Posted in Wine Regions

New Zealand aims to become leading maker of diet wines…

Here’s an idea that may be ready for prime time.

New Zealand has done an excellent job in marketing rustic sauvignon blancs around the world. Now they’d like to become the world’s leading source of diet wines. Their goal is to produce wines that not only appeal to the diet conscious, but make them taste great too. Wines that appeal to wine-savvy people.  With a goal to penetrate the increasing market for “lifestyle wines” – those with fewer calories and lower levels of alcohol – the Kiwi government has decided to pour NZ$8.13m into the quest for leadership in this field.

The seven-year investment will help fund a major research program put together by the ministry for primary industries and the New Zealand wine industry.

Philip Gregan, the chief executive officer of New Zealand Wine, said the joint project would produce “tangible outcomes” not only for the grape and wine industries, but also for the country’s economy. “This programme will capitalise on the domestic and international market demand for high-quality, lower-calorie and lower-alcohol ‘lifestyle’ wines by developing new, natural techniques for grapevine growth and wine production utilised across the New Zealand wine industry,” he said.

New Zealand leads the way


Posted in event, North Bay, Wine

Colin James Duo at Capitol Centre North Bay. Then the Wine Gala…

Great time at the Capitol Centre in North Bay! I used to come here often as a young boy to see movies, and the occasional play, such as Spring Thaw with Dinah Christie in 1967. Nostalgic memories. I’m sitting here now, and notice familiar architectural and style hightlights in the well-maintened setting.

I’m here as a wine sponsor of the 17th annual Wine Gala. This concert by Colin James is the entertainment for the evening. I’ve been a fan of Colin’s since 1988 when his self-titled album came out, with such endearing hits as “Five Long Years” and “Voodoo Thing.” Tonight he’s here to perform a more laid-back show, kind of an unplugged. It’s an intimate way to experience his tremendous talent in both melody and lyrics. I love the way he mixes Delta-style accoustic blues and electric blues-rock-jazz. My kinda music! Thanks so much, Colin!

Now to the Wine Gala. Along with a very helpful volunteer, I pour four Viewpointe wines that I want to show off as great examples of Ontario winemaking excellence: Auxerrois, Cabernet Merlot, Ideal Pointe Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc 2008 Burgundy label (reserve). The latter was the hit of the evening. They couldn’t get enough of it. About 400 people from North Bay and area came out in finery tonight; very well dressed, and a huge interest in fine wines. This is a happening cultural event, everyone feels great to be here, and I’m glad to be part of it.

Elsewhere at the Capitol Centre tonight, Lonnie Reed of Delaney Bay Cheese Market, is conducting a cheese tasting. I’m glad to provide a couple of bottles of Viewpointe Pinot Noir for her tasting. Lonnie tells me these two reserve wines, a 2007 and a 2010, go well with her chosen cheese to pair. She also paired a Henkel Trocken Sekt with one of her other cheese selections.


Colin James website
Capitol Centre
Delaney Bay Cheese Market
Viewpointe Estate Winery

From the Capitol Centre’s Press Release:

The 17th Annual Wine Gala with Colin James Duo Colin James will headline the Wine Gala on Saturday November 23, 2013. It will be a jam packed weekend with the Christmas Walk happening on the Friday and the Santa Claus Parade on the Sunday following the Gala.

To match the wonderful success of past years Wine Gala’s with Kim Mitchell and Rik Emmett, the Capitol Centre is continuing their template of blues rock concert/Wine Gala. Colin James will bring his acoustic duo show to the Wine Gala this year.

In a career spanning two decades, Colin (who was mentored by the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan) has flourished into a multi-platinum artist many times over. His self-titled album debuted worldwide in 1989, garnering him two hit singles (“Voodoo Thing” and “Five Long Years”) as well as the first of many JUNO Awards. The emergence of The Little Big Band in the early 90s saw Colin’s career soar to new heights, and he remains one of the country’s most revered musicians.

The much anticipated Wine Gala will play host to your palate with wine, beer, spirits and food sampling galore. There will also be live music throughout the building in the RBC Galaxy Circle Lounge, Martini Lounge and Gallery. Many enticing silent auction items will be on display and a live auction will take place as well.

Get “Cheesecated” – Prep your palate before you hit the tasting tables

Who: Wine & Cheese Educator Lonnie Reed, owner of Delaney Bay Cheese Market.

What: Sample 10 interesting wines, 4 mouth-watering beers, assorted trendy ciders, 10 unique cheeses available only at Delaney Bay Cheese Market, plus fruits, nuts, bread and artisan crackers to complement. Wine pairings explained and sampled. Note cards available on each sampling. Takeaway notes to prepare at home. Only 60 spots available; must be attending the Wine Gala to reserve a spot.

Where: Capitol Centre -Upstairs in the Galaxy Circle Lounge.

Why: You’ll learn the nuances or pairing wine with specific cheeses and have the know-how when you hit the tasting tables. Also, all participants receive an opportunity to win a 3-month membership to the prestigious “cheese of the month” club.

When: Saturday, November 23, 2013 6:00pm – 7:15pm

How: Tickets are $40 and they are available at the Box Office 705-474-4747 150 main St. E.

Posted in dining

Abondance, Délice de Bourgogne, and Roaring Forties. What a cheese feast. Thx to Delaney Bay for recommending them.

I picked up 3 gorgeous cheeses yesterday from Delaney Bay Cheese Shop in North Bay. Abondance, Délice de Bourgogne, and Roaring Forties. What a feast!

Abondance is a semi-hard, unpasteurized, cow’s milk cheese that comes from Haute-Savoie in France,close to the Swiss border. The cheese has been produced since the 12th century, originally by monks. This is a easy to love cheese with a hint of smoke.

Délice de Bourgogne, is a French cow’s milk cheese from Burgundy France. Its rich creaminess comes from the cheesemaking process. Cream fraiche is added twice to the milk during the making of it. The cheese also has a bold pungent aroma imparted by its ripening process. Delicious!

Roaring Forties Blue Cheese is made by the Kings Island Dairy, on a smal island just north of Tasmania. It’s a handcrafted cow’s milk cheese made from milk from Australian cows. This is a bold flavoured blue that’s sweet, mild, creamy and a little bit nutty in character. The rindless cheese is matured in its thick black wax coating, which cuts off the oxygen supply, enhancing its sweet and fruity flavor.

Pair with Viewpointe Auxerrois, a white wine with legendary food pairing ability.

Thanks to Lonnie Reed for recommending them. I am indebted.

Posted in spirits

Age your own whiskey at home. An idea whose time has come. Small barrels make a nice aged spirit in just a few weeks

I am at a wine and spirits event in London. I just tasted a white spirit that was aged in a 5 gallon small barrel for 3 months that actually tastes better than a 5 year whisky. The barrels and enough hand-crafted white spirit to fill them are available from some craft distilleries.

The reason a small barrel can produce such a fantastic whisky (or other spirit) is because there’s more surface area inside the barrel that the liquid touches compared to the large barrels. Good news for you and me, and our bar at home. Great to share with friends. Cool to watch the progress week by week, something you’d normally have to be a distillery owner to experience!

Contact me for details.