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Grapes for Humanity auction features stunning array of international and Canadian wines

It’s time to do something about climate change by opening your wallets for the Grapes for Climate Change charity wine auction taking place Oct. 12-19.

Waddington’s, in partnership with Grapes for Humanity and Dymon Wine Cellars, is presenting the Grapes for Climate Change Action virtual wine auction, with bidding on a stunning array of wine and wine-related lots beginning Oct. 12.

Ontario wine

This auction furthers Grape for Humanity’s commitment to raise funds to aid in the battle against the threat of climate change and to support global communities in need. Waddington’s is back to host the auction for this important initiative. “We are delighted to work with the dedicated team from GFH and Dymon Wine Cellars as well as the organizations to benefit from this year’s auction, Tree Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada,” said Waddington’s in a news release. “We are also pleased that support will be extended to humanitarian relief in Ukraine.”

Auction highlights

There are almost 400 different lots available for bidding next week. Rare and affordable wines, international winery tours and tastings, dinners with winemakers, and much more – will all be available at the auction.

We reached out to Steven Campbell to get some inside tips on key lots up for auction. Campbell, who sold Lifford Wine in the fall of 2020 and partnered with Grapes for Humanity to help organize the first charitable wine auction to provide assistance to hospitality community, helped raise over $500,000. He is also on the board of directors of Grapes for Humanity and the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

The idea for the so-called “Tête du Cuvée — From the Heart” was the brainchild of Campbell and he worked with Niagara winemaker Thomas Bachelder in Niagara (and later, Ross Wise in the Okanagan Valley) “to offer two iconic Ontario wines at an auction alongside prestigious lots of fine wines from Europe and around the world in support of the hospitality community in Ontario.” From the Heart magnums are back again for this auction.

“One of the very special lots in the auction is a mixed case of six magnums of all six From the Heart cuvees produced so far,” Campbell told Wines In Niagara. “There are only six of these cases in the auction and they are a piece of Canada wine history, so very collectible.” They are lots 102 to 117 and include magnums of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from cuvées #1 and #2, and cuvées #1 from B.C. (Chardonnay) and #2 a red Bordeaux that were both blended by Black Hills winemaker Ross Wise.

“I tried the B.C. cuvées for the first time last night and was absolutely delighted by what Ross has crafted, said Campbell. 2020 was a great vintage in B.C. as well.”

Campbell also pointed to lots 158 and 159, two cases of 12 bottles each from the Great Chardo Swap made in Ontario.

Funds are going to the Karl Kaiser scholarship fund for these lots. Bidding will start at start at $150 a case for these wines but it’s expected that demand will drive up the price, said Campbell.

The Great Chardo Swap wines are a perfect occasion to get together with friends and family to uncork bottles, make a side-by-side comparison, and answer one very important question — what dictates the style of the wine, the winemaker, or the terroir?​​​​​​​​

The Great Chardo Swap was highlighted at the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium at Brock University in July. The concept saw a dozen Niagara winemakers from both sides of the Welland Canal swap grapes to make Chardonnay from two vineyards — one on the Beamsville Bench, the other in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Six Bench winemakers crafted the NOTL wines, while the six NOTL winemakers made the Bench Chardonnay. Beyond using the same juice, closures, and bottles, winemakers had free rein to craft their wines however they deemed fit.​​​​​​​​

The list of winemakers:​​​​​​​​

– Fabian Reis, Ferox by Fabian Reis​​​​​​​​
– J.L. Groux, Stratus Vineyards​​​​​​​​
– Ann Sperling, Southbrook Vineyards​​​​​​​​
– Amélie Boury, Château des Charmes​​​​​​​​
– Nicholas Gizuk, Inniskillin Wines​​​​​​​​
– Craig McDonald, Trius Winery​​​​​​​​
– Casey Kulczyk, Westcott Vineyards​​​​​​​​
– Emma Garner, Thirty Bench Wine Makers​​​​​​​​
– Angelo Pavan/Gabriel Demarco, Cave Spring Vineyard​​​​​​​​
– Lawrence Buhler, Henry of Pelham Family Estate​​​​​​​​
– Shiraz Mottiar, Malivoire Wine Company​​​​​​​​
– Thomas Bachelder, Bachelder Wines​​​​​​​​

The auction also features various wine dinners up for bids. These experiences allow consumers to bid on exciting chef-inspired meals at some of Ontario’s finest restaurants along with wines expertly pair by a featured winemaker from various wineries in the province.

Wines In Niagara doesn’t have the full list as of yet, but we wanted to at least tell you about the dinner publisher/writer Rick VanSickle is helping to host with Trius winemaker Craig McDonald.

The menu for eight guests is still being put together by executive chef Frank Dodd (pictured above, left, with McDonald), said McDonald. But it will mostly be á la carte and seasonal. “I usually talk to Frank ahead of time a see what’s fresh and that becomes the inspiration, so … to be determined, but it will be good!” McDonald has already chosen most the wines he will be pouring. Here’s what’s bringing to the table at the restaurant at Trius in Niagara-on-the-Lake:

• Trius Showcase Pinot 2 (the new Pinot Meunier-based bubbles).
• Trius Showcase Wild Ferment Sauvignon 2020 — a  new release.
• Trius Ghost Creek Riesling 2014. “I Love the way the 2014s are aging and this is in the sweet spot,” said McDonald.
• Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2016. “Our single vineyard CF is farmed organically from one of the best vintages that is only now just relaxing.” Thirty Bench is part of the Peller family of wineries.
• Peller Estates NV ‘JEP’ red blend. “This is a unique blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon across five vintages. “I’m very excited about this wine and how we are tracking towards more thoughtful blending of aged barrels in a solera-style,” says McDonald.
• Trius Showcase Riesling Icewine 2018. “It was a tough year in NOTL but with all the vineyard stress, the flavours from botrytis and breakdown are sublime,” McDonald said.

So, get your (virtual) paddles ready to bid on lot 78 and join McDonald and Chef Dodd for a fabulous night of food and wine at the first-class Trius Winery Restaurant.

Register to bid

The auction will be hosted on Waddington’s bidding platform from October 12-19, 2022. You must be registered to bid here.

Meet the team

Grapes for Humanity is a national charity co-founded in 2001, by wine writer Tony Aspler and Arlene Willis. The group has raised millions of dollars for many global humanitarian projects. The foundation held the first virtual charity wine auction in Ontario in the fall of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, to support the stricken hospitality sector. Canadian wines were highlighted in the auction including barrels of Cuvée from the Heart of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blended by Thomas Bachelder from 37 winemakers from every wine-making region in Ontario. In British Columbia Ross Wise is the master blender.

DYMON Wine Cellar has been designed from the ground up to be the pre-eminent destination for wine cellaring in Toronto. Offering optimal and secure cellaring conditions, an exclusive wine club with a members lounge and beautifully curated tasting rooms event space. DYMON Wine Cellar blends innovative, sophisticated design with timeless luxury to create a truly exceptional wine cellaring experience.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s unifying force for nature working to deliver large scale, permanent land conservation. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through direct on-the-ground action to protect and care for our lands and waters. Since 1962, NCC has brought people together to conserve more than 15 million hectares.

“As a trusted recipient of Grapes of Humanity, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is delighted to be part of the upcoming 2022 Auction,” Mike Hendren, regional vice president of the Nature Conservancy of Canada said. “The funds raised will help protect and care for critical lands and waters at a landscape-scale in Ontario. Conserving entire natural systems means we take care of the places that clean our water, purify our air, absorb, and store carbon and provide for our health and well-being. Connected landscapes provide nature-based solutions faster and with greater impact. Nature is our ally. When nature thrives, we all thrive.”

Tree Canada is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to planting and nurturing trees in rural and urban environments. We help to grow Canada’s tree canopy through our programs, research, and engagement efforts and by offering grants to communities and schools.

“We are thought-leaders and capacity-builders, collaborating with a network of industry experts, academics, and other non-profits to deepen community knowledge and help municipalities plan and sustain local canopy. Together with our partners and sponsors, we have planted more than 84 million trees,” said Danielle St-Aubin, CEO, Tree Canada. “Tree Canada is thrilled to be a designated charity for Grapes of Humanity’s 2022 Auction for Climate Change Action. We know that trees absorb carbon dioxide, which is essential in the fight against climate change, but trees are also important to people and wildlife by naturally cooling our cities and absorbing pollutants. Your generous support will help grow better places to live across Canada.”