The Great Canadian Wine Challenge – Off to a Great Start!


With the official start of The Great Canadian Wine Challenge set for Sunday September 1st, Calvin and I decided we needed to have a small, “soft” launch of the challenge. We called it the “soft” launch because we will likely add a more formal launch at the end of September when we have final numbers of participants who have signed onto the challenge.

Ontario wine friends in the Niagara region and in Ajax also held kick-off parties on Sunday and Monday respectively (more about those later).

With little notice, we were happy to host 8 Canadian wine lovers and a few children for some nibbles, sparkling and still wines from 5 different provinces on Sunday. Calvin provided a feast of his fantastic charcuterie and we paired it with some veggies, cheese and nibbles. Janet Dorozynski (who kind of triggered this whole project with her June 28th Canadian Wine Day) popped in to support the launch as well, which was much appreciated.

Here’s a quick recap of what we opened:

2012 Lighthall 2012 Progression Sparkling Vidal (ON) is a really fun, summer refresher.

Lighthall Vineyards Progression

My Favourite Style of Vidal from Lighthall Vineyards!

L’Acadie Vineyards 2009 Sparkling Rose (NS) – no one was injured in my first attempt at sabrage, although my pride was somewhat wounded!

L'Acadie Vineyards

My 1st attempt at sabering did not go too well with this L’Acadie Rose!

Hinterland 2009 (Sparkling) Rose (ON) – We had a lot of fun with Calvin and Andrew swinging large swords (and trimming my trees in the process) and not being able to saber this bottle. I went back to my trusty butcher knife and finally had sabering success!

This sabrage of Hinterland Rose went much better!

This sabrage of Hinterland Rose went much better!

Jost Vineyards 2004 Muscat (NS) – Janet found this one and figured it was worth a try -unfortunately it was past it’s prime.

Jost Muscat

This Jost Muscat would have been lovely a few years ago…

Township 7 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (BC) – this was a lovely wine to pair with the fantastic charcuterie tray that Calvin Hanselmann provided (all his own meats!).

Township 7 Cabernet Sauvignon

This Township 7 Cabernet Sauvignon from BC was delicious!

Oh yes – you need to see what Calvin creates!

CCC - Calvin's Charcuterie Creations!

CCC – Calvin’s Charcuterie Creations!

Auk Island Blueberry Raspberry Wine – these fun wines from Newfoundland all had silly names like Funky Puffin, Jelly Bean Row, Moose Joose and this Crooked Cod. Thanks to Megan Young for providing our 4th province of the day!

Auk Island winery

We only opened 1 of the 4 mini-bottles from Auk Island winery

L’Orpailleur 2011 Red (QC) – this spicy wine has some burnt candy notes on the nose when first opened that reminded people of burnt marshmallows. When I came back to this late at night it was wonderful and spicy.

L'Orpailleur Red

L’Orpailleur Red was good at launch, even better 8 hrs later!

Other Launches
Mark Glover and Bre Paszkat hosted the Niagara launch, including a successful sabering as well. Mark posted the video which you should be able to see here:

Click Here

There’s also lots of pictures of his smoked cheddar, ribs, and peaches in the stream below!

Not to be outdone, Rick Bates hosted an event at his house in Ajax on Sunday and the group he collected tasted 10 wines from 4 provinces!

Twitter Stream
You’ll find all of the September 1st action across Canada in the Twitter feed captured here:
Click Here

How are you all doing with your challenges?

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4 Responses to The Great Canadian Wine Challenge – Off to a Great Start!

  1. Kate Keates says:

    Today is the annual Colour event, the BC Wine Institute’s fall tasting. BC VQA wines will be the order of the day! I will be tweeting and fb’ing some of my favourites. Definitely within the rules today!

  2. mcshawn says:

    Sounds like an amazing event Kate!

  3. Rick Bates says:

    I thought I’d chime in and share the list of wines that were opened for our kick-off get together. Reading about what was opened at the Ottawa & Flamborough gatherings made me sorry I couldn’t be at all three. Now that we have a year ahead of us, let’s all make a point of organizing similar events throughout the year, with enough notice that many of us will be able to travel and join others in different cities!
    My wife and I, like Shawn and Mark, often host events at our home with Canadian Wine being the central theme. We will get planning another one soon, with enough notice that we expect to see lots of out of town faces in attendance, with a pledge to make sure we venture out to visit all of you, if invited of course!!

    The wines for our #TGCWC kick-off party with the Ajax gang are listed below.
    Keep in mind this was a last minute party, with little notice, and look at some of the great Canadian wines people already had readily available to bring along! Nothing was planned ahead, and we covered all three of Ontario’s VQA areas and four provinces!
    I was really disappointed that Shawn, (courtesy of Megan Young), was able to beat us in showing off their first NFLD wine! I had my bottle of Auk Island at the ready and was certain I would be scoring “points” with my little Newfie surprise. Good on both of you for beating me to it.
    PS: We also had a lot of great food that everyone brought along as well.
    2010 Tidal Bay (l’Acadie Blanc), Avondale Sky Winery, Nova Scotia
    2011 Reserve Chardonnay, Mission Hill Family Estate, Okanagan, BC
    2011 Chardonnay, Trius Wines, Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON
    2010 Cabernet Franc, Oldfield Series, Tinhorn Creek Winery, South Okanagan, BC
    2008 Chard/Pinot 3036 Bubbly, Barnyard Wines, Prince Edward County, ON
    2011 Dea’s Rose (gamay) Sparkling Rosé, Casa-Dea Estates, Prince Edward County, ON
    2010 Cabernet, Greenlane Estate, Niagara Peninsula, ON
    NV Spin the Bottle, Strawberry-Rhubarb wine, Auk Island Winery, Twillingate, NL
    2010 Syrah, CEV Small Lot, Colio Estate, Lake Erie North Shore, ON
    2010 Top Bench Red, Peninsula Ridge Estate, Beamsville, ON
    Four provinces, price range from $14 to $35.

  4. mcshawn says:

    Thanks for the list of wines Rick – amazing wines there!

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