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Palate push-ups?

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I suppose I should be doing palate exercises a-la Rocky in preparation for the Winnipeg Wine Festival. With ancillary events starting on Sunday and running through to next Saturday, I'll need all the stamina I can get. Maybe I should run a milk thistle IV drip...

Incidentally, the wine fest's ancillary events are starting to sell out, so get your tickets soon.

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As reported in this paper and elsewhere, Manitoba's consumption of wine, beer and spirits continues to climb. Manitobans bought over half a billion dollars of alcohol in the 2007-2008 fiscal year, including 79 million litres of beer and around nine million litres each of wine and spirits. Of the three, wine experienced the most growth, with a nearly seven per cent increase from 2007. Nation-wide, wine is also growing faster than beer or spirits, with an increase of 7.3 per cent compared to a 2.4 per cent increase in beer and 4.4 per cent increase in spirits.

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Like wine? Like social media/Web 2.0 type stuff? How would you like to live rent-free in a guest home at a California winery for six months (starting August 1) and make $10,000 per month just for hanging out, learning what the winery and wine industry does, and reporting on it online? Well, you're in luck, believe it or not. Sonoma County's Murphy-Goode winery is holding a contest to fill that position (officially, a Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent).

All you have to do is check out what's going on in Sonoma County wine-wise (with, one would presume, a focus on Murphy-Goode) and report on it via blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

There are expected to be many entries for this incredibly sweet gig - entrants are to fill out a form online and submit a one-minute video that will sell them as the winery's ideal candidate. I wonder if they'd let me bring the family...

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Winnipeg O' My Heart has taken local surfers by storm, garnering all sorts of feedback, praise and the like. It's a local blog run by three friends who moved to Winnipeg from Vancouver. They chronicle their experiences around town, learning about local customs and musing on subjects 'Peggers take for granted - like their controversial entry about honey dill sauce with chicken fingers.

Anyhow, they recently posted a dialogue the three had on buying wine and beer in Manitoba. Overall, they found the experience to be quite favourable - moreso than either British Columbia or Alberta. To be fair, they have yet to visit a private wine store (recommended, if for no other reason than to get the complete picture).

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OK! Palate training starts tonight at the MTS Centre... weightlifting jumbo drafts as I watch the Manitoba Moose destroy the Grand Rapids Griffins. Go Moose!

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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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Blogs that Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson follows:

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