25 March 2019
It was another packed event this year as the 31st annual Cuvée Grand Tasting brought almost 900 guests together to celebrate excellence in the thriving Ontario wine industry.
Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the record crowd came to Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls Saturday, March 23 to sample from the largest selection of Ontario wines under one roof and taste unique culinary dishes from local chefs.
“This is the largest event of its kind and the strong turnout of guests year after year truly showcases the importance of our grape and wine industry and the strong level of support it garners from our community,” said Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic.
The Grand Tasting also honours the talented people who work in the $4.4-billion Ontario grape and wine industry.
The Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence, presented to the individual or institution that best furthers the aims and aspirations of Ontario’s wine industry, was awarded to Doug Whitty and 13th Street Winery. Whitty is a third-generation Niagara grape grower and was the 2017 Grape King. As he called Whitty to the stage to receive the award, Tony Aspler credited him and 13th Street Winery with “enhancing the winery experience with art and sculpture and, of course, butter tarts.”
Whitty called Aspler a “pioneer in this industry.”
“He was there right from the beginning supporting us,” he said. “It is really a great honour for me to win this award, I am very humbled and thankful.”
The Winemaker of Excellence Award winner was Bruce Nicholson from Inniskillin, who was selected for his contributions to the industry, his commitment to excellence and his mentorship to winemakers across Canada.
This year’s Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award went to Martin Schuele, a grape grower in Beamsville. Sponsored by BASF Canada Inc., the award recognizes a grape grower who promotes excellence in vineyard practices.
“The Cuvée Grand Tasting is a great opportunity for BASF to not only celebrate Ontario wines with our grape customers, but to also introduce those customers to some of the future industry leaders from Brock University and Niagara College,” said Scott Hodgins, Crop Manager, Horticulture for BASF Canada Inc.
Schuele and his family, who grow for Arterra Wines Canada, have about 120 acres of vineyards and it’s been a family-owned operation since they arrived from Germany in the early 1980s.
“Schuele vineyards have long been associated with vineyard excellence,” said CCOVI Senior Scientist Jim Willwerth. “Martin’s Chardonnay block was pristine with high quality fruit even in the tough 2018 vintage.”
Cuvée also celebrates the next generation of winemakers and grape growers by providing scholarships to Brock University Oenology and Viticulture undergraduate and graduate students through the Cuvée Legacy Fund.
The Cuvée Scholarship winners are:
● Cuvée Hosting Award for Academic Excellence: Marnie Crombleholme
● Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence: Jessica Oppenlaender
● Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence in OEVC: Jeffrey Moote
● Cuvée Graduate Scholarship: Jennifer Kelly
“We are so pleased to provide these scholarship opportunities and industry recognition for the very deserving students of Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture programs,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “The Cuvée Grand Tasting is a full-circle celebration of excellence in our industry, honouring the best and brightest in the business today, and looking forward to those who will shape the industry in the future.”
21 March 2019
After more than 20 years of its researchers supporting the grape-growing and wine-making disciplines of Ontario’s $4.4-billion grape and wine industry, Brock University is expanding its professional development offerings to include programming from Brock’s Goodman School of Business.
Starting this spring, the new Wine Business Management Certificate will be delivered by industry leaders and top scholars to help industry personnel develop the core competencies needed to take a forward-thinking approach to managing of wine-related businesses.
“This is a space that’s not occupied today in terms of professional development for the wine industry,” said Goodman Dean Andrew Gaudes.
“We’ve been successful in this region developing winemakers, and we now have an abundance of winemakers ready to lead, manage, market and strategically place their wineries.”
Goodman officials worked with Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) to establish the program. CCOVI, an internationally recognized research base, has for decades been providing professional development courses for the industry as well as continuing education opportunities for wine enthusiasts.
“We have seen an interest for this type of programming from the grape and wine industry and are thrilled to see it developed and launched this summer through Goodman Group,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “We look forward to continuing to work together with Goodman to support the growth of our industry across Canada.”
LCBO President and CEO George Soleas said that, from an industry standpoint, the Wine Business Management Certificate program will help develop a fundamental understanding of wine business management.
“Having worked closely with Brock University’s academics and wine business leaders for many years, I know this program will give participants the confidence and expertise to propel their career in the wine sector forward,” he said.
Facilitated by Goodman Group, this new program will be instructed by leading business scholars from Goodman as well as other recognized Canadian and global institutions. This
academic knowledge will be paired with the expertise of such industry leaders as Ontario wine industry pioneer Donald Ziraldo, and Greg Berti, Vice-President Global Markets and Industry Relations at Andrew Peller Limited.
Topics include an overview of wines and Canadian vineyards; understanding wine markets and legislation; international wine logistics and operations; financial analysis for the wine industry; wine marketing and brand building; wine and spirits supply change management; direct-to- consumer sales and retail management; and turning a wine business concept into reality.
The program will run Fridays for five weeks from May 24 to June 21, with group and early-bird pricing available. The sessions will take place at Brock’s main campus and at wineries located in the Niagara region.
For more information or to register, visit the Goodman website.
As Niagara’s business school, Goodman is looking to continue to grow its connection with the local grape and wine industry. Additional programming will be announced in the coming months.
19 March 2019
The wines have been selected and Ontario’s top winemakers are ready to pour their favourites at the 31st annual Cuvée Grand Tasting in Niagara Falls this Saturday, March 23.
Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the Cuvée Grand Tasting takes place at Scotiabank Convention Centre and is expected to be another sold-out affair. The event is the largest celebration of VQA wine of its kind and highlights the $4.4-billion Ontario wine industry.
“We’ll have 48 Ontario VQA wineries on hand this year pouring two of their winemakers’ favourite wines, plus local chefs preparing their signature dishes at live cooking stations,” said Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic. “New this year, guests can experience Cuvée using augmented reality with the LifeAR mobile application, developed by students from Brock, allowing them to view which wineries are represented, what they’re pouring and even purchase wine online at the Grand Tasting.”
Cuvée provides future grape growers and winemakers the chance to interact directly with key industry players.
Proceeds from the event support the Cuvée Legacy Fund, which was established to fund industry-driven research initiatives and scholarships for students. More than $122,000 has been generated since CCOVI took the lead in organizing the event four years ago.
“Winning that scholarship meant all my hard work for the past three-and-a-half years came together,” said Nick Pappas (BSc’18), who won the Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence in 2018. “It is great to win a scholarship, but to win one in the industry you are entering is amazing. That money helped me finish off the last couple of courses at Brock and having that award on a resumé is just amazing.”
“Student scholarship winners talk about how proceeds from the Cuvée wine weekend support grape and wine scholarships and research initiatives”
Champions in the province’s grape and wine industry will also be showcased at the event, including the Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence and Winemaker of Excellence awards, along with the Tony Aspler Award of Excellence.
The Grand Tasting is followed by the Après Cuvée after party, which features live music from the Associates, Icewine, sparkling wine, cider and local craft beer.
The Cuvée en Route passport program will extend the wine celebration all weekend long running from March 22 to 24 at participating wineries across Niagara. A complete list of participating wineries at the Grand Tasting and en Route can be found at cuvee.ca
Tickets, which include both the Saturday night Grand Tasting and the en Route passport, are available online at cuvee.ca/tickets for $200 per person. Tickets for the en Route passport only are $30.
11 February 2019
Cuvée weekend is fast approaching and guests this year will have the opportunity to sample
the best VQA wine and food Ontario has to offer in a whole new way.
Hosted by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the
Cuvée Grand Tasting is the largest celebration of Ontario VQA wine and food of its kind. This
year’s event takes place Saturday, March 23 at Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara
Falls, with the Cuvée en Route passport program once again extending the wine celebration all
weekend long at participating wineries.
Nearly 900 people attended last year’s Cuvée Grand Tasting, with proceeds supporting
scholarships for Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture students, as well as grape and wine industrydriven
research initiatives at CCOVI.
New this year, guests can experience Cuvée using augmented reality. CCOVI has teamed up
with HoloEducate, an augmented reality company founded by students from Brock. The mobile
application LifeAR will allow guests at the Grand Tasting to view wine selections and even
purchase wine online.
Guests can download the free app before and during the Grand Tasting and then use their
phones to scan the large wine bottles found in the middle of each wine station. They’ll be able
to see a list of the wineries, which wines they’re pouring and even purchase those wines
“It will be a unique and fun experience for our guests at this year’s event, allowing them to
experience Cuvée like never before,” said Barb Tatarnic, Cuvée manager.
The LifeAR app can also be used before the event to scan the Cuvée logo to view a video of
last year’s celebration.
At the Grand Tasting, guests will enjoy culinary delights from celebrated local chefs at live
cooking stations and wines from 48 of Ontario’s top winemakers, who will present two of their
The Grand Tasting is followed by the Après Cuvée after party, which features live music from
the Associates, Icewine, sparkling wine, cider and local craft beer.
The 2019 lineup of Niagara’s best chefs at Cuvée will include:
• Backhouse Restaurant
• Bolete Restaurant
• Brushfire Smoke BBQ
• Canadian Food and Wine Institute — Benchmark Restaurant
• Chili Jiao Authentic Chinese Restaurant
• Ravine Vineyard Restaurant
• Righteous Monger
• Scotiabank Convention Centre
• The Restaurant at Redstone Winery
• Tide & Vine Oyster House
• Criveller Cakes
• Italian Ice Cream
A complete list of participating wineries can be found at cuvee.ca
Tickets that include both the Saturday night Grand Tasting and the weekend-long en Route
passport are available online at cuvee.ca/tickets for $200 per person. Tickets for the en Route
passport only can be purchased for $30.
7 February 2019
Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) continues to lead
the way for the booming cider industry with the launch of the Advanced Certificate in Cider
and Perry Production.
The advanced-level courses were unveiled Thursday, Feb. 7 by the Cider Institute of North
America (CINA) at CiderCon, an annual industry conference being held in Chicago. Brock
University joined other CINA program providers, including Cornell and Washington State
universities, in making presentations.
The addition of the advanced courses builds on Brock’s offering of CINA’s Foundation
Certificate in Cider and Perry Production offered each year by CCOVI.
“Brock University is thrilled to bring the CINA program to the Canadian market and be a key
player in driving the industry forward,” said Barb Tatarnic, CCOVI’s Manager of Continuing
Education and Outreach. “As a program provider of the Foundation and now the Advanced
level of certification, this is a critical step in setting widespread industry standards for the
rapidly growing cider and perry industry.”
In addition to being the only Canadian provider of the CINA courses, CCOVI also provides
analytical testing services to help cider makers deliver the best product possible.
“Brock played an instrumental role in developing the courses of the Advanced Certificate
program, which is the first educational accreditation for cider makers in North America,” said
Steven Trussler, the CINA-certified instructor in CCOVI’s cider program. “It builds upon the
foundation certificate with a comprehensive program that is intended to take about three
years to complete.”
To date, around 100 students have earned the Foundation Certificate in Cider and Perry
Production through CCOVI.
“CINA’s curriculum development team represents leaders in the cider industry and partner
academic institutions,” said CINA Executive Director Brighid O’Keane. “We’re pleased to
announce training opportunities for cider makers to develop their technical skills and gain
industry-recognized qualifications in cider and perry production.”
Brock University will offer the following advanced-level courses: Science and Practice of Cider
and Perry Production; GMP, Safety and Sanitation of Cider and Perry Production; Essential
Sensory Analysis of Cider and Perry; and Essential Laboratory Testing of Cider and Perry.
31 January 2019
With extreme cold weather alerts across most of the province, scientists at Brock University
are helping grape growers avoid crop loss.
As the mercury plummeted, researchers and students were already out in the vineyards
collecting grapevine buds for the VineAlert program run by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and
Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), in partnership with the Grape Growers of Ontario.
Back in the lab, scientists have been analyzing the data to track a grape bud’s ability to
survive these cold temperatures. This helps growers and wineries know when they should turn
on wind machines to protect vines from winter injury and how to manage any damage they
may have sustained.
“We are closely monitoring this extreme weather across Ontario and sampling in vineyards to
determine what impact it will have on bud survival,” said Jim Willwerth, CCOVI’s Senior
Viticulturist. “We are then able to provide that timely information to the industry to help
mitigate any impact through pruning practices and adjustments in the vineyard to reduce
Although the cold snap is set to end this weekend, the work has just begun in the cold
hardiness lab. Scientists should know within the next few weeks what sort of impact this deepfreeze
has had on crops.
Jim Willwerth, CCOVI Senior Viticulturist, is available for interviews.
8 January 2019
The Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) Lecture Series is back for its 12th
year, giving people from around the world access to Brock University’s leading grape and wine
Ten speakers from across CCOVI’s network of researchers, scientists, fellows and professional
affiliates are participating in this year’s series.
Topics will span a wide range, from the latest research on grapevine hardiness to climate
change in Canadian vineyards and the consumer psychology behind wine. The series will also
bring in two Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers from British Columbia to share their
The CCOVI Lecture Series began in 2007 and has become a highly anticipated event both
locally and for those tuning in remotely through livestreaming.
“We are pleased to once again bring the latest in grape and wine research into the hands of
grape growers and winemakers,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “Sharing knowledge and
providing outreach opportunities like the lecture series is an important part of CCOVI’s
mandate and is of tremendous benefit to our industry and our students.”
The free lectures, which are open to the public, begin Monday, Jan. 14 and take place in
room H313 of the Mackenzie Chown Complex at Brock University. The lectures are open to the
public and typically begin at 2 p.m., aside from the opening lecture Jan. 14, which will begin
The lectures can be viewed live online and can be downloaded following each event by visiting
the by visiting the CCOVI Lecture Series website.
2019 CCOVI Lecture Series:
Jan. 14: Don Cyr, Professor of Finance, Goodman School of Business, Brock University — “Who
is the natural heir to Robert Parker in the en primeur wine market?”
*Special time of 2:30 p.m.
Jan. 21: Ronald Jackson, Wine Writer and Author — “Carbonic maceration: Modern version of a
Jan. 28: Jim Willwerth, CCOVI Senior Viticulturist, Brock University — “Evaluation of plant
material as an adaptation strategy to climate change in Canadian vineyards.”
Feb. 11: Pat Bowen, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland
Research and Development Centre — “Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3: Effects on
Cabernet Franc vine performance and wine quality.”
And Carl Bogdanoff, Viticulture Biologist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland
Research and Development Centre — “Varietal differences in grapevine hardiness — buds,
canes and roots.”
Feb. 25: Sudarsana Poojari, CCOVI Senior Virologist, Brock University — “Current advances in
understanding grapevine virus diseases.”
Mar. 4: TBA
Mar. 11: Belinda Kemp, CCOVI Senior Oenologist, Brock University — “Communicating
scientific research to grape growers and winemakers.”
Mar. 18: Antonia Mantonakis, Associate Professor of Marketing, Goodman School of Business,
Brock University — “The consumer psychology behind wine choices.”
11 December 2018
‘Tis the season for gift giving, and if you’re looking to impress someone on your list, you may want to take a closer look at the label.
Brock University research has shown that choosing a wine with a picture on the bottle or one with a difficult-to-pronounce name will likely make the recipient believe you spent more money.
Antonia Mantonakis, an Associate Professor of Marketing in Brock University’s Goodman School of Business, studies how consumers perceive wines. She says wine labels can have a big impact on consumer choices.
According to her research, consumers believe a wine is more expensive and better tasting when the winery has a complicated name. If the wine label has a picture on it, people are more likely to think the wine is award-winning.
“It’s interesting how consumers perceive things,” Mantonakis said. “Something like the sound of a name can elicit a thought, and that thought can influence the perception of how something tastes.”