Who was John Sambrook?
Let’s bring you back to the 1970s. As you walked into the LCBO, it was a dark and clinical place — not the liquid wonderland we know today. At that time, you passed a slip of paper with your order to a teller. Your choices were limited. Mateus Rosé maybe. That was the world John Sambrook sought to correct.
Coming from England, Sambrook knew what a lackluster showing the Canadian liquor board stores were. There was a world of wine to discover and Sambrook took it upon himself to bring it to Canada. As he started the Opimian Society — now Canada’s largest wine club — one thing became clear. People were starving for more.
That’s when he had the idea to start publishing Tidings — which became Wine Tidings and is now Quench. People wanted to learn more about food and drink without being marketed to at every turn. In one of the first conversations with Quench’s editor-in-chief, Aldo Parise, Sambrook impressed upon him the importance of an independent voice for winelovers. Integrity and unbiased content would make readers comfortable in a sometimes intimidating milieu like wine. That is the legacy John Sambrook has left with us all.
Sambrook — who passed in December 2018 — was charming, hard, witty and not without controversy but one thing was always clear. He knew the power of getting together around a bottle of wine could change people. And that’s exactly what it did.