Two of Canada’s best-known wine experts have lost their entire wine collection and nearly all their possessions in a devastating fire.

Wine critic David Scholefield, and International Sommelier Guild instructor DJ Kearney, escaped unharmed with their two children from the conflagration that gutted their North Vancouver home on Tuesday morning.

Scholefield, an ex senior wine buyer for the British Columbian Liquor Distribution Branch, nearly lost his life when he became trapped behind a locked door while investigating the blaze in the basement.

‘Their immediate need is for practical items such as new identification, clothes, glasses and a place to stay,’ Leeann Clemens, a family friend, said.

The fire, thought to have started in a diesel furnace, destroyed the family’s wine cellar, which included a number of rare signed bottles.

Remarkably, a charred bottle of 1982 Pol Roger, signed by Christian Pol Roger, was salvaged from the flames.

Other items lost in the blaze included passports, birth certificates, family photo albums and thousands of CDs. The family’s cat also died in the fire.

‘Is it sad to consider the irreplaceable items such as photos and their wine cellar’, said relative Julian Scholefield. ‘Hopefully we can all pull together to help them get back on their feet.’

Smoke was still billowing from the house early on Wednesday. Canadian television station CTV British Columbia has mounted an appeal for donations.

Donations link

Written by Lucy Shaw