Movies & Wine

Vino plays a supporting role in some of the silver screen’s most memorable moments. We asked wine experts to tell us which scenes stayed with them long after the theatres went dark. “Here’s looking at you kid.” Even if you haven’t seen Casablanca, you’ve likely heard that toast. And if you have seen the movie, you know that not long after Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman clink glasses, the Germans come marching into Paris and change their lives forever. Here, noted wine experts recall equally vivid movie moments where wine is firmly in the frame. David Lebovitz, chef and author […]

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Wine Trends

Today’s wine drinker is not who you might expect. You’ll still find ladies-who-lunch sipping their Chardonnays and snooty “cork dorks” sniffing out barnyard aromas in Burgundies from obscure wineries. But today’s wine drinker is also a 20-year-old uncorking a Chianti for the first time, a young professional enjoying a food-friendly Riesling, a mid-lifer embarking on a wine country adventure and the retiree sharing a half-litre of B.C. red in a pub. In short, today’s wine drinker is everyone you know. “There’s no doubt that Canada is now a wine-drinking, wine-loving nation,” says Natalie MacLean, the Ottawa-based editor of the wine […]

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Ottawa Wine Scene

Ottawa has become a city with a passion for the grape. You see it in the growing number of restaurants offering menus and special dinners paired with wine and the longer wine lists at even small eateries. A record crowd — 26,000 last year — is expected to attend next week’s annual Ottawa Food and Wine Show. “I don’t know of one new restaurant that doesn’t have a sommelier and the intention to make wine a major part of what it offers,” says Victor Harradine, director of partnerships and outreach for Algonquin College’s sommelier certificate program. Indeed, it’s that program […]

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Wine Blogs

Q. William S Burroughs said that, in a revolution, those who control the media control events. Today, wine blogs seem to be revolutionising wine. Do you agree? A. Yes and no. Blogs expand the discussion beyond traditional media, allowing more drinkers and self- appointed critics to comment, but do more opinions mean more democracy or more noise? Most blog postings aren’t edited the way newspapers or magazines are, and while that can be liberating, it can also be a recipe for inaccuracy and unfairness. Overall, I think blogs are a good thing, but there will be a major shake-out in […]

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Women & Wine 2

For too long, oenology (een-ology, the study of wine) was considered off-limits to the average American consumer. Wine knowledge was a carefully guarded male stronghold of stuffy sommeliers, grumpy English professors with big, red noses and the wealthy. But in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the wine industry began selling its products in the United States with a more inclusive approach. A methodical marketing scheme began with easily understood White Zinfandel. Wineries started selling people on Chardonnay and then Merlot, varietals that were easy to drink, whose names had a ring of sophistication. People took notice. It was a […]

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Cognition & Wine

Roots and brains Lalou Bize Leroy, a Burgundian winemaker, has a rallying call of ‘Respectez le terre!’ ‘I hate technology,’ she says, ‘it produces fake wines’ (in MacLean, 2007, p.30). She views vine roots, somewhat anthropomorphically, as brains. She recounts stories of her vines ‘withdrawing’ from chemical dependency when switched to a biodynamic approach, created by the Austrian ‘anthroposophist’ Rudolph Steiner in 1924. Steiner believed that agriculture should be in harmony with natural systems such as lunar cycles, for example by filling a cow’s horn with manure and then burying it amongst vines until the spring solstice. Many psychologists might […]

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Wine Snobbery

In the vestibule of my home, the other dinner guests sweep past Sebastian as he clutches his bottle of wine like a talisman to ward off evil spirits—their wines. I have to coax him to join the group in the dining room by telling him about my antique corkscrew. While he’s distracted with its mechanics, I whisk his bottle into the kitchen to decant it. Later, as we sit down to dinner, he sniffs suspiciously at my stemware, holding it up to the light to check for spots. Then he clears his palate with several conversation-silencing throat noises while ceremoniously […]

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High Tech Vintners

Cisco Systems just bought your little start-up for $350 million. Careful though — money without class lands you in a Rockcliffe glass house. If you have instant wealth, you need instant culture. Unfortunately, engineering school didn’t offer electives in Expressionist painting or Russian literature. A liberal education is useful only after you’ve made the big bucks – sadly, it doesn’t get you there. So settle for something more accessible, something conspicuous you can buy. You’ve already commissioned the yacht in Holland, Donatella Versace is coming to measure Thursday, and the Z8 is on order. What you’re missing is something Old […]

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Women & Wine

• Men stay in their comfort zones; women are more adventurous. • Women shop for communal gatherings, men for themselves. • Men are geared toward impressing, women toward pleasing. • Women buy wine for the short term (sharing), men for the long term (hoarding). • Men buy on the basis of testimonials from experts, women on tips from friends and merchants. • Women order wine by the glass at restaurants; men order bottles. It started back in, well, the Garden of Eden. In the beginning, it was Eve, inquisitive and experimental, who first sampled a “forbidden” fruit. And once she […]

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Celebrity Winemakers

Marilyn Merlot and Jailhouse Red aren’t high-end plonk, but they are among the better-known and widely consumed Marilyn and Elvis selections — celebrity wines with a hint of exploitation, a heavy aroma of kitsch and a nose for profit. Celebrity wines are in, to judge by this growing list: Madonna, Wayne Gretzky, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Weir, Tommy Lasorda, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Mariah Carey, Lorraine Bracco, Larry Bird, Fess Parker, Francis Ford Coppola, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Gérard Depardieu, Olivia Newton-John, Barbra Streisand, Sting, Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Paris Hilton, Cliff Richard, Steven Seagal, Sam Neill and Mötley Crüe frontman […]

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