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Winnipeg wine-rs, etc.

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So, the weekend is upon us again, and I figured it's as good a time as any to catch up via the old blog. I'm heading to Toronto on Sunday to judge at Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards — we judges will taste about 100 wines per day over the course of four days, all of which will be done blind (not knowing who the producer is). It's a fun but exhausting endeavour — one that will likely reaffirm my belief in the continued increase in quality in wines made on this side of the border.

Once the judging is done, I'm heading down to the Niagara Peninsula for a whirlwind day trip, which I'm very much looking forward to. I've never visited the Niagara region on wine-related business before — last year's Canadian Wine Awards were held in Penticton, BC, and I was able to tour the Okanagan Valley for the first time.

I'll try to take some video, update the blog, and tweet to let you know what's shaking while I'm away. I'm working on a piece regarding wines labeled "Cellared in Canada" (but made from domestic and imported grapes/wines, and there's another column put to bed about former Manitobans working in the wine industry — there is a key California winemaker, a groundbreaking educator, an uber-popular web-mistress, and a wine business super-mogul. And there are more too! I'm already putting together a follow-up piece, as I quickly ran out of room.

One of the writers at Icon Wines — a blog created by a couple of up-and-coming BC sommeliers - recently made a trip to Winnipeg to visit some of his in-laws, and has written an intro to his thoughts on Winnipeg's wine scene. I'm interested to see what his thoughts are on our wine lists, stores, and more... and of course, if he's interested in more info, all he has to do is get in touch!

Follow me on Twitter for more wine news as it happens: www.twitter.com/WFPuncorked

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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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