Gryphon Living

The Art Of Wine

Gryphon Artisan Series with New District

March 5, 2019

“We love seeing the interplay with the community, and how people from all walks of life coming together over the same passion for wine” – New District Store


Gryphon Artisan Series is created to celebrate artistry in all trades. For our second artisan workshop, we partner up with local Dunbar-based wine store New District to explore and experience the “The Art of Wine” at our Kerrisdale office last Saturday.

During the hour-long wine tasting experience, we had the store manager of  New District Wine, Isaac Hampson-Thorpe guiding us through the intricate process of wine tasting and food pairing, elevating the experience with his passion and deep understanding for the wine we tasted. He had shared with us the story behind each sip beginning from the origin, to the vineyard, to the bottling and shipping process. The unique stories behind each bottle reflect the craftsmanship and passion from the growers, winemakers and artisans that are involved in the art of making.

Over the weekend we also had the pleasure to engage Isaac from New District for a conversation about his story, the art of wine tasting and the role it plays in a community.


Gryphon:  How did you get involved with wine in the first place?

Isaac: I got involved in wine when I was about 16. My parents have a place in Okanagan and we go up every summer. I got a job there at a general store doing bottle returns. It was one of the worst jobs in the world, but I get to move the beer and the wine around, so I get to know the product. When I was in University, I worked at a wine store, and that was what really drew me into it. It has been a long time now but I’ve been doing this ever since.


Gryphon: What does art mean to you? Being in the wine industry for so long, do you have an interpretation for art in this context?

Isaac: Art is very important to me. Before getting into wine, a part of my program in University was Art History. After getting into wine, I take a lot of time looking at the labels of wine to learn what their stories are and how they will interact with the public. I believe Art is everywhere. It can be found in architecture too, from the way they built wineries to tell their own unique stories, to the placement of wine cellars and tasting rooms.


Gryphon: When curating wine for New District, what are some qualities you look for?

Isaac: We always taste the wine first. Then we evaluate whether this is something we are looking for based on the price range, style, concept, label art etc. We look at it as the whole package. We also look at the story behind it, because every wine is a story. By the time the wine touches your glass, it could have been carefully processed and handled by tens or hundreds of people across the world.


Gryphon: Based on your years of experience in the industry, what role do you think wine play in the community?

Isaac: The role of wine in the community is huge. You see this in past history, but you also see it today in social communities. For example, simply meeting someone from a bar and having a chat over a glass of wine, to large family events or friend gatherings where wine is shared. Hopefully, if you have good wine, you will have good company. With the International Wine Festival happening in Vancouver, you also have people from all over the world, including growers, winemakers and sommeliers gathering together to share their stories. It’s great because a bottle of wine is a bottle of wine, but knowing the story behind it really makes a personal experience for someone.


Gryphon: In the process of wine tasting, what role does storytelling play as a part of the whole experience?

Isaac: When you are tasting wine, one of the greatest things about that is the sense of place. A great wine will give you something about where it’s coming from. A great tasting experience can pick up elements in the background including the type of grapes, soil, temperature, region, and winemaking process. It paints a picture of what the winemakers are trying to create, just like an artist, and this is transcended through to the taster during the wine tasting process.


Gryphon: Can you tell us a bit about the story of New District?

Isaac: We’ve been here in Dunbar for just under three years now. We initially started as an online e-commerce platform. To gather the neighbourhood and share stories, we do wine tastings every Sunday and have a wine club in which we ship wines all across BC. Through the wine club and public tastings, people gather here and get to know each other. We love seeing the interplay with the community, and how people from all walks of life coming together over the same passion for wine.


Gryphon: What is the most rewarding part about being in the Dunbar/ Kerrisdale community?

Isaac: What is so great about Dunbar/ Kerrisdale is the community. It’s a long-term community here and we’re definitely seeing a lot of growth over the years. It is a lot more vibrant now, and there is a whole lot of communities and cultural diversity which I think is great.


Gryphon: If you can give one recommendation to someone who is just starting their journey in wine tasting, what would it be?

Isaac: Enjoying it is the main thing. Also, don’t listen to your friends. Don’t think too much about what others tell you during the wine tasting session. Just like art, everything is subjective and every experience is unique. When you are tasting, notice why you enjoy something, whether it is the taste or the smell.


Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

Gryphon Artisan Series Wine Tasting

We want to thank local Kerrisdale businesses including Benton Brothers Fine Cheese for providing the delectable cheese board for our tasting, as well as Nicola Adam Floral for the beautiful floral design and decors for the event.   

Our mission for the ongoing Gryphon Artisan Series workshops is to bring communities together through art and to create a platform for local artisans of all trades to share their passion and stories. The workshops are free of charge and are open to everyone in the community on a first-come-first-serve basis. Don’t forget to follow us on our social media to get the latest updates on our upcoming Artisan Series Workshop!