Label Gazing: How to Read a Wine Label

Admit it. You’ve probably bought a wine based on nothing more than a beautiful label. Most of us have been lured at least once by a wind-swept name like Jagged Peak scripted across a postage-size painting of a rustic hillside. Drink the wine, live the life. Not quite. After several disappointments, I started looking for austere labels as a sign of purity: since the winemakers had obviously spent no money on marketing, I reasoned, they must have invested in the fruit. But that didn’t work either: I ended up drinking bad wine in ugly bottles with unpronounceable names. Eventually, I […]

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Can You Judge a Wine by its Label?

Continued from Part 1 of Reading Wine Labels It’s 5 p.m. on Friday—the dinner party is in two hours and you’re standing in the middle of the liquor store. In front of you are thousands of bottles of wine. Should you consider only wines over $15 so your host won’t think you’re cheap? Do you grab the bottle with the small furry animals on the label or will the guests think you live inside a Disney movie? Should you go for the wine with the cheeky name for a laugh or might someone be offended? If you’re not a wine […]

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Reserve Wine Labels and Other Extra Special Meaningless Terms

Continued from Part 2 of Reading Wine Labels There’s nothing like having to buy wine at the last minute to take to a friend’s house to cause a panic attack. No other consumable is put on the table in its original package. At social gatherings, the wine label is like a blinking billboard telling your guests exactly what you think of them and of yourself. So that piece of paper affixed to the front of the bottle is all you have to go on. In the quaint old days, merchants simply wrote on the label what was in the bottle. […]

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Canadian Wine and the European Trade Deal

How will the new European trade deal affect the Canadian wine industry? Here are some excerpts quoted from a recent story by Dianne Buckner, host of CBC’s Dragon Den. The story ran on CBC, Reuters and Canadian Business magazine. Unlike Canada’s cheese-makers and fisheries who find themselves disadvantaged by the new deal, some in Canada’s wine industry are thrilled by the prospect of new customers. Just ask the president of the Canadian Vintners Association. “The agreement opens preferential market access to the EU’s more than 500 million consumers,” says Dan Paszkowski. “It creates new opportunities for Canadian wine exports to […]

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Which Wine Pairs with Kindness, Idealism & a Big Heart?

Last year, Brett Preston and Matt MacPherson launched The Little Grape That Could. The twist? All profits from the wine sales go to charities, from the Heart & Stroke Association to Toronto Cat Rescue. In the video below, they talk about how they came up with the idea and how wine lovers can do good by drinking well. What was your motivation for this project? Why did you pick wines from Argentina? How much of the wine’s price goes toward charity and what sales have you achieved? How does it work? I buy the wine, then what? How do I […]

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How a Wine Name Impacts Price: Dr. Antonia Mantonakis Video Chat

In this fascinating video chat, Dr. Antonia Mantonakis reveals the insights from her research on how the name of a wine affects both our perception of it and how much we’re willing to pay for it. Difficult to pronounce names score higher, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that wineries should use them… find out why below. Why does the ease with which we can pronounce the name of a wine influence our perception of both its quality and price? How much more were research subjects willing to pay for the difficult-to-pronounce wine name? Why is that significant? Who is more […]

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Celebrity Athlete Wines: Which Ones Score on Price and Taste? Video

In this fascinating video chat, Dr. Antonia Mantonakis reveals the insights from her research on how the fit between a celebrity athlete’s particular sport affects our perception of a wine, including golf, wrestling and speed skating. It’s not what you’d expect … find out why below. How does the degree of “match” between a celebrity athlete and “wine” impact our perception of its taste  and how much we’re willing to pay? What are the good versus bad matches when it comes to particular sports? Is wine more prone to these extrinsic clues say than other product categories? Why? Here’s part […]

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Kevin O’Leary Wines for a Dragon: Launching a Brand Video

In this video below, Kevin O’Leary, best known as the prickly Merchant of Truth on CBC’s Dragons’ Den as well as on ABC’s Shark Tank, talks about his latest venture in launching his own wine brand. He has also built a software company that was acquired for more than $4 billion dollars and now runs O’Leary Funds, an investment firm with assets of more than $1.5 billion. It was just coincidence that Kevin’s smartphone dinged as I introduced him, but it seemed that he was instantly beamed down from the Investment Mother Ship for our conversation at the right moment… […]

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Wine and Women Go Hand in Hand – National Post

By Hollie Shaw Wolfgang Blass says women are his long time weakness and the secret to his success. In a recent interview with the thrice-married raconteur behind Australia’s Wolf Blass wine label, females were a frequent topic, both for a good bon mot — he repeats his oft-quoted trope, that his wines “make strong women weak, and weak men strong” — and detailing a canny business strategy. Mr. Blass, 78, was in Toronto last week to support the brand’s extensive film festival sponsorship, and chronicled how he left war-torn Germany at age 23 to pursue winemaking. Now the fourth largest […]

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