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An Exclusive Gourmet Dinner & Tutored Tasting Featuring Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon – Ottawa

‘Terra Rossa Trends’ –Discover the Latest Chapter in the Wynns Coonwarra Estate Cabernet Story

On Thursday, January 28th, WineAlign is pleased to present an exclusive gourmet dinner and tutored tasting featuring wines from Coonawarra’s pre-eminent wine producer, Wynns.

WYNNS woodcut

Join us for an intimate (only 16 tickets) tutored tasting and gourmet dinner at Ottawa’s Restaurant e18hteen with Wynns‘ senior winemaker, Sue Hodder. Sue will guide you through a tasting experience that explores expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon through the microclimates of Coonawarra, showcasing the variety of the region. Subtle changes in soil type within one region can provide quite different grapes, critical from a winemaker’s perspective.

Taste the different Cabernet wines from this revered terroir with creatively matched food selections.

Wynns is the Coonawarra region’s pre-eminent wine producer, with the largest holding of the region’s best and longest established vineyard sites. Today the wines are regarded as benchmarks for the district, lauded for their consistent quality and depth of flavour.

About the Winemaker:


Sue Hodder

Sue Hodder is one of Australia’s best-known winemakers and this year celebrates her 21st vintage with Wynns – making wine from wonderful, expressive fruit grown in the heart of the terra rossa. Sue commenced her career as a viticulturist. Sue believes her early viticultural training – assessing vines, analysing mature fruit and tasting the finished wine – gave her an invaluable insight into the importance of the vineyard in quality winemaking. Sue brings valuable experience with vintages in other noted wine regions around the world and has judged extensively in regional, national and international wine shows.

Sue will be joined by WineAlign’s Janet Dorozynski.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Event Details:

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Location:  Restaurant e18hteen (18 York Street, Ottawa K1N 5T5)

Reception: 6:30pm

Dinner: 7:00pm

Tickets:  $125 including taxes and fees

*Please note there are only 16 tickets available for this event, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Reception Wines:

2014 Wynns Coonawarra Chardonnay
2012 Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz

Wine List for Tutored Tasting:

2013 Wynns “The Gables” Cabernet
2012 Wynns V&A Lane Coonawarra Cabernet  Shiraz
2013 Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Wynns “The Siding” Cabernet
2012 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon

Purchase Your Tickets Here



Seasonal Soup


Roasted Beet Salad
Sourdough cedar lavash, fromage blanc, lemon confit


Roasted Black Cod
Miso beurre blanc, rutabega, furitake


Spiced Squash Fritter
Vegan walnut velouté, pickled and seasonal vegetables


Grilled Bone in Pork Loin
Caraway, braised cabbage, pine nut cream


Sourdough Babas
Vanilla and brandy, chantilly cream, fruit preserves


Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
Fruit preserves, spoon sweets

*There are no substitutions*

About Restaurant e18hteen

Restaurant e18hteen was named after its unique location in an 19th century heritage building in the ByWard Market Ottawa. Our adaptation of a Modern Steakhouse with a signature “Canadian Freestyle Cuisine” is a destination for local foodies, politicians, artists, celebrities and out of town visitors.


Our winemaker events have been consistently and quickly selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Purchase Your Tickets Here


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2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival

The Wine World is Here
February 20 – 28, 2016

The 38th Vancouver International Wine Festival, Canada’s top wine show, takes place February 20 to 28. Over the course of eight days, the festival pours 1,450+ wines from 155 wineries from 14 countries at 54 events and 30 venues. The focus is on Italy this year.

Widely considered one of the best wine fairs in the world, the rock stars (or “vine stars”) of the world’s vineyards – a proprietor or family member, winemaker or other senior executive – come to the festival annually. You’re quite likely to find that the person pouring your wine has his or her name on the bottle. All 155 vine stars are in their booths in the Acura Tasting Room, and at outstanding dinners, lunches, grazing events and everywhere their wines are served. Identify them by the royal blue lanyard holding their name badge. Among the Italian vine stars you’ll find Sergio Zingarelli, proprietor, Rocca delle Macìe; Barone Francesco Ricasoli, president (and 32nd Baron of Brolio), Barone Ricasoli; Francesco Zonin, executive vice-president, Zonin; Pio Boffa, owner (and great-grandson of the founder), Pio Cesare. Check out more of the vine stars coming to Vancouver this year.

VanWine Fest

WineAlign critics at VanWineFest

WineAlign’s BC Critic team will be on hand tasting and reconnecting, leading seminars or co-hosting events. In addition to manning the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) education booth in the tasting room, DJ Kearney will take you on a wine and food pairing journey at Signature Pairings, featuring wines from around the world matched with small bites prepared by some of Vancouver’s top chefs. Anthony Gismondi brings together a collection of legendary personalities crafting Italy’s most iconic wines at the Legends of Italy seminar. Master of Wine Rhys Pender will be co-hosting Iconic Grapes Around the Globe and the trade event Excitement in a Glass. Several events have already sold out or are going fast, so check out the Festival at a Glance for the latest look at what’s still available.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

ITALIA! takes centre stage

Each year the festival designates one of the participating countries or regions as the theme, and this year the spotlight shines on Italy. The sophisticated ITALIA! theme country section in the Acura Tasting Room showcases 60 Italian wineries and some 240 wines from nine distinct regions, including Veneto, Tuscany and Piedmont. Another 48 wines will be served at Italian tasting stations, including two stations presenting wines from the key viticulture regions of Chianti Classico and Valpolicella. Nearly one third of the Italian wineries are participating for the first time.

This marks the largest assembly of Italian wineries in VanWineFest history. “This gathering of Italian producers will allow Vancouver wine lovers to explore nine of Italy’s storied regions, discovering an extraordinary range of grapes – more than 50 varieties in the tasting room alone,” says VIWF winery selection chair David Hopgood. “No other country in the world could come close to offering such a diverse array of rare and exciting grape varieties.” In addition to its own sophisticated section in the Acura Tasting Room, Italian wine and food will be featured in 30 special events

Italia! Theme Country for 2016

The heart of the festival

The Acura Tasting Room is where the wine world gathers. All 155 participating wineries are gathered in one room, with vine stars in attendance pouring selections from their cellars at four International Festival Tastings and two trade-only Trade Tastings, presented by ContainerWorld. This is your opportunity to meet the men and women behind the wine and ask them questions about the wine you’re sampling. When you discover wines you like, you can buy them at the BC Liquor Store wine shop onsite. And should you find a wine you like a lot, if it has a BUY THE CASE sign, you may order a case directly from the booth. For BC residents, whether you buy one bottle or 100, BCLS offers free delivery to your nearest store within two weeks of the festival.

Free ticket with hotel booking

Don’t Wine and Drive

Festival goers who book a downtown hotel by February 9 via can get a free ticket to their choice of four International Festival Tastings, a value of $75 to $95. Quantities are limited and the weekend tastings are expected to sell out soon, so act now.

Trade Days Conference, presented by Sysco

In addition to the 44 consumer events, the festival features a three-day, 10-event Trade Days Conference, presented by Sysco on February 24 to 26 that will shed light on the trends, tastes and topics that affect the business of wine. With wine experts and principals from around the world pouring their products and sharing their trade secrets in person, this is the preeminent opportunity in Canada to meet the men and women behind the wines. For the last three consecutive years, Trade Days has been voted the “#1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Industry Event in Canada” by New York’s BizBash Top 100 Events. The Trade Days lineup includes two Trade Tastings, presented by ContainerWorld. These trade-only tastings will feature all 700+ wines offered at the consumer International Festival Tastings, plus an additional 146 wines for trade only.

The conference features Dr. Ian D’Agata, an international expert on Italian wines, as keynote speaker. Dr. D’Agata is a wine writer based in Rome, whose Native Wine Grapes of Italy won the 2015 Louis Roederer International Wine Awards Book of the Year prize. Dr. D’Agata is contributing editor of Decanter magazine, staff wine writer at Vinous and has twice been named Italy’s “best wine journalist” by the Comitato Grandi Cru. He is the Scientific Advisor of Vinitaly International and Scientific Director of the Vinitaly International Academy. Canadian-born and multilingual (English, French, Italian), Dr. D’Agata’s interests stretch beyond wine: he is a pediatric physician practicing in Rome. He is the keynote speaker at Italy’s Indigenous Whites, Italy’s Autochthonous Reds, and Italy’s Great Wines.

Note that Trade Days events are available only to those in the wine, restaurant and hospitality industries who buy, sell, serve or market wine in their business. Registration is required. Ticket limits may apply to some events.

Tickets on sale now

Tickets to all public events at Canada’s premier wine show are now on sale. VanWineFest is an eight-day celebration of wine and food that features 54 events, including winery dinners, Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, lunches, wine minglers, educational seminars, and of course the Acura Tasting Room.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Tickets for public events are on sale now.

Trade Days tickets go on sale Tuesday, January 26 at 9:30 a.m.


Online: (24/7)
By phone: 604-873-3311, toll free 1-877-321-3121
In person: Box office: 305-456 West Broadway, Vancouver
Box office hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday to Friday

Email Queries:


Filed under: Events, Wine, , , , ,

An Exclusive Australia Day Gourmet Dinner & Tutored Tasting Featuring Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon

‘Terra Rossa Trends’ –Discover the Latest Chapter in the Wynns Coonwarra Estate Cabernet Story

Celebrate Australia Day on Tuesday, January 26th with an exclusive gourmet dinner and tutored tasting featuring wines from Coonawarra’s pre-eminent wine producer, Wynns.

WYNNS woodcut

Join us for an exclusive tutored tasting and gourmet dinner at ONE Restaurant located in The Hazelton Hotel with Wynns‘ senior winemaker, Sue Hodder. Sue will guide you through a tasting experience that explores expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon through the microclimates of Coonawarra, showcasing the variety of the region. Subtle changes in soil type within one region can provide quite different grapes, critical from a winemaker’s perspective.

Taste the different Cabernet wines from this revered terroir with creatively matched food selections.

Wynns is the Coonawarra region’s pre-eminent wine producer, with the largest holding of the region’s best and longest established vineyard sites. Today the wines are regarded as benchmarks for the district, lauded for their consistent quality and depth of flavour.

About the Winemaker:


Sue Hodder

Sue Hodder is one of Australia’s best-known winemakers and this year celebrates her 21st vintage with Wynns – making wine from wonderful, expressive fruit grown in the heart of the terra rossa. Sue commenced her career as a viticulturist. Sue believes her early viticultural training – assessing vines, analysing mature fruit and tasting the finished wine – gave her an invaluable insight into the importance of the vineyard in quality winemaking. Sue brings valuable experience with vintages in other noted wine regions around the world and has judged extensively in regional, national and international wine shows.

Sue will be joined by WineAlign’s David Lawrason.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Event Details:

Tuesday, January 26th, 2015

Location:  ONE Restaurant – in the Yorkville Room (The Hazelton Hotel, 116 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto)

Reception: 6:30pm

Dinner: 7:00pm

Tickets:  $100 including taxes and fees

*Please note tickets are limited to 55, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Reception Wines:

2014 Wynns Coonawarra Chardonnay
2012 Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz

Wine List for Tutored Tasting:

2013 Wynns “The Gables” Cabernet
2012 Wynns V&A Lane Coonawarra Cabernet  Shiraz
2013 Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Wynns “The Siding” Cabernet
2012 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon

Purchase Your Tickets Here


Passed Appetizers during reception


Organic Chicken Breast
Chive spun potatoes, roasted seasonal vegetables and natural jus


Grilled Atlantic Salmon
Cardamom labneh, heirloom carrots, red quinoa, avocado, fennel, orange, crisp lavash and cilantro dressing


P.E.I. Natural grass fed 8oz tenderloin
Roasted seasonal vegetables, wild mushrooms and truffle risotto, and béarnaise sauce


Spaghetti Bolognaise
Reggiano, garlic ciabatta, basil and olive oil


Dark Chocolate Mousse
Hazelnut praline cream, caramelized banana and honeycomb


Buttermilk Panna Cotta
Dulcey cremeux, poached pear, raspberries and candied ginger


Seasonal Fruit and Sorbet

*There are no substitutions*

About ONE Restaurant

ONE Restaurant is chef and restaurateur Mark McEwan’s North American contemporary Yorkville hotspot. With a variety of beautiful dining spaces to choose from, and dishes that will delight the palate, ONE is sure to impress.

The restaurant’s stunning décor was fashioned by award winning design group Yabu Pushelberg. Low light and textured walls create a sumptuous ambiance, perfect for entertaining. The tree-lined candle lit patio is the perfect place to sit back and savour ONE’s culinary creations and unique signature cocktails, all the while taking in Yorkville’s bustling and exciting street life.

ONE Restaurant is located in the boutique Hazelton Hotel.


Our winemaker events have been consistently and quickly selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Purchase Your Tickets Here


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21st Annual Niagara Icewine Festival – January 15 – 31, 2016

A Shimmer of Gold

NWF LogoThe 21st Annual Niagara Icewine Festival is ready to welcome you! The Niagara region transforms into a wintry wonderland over three weekends from January 15-31. If you are a fan of the vine, these are the weekends to visit Niagara’s wine country.

What began as a gala event and the largest Icewine pouring in Canada has evolved into three weekends of the most sought after Icewine experiences. From stunning formal affairs to outdoor ice village settings to wineries opening their doors and cellars setting the stage with incredible culinary and Icewine pairings.

  • Taste the best in culinary and wine, as celebrated Niagara chefs prepare Icewine infused delights and create the ultimate Icewine pairings.
  • Feel the cold on your cheeks as you stand amidst the frozen vines and learn how Icewine is produced.
  • Gaze at the beauty that surrounds you as you follow the famed wine route as it threads its way from the Niagara Escarpment to the Niagara River and you may just catch a glimpse of a frozen Niagara Falls if Mother Nature sets the scene.
  • Smell the rich honey and peach undertones of a perfectly balanced Icewine.
  • Listen to winemakers who become proud storytellers as they share their memories of unique Icewine Harvest times.

Niagara Icewine Festival Special Offer for WineAlign:
Gala Tickets $180.00 ($5 savings – type in Discount code WINEG16)
Discovery Passes $35.00 ($5 savings – type in Discount code ICEDP16)

Buy Tickets Now

Discovery Pass

Icewine glasses and cheese pairingExplore the wine route with Discovery Passes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and enjoy eight wine and culinary pairings from over 35 incredible wineries across Niagara.

There is no finer way to experience the bounty of winter than travelling along the wine route, sipping and savouring the best in local Icewine, table wines and cuisine. From hearty chilis and savoury soups to sweet treats paired with VQA Icewines and tables wines, the experiences are sweet, savoury and spicy.

Xerox Icewine Gala

Icewine Cover ImageThe first Niagara Icewine Festival Xerox Gala took place in 1995 and 21 years later Niagara proudly presents one of Ontario’s most luxurious wine and culinary events at Fallsview Casino Resort. Experience Canada’s largest VQA Icewine and table wine tasting from over 35 wineries. Icewine, Late Harvest, Sparkling wine and premium red and white wines are showcased throughout the evening alongside Fallsview Casino Resort’s top chefs as they create mouthwatering dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious.

The theme for the 2016 Gala is Casino Royale, where you may just find the perfect Icewine Martini, shaken not stirred. From the colours and textures of the décor, to the masterfully crafted ice sculpture centrepieces, the transformation of the Grand Hall sets the stage for a glamorous black tie affair. Live entertainment, dancing and an all-inclusive evening of the best wine and food Niagara has to offer, sets the tone for a weekend to remember.

Celebrate the magic of winter and Icewine in Niagara!


Web URL:

Social Media:
FB – NiagaraWineFestivals
Twitter – @NiagaraWineFest
Instagram – NiagaraWineFest

Phone Number: 905-688-0212

Discovery Pass – 11am-5pm on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from January 15-31, 2016
Xerox Icewine Gala – 7-10pm on Friday, January 15, 2016

Regular Pricing:
Discovery Pass – $40+HST
Driver’s Discovery Pass – $30+HST
Xerox Icewine Gala – $185+HST

Buy Tickets Now

Advertisement NWF Newsletter Ad

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Discover the Flavours: Wines of Garnacha

What is Garnacha?
by Sara d’Amato and Michael Godel

Sara d'Amato and Michael Godel

Sara d’Amato and Michael Godel

Garnacha – never heard of it? Well, you’ve very likely tasted it whether you realized it or not. Otherwise known as grenache, this grape is planted liberally in the south of France, making up a major component in the blends of Côtes du Rhône and even the revered Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. But it was the lure of Spanish garnacha that whisked me and fellow WineAligner Michael Godel off to the northeastern city of Zaragoza to absorb as much as we could about this amiable variety. Along with Vines Magazine Editor Christopher Waters, we set off on a whirlwind tour offered by the Wines of Garnacha, a not-for-profit organization for the promotion of Garnacha wines.

One week, all garnacha and nothing else. Palate fatigue was a real possibility but luckily, garnacha comes in many forms, including the most familiar red, a notably underused and underrated variety of white garnacha, as well as several appealing and popular rosé styles. As I tend to have a strong appreciation for the grenache-dominant wines of southern France along with a fondness of the delicious and super affordable reds, whites and rosés of northern Spain, I was particularly delighted for the opportunity for an in-depth exploration of the birthplace of this variety. Michael Godel, the consummate adventurer, now quite well known for his poetic articulation and vocab savvy exposés, was equally keen to appreciate what makes these wines tick.

Garnacha is a grape variety easy to love. It is abundantly fruity and often has a sweet smelling, inviting nose of strawberry jam or cotton candy. It is high in alcohol and soft in tannins and acids due to its larger berry size and thinner skin. Garnacha often produces a ready-to-drink style of wine best consumed young and fresh. Although the average lifespan of a typical garnacha is 3-5 years, Michael Godel was determined to find more age-worthy examples which he subsequently highlights. In fact, we found many examples of deeper, darker garnacha than we could have imagined. We discovered that in particular vintages and in lower-yielding regions, darker and denser versions of garnacha were quite common.

Our tour took us through the four Aragon PDOs (appellations) of Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano and Calatayud and one Catalan PDO, Terra Alta that make up the association of Wines of Garnacha. Following the Ebro River, we trekked high planes, hillsides and low valleys in search of the finest examples of garnacha. In the shadow of the mountain of Moncayo and through the current of the Cierzo wind, we discovered great personality in this expressive grape variety. We’ve summarized our adventures, step-by-step through these individual and varied regions of southeastern Spain.

Exciting ways to explore Garnacha locally.

Campo De Borja: The Empire of Garnacha
Through the lens of Michael Godel

Of the five DO’s (Denominación de Origen) that comprise the collective wine growing region that is Aragon, in the province of Zaragoza, none walk with a swagger like Campo de Borja. President Eduardo Ibañez Aranda and Secretary José Ignacio “Nacho” Gracia Lopez rule the Empire of Garnacha, a self-proclaimed stewardship for the grape and for Campo de Borja as the centre of its universe.

The Empire of Garnacha

The two proud men have reason to state such territorial claim. Campo de Borja will play host to Grenaches du Monde. “The Weekend of Garnachas,” organized by the Roussillon Inter-professional Wine Council of France (CIVR). Grenaches of the World was held in France in its first three years. In 2016, Campo de Borja plays host to the competition.

In Aragon, diverse soils, altitude, slopes and prevailing winds all contribute to grape growing excellence. Campo de Borja’s trump card is a mountain. Other regions such as Cariñena find benefit from Moncayo, but nowhere does its 2,315m in altitude have an effect on vines as it happens in Campo de Borja.

More than 2,000 hectares are 30+ yr-old vines. The climate receives an Atlantic influence and above all else there is the famous wind. El Cierzo blows 234 days a year, the “strong wind” blows after the rain, dries out the vines, eradicates disease and elicits increased probabilities for grape concentration. The saying goes “today is raining, tomorrow it will blow.” El Cierzo, as it has been called for 2,000 years, “has lunch and dinner lasts for a fortnight.” No one knows why. Maybe the Zaragozan Virgin of Pilar knows.

Campo de Borja is described as a “homogeneous physical space capable of producing wines with peculiarities.” Much of its viticulture, in kinship with the other four Aragonese DO’s, perpetuates the viñedo en vaso, “vines in a glass,” or bush vines, calculated at 2000 plants per hectare in density with three metres between rows.

Great fluctuations happen in this D.O., located 30 miles west of Zaragoza, where the earliest maturing, lowest section habituates the Ribera del Ebro at 239m and yet other vines are planted up to 1000m. At low altitudes (200-300m) there are finer, lighter soils. In between the vineyards of Ainzon, Borja and Fuendejalon are situated between 450 and 550 metres above sea level, occupied by the terraces of  La Huecha river, a tributary of the Ebro with soils composed of stones and ferrous-clay. The D.O’s top plantations are in the upper reach, Moncayo foothills area of Alta de Ainzon and Fuendejalon, as well as the municipalities of Tabuena, El Buste and Vera. At these higher climes (up to 900-1000m) there is more limestone and iron, so darker soils with obvious increase of mineral.

Yields are quite low (30-35 hL/L), very vintage dependent and in some areas, in certain years it can be as low as 20-25. Yields are the key to understanding the value of wines from Campo de Borja, that and the iron-rich soil minerality.

Vines here see long cycles, with late maturing fruit of soft tannins and high glycerol concentration. Garnacha is a pro at climate and poor soil adaptation. It can be picked well into November and despite the lower tannins, treated properly it possesses the flexibility to develop complexity with short-term aging.

Every Grenache growing region of the world (The Rhone, Australia, South Africa) have their own special aromatic identity, whether it by garrigue, earthy reduction or soil-driven funk. A mountain herb called tomillo (thyme) grows everywhere around Moncayo. In Aragon there is an expression “when it is foggy in the morning there will be walking in the evening” and when it rains there is an all-encompassing scent in the air. That perfume is what gives these wines their special something. The amalgamation of mineral, earth and herb.

Top picks include:

Santo Cristo Seleccion Garnacha 2013, DO Campo de Borja, Spain

Bodegas Pagos del Moncayo 2012, DO Campo de Borja, Spain

Bodegas Aragonesas Garnacha Centenaria Coto de Hayas 2014, DO Campo de Borja, Spain

Through the lens of Sara d’Amato

It would stand to reason that the region of Cariñena in Aragon would be dominated by the grape variety of the region’s namesake, otherwise known as carignan. However, due to the popularity and demand for garnacha, the variety now dominates the land under vine. So, what is Cariñena garnacha all about? There exist a multitude of producers and a vast array of styles in this region that are widely exported. If you live in Ontario, you will benefit from a profusion of great value garnacha. Garnacha in Cariñena is produced in abundance and, like many of the PDO’s in Aragon, dominated by co-ops.

Cariñena is one of the oldest wine appellations in Europe with its DO status granted in 1932.  Sitting on the vast plains of the Ebro valley of up to 800 meters in altitude, the region experiences an extreme continental climate. The wines were favourites of royalty and poets, most notably of Ferdinand I and Voltaire.

rock glass

Rock in a glass – a symbolic representation of terroir in the wines of Cariñena

Châteauneuf-du-Pape often comes to mind when visiting these regions of Aragon whose top variety is the heat seeking garnacha. A premium-growing region for the variety, the southern Rhone’s climate is similar and so are the rocky, round pebbly soils that reflect sunlight and provide the ideal drainage for this rather drought resistant variety.  The Cierzo, the named wind of the area that races through the Ebro Valley, influences these regions in a similar fashion as the Mistral in the Rhône Valley. The wind helps bring down the temperature, most notably in the evening, contributing to slower ripening in this otherwise hot, dry and temperamental climate. That hint of freshness that exists in these Cariñena garnachas is refreshingly importance to the balance of these fruity, high alcohol reds.

There is a lovely story that was related to us about this region involving the visit of King Phillip II in the late 16th century. Upon his arrival at the town of Carinena, the residents filled the magnificent fountain of the town square with wine instead of water. To this day, the tradition is repeated at the annual festival of wine in September to commemorate the occasion.

Top picks include:

Anayón 2012 Garnacha, Cariñena, Spain

Paniza 2014 Garnacha Rosé, Cariñena, Spain

Care 2012 Finca Bancales Vinas Viejas Garnacha, Cariñena, Spain

Through the lens of Michael Godel

The centuries have seen to winemaking in Somontano though it was not until April 30th, 1984 that the protected designation of origin was granted by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. What has transpired, transformed and transmogrified in 31 short years is astonishing.

The proof lies in a day of Somontano pudding. First a 130 km drive north out of Zaragoza, to the place they call “at the foot of the mountains” and a visit to the D.O office in the regional capital of Barbastro. A perfectly pressed early morning café and an overture of origen by local el presidente Mariano Beroz Bandrés sets the denominational stage. Second, a hike along with viticulturist José Antonio through the highest bush vines vineyard belonging to Secastilla of Viñas del Vero.


Secastilla Vineyard

Next, a round table presentation, tasting and discussion at cellar door slash naturally lit, modernist Bodega Pirineos. Finally, remedying and restorative lunch at state of the art, colossal tanks and all, wine bottle art gallery installation, architecturally brilliant Vinos Enate.

The DO Somontano region is located at a height of between 350 and 1,000 metres above sea level and from Secastilla’s vineyard the six castles visible on peaks and throughout the Secastilla valley spread across the blue demure of a brilliant mid-autumn day. The view from Enate is nothing special, that is unless you are the kind of person that is moved by the awesome splendour of foothills and peaks fronting the drama of the Pyrenees.

In the hills of Somontano low-fertility, brown limestone soil and its soft, permeable underbelly encourages roots to penetrate the earth, to extract just the right amount of limestone. The surrounding mountains protect the vines from the extreme cold and the rain.

Somontano is planted to 4200 hectares (of a total 205,000, 95,000 of it agricultural). There are 20,000 inhabitants, 43 villages, 424 growers, 31 wineries, 15 varietals, 200 wines and 15,000,000 bottles produced annually. Of that total, 70 per cent sold are domestically. The wide range of grape varieties cultivated are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Syrah, Parraleta, Moristel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Macabeo (Alcañón), Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Red and White Garnacha. Six of these last varietal wines are involved in the Wines of Garnacha program. Mariano Beroz Bandrés talks about the collective approach for their wines. “Market niche, medium-high price, fresh, fruity, touch of oak, for young and innovative consumers.”

Viñas del Vero La Miranda Secastilla Garnacha Blanca 2013, DO Somontano, Spain

Pirineos Garnacha 2013, DO Somontano, Spain

Vinas del Vero Secastilla Garnacha 2010, DO Somontano, Spain

Through the lens of Sara d’Amato

Calatayud is a region of extremes and contrasts. From low to high elevations, from rugged flatlands to impressive rocky slopes. “extreme viticulture “ is the region’s slogan and it is no stretch. It is also somewhat impecunious and certainly lacking the international recognition it deserves. But the stewards of this land who run the PDO are astute and un-resigned to its slow abandonment due to lack of profitability in recent times. The best lands of Calatayud are high in elevation with fractured slate, quartz and limestone soils. The steep, high elevation slopes are treacherous to climb and to farm but offer some tremendous views. Many of these sites house vines that are over 100 years old. The growers, for all of their hard labour, receive only 1 Euro per kilo, each old vine producing scarcely 1 kilo each. The vines are planted in bush style, are hardy and seem to refuse to falter even if deserted by their custodians.  We were afforded the opportunity to taste the fruit of these aged, neglected vines which were thrillingly concentrated.

100 Year Old Vines

100 year old vines in Calatayud

Our guide, Javier lázaro Guajardo, Secretary of the Calatayud PDO, afforded us views of low, mid and high elevation sites within Calatayud. It is hard to describe the absolutely captivating nature of this man whose soulful, wild but wise eyes betrayed the struggle of those who undertake the unforgiving but admirable task of the cultivation of these impressive lands. It is bewildering to think that these wines fetch prices in the neighborhood of only $12. Changing the market perception of a land that is so little known and understood on the international market is an obstacle that is worth surmounting.

Much of the fruit now comes from low to mid elevation sites, hot but with mountainous surroundings that provide some protection for the harsh winds and intensity of sunny exposures. Calatayud is largely a co-operative based PDO for the obvious reason that it takes the investment of a group to be profitable. These dedicated co-ops work hard to showcase the natural expression of garnacha in these poor, stressed soils and sites perfectly suited to the variety.  A most notable example is the co-operative of Cruz de Piedra, many of whose 650 hectares of vines are located in high elevations of up to 1,000 meters. The growers are in the process of converting to organic viticulture and are fervently devoted to producing high quality expressions of this unique terroir. The idiosyncratic wines of Calatayud, worth seeking out, have greater intensity and ageability due to the darker, thicker skins yielded by the terroir.

Cruz de Piedra Albada 2013 Tinto Garnacha Vina Viejas, Calatayud, Spain

Las Rocas Garnacha 2012, Do Calatayud, Spain

Langa Tradicion Centenaria Garnacha 2012, Do Calatayud, Spain

Terra Alta
Through the lens of Michael Godel

Crossed off the bucket list is a visit to the land of Garnatxa Blanca, Catalonian of the heart, in drive and from desire. The journey from Zaragoza to the furthest afield of Aragon’s five D.O’s passes through vast stretches of landscapes in painted desserts and sculpted of mountain congeries. Soon the valleys begin to wind and snake their way between the limitless hills, tracing paths carved out in memory of long ago raging, ancient glacial rivers. The road slices through terraced panal, the spongy soils of Terra Alta, davenports to vines cultivated by the most prolific producers of white Grenache in the world. In Terra Alta, that number occupies 49 percent of the total Spanish production.

Terra Alta

Terra Alta

Terra Alta can be found in the southwest corner of the northeast corner of Spain. In a nutshell it may be incongruously defined as a large geographical area, “la más meridional de Cataluña,” with a small population of a mere 12,000 inhabitants. The prevailing winds, el Cierzo from the north and the summer Garbinades, “the Arab wind” from the southeast, add humidity, to protect from vine disease and to help finish a grape’s ripening process. Unlike its Aragonese brethren, the grape varieties grown in Terra Alta at times need a little help from their friends. To that end, five years ago an irrigation system was created, useable from May to September, to also help with the ripening process.

It is fascinating to note that when Pablo Picasso was sick he came to Terra Alta for the air. He also came for the wine. He drank what was called vino brisat, skin macerated white wine, somewhere between orange and straw wine. After his health was restored, he returned three years later and apparently developed his cubist style in Terra Alta. Picasso, innovator and oenophile privy to 21st century thought, knowing that white wines produced with a maceration step contain significantly more health restoring and promoting polyphenols than those produced in a more traditional way. Records show that Garnacha has been grown in Terra Alta dating back to 1647.

Terra Alta’s trump soil card is the panal, with its ability to retain moisture with nary rock or stone encumbrance. There are also soils imbued of limestone richness and a lack of organic material. The mediterranean climate combines abundant sunshine with little rainfall. Of the 6,000 total hectares planted, 1,400 is devoted to Garnatxa Blanca and the average annual production is seven million kg of grapes or, 50 hectolitres per hectare.

The DO “Terra Alta” (DOTA) was recognised provisionally in 1972. Together with Alella, Conca de Barberà, Empordà, Penedès, Priorat and Tarragona it is one of the seven historic denominations of origin of Catalonia. The first label noted as D.O. Terra Alta was 1984 and that wine was white. And so, today there are two symbols of guarantee, one for the D.O. as a whole and the other granted for whites. “SOM Terra Alta Garnatxa Blanca – 100×100.” More than simply a guarantee of 100 per cent Garnatxa Blanca composition, these wines must be deemed to score at least 85 out of 100 points in sensorial quality by the Consell Regulador. “Or you don’t get the sticker,” says proprietor of Altavins Viticultors de Batea Joan Arrufí, current president of the D.O. “Everyone is on board because it is necessary to put Terra Alta on the map.” The credo is “Cuerpo Y Alma,” or in Catalan, “Cos I Anima.” Body and soul.

What is so curious about the White Grenache here is that more than any other Garnacha, red or white, produced in the five D.O’s of Aragon, the Blanca of Terra Alta has proven its ability to age. Arrufí tasted a 2001 the day before we arrived, saying “it’s perfect,” having changed from white fruits (banana, apple, apricot) to frutos secos (nuts), honey and almond flowers.

Winemakers presenting in today’s market are mostly young, the children of the older generation, adding freshness, elegance, new blood and a willingness to embrace technology. Unique to Terra Alta, the new generation is taking over the winemaking. Ask one how to prevent oxidation? Hand-pick, before the sun hits mid-sky, ferment at low temps and protect with lees. Good plan.

Celler Batea Vall Major Garnatxa Blanca 2014, DO Terra Alta, Spain

Lafou Celler Garnatxa Blanca 2014, DO Terra Alta, Spain

Altavins “IL” Ilercavònia Garnatxa Blanca 2014, DO Terra Alta, Spain

Although garnacha has the unfortunate reputation of yielding simple, friendly expressions on its own, it is blended to produce some of the most memorable wines on the planet. We uncovered that garnacha, produced even as a single varietal wine, is much more complex and varied that we had ever expected. Thanks to the efforts of our exceptional guides Sofía González Martínez and Ivo Alho, we were introduced to magnanimous people and an astounding culture of food and wine.

The garnachas of northeastern Spain, the cradle of this variety, are worth every penny, and in fact much more – value is an understatement. If this article, in any way, helps to highlight this merit than we have done our due diligence.


Michael Godel and Sara d’Amato

Love entertaining and discovering new wines? Explore Garnacha!

Did you know that Garnacha is one of the world’s oldest and most widely planted wine grapes? Originating from eastern Spain, most of Garnacha’s production remains in its original birthplace and it is the only mainstream grape with red and white varieties, making it one of the most versatile and diverse varietals on the market, and in the world. Most experts agree that Garnacha conveys the expression of soil, landscape and climate like no other wine. With that combination you’ll find that Garnacha wines are always fruit forward and the wines range from intense aromas with lush red fruits in the red Garnacha, to strawberry flavours, minerality and petrol notes in rosé and white Garnacha wines, respectively.

Let’s toast with these two opportunities to Explore Garnacha!

Win an at Home Chef Experience with Wines of Garnacha

Roll up your sleeves and pour yourself a glass as special guest Chef Justin Van Der Berg designs and prepares a special menu of Spanish inspired dishes, with your help of course, all in your own home! You and four friends will cut, julienne, braise and enjoy a four course custom meal paired with a variety of private, consignment and vintage Garnacha Wines.

Like the Wines Of Garnacha Facebook page and get the chance to live this unique experience.

Attend a Garnacha Wine Fair

WineAlign readers are invited to discover the Wines of Garnacha. Partnering with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Wines of Garnacha will conduct a 4 hour intensive sampling with an outstanding set of 4 wineries paired with 3 menu options that complement the Garnacha grape. Get inspired with your holiday entertaining this season and converse with our chef on-site. Take home the authentic recipes and your favourite bottles. Guests will also enjoy Spanish music and a walk through tutorial from our Garnacha Educators and learn even more about this fascinating varietal.

Date & Time: Saturday December 5th from 11:30 am till 3:30 pm.

Venue:  LCBO: 321 Cornwall Rd, Oakville, ON

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An Exclusive Dinner Celebrating the Best Small Winery of the Year – Thirty Bench Wine Makers

A Niagara benchmark sets the standard for ‘Small is Beautiful’.

On Thursday, November 19th, WineAlign and Thirty Bench Wine Makers are pleased to present a special winemaker’s dinner celebrating the 2015 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada’s Best Performing Small Winery.

Winemaker Emma Garner wooed the National Wine Awards of Canada judges, flight after flight, with some very impressive rieslings including a platinum award winning Thirty Bench 2013 Riesling Small Lot Triangle Vineyard Riesling.

This is a sponsored event article.

Thirty Bench Photo

Quebec City Judge Remy Charest said “I’ve always loved the Thirty Bench rieslings, especially Triangle, which has a great mix of energy, depth and complexity, and it was great to find out that I liked them just as much when tasting blind. Emma Garner does truly terrific work there, in reds too.” Two golds and a raft of silver medals sealed the deal and we couldn’t be happier for Emma. Thirty Bench is focused on estate wines grown only on the Beamsville Bench within the Niagara Peninsula appellation and, as you might expect, production is limited.

WineAlign’s John Szabo MS and Thirty Bench Winemaker Emma Garner will guide you through this spectacular 5-course dinner paired with award-winning Thirty Bench wines.

*A very limited number of wines will be available to order at the event for direct to home or office delivery.*

Purchase Your Tickets 

Thirty Bench Wine Makers logo s

The Art of Making Wine

Thirty Bench is a producer of premium wines grown exclusively on estate vineyards in the Beamsville Bench appellation, a superior winegrowing region on the Niagara Peninsula.

At Thirty Bench, we focus on what the vineyard does best, growing Riesling and classic red varietals on vines managed for low yield and maximum fruit intensity. Our wines are carefully crafted by a skilled winemaker in small lots, ensuring every single bottle of Thirty Bench wine boasts exceptional quality and flavour.

Many of our wines are rare and hard to find, but they are even harder to forget.

The Winemaker – Emma Garner

Emma Garner - Thirty Bench Winemaker

Emma Garner’s passion for great wine and food was fueled by travel to Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and British Columbia while completing Brock University’s Oenology and Viticulture program. Upon graduation, she focused her continued hands-on learning in the vineyards and cellars of Niagara.

In 2005, Emma embarked on a small journey west from her position at Trius Winery to Thirty Bench Wine Makers. After spending five years getting to know the nuances of the Beamsville Bench, Emma was thrilled to become Winemaker for this one-of-a-kind winery that had won a special place in her heart.

Emma’s approach to winemaking, which is based on allowing the vineyard to express its own voice by making wine with minimal intervention, has caught the attention of the Canadian wine community. In 2015 she was awarded the coveted distinction of Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards. That same year Thirty Bench Wine Makers was recognized by WineAlign as Canada’s Best Small Winery.

Emma particularly enjoys working with rieslings. Her signature method of fermenting at low temperatures creates enhanced aromatic compounds in wines that burst with complexity and intensity. In 2015 Thirty Bench’s 2013 Small Lot Triangle Vineyard Riesling was awarded a Platinum in the Wine Align Awards of Canada and the 2013 Small Lot Riesling Wild Cask was recognized with both a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines and a Gold in the Wine Align Awards of Canada.

Purchase Your Tickets 

Event Details:

Date: Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Sparkling Reception: 6:30 pm (Guests will enjoy an exclusive pre-release tasting of the Thirty Bench Sparkling Riesling, to be launched in early Spring 2016.)

Dinner: 7 pm – 10 pm

Location: Holts Café (Holt Renfrew, Mezzanine Level), 50 Bloor St West, Toronto, ON M4W 3L8 (*Please note that Valet Parking will not be available for dinner patrons.)

Tickets: $125 (+ taxes and fees)

Please note tickets are limited to 37. Our events sell out quickly so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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Pickle Carrot “Tar Tar”
Coconut Yolk, Sesame Chip
Wine pairing: Thirty Bench 2013 Riesling Small Lot Triangle Vineyard

Platinum: WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada 2015
Gold Outstanding: International Wine and Spirits Competition 2015
Silver: International Wine Challenge 2015


Sea Scallop
Brown Butter, Blood Orange, Gaufrette
Wine pairing: Thirty Bench 2014 Riesling

Gold: Intervin International Wine Awards 2015
Silver:WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada 2015
Silver: All Canadian Wine Championship 2015
Silver: Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2015


Roasted Quail
Spätzle, Pancetta, Chantrelle, Reduction
Wine pairing: Thirty Bench 2012 Small Lot Merlot

Silver: WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada 2015
Silver: International Wine and Spirits Competition 2015
Silver: Ontario Wine Awards 2015


Duo of Lamb
Braised Croquette, Seared Loin, Raspberry, Mint
Wine pairing: Thirty Bench 2012 Small Cabernet Sauvignon

Silver: WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada 2015
Silver: International Wine and Spirits Competition 2015
Silver: Ontario Wine Awards 2015
Silver: Intervin International Wine Awards 2015


Ontario Cheddar Panna Cotta
Fig “Jam”
Wine pairing: Thirty Bench 2012 Benchmark Red

Gold: Ontario Wine Awards 2015
Silver: WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada 2015
Silver: International Wine and Spirits Competition 2015
Silver: Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2015
Silver: Intervin International Wine Awards 2015


*There are no substitutions*

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About Matthew Hickey – Executive Chef, Holts Café

Matthew Hickey - Executive Chef, Holt RenfrewBefore joining Toronto’s Holt Renfrew team as Executive Chef in 2014, Matthew Hickey developed his signature style working with culinary teams around the globe. His culinary travels included time in Britain where he was the Chef at Soho House, an exclusive private member’s club in central London. Upon returning to Canada, Matthew assisted industry legends including Mark McEwen and the Oliver and Bonacini team with a variety of Toronto fine dining efforts and special events.

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Gourmet Games: A celebration of Food, Drink and Fun!

WineAlign is pleased to support the 3rd annual Gourmet Games – a Celebration of Food, Drink and Fun.

The Gourmet Games will be held on Tuesday, Nov 17th at the iconic Gladstone Hotel in Toronto and will feature our own John Szabo MS and Sara d’Amato as your guest MCs and sensory guides.

WineAlign members will get a $25 discount on tickets AND a $25 Special Gift Certificate (details below) .

This is a sponsored event article with a special offer for WineAlign Members

Gourmet Games - Buy Tickets now

A Food & Wine Experience like no other

The guiding principle of the Gourmet Games is a food and wine experience that goes beyond simply consuming food and wine. It aims to educate, excite, and challenge. Wineries and distilleries from 18 global regions will sample over 75 products at the Games. With many 90+ rated wines in the room, the Gourmet Games offers an array of exemplary taste profiles to satisfy every palate.

The Gourmet Games brings these three elements together in the Classic Chic setting of The Gladstone:

Wineries and Distilleries from around the world: There will be 18 skilled and passionate ambassadors from Chile to Australia, Spain to Napa Valley, and beyond on hand to pour and talk to you about their products. Our suppliers will bring their best from 93-point rated Napa Cabs to 96-point rated Italian artisanal liquor. See the full list here.

Expert guides: Sit in on a food and wine pairing demonstration with WineAlign editors John Szabo MS and Sara d’Amato. Or learn classic mixology from cocktail masters Robin Goodfellow and Michael Webster from the uber cool Bar Raval.

Cruise the tasting gallery: Engage in our sensory scavenger hunt; a fun way to discover the spectrum is flavours and aromas that abound at the Gourmet Games. Or just take your time tasting through the room at your own pace.

Try and Buy . . . for less!

Nobody has to go home empty-handed at the Gourmet Games. Special for subscribers to WineAlign, every ticket to the Games will receive a $25 gift certificate* redeemable towards a purchase of consignment and private order products the night of the show. Every wine and spirit being poured at the Gourmet Games is available for sale. Many products can be delivered to your home or office and others are available at the LCBO.

Gourmet Games - Buy Tickets here

About the Games

Date: Tuesday, November 17

Location:  Gladstone Hotel,  1214 Queen Street West, Toronto

Price: $95.00 ($70.00 for WineAlign members)


6:30 pm – Doors and wine tasting gallery opens

7:00-9:00 pm – Every hour a new series of food/wine pairing and cocktail demos begin

9:45 – Drawing for door prizes and redemption of Sensory Scavenger Hunt prizes

10:00  – The Gourmet Games farewell

How to Buy Tickets:

Simply type WineAlign in the Enter Coupon section and click ‘Apply’ and you’ll receive a $25 discount off each ticket. As an added bonus for those who use the WineAlign coupon code you’ll receive a $25 Gift Certificate* to redeem at the show.

Purchase Tickets - Enter Coupon Code


Buy Tickets Now

*Every ticket to the Games purchased with the WineAlign coupon code will receive a $25 Gift Certificate redeemable towards a purchase of consignment and private order products the night of the show.
The Gourmet Games are produced by Azureau Wines & Spirits. For question, calls 416.940.1641 or email

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10th Annual Chilean Wine Festival – October 27, 2015

Discover the Flavours of Chile

Wines of Chile and the Trade Commission of Chile (ProChile) present their annual grand tasting and celebration of wine and food in Toronto – the Chilean Wine Festival taking place Tuesday, October 27th at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Wines of Chile

Chilean Wine Festival Special Offer

WineAlign readers are invited to discover the flavours of Chile with a special offer. Purchase your tickets using the promotional code WineAlign and you will get $10 off the regular admission price of $75.

Purchase Tickets

Explore new wines

Chile’s outstanding diversity of wines stems from the country’s extraordinary geography and unique climate. Regionality is the key to Chile’s stylistic development and winemakers are striving to reflect the different terroirs that the country can offer, especially in the cooler coastal areas and in the Andean foothills. Avid wine consumers today recognize the names Casablanca, Maipo and Colchagua, but these are just the beginnings of a host of appellations. It is this mosaic of appellations and wineries that composes Wines of Chile.

An outstanding set of 30 wineries bring Toronto more than 120 wines for this tasting. Guests will also enjoy a special Chilean fusion menu prepared by Daniel and Daniel catering and authentic Chilean empanadas prepared by The Empanada Co. The 2015 tasting will feature two new theme tables, one featuring a collection of Sparkling Wines and another showing wines that demonstrate Innovation in winemaking.

Chilean Wine Festival

Experience live entertainment including Chilean cultural dancing by Grupo Chile Dance Co. and a live acoustic performance by Farrucas Latin Duo.

Special guest Chef Andres Michel will design and prepare a special menu of Chilean inspired dishes.

Participating wineries include:

Arboleda, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Bisquertt, Caliterra, Carmen, Casas del Toqui, Cono Sur, Concha y Toro, Emiliana, Errazuriz, Indomita, Koyle, Leyda, Montes, MontGras, Morandé, Pérez Cruz, San Esteban, San Pedro, San Rafael, Santa Alicia, Santa Ema, Santa Rita, Siegel, Tabali, Tarapaca, Terraustral, Ventisquero, Veramonte, VIA.

Chilean Wine Festival

Event Details

WineAlign readers are invited to discover the wines of Chile with a special offer. Purchase your tickets using the promotional code WineAlign and you will get $10 off the regular admission price of $75.

Date & Time:

Tuesday October 27th, 2015
Walk-About Tasting – 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm


Royal Ontario Museum, Peter F Bronfman Hall, 2nd level
100 Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario

Price: $75 regular, $65 with the promotional code WineAlign

Purchase Tickets


Wines of Chile Event


Peter F. Bronfman Hall is located on the second level of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Guests will enter from the main doors on Queen’s Park and access the second level from either the north or south staircases or the elevator. Proceeds from the event will be donated toward ROM’s highest educational priorities.

AdvertisementChilean Wine Festival

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Wines of Argentina – Wine Tasting and BBQ

Toronto, July 29th – The Consulate General of Argentina and Wines of Argentina invite you to:

An Argentine Wine Jam & BBQ!

Wines of Argentina

Located in the Southern Cone of the American Continent, with a population of 42 million inhabitants and a territory that is four times larger than France, Argentina is one of the world’s nature reserves. Privileged with outstanding natural richness and extraordinarily diverse landscapes, Argentina boasts high mountains and plains, lush vegetation and extreme deserts, forests and steppes, glaciers and waterfalls.

This wealth of natural ecosystems includes vast grapegrowing regions stretching at the foot of the Andean strip, to the West of the country, from latitude 22° south to latitude 42° south. The cultivated area covers more than 538,071 acres. Argentina’s vineyards are at varying altitudes with some as high as 3000 meters.

It is in this context, and in the course of five centuries, that Argentina has developed such an extraordinary wine industry. The altitude, the wide range of temperatures, the local know-how, the new technologies and a deeply-rooted popular wine culture lend their wines their unique identity and quality.


Purchase Tickets here

Wines of Argentina


Experience this unique environment for the creation of great wines

Join us to taste exciting wines from 20+ wineries from Argentina. Enjoy succulent bites and an ‘asado’ style BBQ. All set to the great tunes from BELLOSOUND

Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2105

Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Place: Snell Hall, St. James Cathedral Centre, 65 Church St., Toronto, ON M5C 2E9

Price: $65 (plus applicable fees) – Save $5.00 with Promo code: WINEALIGN


Purchase Tickets here

“Think Argentina is all about malbec? Here’s your chance to discover the diversity of this vast country not only within the varied, new sub-regions that produce malbec but also the unique expression of both indigenous and international varieties. With some of the world’s most elevated vineyards and arid climates, it is no wonder that Argentina is home to some of the most unique and appealing wines in the world. Although only recently declared, wine has been long been the national beverage of Argentina – a country which has an impressively long history of wine consumption. Learn about some of the world’s most iconic wine personalities who have pushed boundaries, built communities and risked it all to forge new ground.” – Sara d’Amato, WineAlign


Afternoon Trade Sessions

The Evolution of Argentina – A Trade tasting for professionals

A tasting of wines from the ‘new’ Argentina showcasing wines from 20+ wineries, some new to market.

Wednesday, July 29 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Snell Hall, St. James Cathedral Centre, 65 Church St., Toronto, ON M5C 2E9

Open to Media and Trade Professionals – by invitation only – please register here prior to attending.

Wines of Argentina Masterclass:  The Evolution of Argentina

Innovation in the vineyard and the winery. Moderated by Sara d’Amato, Sommelier and WineAlign Critic, and Marcelo Pelleriti, winemaker at Monteviejo.

Rock Talks: Terroir developments
Altitude: It Never Mattered More!
Varietal & style trends: What’s next?

Wednesday, July 29 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Lecture Room, St. James Cathedral Centre, 65 Church St., Toronto, ON M5C 2E9

Limited seating – Open to Media and Trade Professionals – by invitation only – please register here prior to attending.


Spread the word.

Facebook:   Wines of Argentina
Twitter:        @winesofarg

Please Drink Responsibly

An Argentine Wine Jam and BBQ

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Experience the i4c World Tour Grand Tasting and Dinner – Sat. July 18 – And we’ll do the Driving!

On Saturday, July 18th, please join us on a luxury bus trip to the signature event of the i4c weekend.

The Cool Chardonnay World Tour and Dinner showcases the world’s best Chardonnay and Ontario’s best cuisine. The fourth ‘C’ in i4C stands for Celebration and this is definitely a Celebration of amazing Cool Climate Chardonnays. This is the fifth anniversary of i4c – it’s an incredible event with over 60 wineries attending from around the world.

Your evening begins with the Grand Tasting – the only public tasting event that showcases all of the wines of the i4c. Taste your way through the realm of Cool Climate Chardonnays – from lively unoaked wines to smooth and rich barrel-aged vintages. The popular ‘What Kind of Cool Are You?’ station will return for the 5th anniversary event – an interactive palate profiling tasting of four exemplar Cool Climate Chardonnays.


14c strolling

Stroll through a pre-dinner reception, exploring the incredible marriage of Canadian oysters and Champagne or Sparkling wine presented by Oyster aficionados Tide & Vine Oyster Co. Then join Chef Paul Harber (Ravine Vineyard Restaurant) and Chef Craig Youdale (Canadian Food & Wine Institute) and their dream team of region’s top Vineyard Chefs who will present a family-style feast highlighting the bounty of Ontario.

14c dinner

After dinner, enjoy the “Après Chardonnay” bar featuring the Ontario winemakers’ favourite RED varietals, the popular Craft Brewery bar, and dance under the stars.

We feel we’ve put together a fantastic evening. The cost of the i4c tasting and dinner alone is $150 + taxes. Add on the expense of driving from Toronto to Niagara and you’re already well north of $200. By joining WineAlign you’ll not only get round trip luxury transportation, grand tasting & dinner; but you’ll also get reserved seating, a souvenier T-shirt and a Summer of Chardonnay Passport. The price of our trip is $225.00 which includes all wine, food, taxes, fees and gratuities. On top of all that you’ll have the peace of mind of not having to drive.


All-in Price: $225

Grand Tasting Schedule – Ridley College, St. Catharines Ontario
5:00pm – 7:00pm – Grand Tasting
7:15pm – 8:15pm – Oyster & Sparkling Reception
8:15pm – 9:45pm – Al Fresco Feast served Family Style with a “world tour of Chardonnay” and special library Chardonnays
9:30pm – 10:30pm – Après Chardonnay Bar, live entertainment

Besides the grand tasting & dinner we’ve managed to secure:

  • Reserved seating at i4c
  • i4c t-shirts ($25 value)
  • Summer of Chardonnay Passport*

* To celebrate their 5th Anniversary, the wineries of the i4c have launched The Summer of Chardonnay. This passport entitles guests to special tastings and experiences at 23 Ontario wineries from Chardonnay Day (May 21) to Labour Day (September 7).


Bus Itinerary:
Depart Kipling Subway Station: 3:15pm
Pickup at Burlington Go Station (Fairview & Brant): 3:50pm
Arrive at i4c, Ridley College, St. Catharines: 4:45pm
Depart i4c: 10:30pm
Arrive at Kipling: 11:45pm


i4c John and David

We want to make our bus trips a great experience for everyone. So while there will be lots of wine to drink, we encourage our members to spit a lot in order to keep their palates sharp and enjoy the amazing cool climate chardonnays.

WineAlign promotes the responsible, legal and enjoyable consumption of wine to adults over 19 years of age. Please drink responsibly. Please arrange a designated driver to and from Kipling, or take public transit. We will be emailing a RELEASE, WAIVER OF LIABILITY, AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT out to all participants that will have to be signed and collected when boarding in Toronto and Burlington.
If you are interested in attending, please purchase your ticket quickly to avoid disappointment.


i4c chefs


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WineAlign Reviews

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008