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The Wine Wire: New boss at Niagara Wine Festival, Grape King 2017, Scotch meets Icewine, Peller deal news

Niagara wine

The Niagara Grape and Wine Festival has announced a new executive director to replace the departing Kimberly Hundertmark.

After a thorough recruitment and interview process the board of the 66-year-old Niagara wine festival has chosen Dorian Anderson for the leadership role of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.

Board chair Tim Coons said. “I am confident that we have found an executive director that will drive the growth of our organization, deliver a greater return for our stakeholders, and encourage the evolution of our festivals in a fiscally responsible way.

Anderson comes with a great deal of large-scale event experience, exposure to working with multiple boards and committees, and a strong history of managing budgets.” Anderson and Hundertmark will work together over the next month to ensure a smooth transition for the festival.

Anderson is a life-long Niagara resident and passionate advocate of the region’s wine and culinary industries. She has led her own successful event and marketing company, Dorian + Associates, since 2008.

Ontario wine

With an overarching goal of motivating people to, Eat, Drink and Play, Anderson has overseen some of Ontario’s most exciting wine and culinary programs, including The International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, Graze the Bench, the Twenty Valley Winter WineFest and Somewhereness.

Anderson also has extensive experience working with a variety of tourism-focused organizations and initiatives, including the Twenty Valley Tourism Association, the Niagara Integrated Film Festival, the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Authority, the UCI Road World Cycling Championships and the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships.

When she’s not working or chasing after her twin sons, Anderson enjoys gardening, reading Canadian literature and cooking with ingredients sourced from Niagara’s many markets and roadside stands.

Anderson said: “Anyone who knows me knows that I’m incredibly passionate about promoting Ontario wines, but that’s only part of what excited me about this opportunity. Growing up in St. Catharines, I remember watching the Grape and Wine Parade every year with my family, and now it’s a tradition I carry on with my own two sons. I’m thrilled to get to be part of an organization that plays such an important role in our community’s heritage and identity.”

Hundertmark and her husband Jeff moved to the Okanagan Valley earlier this summer.

Doug Whitty named
Ontario’s 2017 Grape King

Ontario grapes

The Grape Growers of Ontario announced earlier this month that Doug Whitty of Whitty Farms and 13th Street Winery has been chosen as the 2017 Grape King.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Doug’s experience and commitment serve as Grape King and ambassador for our grape and wine industry,” said Grape Growers of Ontario Chair, Matthias Oppenlaender.

“Each year, the title of Grape King is given in recognition of exceptional quality, expertise and leadership in this industry. Doug Whitty’s 13th Street operation helps elevate the entire Ontario grape industry and is proof that Ontario vineyards are more than capable of competing on the world stage,” said Trish Botter Senior Director of Agribusiness and AgriFood, Farm Credit Canada.

The title of Grape King carries the distinction of being chosen based on vineyard management and knowledge of the industry and serves as a representative for Ontario’s grape and wine industry at events across the country, starting with the Mayor’s Grape Stomp that took place on on Sept. 16 and in the 66 annual Grande Parade Saturday at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.

“On behalf of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, we extend heartfelt congratulations to Doug Whitty, Ontario’s 2017/18 Grape King. In 2015, the Whitty family received the RBC Winery with Heart award, where their commitment and passion for our community was recognized. Without doubt, Doug is deserving of this notable honour and he will be an incredible ambassador for our grape and wine industry over the next year.” Kimberly Hundertmark, out-going executive director of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, said.

The selection of a Grape King is part of Ontario history and an annual tradition that dates back to 1956. This year is particularly remarkable as Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, the Grape Growers of Ontario celebrates 70 years of building this industry together and Whitty Farms will mark its 110th year during the term that Doug Whitty reigns as Grape King.

While the regalia has changed from a crown and cape, the King wears a chain that carries the names of all of the Kings that came before including Doug’s uncle, 1983 Grape King Rodger Whitty.

“As a third-generation grape grower in Ontario, and the second of the family to be crowned Grape King, Doug is experienced in all aspects of the industry,” says Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario.
Whitty Farms is a family affair, established by his grandfather in 1908, followed by his parents Joseph and Leith Whitty and now Doug, his wife and business partner Karen, and sons Luke, Benjamin and Thomas.

Whitty Farms is a diversified agricultural operation including 55 acres of vinifera wine grapes and has expanded to 13th Street Winery and 13th Street Bakery, all located on Fourth Avenue. The Whitty’s participate extensively in farm research and host community activities such as Grapes of Wrath Mud Run in support of Canadian Cancer Society Wheels of Hope program.

“I believe that a key component to our continued success as an industry is related directly to our ability to work creatively together with all our partners so that enjoyment of local wine and food experiences are more fully recognized as an important part of Canadian culture,” said Doug Whitty. “I am pleased yet humbled by this nomination. I have learned a great deal from other grape growers. It will be a great honour and privilege to represent them as Grape King this year.”

Doug Whitty was officially installed as the 62nd Grape King on Sept. 13 at 13th Street Winery, St. Catharines.

Scotch meets Icewine

Glenfiddich adds to its Experimental Series with Winter Storm, Glenfiddich whisky finished in Canadian Icewine casks (CNW Group/William Grant & Sons and Glenfiddich)

Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch, has just launched Glenfiddich Winter Storm, a limited edition whisky finished in Canadian Icewine casks. The result is a short, crisp premium whisky imbued with a unique layer of sweetness and complexity.

Glenfiddich Winter Storm is the newest expression in the Glenfiddich Experimental Series line up, joining Glenfiddich #01 PA Experiment and Glenfiddich #02 Project XX which both launched in 2016.

Glenfiddich’s Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, is constantly on the lookout with eyes and ears open for ingenious innovations in Scotch whisky. This latest expression comes as a result of Canadian Brand Ambassador, Beth Havers proposing the idea of using Canadian Icewine Casks to Brian Kinsman. Intrigued by the idea as a prospect for the #03 installation of the Experimental Series, Brain travelled from Scotland to Canada in last January, during which he visited Peller Estate in Niagara. Enduring freezing weather, Brian toured the vineyards, where he learned how the grapes had to be picked by moonlight at -10 C when they were as hard as pebbles.

Inspired by his experience, Brian returned to The Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, where he started experimenting with several French oak Icewine casks from the Canadian winery — filling them with various Glenfiddich aged malts for up to six months.

Brian commented: “Only the rarer whiskies, those aged for 21 years, could cope with the extra Icewine intensity. Having more tannins, extracted from years in oak, these malts brought out a uniquely fresh lychee note instead of being swamped by sweetness.” What resulted was a perfect Glenfiddich 21 year old. The taste is a perfect combination of both pioneering liquids, the heightened candied sweets and oakiness of Glenfiddich are complemented by mouth-watering tropical fruit notes and underlying wine notes.

Peller Estates VP of Winemaking, Craig McDonald added: “It was a privilege to work with Brian on this experiment. We go to extreme lengths to produce our intensely sweet Icewine and are always looking for ways to push the boundaries of taste, so I was intrigued to see how it could be used to create a new unexpected whisky. The resulting liquid is a unique combination of the warming soul of whisky and the frozen cold of Icewine”.

Designed to inspire unusual and unexpected variants, Glenfiddich Experimental Series combines the brand’s passion for pushing Scotch whisky boundaries and collaborating with trailblazers beyond the world of whisky.

Created from partnerships and collaborations with like-minded mavericks from a wide range of different industries, Glenfiddich Experimental Series unlocks new whisky possibilities in the true spirit of experimentation.

Glenfiddich Winter Storm is available beginning in November and priced at $350 at the LCBO & SAQ, in a striking white ceramic bottle and beautifully embossed presentation box. A limited edition, when it’s gone it’s gone, just like the winter snow. (Available across Canada as early as November 2017.)

Tasting note:

Glenfiddich Winter Storm #03

Nose: A bouquet of tropical fruit and candied sweets are perfectly balanced with underlying wine notes
Taste: Soft sweet notes reminiscent of candied fruit and turkish delight develop into flavours of mouth-watering lychee. The fusion of sweet flavours is soon met with a rich drying sensation from the Icewine
Finish: Short and crisp
Key notes: Lychee, sweet and tannin
ABV: 43%

Peller wineries deal now definitive

B.C. wine

Andrew Peller Limited announced Thursday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the previously-announced Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.

The winery, located on the Golden Mile Bench near Oliver, B.C., sits among 150 acres of vineyards and the winery’s prestigious and award-winning Miradoro Restaurant.

Family-owned and operated since 1993, Tinhorn Creek produces both red and white vintages in the super premium category sold to fine wine retailers and restaurants, as well as through on site tastings and events. The company expects to close the transaction on Oct. 1.

The company also announced that it would complete the previously-announced acquisition of Gray Monk Estate Winery on Oct. 1. The previously announced acquisition of Black Hills Estate Winery is expected to close on Oct. 10, subject to a Black Hills’ Partnership vote scheduled to be held on Oct. 5. In connection with the closing of the transactions, the Toronto Stock Exchange has provided conditional approval for the issuance by the Company of Class A common shares.

John Peller, Chairman & CEO of Andrew Peller Limited, commented: “We are excited to confirm the Tinhorn Creek acquisition as well as the closing dates for Black Hills and Gray Monk Estate Winery. These premium, super premium and ultra premium wines complement our VQA portfolio and will help us share more incredible BC VQA wines with wine consumers across the country.”