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Stars and stripes, reds and whites

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OK, so this is the last chance for me to remind you that the California Wine Fair happens tomorrow night from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. at the Delta Hotel (350 St. Mary Ave.).

Tickets are $50 per person or 10 for $450, and are available at Liquor Marts or by calling the Manitoba Red Cross at 982-7347. Proceeds go to the Manitoba region of the Canadian Red Cross.

I’ve had a chance to see the full list of wines (over 130 from around 40 wineries) being poured at this event, and it’s definitely worth the price of admission. There are a few things from both the big names (Gallo, Mondavi) and the smaller wineries that we haven’t yet seen on shelves here in Manitoba. You won’t be disappointed.

As a side note, did you know that California wine sales in Canada in 2008 exceeded 3.2 million cases, an 11 per cent increase over 2007?

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Speaking of our friends south of the border, the 2009 American Wine Blog Award finalists have been released over here. This is a solid list of wine writing on the web (my personal fave is multiple nominee Vinography). Check ‘em out.

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I’ve had a couple of different emails having to do with US President Barack Obama’s short visit to Canada, specifically regarding the Canadian wines he drank with lunch. The first was a press release from Stratus Wines, who were pleased to report that their 2002 Stratus Red was served to the President with "the main course of Applewood Smoked Plains Bison". Hey! Maybe the bison was from Manitoba!

Other wines on the menu included the Quails Gate 2007 Chenin Blanc from the Okanagan Valley (served with Pacific Coast yellowfin tuna, as well as maple and miso cured Nunavut wild arctic char) and the La Face Cachée de la Pomme 2005 "Neige," an apple ice wine from Quebec (presumably served with or as dessert). I’ll do some digging around to see if any are available in Manitoba…

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Tonight I’m getting a sneak peek of The Winehouse, the new wine shop (currently existing as Pembina Fine Wines) opening up in Kenaston Commons. If I can manage to snap some decent pictures I’ll post them up here (or somewhere) for your perusal.

 

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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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