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VQA police order Calamus to remove Bordeaux from back label — two years after bottling! Really.

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Some people have way too much time on their hands. Like the secret VQA police who prowl around the tasting rooms of Ontario wineries looking in every nook and cranny for horrible rules infractions that can ultimately result in a wine running afoul of regulations and possibly getting hauled off the shelves.

Take Calamus Estate Winery for example. Continue reading

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Rumba in the vineyard, a new Rum King is crowned, and sipping great drinks at Rosewood. Life is good.

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OK, so it wasn’t quite the Thrilla in Manila, but it did have the makings of medium-weight mini throw down between two guys who just happen to like good booze.

Like all good gatherings these days, it started with an innocent little tweet from William Roman, aka @willsroman, waxing poetically about a little rum-mixed tipple he had just whipped up and was quite enjoying. He made it sound like he was the God of Rum (in his quietly confident way) and was letting his peeps know via the Twitter feed. Continue reading

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Ontario’s new South Coast Wine region and the people behind the wines in Norfolk County

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PORT DOVER, Ont. — It was once paved in gold, its wide swaths of land covered in the tall, leafy tobacco plants and the drying kilns that defined Norfolk County in southwestern Ontario on the north shore of Lake Erie. It was a booming farm community, with lavish estates and signs of wealth at every corner of this idyllic and pastoral region.

Such was the influence of the tobacco farmers, in those glory years, that every inch of roadway — from concessions to county roads —were paved so the truckers hauling out their precious cargo had a comfortable, smooth ride to market. Continue reading

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Eight Niagara wineries join for The Pinot Affair, a weekend of love for the heartbreak grape

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NOTE: The Pinot Affair features eight Niagara wineries with eight different events that all crushing on one deliciously seductive grape over two days on Oct. 15-16. Here is what you need to know:

Are you ready for a torrid love affair?

Pinot AffairTo most people, it seems crazy, but Pinot Noir lovers understand. Theirs is a passionate affair that seems to defy reason. Continue reading

Brock’s CCOVI to monitor grape ripening in Niagara and post weekly results for wineries

NOTE: Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology  and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) is bringing back its preharvest monitoring service back for 2011 season. Here is the press release from CCOVI:

With harvest season around the corner, a popular preharvest monitoring service for Niagara grape growers is once again going online to tell the story of this year’s crop.

Building on the success of last year’s program, Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) together with the Grape Growers of Ontario are once again busy tracking the progress of this season’s wine grape ripening.

Over the coming weeks, CCOVI viticulturist Jim Willwerth will co-ordinate ongoing grape sampling and analysis at four locations in Niagara. He will track key indicators of fruit ripeness to help assess the variation in ripening across the region.

Researchers at CCOVI understand the importance of up-to-date information on grape development across different sectors of Niagara to meet the needs of grape growers and winemakers. Grapes mature uniquely depending on the year, variety and terroir. As a result, preharvest monitoring data is crucial for the industry to determine the best times to harvest in terms of grape and wine quality.

Willwerth will sample four of the region’s most common vinifera wine grape varieties (Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon) at four separate vineyards — two on each side of the Welland Canal.

Linda Tremblay, lead technologist in the analytical lab at CCOVI, will test samples for sugar, pH, titrable acidity and volatile acidity. CCOVI technician Lynda vanZuiden will also assist in the lab to help handle the additional processing volume for this year’s program.

Monitoring results will be reported weekly on CCOVI’s website.

They will also be available on OMAFRA’s website.

Program data will also feed into a database CCOVI is developing for year-to-year comparisons in support of research it is conducting on the impact of climate change on Ontario’s grape and wine industry.

“This service allows for important preharvest data to be shared among grape growers and winemakers in Niagara,” says Debbie Inglis, director, CCOVI. “This is a shining example of how our Institute is working together with growers and wineries to meet their needs.”

Willwerth was hired last summer to help CCOVI support grape growers and winemakers with applied research and outreach focused on priorities identified by the industry. The CCOVI Analytical Services lab opened its doors in March 2010.

This initiative was part of a project supported by a $1.4 million investment under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Developing Innovative Agri-Products program, which supports industry-led research and innovation and is part of CCOVI’s heightened emphasis on outreach to the grape and wine industry.

For more info: Jennifer Roberts, Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4949; jroberts2@brocku.ca