Austrian Wine Fair Comes to Toronto April 14

    On April 14 in Toronto, over 30 vintners present up to 165 wines at the Austrian Wine Fair, which also features a Tutored Tasting for wine professionals, guided by Willi Klinger from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board.   Traditionally known for its white wines, did you know that a third of Austria’s vineyards are made up of red wines? Join us for an educational seminar featuring flights of the three red aces, the indigenous grape varieties Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, plus a rare flight of Austrian Pinot Noir. A trade Walk Around Tasting is followed by the […]

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Kosher Wine: What is it? Why should I not Passover it?

Ten years ago, kosher wine was considered the cough syrup of the wine world: mostly made from nasty Concord grapes and often sweeter than Buckley’s—but without as much nuance. Today, it’s no longer the wine of affliction: many kosher wines, made from classic grapes, are complex and full of character. In fact, kosher wines sales are growing fast —  up 12% since 2013. While no one tracks buyer demographics, some producers claim that up to half aren’t even members of the Jewish faith—they’re just attracted to the wine’s quality and its preparation, which guarantees purity. Kosher wines, like fashionable organic […]

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Men Versus Women Winemakers: Battle of the Bottles?

In honour of International Women’s Day #IWD2016 on March 8, 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 […]

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A Sparkling Dilemma: What’s the Real Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco?

By Alex and Priya, A Vine Romance What’s the real difference between Champagne and Prosecco? Priya: Ahh bubbly! There are so many styles of sparkling wine but Champagne and Prosecco are undoubtedly the two most popular. Alex: You’re right about that my lady. However, they are distinctly different from one another. So much so that an experienced taster should almost never be fooled – though there are some Proseccos out there that bear similarities to iconic Champagne – but they are rarely encountered and cost equally as much. P: Interesting. As a not-so-experienced taster, I doubt I’d be able to […]

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The Champagnes of James Bond and Rappers: Bollinger and Cristal

Part 2: Champagne Widows By the 1930s, French winemakers faced even greater challenges: a country about to go to war, a worldwide Depression that made running any business difficult, and U.S. Prohibition, which made selling luxury champagne to the lucrative American market almost impossible.   Camille Olry-Roederer   This was the forbidding business environment that Camille Olry-Roederer stepped into when she took over the champagne house Louis Roederer after losing her second husband in 1932 (her first husband had died in World War I). Sales were 264,000 bottles that year, compared to 2.3 million bottles in 1876.   1954 1954 […]

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A Tasteful Wine Journey from Provence to Paris

Town centre of Beaune By David Skinner Provence stands as Southern France’s glorious gateway to the viticultural and gastronomic treasures awaiting discovery along the Rhône River Valley. A river cruise from Provence to Burgundy is likely one of the best ways to experience these famous wine regions and cruising is the most leisurely and convenient way to uncover abundant appellations and epicurean adventures. Of course, one of the attractions of seeing the countryside by boat is that you only unpack once and this simply eliminates the worry of transportation and lodging, granting more time to create memories of fabulous food, […]

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Andrea Franchetti: Mountain Wine Between Stone and Cloud

Continued from Part 3: Etna Wine The next morning, I drive farther up the mountain along a narrow, vertiginous lane called Passopisciaro or “fishmonger’s road.” It was originally named after a seaman who used to sell his catch here on sunny afternoons. He charmed his female customers, generously offering them his services in addition to the seafood. Eventually, their husbands banded together and killed him. Most of Andrea Franchetti’s wines are labeled Passopisciaro, but his customers are safely scattered around the world. In 2001, having spent ten years in Tuscany making wines that received rave reviews, Andrea decided to buy […]

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Marco de Grazia: Coaxing Wine from Contradiction (and Lava)

Part 2: Sicily’s Volcanic Wines Sicily is also known as mezzogiorno, “the land of the midday sun”—and of the midday nap. This April afternoon is so warm that I decide to take la pausa before my next visit. I love that notion of an afternoon pause: it doesn’t sound lazy, just meditative. I retreat to my dark hotel room and flop on the cool bed sheets, mesmerized by my ceiling fan as its breeze evaporates the sweat on my arms and legs. Outside, a dog barks, someone laughs, a door slams. Then quiet. After several hours of drugged sleep, I […]

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Vino Under the Volcano: Etna Wines Erupt Expected Notions of Terroir

Editor’s Note: I’ve been writing about volcanic wines since my second book, Unquenchable, was published with Random House in 2011. My fascination with them continues. I expected something a little more dramatic: the sizzle of a lava river oozing down the volcano, the rumble of the earth as it split between my feet, the screams of villagers running for their lives. Instead, all I hear are the clicks of tourist cameras as we look up at Mount Etna, its white tip puffing peacefully against the blue sky. “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen […]

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Organic Wine: What is it? Toast Earth Day with Wine, Naturally

By Natalie MacLean Earth Hour has passed, and Earth Day is almost upon us. Naturally, you might think about pouring yourself a glass of organic wine on April 22. But what is organic wine and how is it different from “inorganic wine”? Back in the 1970s, the concept of “organic wine” conjured up images of pony-tailed vintners in tie-dyed T-shirts, producing wines more for ideology than taste. Thankfully, those days are just a watery memory now. Today, organic wines are no longer just for health nuts and tree-huggers. Wine lovers drink them for their quality. They’ve gone mainstream and represent […]

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