The Rising Green Tide of Sustainable Viticulture and Eco-Centric Winemaking

Trending words like sustainable viticulture, eco-centric winemaking, biodynamic and organic wines, and that old chestnut, environmentally-friendly grape farming, are all sprinkled as liberally as compost on wine blogs, labels, and most recently, the LCBO Vintages Magazine. They’re all part of a growing trend that looks at wine holistically, though of course, there’s also a certain amount of natural barnyard marketing here ;) Regardless, it’s a good thing. Sustainable viticulture can include everything from LEEDS-certified buildings like Stratus Vineyards in Niagara, which recycles gray water; to lighter bottles that meet the Lightweight Glass Wine Standard of 420 grams. Those wineries don’t […]

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SAQ Wines of the Week – CJAD Morning Show

This morning, during one of our regular chats on Andrew Carter’s CJAD Morning Show in Montreal, we talked about great wines in the SAQ for your weekend. Not only can you create a custom shopping list, but we’re the first wine site and mobile app that allows you to see which of your closest SAQ stores have that wine in stock right now (and how many bottles of it). Enjoy! Natalie CJAD Wines of the Week Kim Crawford Pansy! Rose 2013 Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand This Rosé has an almost neon pink hue, and is just as vibrant […]

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5 Tips to Shop LCBO Vintages + 5 Reasons to Love a Product Consultant

Remember when buying wine at the LCBO and other liquor stores was like buying drugs?  Wines weren’t displayed – they were kept instead behind locked doors.  You chose from a bleak list of product codes on a blackboard and waited for someone to return with your bottle already wrapped in brown paper from the back storeroom. Today, the Vintages section of the LCBO is often tucked away in the back of the store, much like the adult section of video stores. However, it’s not meant to hide the elicit juice from us. Rather it recognizes that tried-and-true, everyday wine brands […]

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California Wines: Classics, Cellar Collectibles and Cabernets

California wines hit the spotlight in the March 15 LCBO Vintages release, including heavy-hitter Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel wines, along with classic Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Collectors will take note that I’ve awarded one wine in this release a perfect score of 100 — it’s been 10 years since I gave out that score. (Yes, I am tough when it comes to top scores: a wine really has to earn it.) This is just a sampling of wine ratings, the most quoted Canadian source of reviews in the Vintages Magazine. I’ll be posting the rest soon. In the meantime, […]

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Drinkin’ the Green: Matching Vegetables with Wine

Matching Green Food & Wine Green food and green wine go well together: vegetables dance with wines that have herbal, grassy aromas, such as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, if there were an award for Veggie Wine of the Century, it would go to this one. Not only does it have complementary aromas of asparagus and canned peas, but it also has bright citrus notes that complement most vegetables. While white wines often work better than red wines with vegetables, light reds like Pinot Noir and Gamay also work because they have soft tannins, juicy berry flavors and good […]

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Asparagus and Brie Tartlets Recipe Paired with Riesling or Merlot

Eat Green this St. Patrick’s Day I love the month of March because it is a sign of fresh things to come. The weather is beginning to warm up and green is starting to poke out from under the snowy landscape. And of course that’s not the only green we’re seeing; St. Patrick’s Day will bring a whole new slew of green things. And there’s no better way to incorporate the festive colour into your St. Patty’s day than with a delicious asparagus and Canadian Brie-based appetizer. Impress your guests with these Asparagus and Brie Wonton Tartlets – trust me, […]

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Men Versus Women Winemakers: Battle of the Bottles?

In honour of International Women’s Day #IWD2014, I’m posting this piece that I originally wrote for the LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine on women winemakers. Several of the women have since changed positions, but they are still in the wine industry and more importantly, the issues raised remain. Do women have any natural advantages when it comes to making and tasting wine? Are they still a minority in the industry, and if so, why isn’t that changing? What does the future look like for young women entering the field? In my personal quest for answers, I’ve judged the National Women’s […]

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Are Women Better Wine Tasters Than Men?

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, but are we on two different planets when it comes to tasting wine? Dr. Linda Bartoshuk, at Yale University School of Medicine, discovered the super taster phenomenon in 1999, along with the fact that women are more than twice as likely to be super tasters than men. To test her theory, Dr. Bartoshuk dipped a thyroid medication on study participants’ tongues to test their sensitivity to bitterness. Based on the results, she divided the population into three groups: non-tasters with limited palates (25%), tasters with average palates (50%) and super tasters with […]

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Vancouver International Wine Festival 2014: Five Fascinating Wines

By Tania Thomas In its 36th year running, Vancouver International Wine Festival has become Canada’s most anticipated extravaganza of the grape. This year, 14 countries participated with 177 wineries pouring more than 780 wines. In addition to providing educational and entertaining wine events for both public and trade, the Festival also raises funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. With France as a theme country and a global focus on Bubbly, it was a sure crowd pleaser for any novice wine lover and a seasoned connoisseur alike. Nine wine growing regions of France were featured, from Alsace in […]

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10 Tips to Make The Best out of any Wine Fest

By Tania Thomas Have you ever found yourself standing in the middle of the tasting floor at a wine show or festival and felt confused and overwhelmed, wanting to taste as many wines as possible but did not know where to begin? Attending a wine event of any kind can certainly be a confusing and overwhelming experience that leaves you bouncing from table to table without a direction, other than circular. On the other hand, attending a wine festival is an excellent opportunity to learn, taste new varietals and have fun with just a little bit of preparation. Apart from […]

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