Thanks from The Great Canadian Wine Challenge

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While Calvin and I did a lot of the legwork on The Great Canadian Wine Challenge, we did have help along the way, and some fabulous wineries and organizations who donated fantastic prizes, all in the name of helping to build a Canadian wine culture.

Sincere thanks to the following, who provided prizes for TGCWC (in no particular order):


  • Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
  • Vineland Estates Winery
  • Rosehall Run
  • Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) and Essex Pelee Island Coast Winegrowers Assoc. (EPIC)
  • Casa Dea Estate Winery
  • Savvy Company
  • Foodie Pages
  • My Wine Canada
  • OWS Toronto
  • Rosewood Estates Winery
  • Calvin Hanselmann
  • FARMHOUSE Tavern
  • Shawn McCormick
  • Dani’s Bistro
  • Kalay’s Seafood Restaurant
  • Karlo Estates
  • Palatine Hills Estate Winery
  • Wine Align
  • Also huge thanks to the following for their outstanding support for, and boosterism of, TGCWC and Canadian wines:

  • Hon. Michelle Rempel, PC, MP
  • Janet Dorozynski
  • Sandra Oldfield
  • We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support of our families. While they may have thought we were insane, and didn’t really like the time it took away from them, they did support us and accompany us on this adventure. So to Dylan (Calvin’s wife), Matt (Calvin’s son who did a bunch of our graphic design) and Lisa (Calvin’s daughter who attended most of our TGCWC events), Debbie (Shawn’s wife), Krista & Keiran (Shawn’s kids who helped with hosting several TGCWC parties), a huge “Thank You”!

    Last, thanks to all of you who participated, discovered and drank new Canadian wines, and shared our great wines with friends and family. Slowly, but surely, people are realizing that Canada has fantastic wines to offer!

    We’re not sure what to do with the Facebook and Twitter accounts just yet. We’ll likely hang onto them for now…just you know, “in case”!

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    A Final Q&A for The Great Canadian Wine Challenge!

    Almost the End

    Calvin and I seemed to get a kick out of the Q&A posts we did during The Great Canadian Wine Challenge so I figured it would be a fitting way of closing out the challenge. Here’s the questions and our answers. To say that TGCWC added some “challenges” to our already busy lives would be an understatement. We laughed a lot, cursed a bit, but generally tried to make it fun for us. It didn’t work all the time, and I have to give huge kudos to Calvin, for he took 100% of the burden of getting the weekly report emails/DMs sent out (not to mention the infrastructure to collect the data!).

    Here then, are the final 10 questions about #TGCWC.

    Q1: What did you find out about Canadian wine?
    Shawn: It’s pretty easy to find great wine from across Canada if you look hard enough. And lots of friends and family travel to provinces that I don’t so we found it easy to get wine from almost every province.

    Calvin: Wine is produced in every province of Canada, yet small-minded protectionist governments and their archaic monopolist hench-creatures make it damn near impossible for most Canadians to purchase wines from across the country.

    Q2: Are we still friends?
    Shawn: Ask Calvin. I think we are.

    Calvin: I sure hope so!

    Q3: Were we nuts?
    Shawn: Indeed. I think we thought we would have a lot more time for this than we did, and it took a heck of a lot more effort just to “keep it between the ditches” than we had expected.

    Calvin: That’s a pretty good description. Seriously, when I suggested a year of only Canadian wine, it was meant as a way to reduce the number of bottles in our respective cellars. Seemed like a good idea, yet a year later I have MORE Canadian wines in my cellar! That sounds nuts to me!!

    Shawn: I forgot we were trying to reduce the number of Canadian wines. Absolute failure on that objective!

    Rockway Glen

    Q4: What did people say?
    Shawn: Usually “Hello”, “Hi”, or “Gidday” depending on where they were from.

    Calvin: People who aren’t familiar with Canadian wines were all, like, “Wow!”. Hopefully talking with them helped open their eyes to the endless possibilities of Canadian wines.

    Shawn: Oh, you meant about the wine. As I met people from other regions of Canada, and they heard what we were doing, they thought it was a great idea and wondered if we would do it another year! As Calvin says, lots of people had their eyes opened.

    Q5: What was the hardest part for most people?
    Shawn: Filling out those damn weekly reports!

    Calvin: Abiding by the rules, I guess.

    Q6: What complaints did we hear?
    Shawn: “Why do we have to fill out weekly reports?”

    Calvin: Some people whined about little things. Here you have two guys helping the Canadian wine industry on our own time, paying all expenses ourselves, and some pretty privileged people whined about this or that. I shake my head….

    Q7: What do you think was the economic impact of the challenge?
    Shawn: People on the challenge easily bought $100K of wine directly…but I would hope that getting their friends to try these great Canadian wines magnified that 5X or more.

    Calvin: I could create a model to estimate that — if you pay me. See? I’m learning! :-)

    Q8: Were there other non-financial impacts?
    Shawn: Our sanity! Seriously, we think the tweets and noise made about TGCWC went towards improving the Canadian Wine Culture, but we have such a long way to go that it is hard to tell if we moved the yardstick or not.

    Calvin: On the up-side, we generated some “buzz” around Canadian wine. The Challenge got coverage in traditional media, we definitely occupied social media space, and everyone involved in the Challenge solidified their own personal connections to Canadian wine and helped others to create or strengthen connections. On the down-side, like Shawn hints, doing the work for free with little to no support but getting slagged for it took a toll emotionally and physically.

    Calvin, Dylan, and Debbie

    Calvin, Dylan, and Debbie

    Q9: What did you find out about each other during the year that you never expected?
    Shawn: Calvin was an excellent fencer in his high school days! And he is one of the few people I know that sleeps less than me! Seriously though, Calvin and I (and our very tolerant spouses Dylan and Debbie) have all become great friends.

    Calvin: Shawn and Deb are among the most easy-going, friendly, generous people I’ve had the honour to get to know.

    Q10: Are you going to run it again?

    Shawn: For free? No!
    Calvin: For free? No!!

    So there you have it, in 10 easy answers.

    We’ve just about wrapped up doling out the donated prizes – just a few more to do. Then one last post to thank all the folks who helped us out with the challenge, donated prizes, etc. and we will officially mark the end of The Great Canadian Wine Challenge (likely with some great Canadian wine as we both have cellars full of the stuff!).

    Posted in Experience, The Great Canadian Wine Challenge | Tagged , , | Leave a comment