Cantech bannerCantech 2You don’t need to tell me that wine is the most important meal of the day. The question is, which type of food do you prefer as a side?

That’s the question being asked by Canadian wine writer Natalie MacLean who has worked up a time-sensitive way to pit region against region in The Great Canadian Wine Match, the object of which is to pair your favourite wine with a particular type of food, eventuating in a winner at the end to be voted on by participants in the social media campaign.

Crowd-sourcing competitions like these have flourished in recent years, Canadian Idol notwithstanding. CBC has managed to turn reading into a contact sport with its Battle of the Books reality program. Natalie’s new project takes a similar tack, collecting votes until May 20 at which point the wine with the most votes from each region of Canada will take on the others in a final showdown, to be determined by the wisdom of the crowd on June 2.

The regions are: Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec, and Eastern Canada. The food pairings are: beef, chicken, cheese, seafood, pizza, and dessert. No poutine, which is a disappointment. I will conduct that competition as a separate, private event.

I chatted briefly with Natalie MacLean via email.

What do you figure technology and social media brings to the experience of drinking wine that we didn’t have previously?

Technology and social media allow us to share the pleasure of wine with so many other drinkers who may not be at the physical table with us. On Twitter and Facebook, for example, there’s constant banter back and forth about a particular pinot noir or cabernet that someone has just discovered. Then someone else will suggest a food pairing or how long to decant the wine before serving. You could say that wine and technology pair as well together as a robust cabernet and a juicy steak: one enhances the other.

You are timing this to coincide exactly with the Stanley Cup playoffs. Is this some kind of ploy to take people off their game when they should be concentrating on winning? Or do you see it as complementary?

Contrary to how it may appear, The Great Canadian Wine Match is not a ploy to distract Canadians from the Stanley Cup. In fact, wine pairs well with watching the game. Which wine depends on how your team is doing: if they’re winning, I’d recommend zesty, uplifting Riesling paired with potato chips. If they’re losing, then how about a robust cabernet with a long bitter finish?

In the end, the finalists will appear in a Google+ hangout with Natalie, the moderator, to implore others to push their candidate wine over the top to social media victory.

Start your engines here.

Posted with permission of CanTech.