John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific writer of books on wine. Since his first book in 1984,
The World of Canadian Wine, he has written 19, including multiple editions of The Wineries of British Columbia, British
Columbia Wine Country and John Schreiner's Okanagan Wine Tour Guide. His passion for wine has caused John Schreiner to lead a double life as a writer.
Born (prematurely) in Indian Head* Saskatchewan in 1936, he graduated in English from the University of Saskatchewan in 1958. Quite the achievement for a man of German decent who did not speak English when he entered first grade. His early childhood was spend in one room school houses or working on the farm. John father gave him a horse named Mabel. It allowed John to ride the mile and a half to school.
He tells a interesting story of having to share a desk in grade school until it collapsed. Growing up John;s family was poor. Farming on the prairies was not an easy life for immigrants. One Christmas John received two Uncle Wiggly books. within hours he had read them booth.
John was born with a congenital cataract in his left eye. His grandmother released when John was that he could see out of left eye. At eight years of age he had surgery to correct the problem.
John developed his skills as a writer early in life. John won a essay contest he wrote about the history of Indian Head. The prize $100. He also wrote poetry One poem was published by the Winnipeg Free Press. He worked in the library at his high school to gain access to the typewriter. He also did some freelance reporting for a Regina radio station. In grade twelve he wrote a weekly column for the Indian Head News.
After University John immediately began his career as a journalist with the Regina Leader Post. In 1961, he joined The Financial Post, leading to a 40-year career as a business writer until he retired in 2001. He took over the newspaper’s Vancouver bureau in 1973 and reported widely from Western Canada and Asia.
In 1996 he won a Jack Webster Award for business, industry and economic writing.
In 1957 John was working for the Regina Leader-Post when John Diefenbaker conservatives won the election ""considering the inauspicious way I handled my assignment that election night ,it is markable that I spent the next forty-five years in journalism.""
In 1959 he took a leave of absence from the Regina post and enrolled in the University of Toronto
He first meet his wife Marlene in late 1958 marrying her in 1960. In 1961 John joined the Financial Post moving to Toronto. He became General Business Editor in 1969. . Later transferring to Vancouver in 1973 by the Financial Post. In 1996 he won the Dalton Robertson Award and the Jack Webster Award
It was prior to his graduation he began to keep a dairy. It proved to be a most valuable tool during his writing career.
. Later transferring to Vancouver in 1973 by the Financial Post.
John and Marlene have two children a son named John and two daughter named Maureen and Alison.
Of the many articles John wrote about they ranged from Automobiles to the Vancouver symphony Orchestra. The list of people he interview is quite spectacular.
At one point John became interested in Photography. His first camera a Ricoh Twin lens reflect he bough in University. Later he purchased, In 1969,a Leica camera from a friend.
It was in 1959 that John purchased a bottle of French Sauternes.
In 1961 when he moved to Toronto just a couple of blocks from his residence was A T.G. Bright wine store
In 191 he wrote an Article about the Ontario grape surplus. Canadian wine consumption was up 8.1 %
In 194 John made wine thanks to a kit given to him for Christmas by Marlene. He continued making wines until 2007. "The real value of the hobby was the wine education it gave me. It equipped me to do more informed interviews with winemakers."
His wine interest was peaked in 1973 with a trip to Barossa Valley in Australia.
In 1974 he took the family to Robert Mondavi Winery. Where he met winemaker Zelma young whose passion for the wines rubbed off on John.
October 1982 John starts his wine column for the Financial Post.
1983 he began judging for the Okanagan Wine Festival and other events
In 1984 John and Marlene went to the German Academy of Wine John on a Scholarship.
He was a judge for the Lieutenant Governor's Awards for Excellence in BC Wines established in 2003for 16 years.
He has written two business books, a textbook (out of print) on the Canadian transportation system and The Refiners, the 100th anniversary history of BC Sugar. The book, published by Douglas & McIntyre, was runner up in the 1989 National Business Books Awards.
Since 1973, he has cultivated a parallel career as a wine writer, starting with regular columns in The Financial Post and Vancouver Magazine.
He began writing wine books in 1984 with The World of Canadian Wines, published by Douglas & McIntyre.
Since 1994, three editions of The Wineries of British Columbia have been published. His other books include:
The British Columbia Wine Companion, a compendium of essays, history and biography, was published in 1996.
Chardonnay and Friends, about varietal wines in British Columbia, was published in 1998.
He is the author of Icewine: The Complete Story
Icewine: The Complete Story, the first comprehensive international book on this dessert wine, was published in November 2001 and was judged “best book on wine history” in English that year in the World Gourmand cookbook and wine book competition. It was winemaker Eric von Krosigh that suggest John write a book on icewine.
To help with his research in Dec of 1998 Sandra Oldfield, then winemaker at Tinhorn Horn Creek offered John the chance to join the icewine harvest. He had to hope on a plan to be there for 7am the next norming. The harvest did not happen as the temperatures did not dip to the required -*C The next nigh John joined the crew at Gehringer Brothers. The crew had to deal with the harsh cold, late and long hours for a small amount of juice.
CedarCreek Wine Journal was published early in 2004. It was commissioned by Senator Ross Fitzpatrick.
British Columbia Wine Country, of which more than 10,000 copies have been sold, was published in March 2003 by Whitecap. It won a World Gourmand award for photography, a gold medal in the 2004 Vancouver Magazine Awards, and two silver medals in the 2004 Cuisine Canada competition. A completely revised second edition, with information on 175 producers, was published in April, 2007. John worked with photographer Kevin Miller on the book.
The Wines of Canada was published in May, 2005, by Mitchell Beasley Publishers of London; an updated paperback edition was released in October 2006 by Whitecap. This book is a comprehensive discussion of all of Canada’s wine regions, with profiles of about 300 producers, including fruit wineries and meaderies.
His most popular book is John Schreiner’s Okanagan Wine Tour Guide. The first edition was published in 2006. The fifth edition, double the size of the first, was published in the summer of 2014. He is currently working on the sixth edition, to be published in 2020.
A companion volume, John Schreiner’s Coastal BC Wineries Tour Guide, was released in April, 2011.
His latest book – Icon, Flagship Wines from British Columbia. on iconic and collectible wines of British Columbia – was published in May, 2017. In the World Gourmand awards, it was acclaimed the best Canadian wine book of 2017.
In 2002, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society presented Schreiner with its Founders Award, an award given annually since 1984 to recognize contributions to the British Columbia wine industry. In 2009, the Vancouver International Wine Festival gave him its Spirited Industry Professional Award. He is a past chair of the Festival’s selection committee. In 2014 he was inducted into the B.C. Restaurant Association Hall of Fame as a friend of the industry.
His writing has been honoured by both national and regional wine industry groups. In 2015 the Canadian Vintners Association gave him its Canadian Wine Industry Champion award. In 2016 the British Columbia Wine Institute gave him its Industry Recognition Award.
A member of numerous wine societies and an award-winning home vintner, Schreiner has toured wineries in virtually all of the world’s major wine regions. He is a 1984 graduate of the German Wine Academy and has judged in wine competitions in Canada and abroad. His articles on wine have appeared in many wine consumer publications. Currently, he has a wine column in West Coast Homes & Design. He is a prolific blogger at http://johnschreiner.blogspot.ca.
One of John's previous books, British Columbia Wine Country , won a World Gourmand award for photography, a gold medal in the 2004 Vancouver Magazine Awards, and two silver medals in the 2004 Cuisine Canada competition. A member of numerous wine societies and an award-winning home vintner,
Schreiner has toured wineries in virtually all of the world's major wine regions. He is a graduate of the German Wine Academy and has judged in wine competitions in Canada and abroad. He is the former chair of the selection committee of the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.
His articles on wine appear in Wine Access, in Savour magazine, on PlanitBC.com, in several community papers and on his blog, http://johnschreiner.blogspot.com. He also has a weekly wine commentary on CKNW radio in Vancouver.
Winner 2009, VPIWF, Spirited Industry Professional
the award annually honours an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia.
I enjoy being around
wine people, who are among the most colourful and creative people
I know. I like what they produce, and derive added pleasure from the
wines because I have come to know many producers intimately. I tell
their stories in this book in the conviction that you will also get more
from the wines if you know the backstories. - John Schreiner
John Schreiner became so respected in the BC wine Industry he was often asked to help find a winemaker, name the winery and recommend what grapes they should grow.
John Skinner ~ Painted Rock Estate winery deciding what grapes to plant when he purchased his property wrote :
After exploring many options I was constantly reminded of a comment John Schreiner made to me when he first learned that I bought the “Blackhawk”, “Are you planting Syrah?” he asked, “I think it may be the grape of the Okanagan”. I don’t think anyone knows the wineries of the Okanagan better than John and my taking him up on his suggestion honours the fact that not only did I trust his opinion, I knew that other wineries would share their successes and enthusiasm with him and he would indeed have an inside track
"John Schreiner jokes that he’s to blame for the B.C. wine industry getting ahead of itself as he serves notice of the province’s products." Chris Steinberg /Globe and Mail
If you have not read his books go back and do so. His 18 books tell us this story "It’s telling of how quickly the British Columbia wine industry has evolved. How dynamic it’s become. It’s moved from utter and complete mediocrity in the early eighties to producing world-class wines," says Schreiner.
In 2023 John released his book called GoodGrog A Life in Wine & Journalism.
" The book was possible because I began keeping a dairy and a clipping scrapbook." This book is Mr Schreiner's Memoir.
Over the years John has been a great support of this website and has provided numerous pieces of information and updates. We thank John for his friendship and kind support.
*The town is known for its federally operated experimental farm and tree nursery, which has produced and distributed seedlings for shelter belts since 1901. At one point the town was the largest centre of initial shipment of wheat in the world