At a time when consumer interest is exploding, winemakers from across North America will gather at Brock University May 6 to focus on sparkling wine. Hosted by the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the sold-out Ontario Sparkling Wine Technical Symposium will be a blend of technical theory and practical solutions.
International experts will share global success stories as well as the latest developments in sparkling wine research. The afternoon will involve structured tastings featuring local and international sparkling wines. The symposium comes at a time when interest in Ontario sparkling wine is growing, says Shari Mogk-Edwards, vice-president products, sales and merchandising at the LCBO.
“Our cool climate is yielding world-class products,” Mogk-Edwards said, “and I am thrilled to say our customers have discovered the value of Ontario VQA sparkling wines.
“There is a growing interest in fizz, so we are very pleased with the success of this premium category. The future of Ontario VQA sparkling wine is bright.”
And the numbers are backing this up. In 2013, sales in Vintages at the LCBO of VQA sparkling wine were up 59.2 per cent from 2012 sales data. There are 36 Ontario wineries producing sparkling wine, with others expressing interest in starting a sparkling program in the near future. The symposium is the latest in sparkling wine outreach events organized by CCOVI. The idea for the event came out of Fizz Club, a one-day session for sparkling winemakers held last December at Brock. At the event, participants indicated they were interested in learning more.
The symposium’s speakers will bring with them knowledge and research from around the world. Bertrand Robillard, director of research and development at the Institut Oenologique de Champagne (IOC), will travel from France to discuss factors that affect foaming. Ed Carr, sparkling winemaker at Accolade Wines in Australia, will talk about Tasmanian sparkling wine production, including phenolic and malo-lactic fermentation management. Larry Mawby will discuss the challenges he has experienced during production when using alternative grape varieties for sparkling wine at his winery L. Mawby Vineyards in Michigan.
British wine writer Jamie Goode will present on sparkling wine closures and how consumers perceive local, national and international sparkling wines. Participants will also be taken through two structured tastings. The first, moderated by CCOVI oenologist Belinda Kemp, will examine sparkling wine research trials. The second, moderated by Goode, will include three flights of local and international sparkling wines and champagne.
The symposium’s presenting sponsors are CCOVI, Scott Labs and Wine Country Ontario. Friends of Fizz sponsors are AO Wilson Ltd., Cellar Tek Supplies Ltd., Chateau des Charmes Estate Winery, Colio Estate Winery, Giusti Wines, Fielding Estate Winery, Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate, Millesime Sparkling Wine Processing Inc., Trius Winery at Hillebrand and Vines to Vintages.