It’s that time again, when people mark their calendars for one of Ontario’s favourite and most delicious fundraisers.
The annual Cuvée Grand Tasting takes place on Friday, March 24 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, where last year nearly 800 people attended a sold-out party characterized by top vintages, gourmet food and live music.
Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the popular event exposes participants to Ontario’s best wines while raising thousands of dollars to fund academic scholarships and research.
“Not only does Cuvée showcase VQA wines to consumers,” says CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis, “it helps Ontario students and our grape and wine industry by supporting important research and scholarships.”
Cuvée begins with the Friday evening Grand Tasting, when 48 VQA wineries uncork some of their best wines and guests get to sample the winemakers’ personal favourites. A change to this year’s event will see each winery offer not one but two of their winemakers’ selections.
To complement the wine, 12 culinary partners from the Niagara region will be presenting signature dishes at live cooking stations.
“As much as the oenophiles enjoy the event, the foodies do, too,” said Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic.
This year’s chefs include:
- Artisan Ontario – Pingue and Hand, chefs J. Mark Hand and Jim Duncan
- Benchmark Restaurant and the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, chef Manager Alex White
- Bolete Restaurant, chef Andrew McLeod
- Centreplate, chef James Price
- Fallsview Casino Resort, executive chef Raymond Taylor
- Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters Winery, chef Justin Lesso
- OLiV Restaurant at Strewn Winery, chef Robert Webster
- Tide and Vine Oyster House, chef Justin Duc
- Trius Winery Restaurant, executive chef Frank Dodd
- Criveller Cakes, chefs Giovanni Del Priore and Leonardo Priore
- Italian Ice Cream, chef Andrew Vergalito
The tribute continues through the March 25-26 weekend with the Cuvée en Route program. Participants get an electronic passport that lets them visit up to 38 wineries across the region, to sample exclusive flights from each of the wineries’ collections.
Tickets that include both the Friday night Grand Tasting and the weekend-long en Route passport are available online at cuvee.ca for $200 per person. Tickets for the en Route passport only are $30.