… or, What is the ‘Fourth Wall’?

In film and theatre particularly, the ‘fourth wall’ is the invisible wall that separates the on-stage actor from the people watching. When a character ‘breaks the fourth wall,’ they leave the conversation with the other actors and speak directly to the audience.

Fourth Wall Wines is a project that’s been rattling around in my head since 2007, in various forms and iterations. It started as a dream of a winery, but lacking money and land, it since moved to creating a collection of amazing, individual bottlings that highlight what Ontario does so well.

I’ve been lucky enough to make the right kind of friends over the last 20 years. These micro-bottlings are a way to contribute to the big picture of the local industry, and collectively put our best feet forward.

Wine is interpretation. One who drinks wine can – and I’d argue, should – think about what they’re tasting. The words we use are essentially metaphors we drink by. (And their usefulness ends once the alcohol starts to function.) The wine speaks — the drinker is the audience. The wines that stand out say something special. 

Wine students ask how and where wine is made to understand why they taste certain things. But there is a lot of obfuscation in the wine business; not always malicious, but it’s there. I want these wines to be as transparent as possible (yes, even when the wine ends up opaque). These wines should speak directly to you.

If wine through terroir is a reflection of place and time, Fourth Wall Wine is a reflection on that reflection. Postmodern hyperreal wine. Meta is ‘in’ these days, folks.

And no, they may not always have riveting origin stories. But they will have a purpose and place, and will be damn well stunning with food. They are the intersection of passion, experience and camaraderie. Thank you for letting me share them with you.