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  • Record crowd pours in for Cuvée Grand Tasting

    It was another packed event this year as the 31st annual Cuvée Grand Tasting brought almost 900 guests together to celebrate excellence in the thriving Ontario wine industry.

    Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the record crowd came to Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls Saturday, March 23 to sample from the largest selection of Ontario wines under one roof and taste unique culinary dishes from local chefs.

    “This is the largest event of its kind and the strong turnout of guests year after year truly showcases the importance of our grape and wine industry and the strong level of support it garners from our community,” said Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic.

    The Grand Tasting also honours the talented people who work in the $4.4-billion Ontario grape and wine industry.

    The Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence, presented to the individual or institution that best furthers the aims and aspirations of Ontario’s wine industry, was awarded to Doug Whitty and 13th Street Winery. Whitty is a third-generation Niagara grape grower and was the 2017 Grape King. As he called Whitty to the stage to receive the award, Tony Aspler credited him and 13th Street Winery with “enhancing the winery experience with art and sculpture and, of course, butter tarts.”

    Whitty called Aspler a “pioneer in this industry.”

    “He was there right from the beginning supporting us,” he said. “It is really a great honour for me to win this award, I am very humbled and thankful.”

    The Winemaker of Excellence Award winner was Bruce Nicholson from Inniskillin, who was selected for his contributions to the industry, his commitment to excellence and his mentorship to winemakers across Canada.

    This year’s Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award went to Martin Schuele, a grape grower in Beamsville. Sponsored by BASF Canada Inc., the award recognizes a grape grower who promotes excellence in vineyard practices.

    “The Cuvée Grand Tasting is a great opportunity for BASF to not only celebrate Ontario wines with our grape customers, but to also introduce those customers to some of the future industry leaders from Brock University and Niagara College,” said Scott Hodgins, Crop Manager, Horticulture for BASF Canada Inc.

    Schuele and his family, who grow for Arterra Wines Canada, have about 120 acres of vineyards and it’s been a family-owned operation since they arrived from Germany in the early 1980s.

    “Schuele vineyards have long been associated with vineyard excellence,” said CCOVI Senior Scientist Jim Willwerth. “Martin’s Chardonnay block was pristine with high quality fruit even in the tough 2018 vintage.”

    Cuvée also celebrates the next generation of winemakers and grape growers by providing scholarships to Brock University Oenology and Viticulture undergraduate and graduate students through the Cuvée Legacy Fund.

    The Cuvée Scholarship winners are:
    ●  Cuvée Hosting Award for Academic Excellence: Marnie Crombleholme
    ●  Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence: Jessica Oppenlaender
    ●  Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence in OEVC: Jeffrey Moote
    ●  Cuvée Graduate Scholarship: Jennifer Kelly

    “We are so pleased to provide these scholarship opportunities and industry recognition for the very deserving students of Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture programs,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “The Cuvée Grand Tasting is a full-circle celebration of excellence in our industry, honouring the best and brightest in the business today, and looking forward to those who will shape the industry in the future.”

    Almost 900 guests took part in the 31st annual Cuvée Grand Tasting Saturday, March 23 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls.

  • Tickets selling fast for Ontario’s biggest VQA celebration

    The wines have been selected and Ontario’s top winemakers are ready to pour their favourites at the 31st annual Cuvée Grand Tasting in Niagara Falls this Saturday, March 23.

    Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the Cuvée Grand Tasting takes place at Scotiabank Convention Centre and is expected to be another sold-out affair. The event is the largest celebration of VQA wine of its kind and highlights the $4.4-billion Ontario wine industry.

    “We’ll have 48 Ontario VQA wineries on hand this year pouring two of their winemakers’ favourite wines, plus local chefs preparing their signature dishes at live cooking stations,” said Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic. “New this year, guests can experience Cuvée using augmented reality with the LifeAR mobile application, developed by students from Brock, allowing them to view which wineries are represented, what they’re pouring and even purchase wine online at the Grand Tasting.”

    Cuvée provides future grape growers and winemakers the chance to interact directly with key industry players.

    Proceeds from the event support the Cuvée Legacy Fund, which was established to fund industry-driven research initiatives and scholarships for students. More than $122,000 has been generated since CCOVI took the lead in organizing the event four years ago.

    “Winning that scholarship meant all my hard work for the past three-and-a-half years came together,” said Nick Pappas (BSc’18), who won the Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence in 2018. “It is great to win a scholarship, but to win one in the industry you are entering is amazing. That money helped me finish off the last couple of courses at Brock and having that award on a resumé is just amazing.”

    “Student scholarship winners talk about how proceeds from the Cuvée wine weekend support grape and wine scholarships and research initiatives”

    Champions in the province’s grape and wine industry will also be showcased at the event, including the Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence and Winemaker of Excellence awards, along with the Tony Aspler Award of Excellence.

    The Grand Tasting is followed by the Après Cuvée after party, which features live music from the Associates, Icewine, sparkling wine, cider and local craft beer.

    The Cuvée en Route passport program will extend the wine celebration all weekend long running from March 22 to 24 at participating wineries across Niagara. A complete list of participating wineries at the Grand Tasting and en Route can be found at cuvee.ca

    Tickets, which include both the Saturday night Grand Tasting and the en Route passport, are available online at cuvee.ca/tickets for $200 per person. Tickets for the en Route passport only are $30.

  • Cuvée 2019 to celebrate the best in Ontario VQA wine and food

    Cuvée weekend is fast approaching and guests this year will have the opportunity to sample the best VQA wine and food Ontario has to offer in a whole new way.

    Hosted by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the Cuvée Grand Tasting is the largest celebration of Ontario VQA wine and food of its kind. This year’s event takes place Saturday, March 23 at Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, with the Cuvée en Route passport program once again extending the wine celebration all weekend long at participating wineries.

    Nearly 900 people attended last year’s Cuvée Grand Tasting, with proceeds supporting scholarships for Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture students, as well as grape and wine industry driven research initiatives at CCOVI.

    New this year, guests can experience Cuvée using augmented reality. CCOVI has teamed up with HoloEducate, an augmented reality company founded by students from Brock. The mobile application LifeAR will allow guests at the Grand Tasting to view wine selections and even purchase wine online.

    Guests can download the free app before and during the Grand Tasting and then use their phones to scan the large wine bottles found in the middle of each wine station. They’ll be able to see a list of the wineries, which wines they’re pouring and even purchase those wines immediately online.

    “It will be a unique and fun experience for our guests at this year’s event, allowing them to experience Cuvée like never before,” said Barb Tatarnic, Cuvée manager.

    The LifeAR app can also be used before the event to scan the Cuvée logo to view a video of last year’s celebration.

    At the Grand Tasting, guests will enjoy culinary delights from celebrated local chefs at live cooking stations and wines from 48 of Ontario’s top winemakers, who will present two of their favourite wines.

    The Grand Tasting is followed by the Après Cuvée after party, which features live music from the Associates, Icewine, sparkling wine, cider and local craft beer.

    The 2019 lineup of Niagara’s best chefs at Cuvée will include:
    • Backhouse Restaurant
    • Bolete Restaurant
    • Brushfire Smoke BBQ
    • Canadian Food and Wine Institute — Benchmark Restaurant
    • Chili Jiao Authentic Chinese Restaurant
    • Ravine Vineyard Restaurant
    • Righteous Monger
    • Scotiabank Convention Centre
    • The Restaurant at Redstone Winery
    • Tide & Vine Oyster House
    • Criveller Cakes
    • Italian Ice Cream

    A complete list of participating wineries can be found at cuvee.ca

    Tickets that include both the Saturday night Grand Tasting and the weekend-long en Route passport are available online at cuvee.ca/tickets for $200 per person. Tickets for the en Route passport only can be purchased for $30.

  • Cuvée Grand Tasting to celebrate Ontario VQA wine for 31st year

    Mark your calendars for one of the most sought-after wine events. The annual Cuvée Grand Tasting has been set for Saturday, March 23, 2019.

    The event will be held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls and is the largest celebration of VQA wine of its kind, featuring more than 100 wine selections from Ontario’s top winemakers.

    Online tickets are now available and wine and food enthusiasts can take advantage of early-bird prices.

    This marks the fifth year that Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) has taken the lead in organizing Cuvée, a weekend-long celebration of Ontario VQA wine and local cuisine from chefs from across the region.

    “Not only does Cuvée showcase the finest VQA wines to consumers, it supports the growth of the grape and wine industry by funding valuable research and student scholarships,” says CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis, adding that more than $122,000 has been generated for the Cuvée Legacy Fund over the past four years.

    Cuvée 2019 will see the return of the popular “Winemakers’ Favourite Wines” feature, along with gourmet food delicacies prepared by celebrated chefs at live cooking stations, and an Après Cuvée party with live music and selections from micro-breweries, cideries and VQA wineries.

    Cuvée Manager Barb Tatarnic said the 2018 event drew a record crowd to the Grand Tasting event, with nearly 900 guests in attendance.

    “It really is a unique experience because those aren’t just any wines, they are the selections of the winemakers themselves,” said Tatarnic. “We’re thrilled with Cuvée’s success and the positive feedback we’ve received from our guests.”

    During the weekend-long event, the Cuvée en Route passport program allows ticket holders access to exclusive tasting flights at more than 30 Niagara wineries from March 22 to 24. Passports are included with the Grand Tasting or can also be purchased individually for $30.

  • Inaugural Winemaker of Excellence awarded at packed Cuvée Grand Tasting

    The Cuvée Grand Tasting rang in a milestone 30th anniversary by bringing more than 800 guests together to celebrate excellence in the thriving Ontario wine industry.

    Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), a record crowd came to the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on Friday, March 23 to sample from the largest selection of Ontario wines under one roof and taste unique culinary dishes from local chefs.

    “The strong turnout of guests from across Southern Ontario year-after-year truly showcases the importance of our grape and wine industry and the strong level of support it garners from our community,” said Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic.

    The Grand Tasting also honours the talented people who work in the $4.4 billion Ontario grape and wine industry.

    The inaugural Winemaker of Excellence Award winner was Angelo Pavanchosen in a unanimous decision for his major contributions to the industry, his commitment to excellence and his mentorship to winemakers across Canada.

    Pavan, Vice-President, Winemaker and Founding Partner at Cave Spring Cellars, is known for his encyclopedic understanding of viticulture in Niagara. He was among the first in the province to work with numerous grape varieties and was a pioneer in the quest to improve wine quality and sustainability in vinifera varieties.

    “It is humbling to be the first recipient of this great award,” said Pavan. “It validates the passion, time, effort and commitment of over 30 years dedicated to this great wine growing region and having participated in its evolution to international recognition.”

    Pavan is also a founding member and Chair of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Standards Development Committee and has played a key role in determining the most suitable winemaking practices applicable in Ontario. As the founding Chair of the International Riesling Experience, held in conjunction with CCOVI, Pavan has also been instrumental in solidifying Niagara’s place as one of the world’s pre-eminent Riesling producing regions.

    Teamwork and collaboration is also key to success, he stressed, adding “to be successful and to be acknowledged for your work, one needs to contribute to the industry at large and not just your own operation.”

    This year’s Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award went to Albrecht Seeger, an eighth-generation grape grower in Niagara-on-the-Lake and sitting member on the Ontario Grape and Wine Research Technical Committee. Sponsored by BASF Canada Inc., the award recognizes a grape grower who promotes excellence in vineyard practices.

    “BASF believes that we achieve excellence not just by using current practices to their fullest potential, but by looking for new innovations to continuously improve and evolve,” said Scott Hodgins, Crop Manager, Horticulture for BASF Canada Inc. “The Vineyard of Excellence Award provides the opportunity to celebrate others in the industry who do the same.”

    Alongside his wife Anja Bertelmann, Albrecht maintains a sprawling 150-acre vineyard of premium Vitis vinifera grape varieties and has made viticulture his life’s work. He is dedicated to being a grape grower in Ontario, which he calls “one of the best regions in the world to grow grapes.”

    CCOVI Senior Scientist Jim Willwerth said Seegar is “truly deserving of the Vineyard of Excellence Award.”

    “His vineyard is meticulously managed right down to the finest detail,” Willwerth said. “Albrecht strives to produce grapes of the highest quality destined for world class wine and this was demonstrated in every way throughout the evaluation process.”

    The Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence, presented to the individual or institution that best furthers the aims and aspirations of Ontario’s wine industry, was awarded to Sue-Ann Staff. She is a fifth-generation Niagara grape grower and internationally recognized winemaker who has won some of the most respected wine competitions in the world. Staff worked for several Niagara wineries before creating her own eponymous facility, and Tony Aspler said she has since become an “articulate ambassador for the Ontario wine region on the international stage.”

    Cuvée also celebrates the next generation of winemakers and grape growers by providing scholarships to Brock University Oenology and Viticulture students through the Cuvée Legacy Fund.

    The Cuvée Scholarship winners are:

    • Cuvée Hosting Award for Academic Excellence: Grant McKinnon
    • Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence: Nick Pappas
    • Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence in OEVC: Carol McLennan
    • Cuvée Graduate Scholarship: Andréanne HébertHaché

    “We are pleased to provide these funding opportunities and industry recognition for the very deserving students of Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture program,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “The Cuvée Grand Tasting is a full-circle celebration of excellence in our industry, honouring the best and brightest in the business today, and looking forward to those who will shape the industry in the future.”

    More than 800 guests took part in the 30th anniversary edition of the Cuvée Grand Tasting Friday, March 23 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls.

    Donald Ziraldo, right, presents Angelo Pavan, Vice-President, Winemaker and Founding Partner at Cave Spring Cellars, with the inaugural Cuvée Winemaker of Excellence Award Friday, March 23 in Niagara Falls.

    Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award winner Albrecht Seeger, an eighth-generation grape grower in Niagara-on-the-Lake and sitting member on the Ontario Grape and Wine Research Technical Committee, speaks to the crowd after being given the honour Friday, March 23.

    The Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence was awarded to Sue-Ann Staff Friday, March 23.

    Cuvée Manager Barb Tatarnic, left, and CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis, right, handed out Cuvée Scholarship awards Friday night to students Andréanne Hébert-Haché, Carol McLennan, Nick Pappas and Grant McKinnon.

  • With students and research to support, Cuvée is back for 2018

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The time has come to make plans for attending the 30th annual Cuvée Grand Tasting!

    The 2018 event will be held Friday, March 23 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls. Online tickets will be available at cuvee.ca soon, when wine afficianados can take advantage of early-bird prices.

    This marks the fourth year that Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) has taken the lead in organizing Cuvée, a weekend-long celebration of VQA wines and local cuisine in the heart of Ontario wine country.  Brock, through CCOVI, produces the Cuvée program to support the future of the grape and wine industry.

    Cuvée 2018 will see the return of the popular “Winemakers’ Favorite Wines” feature, along with gourmet food delicacies and an Après Cuvée party fuelled by live music and featuring selections from micro-breweries, cideries and VQA wineries.

    It has also been confirmed that last year’s Cuvée Grand Tasting generated more than $37,000 in net revenues, of which $15,000 goes to fund scholarships while more than $18,000 will support research to benefit the grape and wine industry.  Another $3,700 goes to the Niagara Community Foundation, in recognition of their past stewardship of Cuvée.

    Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic said the 2017 event drew more than 750 guests to the gala Friday night Grand Tasting, with hundreds more taking part in the weekend-long enRoute program that offers special tastings at wineries around Niagara.

    “Through the last few years we’ve rebranded, reworked and rejuvenated the event,” said Tatarnic. “We’re thrilled with its success and the positive feedback we’ve received from our guests”

    CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis said Cuvée’s continued success reflects the vitality and significance of the grape and wine industry and its supporters.

    “Hosting the event involves hundreds of hours of work by devoted volunteers, but it is all worthwhile when you see how the profits support crucial research projects and help students complete their education,” Inglis said.

    Alexandra Gunn, a top student in Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture (OEVI) degree program, said her studies are a rich blend of classroom work and real-world research experience, and that attending Cuvée let her interact with industry leaders and realize how CCOVI’s research benefits grape growers and wineries first-hand.

    “Cuvée is one of the paramount events to Ontario’s grape and wine industry and it highlights the importance of the OEVI program within the broader grape and wine industry,” she said.

  • Top honours showered on grape and wine industry champions

    Hundreds of people packed the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on Friday, March 24 to cheer on a set of award-winners who were recognized for supporting Ontario’s increasingly vital grape and wine industry.

    The occasion was the Cuvée Grand Tasting, which each year launches the weekend-long Cuvée celebration of Ontario VQA wines, organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). Researchers at CCOVI conduct ongoing work to support grape growers and wineries in an industry that generates more than $4 billion annually in revenue, tourism and job creation.

    Friday’s celebration saw more than 750 people turn out to savour the province’s finest wines along with fine cuisine. The popular event raises thousands of dollars to fund academic scholarships and research.

    This year’s prestigious Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award went to Gerald Klose, whose Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyard has some of Ontario’s oldest vines. Sponsored by BASF Canada Inc., the award recognizes a grape grower who promotes excellence in vineyard practices. Klose was chosen by an expert panel for maintaining a high level of quality in his Chardonnay vineyard. Besides running his family farm, Klose also manages other vineyards across Niagara for Constellation Brands.

    The Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence was presented to internationally known wine journalist Ian D’Agata. The Aspler Award is given to the individual or institution that best furthers the aims and aspirations of Ontario’s wine industry. Canadian-born but now living in Italy, d’Agata is an award-winning author who has twice been named Italy’s best wine journalist. His articles appear globally in magazines and newspapers, and he was recognized by the award committee as being a “great ambassador for Ontario wines on the world stage.”

    The VQA Promoters Award winners in various categories were also announced Friday, recognizing individuals who support VQA wines through promotion or education with “unselfish enthusiasm, constructive input and unsolicited promotion.”

    • Toronto restaurateur Roberto Martella received the VQA Promoters Award for Lifetime Achievement. The long-time owner of the Grano Italian restaurant has been “pulling corks on Ontario wines for as long as he has been putting plates in front of Toronto diners.” He was recognized for supporting local VQA wines and routinely reaching for Canadian wines in his establishment.
    • Barb Tatarnic of Brock University received the VQA Promoters Award for Education. Tatarnic, manager of Continuing Education and Outreach at CCOVI, was recognized for her commitment to connecting wine lovers and wine makers to CCOVI and its programs in order to advance wine education over the past two decades.
    • Melissa McFadden received the VQA Promoters Award in the LCBO. An LCBO customer service representative in Owen Sound, McFadden was cited for promoting VQA wineries, a high level of product knowledge and willingness to promote Ontario wines, including by organizing events that help elevate local wines.
    • Sommelier Mike Fish received the VQA Promoters Award for Hospitality. The owner of Glassroots Restaurant in London, Ont. was recognized for a decade of promoting VQA wines in bars, clubs, golf courses and as a wine representative. Fish promotes the industry in his restaurant by pairing locally sourced vegan food with London’s only all-Canadian wine list.
    • Brian Hanna received the VQA Promoters Award in Retail. A sommelier at Huff Estates Winery in Prince Edward County, Hanna was recognized for his ability to share his deep knowledge about Ontario wines in a manner that educates, promotes sales and enriches the lives of those he interacts with.
    • Angela Aiello received the VQA Promoters Award for Media. Aiello is founder and editor of Toronto’s iYellowWineclub.com as well as Wine, Drinks and Cuisine Editor of Chloe magazine. She was recognized for a career of helping wine lovers of all demographics “taste, learn and meet” while vibrantly promoting VQA Ontario in print as well as television and radio appearances.

    Cuvée also celebrated the next generation of winemakers and grape growers by providing scholarships to Brock University Oenology and Viticulture students through the Cuvée Legacy Fund. This fund has already awarded more than $15,000 in academic scholarships and $13,000 towards industry driven research priorities.

    The Cuvée Scholarship winners are:

    • Cuvée Hosting Award for Academic Excellence: Jacob Johnsson-Werner
    • Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence: Stephanie Van Dyk
    • Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence in OEVC: Hannah Lee
    • Cuvée Graduate Scholarship: Jennifer Kelly

     

  • Cuvée legacy fund grows as organizers set date for 2017 event

    Mark your calendars. One of Ontario’s most sought-after wine and culinary events, the 29thannual Cuvée Grand Tasting, will take place Friday, March 24, 2017 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls.

    This announcement comes as organizers report Cuvée 2016 generated net revenues of more than $36,000, most of which will go to support student scholarships and grape and wine research through the Cuvée Legacy Fund.

    Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the 2016 Cuvée Grand Tasting was a sold-out event that took place March 4 showcasing 50 VQA wineries and 12 celebrated chefs.

    “It’s thanks to the support and enthusiasm of our sponsors and attendees that we are able to increase this year’s contribution to the Cuvée Legacy Fund,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “This fund allows us to help students offset their education costs and provide support for research priorities identified by the grape and wine industry.”

    The funding from the 2015 event is already making a difference. For PhD candidate Jennifer Kelly, receiving the first Cuvée Graduate Scholarship has meant that she has had more time to focus on her studies.

    “Not only has the Cuvée scholarship allowed me to focus more on my research, the project that I’m working on has practical applications that will impact the Ontario grape and wine industry, which is equally valuable,” Kelly said.

    Of the net proceeds, $33,000 has been placed in the Cuvée Legacy Fund. The remaining $3,670 will go to support the Niagara Community Foundation, in recognition of their work in overseeing Cuvée for several years before CCOVI took over stewardship of the event.

    Tickets for the 2017 Cuvée Grand Tasting will go on sale starting Oct. 1. Noel Buckley, President and General Manager of the Scotiabank Convention Centre, said the venue is proud to partner with Brock for the second consecutive year to host the event.

    “Distinguished events such as Cuvée celebrate the time-honoured tradition of viticulture, and highlight the excellence of Ontario wines, particularly those from Niagara, as some of the finest in the world,” said Buckley.

    Daniel Goodman, President and CEO of GFI Investment Counsel Ltd., remarked that the event was a great opportunity to experience Niagara’s food and wine culture.

    “Attending Cuvée for the last two years has opened our eyes to the growth and development of the wine and food industry in the Niagara Region,” Goodman said. “We were blown away by the quality of the vintners and the mouth-watering food that was on full display for the evening.”

    Shari Fanson, an LCBO Product Consultant in St. Catharines, appreciated the concept that each winemaker was able to select their favourite wine to pour.

    “It was truly an incredible experience,” Fanson said. “Being able to taste the winemakers’ favourites really showcased the complexity and quality of the wine we make here in Ontario.

    BASF Canada Inc., a long-time sponsor of the event, sends 20 top oenology and viticulture students to Cuvée each year as an educational experience.

    “As a company, we are committed to sustainability, and supporting outstanding new grape growers and winemakers allows us to act on that commitment,” said BASF Horticulture Crop Manager Scott Hodgins.

    Learn more about Cuvée and the positive impact it has on the industry and Brock University students at cuvee.ca

  • Final tally shows Cuvée 2015 raised thousands for students and research

    The accounting is finished, and organizers of Cuvée 2015 report that this year’s grape and wine celebration event generated net revenues of $33,000, most of which will go to supporting student scholarships and grape and wine research.

    This was the first year that Cuvée was organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, a sold-out evening that took place Feb. 27 at the Fallsview Casino.

    Of the net proceeds, $5,000 will go to support the Niagara Community Foundation, in recognition of that organization’s work in overseeing Cuvée for several years before CCOVI assumed responsibility.

    Of the remaining $28,000 in net proceeds, $15,000 will be used to establish scholarships and $13,000 will go toward industry driven research that supports the grape and wine industry.Organizers intend to use the $15,000 scholarship money as follows:

    • scholarships of $5,000 and $2,500 respectively for students in the Oenology and Viticulture bachelor of science program at Brock
    • a $2,500 scholarship for a student pursuing a Certificate in Grape and Wine Technology
    • and a $5,000 scholarship to establish a Cuvée award for a graduate student in Oenology and Viticulture.

    CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis said the proceeds are a tribute to the staff, volunteers and organizing committee members who made the event a success.

    “Staging an event like Cuvée involves hundreds of hours of work and a lot of commitment,” said Inglis. “But it’s worth it when you see the profits going to help students complete their education.”

    Cuvée 2015 drew positive reviews from many in attendance. Faces in the crowd this year ranged from Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor to senior community, political and industry figures.

    Niagara Regional Chair Alan Caslin saluted “the dedication of Brock staff and volunteers who made this year’s Cuvée an outstanding community event in support of Niagara’s post-secondary students and our renowned wine industry.”

    “I had a great time and look forward to next year,” said Caslin.

    John Fisher, President and CEO of Walker Industries, remarked on the successful transition of this year’s event to the new organizing team.

    “Brock has done an excellent job of carrying on the work of the Niagara Community Foundation in making Cuvée a first class entertainment experience for the people of Niagara,” said Walker.

    Details on Cuvée 2016 will be announced in the coming weeks.

  • Top honours handed out to grape and wine industry promoters

    MEDIA RELEASE

    R00027

    04 March 2015

    Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs

    Top honours handed out to grape and wine industry promoters

    During a weekend celebrating excellence in Ontario wine, eight individuals were recognized for their contributions to growing and promoting the province’s grape and wine industry.

    The award winners were revealed at the Cuvée Grand Tasting Feb. 27 at Fallsview Casino Resort. Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the event is one of the largest celebrations of Ontario VQA wine.

    Niagara-on-the-Lake grape grower Don Forrer was honoured with the Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award sponsored by BASF Canada Inc. The award recognizes a grower who promotes excellence in their vineyard practices. The winner is chosen by an expert panel that makes field visits throughout the growing season to monitor quality.

    The Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence was presented to Laurie Macdonald, executive director of VQA Ontario, for overseeing the development of a provincially regulated appellation system with grace and humanity.

    The 2015 VQA Promoter Award winners were also announced at Cuvée with the awards being presented Saturday, Feb. 28 at CCOVI’s Experts Tasting held at Brock University. The awards acknowledge individuals who celebrate through promotion and/or education the Ontario VQA wine industry with unselfish enthusiasm, constructive input and unsolicited promotion.

    Len Pennachetti, this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, took the Feb. 28th award ceremony as an opportunity to reflect back to 40 years ago when he was one of the first growers to start planting Vinifera vines in Niagara.

    “Those of us who were already growing Vitis Vinifera in Niagara knew that it could be done,” Pennachetti said. “And sometimes I have to pinch myself when I come to events like last night (Cuvée) or here today and see what we have been able to achieve as an industry, and that’s because of innovation that we have completely transformed the Niagara peninsula.”

    The 2015 VQA Promoter Award winners in each category are:

    • Education: Evan Saviolidis, sommelier and wine educator
      Saviolidis was recognized as a dedicated educator who is passionate about Ontario VQA wines and has instilled this passion to a new generation of students through the courses he runs as well as his work educating consumers about Ontario VQA wine at the Wine Country Ontario events booth.
    • Hospitality: Darcy MacDonell, owner/operator of Farmhouse Tavern
      MacDonell was recognized for taking the step of only serving VQA wine and Ontario craft beer at his restaurant the Farmhouse Tavern. Making such a commitment to VQA wine has created a robust offering of local selections strongly solidifying the case that great wine grows in Ontario.
    • LCBO: Ed Smith, Ontario wine leader customer service representative at the Ottawa-Orleans LCBO
      Smith was honoured for his tireless and selfless effort in promoting VQA wines at his Ottawa-Orleans LCBO store.  He makes the annual “Taste Local, Love Local” campaign a major event by building large Ontario focused displays and offering pairing advice to consumers always with an emphasis on VQA wines.
    • Media: John Szabo, partner and principal critic at Wine Align
      Along with doing restaurant and private consulting, teaching, and speaking engagements, Szabo has become one of Canada’s key wine writers which is why he was honoured this year. Although he writes about wine regions all over the world, when he speaks about Ontario VQA wine he is a credible advocate for the industry.
    • Promoter-at-Large: Kimberly Hundertmark, executive director of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival
      Hundertmark was recognized for twenty years of leadership in the wine industry and her dedication to making the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival a ‘go to’ event for lovers and supporters of Ontario VQA wine.
    •  Lifetime Achievement: Len Pennachetti, president and co-founder of Cave Spring Cellars
      Pennachetti was recognized for his dedication to the Ontario industry from his early days as a producer and advocate to his work today as one of the senior leaders at the Wine Council of Ontario. He has also worked tirelessly to establish Niagara’s Twenty Valley as a visitor destination, volunteering his time, his property and talents to guiding its development.

    Photography is available upon request.

    For more information contact Kaitlyn Little, University Communications klittle@brocku.ca          905-688-5550 x 4471

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