Summer 2007

Aug 7-17: Bordeaux guided tour at an 18 th C chateau with Hugh Sutherland of Carriage Trade Wine & Spirits, 519-941-8390.

Aug 12 : Château des Charmes' Farm to Table series has Chef Stephen Treadwell and grower Dave Perkins featuring tomatoes;

Sept 9: Chefs Anna and Michael Olson and grower Karen Whitty featuring peaches, and Oct 14 is a harvest feast featuring all farm to table chefs, call 905-262-4219 ex.27 or email 

Aug 16: Italian tasting, Fine Wine Reserve, Toronto, featuring Steve Thurlow, 416 593 9463.

Aug 19: Australian Wine Society summer BBQ, 416 703 5532.

Sept 18: Mondia, VinVino barrique portfolio tasting, C Lounge, Toronto 416 636 3534, Ext. 230.

Sept 27: Wine Australia tasting Toronto, 416 323 1893.

Oct 12-14: Vintages wine auction and gala, Ritchie's auction house, 288 King East, Toronto,   416 364 1864.

Oct 15: Dogfish Head brewery beer dinner, beerbistro, 18 King East, Toronto, pairing Dogfish beers with cuisine of chef Brian Morin; 416 861 9872.  

Oct 18: Grapes for Humanity fund-raising gala, Toronto, 416/488-8597, tony.aspler@sympatico

Oct 25: Acceso Canada: Spanish wine, Park Hyatt, Avenue Road, Toronto, 416 967 0488.

Nov 1: Grand Cru tasting & auction 416 340 4800, ext. 6279.


  * Sign over a gynecologist's office: Dr. Jones, at your cervix.

Less Is More

UK supermarket Sainsbury is selling lower alcohol wines, branded Ten%.

Standard wines are 12%-14.5% and the chain says many shoppers want less alcohol, making wine healthier and lower in calories.

The range includes Australian Chardonnay and a Sangiovese-Shiraz Rose, Italian Pinot Grigio, and South African Chenin Blanc.

The $10 wines are naturally lower in alcohol thanks to the grape clones used and early harvesting.


* At a proctologist's door: To expedite your visit please back in.

Really, Really Old Wine...

Roman ruins in southern France are the country's earliest winery, built around 10AD, and still surrounded by vines today near Clermont l'Herault, in the Languedoc.

The bases of huge pottery wine vessels sit in neat rows where the old winery building stood. Each held up to 1,800 litres, cooled by water-filled irrigation channels to maintain a constant temperature, according to Decanter.

A villa, complete with swimming pool, was attached to the building and inscriptions name the founder as Quintus Iulius Primus. Romans arrived in Languedoc around 118 BC and cultivated vines to send wine back to Italy. Local winemakers plan to build a tourism centre.


* At a tire shop: Invite us to your next blowout.


Aykroyd Now A Wine Maker

Diamond Estates will break ground this year on the new Dan Aykroyd Winery in Niagara's Beamsville Bench.

"I'm very proud to lend my name to this winery. It's a true expression of my passion for the world-class wines of Niagara," says Aykroyd.   Diamond Estates owns 192 acres of Niagara vineyards.

* On a taxidermist's window: We really know our stuff.

Wired For Sound

Italian scientists say classical music helps vines grow faster, in particular the Sangiovese that go into Tuscany's famous Chiantis.

The effect depends on frequency, intensity and exposure time, and Chinese researchers have already found that low-frequency sound activates enzymes, increases cell-membrane fluidity and promotes DNA replication and cell cycling.

The testing ground for the Italian experiment is a postcard-worthy, 24-acre Tuscan winery called Il Paradiso di Frassina.

"Sound exposure has some positive effects on vine growth in the vineyard, especially shoot growth," says lead researcher Stefano Mancuso, prof of agriculture at U of Florence, says: "Leaf area was always higher in sound-treated vines." Estate owner Carlo Cignozzi turns the tunes up a bit for effect.

The estate was wired for sound in 2001 when Cignozzi needed an ecological way to keep pests from ruining grapes. A music lover who once serenaded grape pickers on an accordion, he noticed that plants matured faster under the influence of gentle sounds. Mozart, Haydn, Vivaldi and Mahler were staples on the initial play list running 24 hours a day.


* On a fence: Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive.

Cracking The Code

Da Vinci Code fans will love Torres's new Priorat wine, Salmos, launched against a backdrop of virtual Carthusian monks and buried treasure.

The online game has attracted hundreds to the rugged Catalonia vineyard, even though the 7,000-case production is already sold out.

Salmos (Psalms), honoring the monks who cultivated vines in Priorat from 1095 until 1835, blends Garnacha and Cariñena grapes with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The game, created by Javier Sierra, author of The Secret Supper, morphs from the virtual world into the real, going to a 17th-century monastery for the clues to get from Barcelona to the vineyards. En route you go to a nearby town to have a glass of wine and get your certificate. Great fun!


* At a towing company: We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.

Wine Crop Gone To Hail!

Hailstorms and intense rains have walloped the finest vineyards in Alsace and Côte Rôtie in the Rhône Valley.

In Alsace, worst hit are five communes, with grand cru vineyards including Trimbach and Weinbach and entire vineyards at Bennwihr, Beblenheim and Mittelwihr were destroyed. 'You'd think that you were in the dead of winter when you see the landscape,' said Pierre Trimbach, winemaker at Domaine Trimbach.

In Rôtie, half of the harvest is gone, with nearly total loss of fruit in some vineyards, thanks to hailstones like large marbles around Ampuis. Top vineyards including La Landonne and La Mouline were hit. Guigal said region had lost 60% of its fruit.


* At an optometrist's office: If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.


French Toast To Romance

A new French wine is bringing single wine lovers together through an online dating site.

Soif du Coeur (Thirsty Heart), offers €3 wines with a code on the back label. Wannabe daters enter this on the website to match up with a partner and fellow wine lover.

The project was launched by Bordeaux wholesalers Omnivins and Château en Bordeaux to promote a new Vins de Pays de l'Atlantique range.

350,000 bottles have been sold to supermarkets (pink for girls, blue for boys).

'We have had 90 visitors per day, with 10 registering daily and three meetings per day,' director Pierre Jean Larraqué says. 'There are 8 million people living alone in France. The idea is to promote meetings using a convivial product like wine.'

Three wines are available, a Merlot/Cabernet red, a Cabernet/Merlot rosé and a Sauvignon-Sémillon. Launches in Canada, the US, and Russia are being negotiated.


* At a car dealership: The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.




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