WSET’s Wine Education Week comes to Canada

RAISE A GLASS THIS MONTH TO WSET’s WINE EDUCATION WEEK!

WSET marks its 50th anniversary with its first-ever international celebration of wine education.

Whether you’re a novice or knowledgeable, mad for Merlot or puzzled by Pinot, the world of wine is one that’s ripe for discovery. Having awarded over 500,000 wine lovers one of its qualifications since it was founded in 1969, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications, is celebrating its milestone 50th anniversary with the first-ever global Wine Education Week. The week, taking place from 9-15 September 2019, celebrates the diversity, taste, and culture of the world of wine with a program of interactive events, all of which are focused on learning about and enjoying wines from across the globe.

Wine Education Week will kick off on Monday 9th September with food and wine pairing launch events across the world at 6 pm local time in 24 countries. Starting with Auckland, New Zealand and ending with California, USA, WSET is aiming for a continuous 24-hour global food and wine tasting session. In the UK the launch event will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for wine lovers to help break a Guinness World Record – for the largest ever recorded sommelier lesson. In Canada, there will be launch events in Toronto (hosted by IWEG Drinks Academy) and Vancouver (hosted by Statera Academy).

Following the launch, Wine Education Week will continue with more than 450 fun, educational events in 46 countries to encourage consumers to learn more about wine and to drink ‘better’. With sessions ranging from ‘Deciphering Wine Labels’ to ‘Matches Made In Heaven’ – and ‘World Wine Monopoly’, the events will help attendees make wiser choices when choosing a bottle and to discover the delights of lesser-known wines they might not have tasted before. In Canada WSET course providers are organizing 15 events in five locations over Wine Education Week:

12/9/19 Calgary Finding the perfect match CO.OP Wine Spirits Beer
13/9/19 Calgary Deciphering wine Labels CO.OP Wine Spirits Beer
14/9/19 Calgary Vine to glass CO.OP Wine Spirits Beer
9/9/19 Toronto Wine Quiz IWEG Drinks Academy
11/9/19 Toronto Cabernet and red blends IWEG Drinks Academy
12/9/19 Toronto Ontario wine masterclass IWEG Drinks Academy
9/9/19 Vancouver Secrets to great food & wine pairing Statera Academy
10/9/19 Guelph, ON Finding the perfect match University of Guelph
11/9/19 Guelph, ON Vine to glass University of Guelph
12/9/19 Guelph, ON Deciphering wine labels University of Guelph
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Finding the perfect match VinoZen
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Deciphering wine labels VinoZen
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Vine to glass VinoZen
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Mastering maturation VinoZen
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Wine trivia night VinoZen

WSET CEO Ian Harris comments: “Wine Education Week is a celebration of our mission to inspire and inform wine lovers across the world. With exciting events taking place everywhere from New Zealand to Thailand to Mexico and, of course, our home in the UK, I can’t think of a better way to mark WSET’s 50th anniversary and the progress we have made in wine education over the last half-century.”

Full details about Wine Education Week and the events taking place can be found at http://www.wineeducationweek.com .

New Zeland Wine Exports on Track to Exceed Forecasts

HAPPY SAUVIGNON BLANC DAY!

A recent report released by Dutch bank Rabobank reveals modest growth for New Zealand wine exports, with analysts predicting that the industry is on track to exceed the 2019 forecasts.

Hayden Higgins, senior analyst of horticulture and wine, said: “In early 2019, wine import growth continued the slowdown witnessed in 2018 for both the US and China, while Brexit has been thrown a lifeline, for now”.

New Zealand’s export value and volume is in line to exceed MPI 2019 forecasts. Rabobank expects overall value growth to be around NZ$60 million, representing a 4% year-on-year change.

Higgins said: “Wine export revenue to the US contracted slightly in the 12 months to February 2019 by around 1%, but the US remains our lead market by value.

“Total US wine imports, on a case equivalent basis, contracted by 4% in the 12 months to December 2018, but New Zealand achieved overall growth at the expense of other exporters such as Chile, Australia, Spain and South Africa.

“Total US import volumes contracted again in the first two months of 2019, but at a slower rate than 2018.”

Rabobank expects continuous modest US value and volume import growth for New Zealand Wine across 2019. Although downside risks do exist in 2020, with the potential for a modest US recession looming, New Zealand continues to experience strong wine export growth to China, off a small base.

In regards to Brexit, Rabobank expects importers to run down current inventory levels, and then start rebuilding stocks in the third quarter, prior to the new Brexit date.

The release of the report coincides with International Sauvignon Blanc Day today. New Zealand Winegrowers has launched a promotional campaign, beginning in New Zealand before rolling out to a series of events globally.

Chris Yorke, global marketing director of New Zealand Winegrowers, said: “New Zealand produces less than 1% of the world’s wine production, but Sauvignon Blanc shows huge popularity all over the globe, with the zesty variety making up 86% of all wine exported from New Zealand.

“International Sauvignon Blanc Day gives us an opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the diverse styles of this sought-after variety.”

Sauvignon Blanc was commercially produced on New Zealand shores for the first time in 1979, and is now New Zealand’s most widely planted variety. New Zealand wine exports are currently valued at $1.75 billion, while 98% of New Zealand’s vineyard producing area is Sustainable Winegrowing NZ certified.

 

Sources:  Dutch bank Rabobank

CANADIAN CANNABIS BEVERAGE GROUP FORMS TO DRIVE INDUSTRY REFORMS

A group of alcohol and cannabis companies in Canada have formed an alliance in order to push for industry reforms once marijuana edibles are legalized later this year.

The Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance, made up of 10 member companies, is calling for changes to the way cannabis-infused drinks are made.

As it stands, Health Canada published draft regulations in December 2018, opening up a 60-day public consultation period which ended February 2019. The final guidelines are expected to be published in the late summer ahead of the legalisation date of 17 October 2019.

Among its demands, the group is calling for the government to change its rules about where cannabis drinks can be produced. The draft regulations stipulate that cannabis-based drinks must be made in a separate facility from where non-cannabis beverages are produced. The CBPA is arguing that the cost of creating separate facilities will prove a “significant barrier” for those entering the industry, particularly those on a smaller scale.

It is also demanding the loosening of guidelines surrounding the marketing of such products, allowing companies to use the words ‘wine’ and ‘beer’ in relation to cannabis-infused drinks. It hopes existing alcohol brand names will also be allowed to be used in conjunction with names for marijuana-based drinks.

The draft guidelines state the following: “It is proposed that the amended regulations would also prohibit all representations that associate a cannabis product, its packaging or its labeling (including its brand element) with an alcoholic beverage. For example, it would be prohibited to use terms related to alcoholic beverages, such as “beer” or “wine,” on cannabis products.

“It would similarly be prohibited for the name or logo of a company that manufactures alcoholic beverages to be used on a cannabis product. In addition to reducing inducements to use cannabis, this prohibition is felt to be necessary given the known health risks associated with the concurrent use of alcohol and cannabis.”

Executive director of CBPA and former premier of Nova Scotia, Darrell Dexter, said: “We’re keen to share expertise honed over decades of producing, packaging and distributing international award-winning products, from alcoholic and non-alcoholic craft beers, lagers and wines to high-quality dried cannabis flowers.”

“As Canada’s cannabis industry continues to grow, each alliance member company also looks forward to collectively employing hundreds more Canadians, adding to a workforce that to date has helped grow the Canadian economy and employ skilled workers from coast-to-coast.”

Members of the group include Truss Beverages, Hill Street Beverage Co., Collective Arts Brewing, CanBev and Province Brands.

Recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada in October 2018, making it the second country after Uruguay, which passed legislation in 2013, to impose such a measure. Edibles, or cannabis-infused food and drink products, will be legalized later this year.

Cannabis drinks sales in the US are set to pass the $1 billion mark within four years, a new report has claimed, as loosening regulation attracts greater innovation and investment.

In Canada, it is hoped legalising the drug will raise C$400m a year in tax revenue.

Among the drinks companies that have already invested in the cannabis sector are Constellation Brands, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits and Molson Coors.

 

Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants 2019

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants announced this week the 2019 ranking of Canada’s best restaurants as voted by 98 food critics, leading chefs, top-notch restaurateurs, elite diners and food fanatics from coast-to-coast.

The definitive guide to Canada’s finest restaurants was released tonight at an awards gala held at The St. Regis Hotel in Toronto. Hosted by Jacob Richler, Editor-in-Chief, Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, and chef Ivana Raca – partner at all female-run Ufficio restaurant – the evening saw the nation’s most renowned and respected chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers and food lovers gather to celebrate the country’s vibrant culinary scene.  Setting a new record, Toronto’s Alo was named the best restaurant in Canada for the third year in a row. Alo’s chef and owner, Patrick Kriss – who also owns two other restaurants on this year’s list, Aloette (35) and Alobar (65), took home the title of Canada’s Most Outstanding Chef.

This year, 24 restaurants in the list were not part of the list last year, and 16 of those, are new restaurants. Toronto tops the ranking with 26 restaurants landing on the prestigious roundup, followed by Montréal and Vancouver, with 25 and 14 inclusions, respectively. East Coast restaurants saw a stronger-than-ever representation with eight restaurant inclusions.

“We are celebrating Canada’s 100 Best Restaurant’s fifth anniversary with a meatier and juicier list than ever,” said Jacob Richler, Editor-in-Chief, Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants. “For the past five years we have promoted remarkable and incredibly talented chefs and restaurant teams from every corner of this country – and that’s evident with the number of new restaurants that have been included on the list. We look forward to continue recognizing the finest in food and drink for many years to come.”

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants named the following Top 10 restaurants for 2019

Alo – Toronto

Joe Beef – Montreal

Toqué – Montreal

Langdon Hall – Cambridge

St. Lawrence – Vancouver

Le Mousso – Montreal

Buca Osteria & Bar – Toronto

Montreal Plaza – Montreal

Giulietta – Toronto

Edulis – Toronto

Other Awards

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants also recognizes excellence in the industry:

Best Sommelier – Christopher Sealy; Alo

Best in Business Leadership – Nick DiDonato; Liberty Entertainment Group

Most Innovative Chef – Antonin Mousseau-Rivard; Le Mousso

Most Eco-Friendly Restaurant – Sal Howell of River Café; Calgary

Best Farm to Table Restaurant – Nightingale; Vancouver BC

Best Pastry Chef – Celeste Mah- Raymonds; St. John’s Nfld

One to Watch Young Chef – Massimo Piedimonte; Le Mousso

Best New Restaurant – Giulietta; Toronto

Outstanding Chef – Patrick Kriss; Alo

Best Restaurant Design – Partisans; Quetzal Restaurant

Lifetime Achievement Award – Normand Laprise; Toqué!

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants will donate on behalf  of Chef Ivana Ranca to Open Kitchen Toronto   (OKTO) – a dinner series that puts female chefs front and centre – to raise funds for a scholarship for female-identified students at George Brown College’s Culinary Arts program.

Showcasing excellence in the industry, Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list is tabulated by professional services firm KPMG in Canada – the official adjudicator of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants – providing voting and data verification services to help ensure the ranking remains independent and accurate. The annual list is renowned for being an unbiased metric of restaurant quality in Canada and represents the consensus of the diverse, knowledgeable opinions of 98 judges including Canada’s top chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, and food industry insiders.

Global Champagne Shipments for 2016

Today, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne released its sales and shipment results for the Champagne sector in 2016.

Here is the list of the top markets for 2016, along with some findings:

  • Champagne exports continues to progress, especially outside Europe;
  • Consumers are diversifying their tastes and turning to Rosé Champagne and Prestige Cuvées  – Rosé Champagne grew (+8,6% in vol) and Prestige Cuvées grew (+4,7%);
  • 2016 is the second record year (4.71 billion euros) after 2015 (4.74 billion euros); and
  • Many countries confirm their status as growth drivers: (+ 9.4% Canada), United States (+ 6.3%), (+12% Mexico), (+ 15.1% in South Africa), (+ 25.4% in New Zealand), and (+ 14.2% in South Korea).