- Category: Newsletter Archives
Happy October ... We are 10 days away from Halloween and I am doing something a bit scary ... the return of my commentary section. It has been something I have shied away from for many years now (as described in this week's commentary), but recently I have been spurred on by a younger generation who read my stuff in those bygone newsletters and were encouraged to buck trends and the system. And to them I say thank you and I'm sorry; sorry for leaving you, being disheartened and worn down. Raising one's voice to injustice is difficult, to stay silent is easy - I took the easy route for too long.
For those who think I'm going to rock some boats have no fear, I'm here to tell my story ... I'll leave the boat-rocking to those I inspire.
What follows is this week's newsletter: commentary, wine reviews, video and podcast links and all the other good stuff.
Please consider a donation to my Patreon page to support my work - any amount is appreciated: you can find my Patreon page here.
Musings from a Wine Soaked Mind ...
State of the Union
Many have asked me why I do not write commentaries in my newsletters anymore ... it has been a few years since I’ve done that.
For those new to the newsletter, I used to write some pretty scathing, finger-pointing and issue-driven commentaries that pointed out the foibles, tomfoolery and asinine things that went on in the Canadian wine industry, most notably here in Ontario. But I got away from that, I received too much push-back and was “black-listed” for what I was saying; and in the end it caused me to lose my voice (or should I say, I gave it away). Over the course of the next little while, I am going to write some commentaries again.
These will be personal and anecdotal – stories about navigating this small seemingly insignificant industry of Ontario wine … but it is one that I love. “Insignificant” you might ask? We are. When put into the context of the grand scheme of the world of wine we make less than 1% – and yet we think it is everything. We who live, breathe and exist within it, think it is the be-all and end-all and treat it with such reverence. What we fail to remember is that it's a drink - wine is meant to be fun and enjoyable, and yet we treat wine like we are curing cancer and beating back communism in the 80’s. Everybody has such thin skin, it’s not a new issue either, it has been going on for decades.
When I criticized the industry back in the day I got threatening phone calls from Vincor telling me to shut up and mind my own business. More recently I was ostracized by the marketing arm of Ontario wine and I was threatened with expulsion from the Wine Writers’ Circle, many members actually left in protest. All for pointing out the broken system, how the money was being spent poorly and for those that “kissed the ring” of the right person, or how certain entities were duping the public into drinking stuff that was not 100% Canadian wine. But when you do that people push back, they get angry, they say you’re lying, even though they know you are right. Donald Trump didn’t make this stuff up, he just enhanced it to a new level - blaming the messenger has been going on for years. In the end Ontario remains a don’t rock the boat territory. For some reason this industry believes nothing should change. No one wants to hear about options that may benefit the industry. No criticism can be leveled against it.
I’m here to tell you we have to do better, we have to try harder, and we have to insist on better from those in positions of power! These people have the ear of the government, and we even screw that up. No matter what we do, we are still only going to make a relatively insignificant amount of the world’s wine (that we can not change); and yet for years we have been called “Napa of the north”, which is a huge misnomer, as we make a fraction of what Napa makes - yet we have decided that three entities need to petition the government on behalf of the wine industry (Wine Marketing Association of Ontario, Grape Growers of Ontario, and Wine Growers of Ontario) - that’s messed up - it’s no wonder nothing gets done. It is time for a more unified approach. It’s time for fresh thinking. I’m not here to offer that.
There’s a younger generation with new thoughts and aspirations for this industry. I’m here to say, let’s let them in and start listening to new voices, stop leaning on the old guard with old out-dated ideas – they are the past and definitely not working, we need a fresh approach.
Click on any wine name to see the full review:
Bachelder 2019 Chardonnay, Bai Xu ... (****+)
Konzelmann 2020 Chardonnay, Reserve Series ... (****)
Leaning Post 2020 Pinot Noir, The Fifty ... (****)
Rosehall Run 2017 Ceremony ... (****+)
Trius 2019 Chardonnay, Wild Ferment ... (****)
Plus : The Non-Ontario Selection ...
Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII (Trio) ... (various scores) - Italy
--- Highlighted Videos This Week ---
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