Pursuits: A vintage obsession

Written by Monique Beech

You could say that wine collecting was Timur Leckebusch’s first passion. When he was just five years old, Leckebusch’s father, Hermann, built a wine cellar in the family’s luxury home and stocked it with sought-after French wines. “I have to admit it was just something that was put into the cradle, and I never questioned it,” says Leckebusch, the 47-year-old president of Swisscan Properties Inc., an international construction and development company based in Georgetown, Ont. “[Collecting] is something that I enjoy. I enjoy inviting people into the cellar for a tasting of a nice bottle of wine.”

When Leckebusch moved to Canada from his native Germany in 1986 to start a branch of his father’s business, he brought over a few bottles of fine wine from the Bordeaux region of France, which is considered to be one of the best wine-producing regions in the world. Since then, Leckebusch’s personal wine collection has blossomed from just a few bottles to 5,000 in the cellar of his Georgetown home—including some of his favourites from Bordeaux, a few prized bottles of Italian Amarone and a selection of gems from France’s Burgundy region.

While wine writers devote volumes to other age-worthy wines, such as Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti from Tuscany and German Riesling, Leckebusch feels that no other wine region can match Bordeaux’s illustrious history of ranking and classification—and none is superior in quality and taste. Such is the bias of a true oenophile.

But cultivating those passionate preferences takes time and a yen for learning. While Leckebusch finds many of his best bottles during winery visits and at auctions on voyages overseas, he advises novice collectors to comb websites such as for vintage charts that provide a yearly overview of wine quality from regions across the globe. He typically purchases a range of less expensive bottles from a good year, as well as a few bottles from top producers as an investment to store.

Perhaps the best part of gaining an appreciation for fine wine—made easier by the availability of age-worthy wines in liquor stores across Canada—is in the hands-on education. “The best way to learn is often by doing,” Leckebusch says. “In this case, it’s by drinking.”

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