed.

CR: Which wine country have you visited... and where else would you like to visit?

SM: Much of my wine exploration has been in Europe and North America. My favourite region right now is Bordeaux, but I'm currently scheming for opportunities to visit South America and New Zealand. A good Argentine steak and Malbec are calling me!

CR: Where do you buy most of your wine?

SM: My everyday purchases are from the wine aisle; some supermarkets carry a great selection. But when it's a special occasion or I'm feeling for something new, I go to the source (of sorts)! I'll contact wine distributors and get recommendations and pick up from their retail outlets.

CR: How did Savour come about?

SM: Savour was born from a desire to attend a private wine tasting where I could have fun, but also learn and experience some new wines. My objective is to continually present wines to my guests that they don't already know, or to introduce them in a way that will empower and encourage them to confidently select a wine based on their #SavourExperience when the opportunity arises. The experience is to See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savour the wine and the world that encompasses it.

CR: What are the big lessons you have learnt from your last two events?

SM: Don't wait so long! Savour is still a private tasting that I invite friends and family to experience and, while there are plans to expand to the public, I shouldn't have waited so long to get going with it. I never imagined I'd have received such extraordinary support. The opportunities that are presenting themselves for expanding and broadening the Savour experience demonstrate the level of interest that the consuming public has, not just for an indulgent experience, but also for increasing knowledge and comfort level in the language of wine.

CR: Your thoughts on the local wine scene?

SM: It's growing, and quite rapidly. There are elements of the international wine culture that are synonymous with our own culture: Enjoying good times with friends and family, eating good food, inquisitiveness, to name a few. What has happened over the last few years is that the synergies have emerged and people are logging on to it in a positive way! I hope that this trend continues as people learn more about wine and the world around it.

CR: What's the next big thing for Shannon?

SM: I'll continue to focus on Savour as it's still growing. My goal is to keep building on those positive synergies and cultural nuances and bring them boldly to life. I always heard that the world was my oyster… I came here to Savour!

Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord