Avondale Winery: South African Wine With its Ducks in a Row

By Priya & Alex, A Vine Romance When you think of South African wines, several prominent names may come to mind, but there is more to this region than just a few well-known wineries. We learned this the easy way—by meeting one of the remarkable winemakers who is producing wines of exceptional quality. That winemaker is Jonathan Grieve and the winery is Avondale. The invite we received to join Jonathan at a winemakers lunch had us a bit skeptical. What could we expect from a man who holds a duck in his arms in a promo shot? Well, we learned […]

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First Families of Wine Tasting: Primum Familiae Vini Bring Family and Place to the Glass

By Mymi Myriam At 11:30 a.m. on a windy Thursday, I walked into a sumptuous room at the Four Seasons Hotel.  Immaculately decorated, it had high ceilings and an incredible view of Toronto’s affluent Yorkville neighbourhood. In the center of the room was a very large and beautifully dressed… dining room table! I was at the right place: the long-awaited Primum Familiae Vini (PFV) luncheon. The PFV is an international association of some of the world’s finest wine producing families from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. It was created in 1992 by Robert Drouhin and Miguel Torres as they […]

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Remy Pannier Tasting with Fresh Wines for Spring

Remy Pannier Winemaker Tasting with Pierre Charon By Priya and Alex, A Vine Romance It’s not often you get invited to an exclusive and intimate lunch with a talented winemaker visiting all the way from France, but we were lucky enough to do just that this past week. The Novotel on the Esplanade was the setting for this lovely event and they put out a great spread to match with the wines, with lots of cheese and seafood. They were kind enough to accommodate Priya, who’s a vegan, by having some vegetable antipasto and green salad along with mixed nuts […]

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The Fruit Whisperer: California Vineyards Speak in Beringer Wine Tasting

Beringer’s Chief Winemaker, Laurie Hook, leads our team tasting of an impressive line-up of red and white wines from select vineyards of California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Laurie’s Hippy Approach to Winemaking … aka The Fruit Whisperer A-oiy! Look out for that ship bearing down on you at 70 knots, setting a course right through your Chardonnays! Our shipshape crew on deck for this tasting: Jennifer MacDonald, Wine Writer, Ottawa Citizen Jane Staples, Wine Writer, Windsor Star and Ottawa Wedding Magazine Matt Steeves, Wine Expert, CTV Morning Live Heather Wall, Wine Writer, Huffington Post Canada Monique Ippolito, Wine Writer, Ottawa […]

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Charles Smith Rocks the Wine Scene with Music and Vino

By Melissa Pulvermacher We all think of pairing food and wine, but have you ever thought of pairing music with wine? Charles Smith, a self-taught winemaker, has brought a new element to the world of wine – soul. Smith is undoubtedly a full-bodied personality with a genuine passion for both music and wine. The only way to truly describe the experience of Charles Smith and his wines is to crank rock music and pour yourself a big glass of red or white… or both and just enjoy. During a 1999 road trip, when Smith was managing rock bands and concerts, […]

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Which Women Shine with Wine in the Movies?

Wine, women and … the movies. As we celebrate the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF 2014), here’s a look at some of the cameo roles that wine and women have played in film as terrific co-stars. In The Seven Year Itch (1955), Marilyn Monroe, moves into a Manhattan apartment above Tom Ewell, a married man whose family has gone to Maine for summer vacation. When the two get together for an innocent glass of champagne, the bottle explodes—and he gets his thumb stuck while trying to stop the overflow. That makes for lots of double-entendres about pent-up pressure and powerful thumbs. […]

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Walk in the Clouds: Winemaking in the Movies

In anticipation of the Toronto Film Festival #TIFF kicking off this week, this is the first in a series of articles about wine in the movies. First, I’d like to nominate a few of my favourite Oscar-worthy Canadian wines in honour of TIFF being held in Toronto: Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir Painted Rock Red Icon Blue Mountain Brut Sparkling Luckett Vineyards Phone Box Red Stay tuned for more nominations this week. Now let’s travel back to 1995. Although not written as a comedy, the movie A Walk In The Clouds offered many laughs for […]

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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. 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. But like the other women of Champagne […]

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Veuve Clicquot Champagne: Riddle Me This!

Above: Designer Karim Rashid created a Love Seat for Veuve Clicquot’s Yellow By Design exhibition, a modern take of an 18th century love seat blended with the rose colour seats to complement the Veuve Clicquot wine. Part 1: Champagne Widows Madame Clicquot wasn’t just a saleswoman, she also developed the technique called remuage or riddling, to remove sediment from the wine – a method that was quickly adopted throughout the Champagne region. Veuve Clicquot Riddling Table The second fermentation in the bottle that gives champagne its carbon dioxide also creates sediment, which gives the wine an unsightly cloudy appearance.  To […]

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The Merry Widows of Mousse: Champagne Widows

They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they did not do what was expected: step aside or sell the business.  Nor did they marry again (though they were still in their twenties and thirties), handing over the reins to a new husband. Instead, these celebrated veuves, or widows, took control of their châteaux to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world – wines that still bear their names: Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Laurent-Perrier, Roederer and […]

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