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California Dreaming, Winnipeg Freezing

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As I look out on this chilly, blustery day, I can't help but remember that at this time last week I was sipping wine in the Chilean sun... OUCH.

I've been MIA on the blog front since returning from Chile, but now I'm back and ready to go again - and just in time, as there are a couple things on the proverbial wine radar worth noting...

  • February 27 will see the return of the California Wine Fair to Winnipeg. We were passed over the last two years due to budgetary constraints, but we're back in business! Maybe my annual griping paid off. Regardless, details are scant at present other than the date, time (7:00 - 9:30 p.m.) and venue (Delta Winnipeg). Keep an eye on www.calwine.ca and this blog for details as they become available.
  • Saskatchewan is poised to join Manitoba and BC as a mixed market for wine sales - by that I mean a combination of government-run outlets and privately-owned wine stores. Two specialty wine boutiques (one in Regina and the other in Saskatoon) will open next spring - proposals from prospective owners are pending.

    David Hutton of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a nice little piece on the development here. Per capita wine consumption in Saskatchewan is rising quickly, and these stores should fill a gap while introducing Saskatchewanites (Saskatchewaners? Saskatchewanians?) to a greater number of brands. Whatever - their football team still sucks.

  • Lots coming your way re: holiday wine buying, New Year's Eve bubblies, and oh so much more. I'm hoping to do another episode of GrapeNutTV in the near future, which will be found on this page rather than over at Vimeo. I need to up my production values (or maybe I need a director) now that the Globe and Mail's Beppi Crosariol has his slick Decanter video column.
  • Local brewery Half Pints Brewing Company just finished moving to their new digs at 550 Roseberry Street, and will be celebrating on December 13 with an open house and ribbon cutting. It just so happens that December 13 is also the day Half Pints will release their annual burlywine, a big Barleywine style beer. I can't wait to see their new digs. For more info on the brewery, visit www.halfpintsbrewing.com

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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

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