Wine Tasting Club Checklist

Continued from How to Host a Wine Tasting Here’s a checklist for how to host a wine tasting or start a regular wine tasting club. 1. One Month Before the Tasting Decide who you want to invite Your tasting club could be for your existing friends, or a means to get to know new friends via work or other venues, or a mix. Invite six to twelve guests. These days, trying to find an unscheduled evening with six to twelve busy people is a challenge so you may need to give your group even more lead time than a month. […]

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Wine Tasting Hackathon: New Way of Social Wine Discovery

Our second team wine tasting yesterday felt like a family reunion. Sommeliers and wine bloggers from Toronto and Montreal flew or drove in to join those from the east to west ends of Ottawa. There was an instant camaraderie among those gathered here who recognized each other as fellow contributors to our online community. What I admire most about these reviewers is that although they have sterling wine credentials and training, they keep it real and conversational — with an effort to connect, not to impress. The tasting also struck me as the wine version of a hackathon. In the […]

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How to Import Wine, Craft Beer, Spirits into Ontario

Industry veteran Steven Trenholme will guide you through the intricate process of importing & selling beverage alcohol in Ontario & Quebec. The morning will be focused on understanding the dynamics of the industry and have the know-how to organize private imports for your personal consumption. With this ‘taste’ of what is involved in importing beverage alcohol, you will have the fundamentals to embark on a new or part-time career as an importer. In the afternoon, Steven will highlight the various marketing and distribution channels available to agents in Ontario and Quebec including how to deal with the LCBO and SAQ […]

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How to be a Pro When You Visit a Winery

On CTV’s The Social yesterday, we chatted about how to get the most from your winery visit, including what to bring, what to ask and how to spit your wine. You can watch the full video here. However, when you’re at home, please don’t spit the two lovely wines that I selected for this show: Rosehall Run Pinot Noir and Viewpointe Auxerrois ;) I absolutely love it when there’s a strong reaction to any segment we do on The Social: it means we’re engaged and passionate about wine! When I mention that there shouldn’t be sediment floating around in your […]

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Like Father, Like Daughter: Nicolas and Laura Catena

Continued from Part 3 of Argentine Wine The Catena Alta Malbec Cabernet we’re drinking smolders in the glass. Its sultry edge is more enticing than the sweet, soupy international style of many brand name grapes. Nicolás believes that drinkers are shifting away from the herbal flavors of Cabernet and turning more toward wines like Malbec (and Syrah, Tempranillo, and Grenache) that have fleshy dark red fruit and violet flavors. Blending Malbec and Cabernet grapes is still traditional: “These blends give us French elegance and Latin passion,” as Nicolás explains. However, he no longer believes that Malbec needs Cabernet Sauvignon—or any […]

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Argentina’s Wine Visionary Sees the Future Rooted in the Past

Continued from Part 4 of Argentine Wine The 1982 Falklands War with Britain also didn’t help the economy or exports. Then there was hyper-inflation that exceeded 3,000 percent a month, which discouraged foreign investment. Vintners made up for the lost revenue by producing high volumes of poor-quality wines that smelled like bananas rotting in an attic. Meanwhile, neighboring Chile’s economy was much more stable and the country was already producing more wine than it could consume, so it was focused on export in the 1980s. Chile took advantage of this to position itself at the very low end of the […]

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The Making of a Wine Lover: That First Glass

I remember the night I tasted my first good wine. My future husband Andrew and I had just graduated from university and were enjoying our “wealth” relative to our student days. We dined out a lot and our favorite place was a small Italian restaurant around the corner from our apartment. The first time we went there, the owner, a tall, burly man with fierce dark eyes, asked us if we’d like to try the Brunello. We thought at first it was a regional dish, but it turned out to be a red wine from central Italy. We were relieved […]

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What are Your Earliest Memories of Drinking Wine?

Continued from Part 1 of The Making of a Wine Lover When we finally got up to leave, we realized that the restaurant was empty. We said good night to the owner and he slapped Andrew on the back as if he were choking on a bread stick. That was the first of many happy evenings there and we drank that Brunello for a year. A pilot light had been ignited inside me; over time it would grow into the flames of full-blown passion. Today, I joke that I started drinking seriously when I met Andrew. However, my earliest experiences […]

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Romancing the Score: What do Wine Ratings Really Tell Us?

The biggest problem with wine scores is that they evaluate the obvious: how a wine tastes. What really matters is how interesting the wine makes your dining companion. Now that would be worth rating. Indeed, you have to wonder why we rate wine in the first place. After all, it is just a drink. We certainly don’t rate orange juice or lemonade; we don’t have beef shank critics talking about the region from which the cows hailed or syndicated cabbage columnists talking about how the September rainfall affected the leaf set. Perhaps this scrutiny is a testament to the way […]

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15 Sommeliers + Bloggers, 60 Wines, 700 Wine Reviews Live Posting + Tweeting Today

Heather Wall, wine columnist for the Huffington Post and a frequent contributor to our review site, talks about our tasting yesterday with 15 sommeliers, wine writers and bloggers working their way through more than 60 wines. More than 700 wine reviews will be posted online and shared on social media, including Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for our next tasting! Martha Kelly is the regular wine expert on the Rogers Daytime Television Show in Ottawa, as well as a regular writer for our site. She is the owner of Capital Wine School, teaching the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) […]

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