• Fizz Club on tour: Canadian sparkling winemakers are Italy bound

    14 June 2018                                                                                                                          R00126

    Fizz Club, a networking group for Canadian sparkling winemakers, is trading in its usual classroom meeting spot at Brock University for the scenic views of the Italian countryside next week.

    Thirty winemakers from four provinces will join Fizz Club organizer Belinda Kemp, a Senior Scientist in Oenology at Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), on a five-day technical tour of Italian sparkling wine facilities beginning June 25. The tour will connect the Canadian winemakers with their highly regarded colleagues and sparkling wine scientists in Franciacorta, Trentino and Conegliano.

    “We are often able to get Ontario winemakers together but to have winemakers from British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick join us is a great opportunity,” Kemp said. “Organized Fizz Club excursions like this give busy winemakers time and space to talk to each other and learn from their international colleagues.”

    To plan the tour, Kemp has been working with Niagara winemakers Craig McDonald, Vice-President of Winemaking at Andrew Peller Limited, and Elisa Mazzi, Assistant Winemaker at Malivoire Wine.

    Fizz Club was created at Brock five years ago to provide the technical foundation for the growth of Canada’s sparkling wine industry. The network has an annual meeting where the latest CCOVI research is presented and gives winemakers the opportunity to exchange practical advice on all stages of production.

    “Our region is really collegial among winemakers,” McDonald said. “We need to maintain and nurture that and Fizz Club is the greatest platform we have not only within Ontario but also nationally to do that.

    “We’re really happy and very fortunate to have a person of Belinda’s caliber involved in this. To not only have a winemaker with a PhD but to also have someone who really believes in the potential of the industry is exciting for the winemakers.”

    This marks the second time that Fizz Club has gone abroad. In 2016, Kemp led 26 Ontario winemakers on a technical tour of France’s Champagne region, where they gained insights from top producers and consultants. Mazzi was on that tour and is excited to now be showcasing her home country of Italy to her Canadian colleagues.

    “Champagne was a great opportunity for us to actually talk to winemakers, because when you just taste wine you don’t have an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes,” Mazzi said. “It’s important to understand their philosophy, see what their mentality is and what drove them to start their sparkling program.”

    As the winemakers prepare for Italy, the quality of Canadian bubbly is garnering international attention. Earlier this month, two Ontario wineries received Platinum medals with a score of 97 points for their sparkling at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards.

    Attached to this release is a photo that is free for media use. Caption: Winemakers Craig McDonald and Elisa Mazzi work with CCOVI’s Belinda Kemp (centre) to put the finishing touches on plans for Fizz Club’s trip to Italy.


    Categories: Media releases, What's happening at CCOVI

  • Brock wine researcher highlighted among international experts

    28 May 2018
    Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs

    A Brock University researcher is being lauded as one of 16 women who have made an indelible mark on the wine world.

    Belinda Kemp, a senior scientist in oenology at Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), is highlighted in the latest edition of the LCBO’s Vintages magazine in a feature about wine industry innovators from around the world.

    “The women on this list are a group of forward-thinking industry trailblazers,” says Kemp. “To be named alongside them is truly an honour.”

    Kemp was praised for being at the forefront of research on aroma and flavour in sparkling and appassimento wines. In her role at CCOVI, she splits her time between researching priorities identified by the grape and wine industry and providing outreach and support to that community.

    With a winemaking passport that includes work on three continents, it was CCOVI’s international reputation and the allure of working on research that was relevant to the industry that brought Kemp to Brock in 2013. What kept her here was the collaborative culture of local winemakers.

    “Ontario winemakers are so open to research collaboration and new ideas, and are genuinely interested and understand the value of wine research,” Kemp says. “What really kept me in Canada was when I realized winemakers were changing aspects of their winemaking based on the results of our research.”

    Kemp’s laboratory dubbed ‘The Bubble Lab’ is recognized for its leading sparkling wine research and outreach work. In addition to her research on the topic, Kemp has organized Fizz Club since its founding in 2013. The networking group of sparkling winemakers is a closed-door session that allows those in the industry to discuss triumphs and challenges in sparkling winemaking and discuss the latest research advances. When Fizz Club was established, there were fewer than 40 wineries producing sparkling wine in Ontario. Five years later, the number of producers has ballooned to 90 and winemakers from four provinces have engaged with the group’s programming.

    CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis says Kemp’s work at the institute embodies the spirit of the institute’s commitment to industry-based research.

    “In her short time in Canada, Belinda made a lasting impact on the Ontario wine industry,” Inglis says. “Her sparkling wine research and outreach work has helped shape a growing segment of Ontario’s wine production.”

    Brock University oenologist Belinda Kemp examines one of her sparkling research wines.

    Categories: Media releases

  • Graduate research opportunity: Sparkling wine flavour

    If you are interested in pursuing oenology studies at the graduate level,CCOVI researchers Belinda Kemp and Gary Pickering are recruiting a fully funded PhD student.

    Click here to learn more about the opportunity

  • Top VQA wine promoters honoured at Experts Tasting

    Media Release: 3 May 2018, R00095

    More than 125 wine writers, educators and industry professionals gathered at Brock Wednesday, May 2 for the 29th annual Experts Tasting.

    Organized by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the tasting promotes Ontario VQA wine and celebrates individuals who have made contributions to growing and promoting the grape and wine industry.

    The 2018 tasting focused on Cabernet Franc and examined the 2013 to 2016 vintages. Five flights showcased a total of 33 wines with industry experts guiding the attendees through the tasting.

    “The Experts Tasting has become a pivotal educational opportunity for guests to taste and learn alongside their peers in the industry,” said Barb Tatarnic, organizer of the event and Manager of Outreach and Continuing Education at CCOVI. “Cabernet Franc is considered one of the core varietals for this region and having the tasting showcase multiple vintages clearly showed what this variety can bring to the Ontario industry year after year.”

    The event also honours individuals who help raise the profile of Ontario wine with VQA Promoter Awards, which acknowledge individuals who celebrate, through promotion and/or education, the Ontario VQA wine industry with unselfish enthusiasm, constructive input and unsolicited promotion.

    The lifetime achievement award was presented posthumously to Ontario wine industry pioneer and winemaker Karl Kaiser by CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis.

    “There would be few in this room who would not recognize the pivotal contributions that Karl made to our VQA wine industry,” Inglis said. “From putting Canada on the map as a wine-producing nation to changing the landscape of agriculture in Niagara, he showed us what could be crafted with the grapes that we grow here. He helped drive this industry forward to be what it is today.”

    Kaiser’s daughters Andrea and Magdalena accepted the award on behalf of his family. Magdalena was also recognized for her own contributions to promoting and raising the profile of VQA wines in the promoter-at-large category, marking the first time a father and daughter have been recognized in the same year.

    When Brock grad Ivone de Marchi (BSc ’72) learned of the passing of his former lab partner Kaiser (BSc ’74) last fall, it struck a chord with him. He wanted to honour Kaiser with a portrait, and on Wednesday the painting was unveiled and then gifted to Brock to hang in Inniskillin Hall.

    CCOVI Viticulturist Jim Willwerth was recognized in the education category for the opportunities he provides grape growers and winemakers in support of Ontario VQA wines through his outreach and research work.

    The 2018 VQA Promoter Award winners in each category are:

    • Education: Jim Willwerth, CCOVI Scientist, Brock University
    • Hospitality: Sarah Scott, Manager of Dining Operations, Benchmark Restaurant
    • LCBO: Brittany Gregory, Product Consultant, LCBO Store #381, Kitchener
    • Media: André Proulx, Radio Producer and Wine Writer, Two Guys Talking Wine
    • Out-of-Ontario: Ian D’Agata, Wine Writer and Director of the International Wine Academy
    • Promoter-at-Large: Magdalena Kaiser, Director of Public Relations – Tourism and Marketing, Wine Marketing Association of Ontario
    • Retail: Tim Coons, Estate Manager, Trius Winery and Restaurant and Wayne Gretzky Estates
    • Lifetime Achievement: Awarded posthumously to Karl Kaiser, winemaker and wine industry pioneer

    2018 VQA Promoters award winners (from left): Tim Coons, retail; Andrea Kaiser on behalf of Karl Kaiser’s family, lifetime achievement; Jim Willwerth, education; Magdalena Kaiser, promoter-at-large; Brittany Gregory, LCBO; Sarah Scott, hospitality. Absent from the photo are André Proulx, media, and Ian D’Agata, out-of-Ontario promoter.

    Brock alumnus Ivone De Marchi presents CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis with the portrait he created to honour his former classmate Karl Kaiser, which will hang in Inniskillin Hall.

    Categories: Media releases, What's happening at CCOVI

  • Spring 2018 edition of the CCOVI News now available

    Click the image below to read the full newsletter and catch-up with everything that has been happening at CCOVI.


    Categories: What's happening at CCOVI

  • Inaugural Winemaker of Excellence awarded at packed Cuvée Grand Tasting

    Media Release: 26 March 2018, R00061

    The Cuvée Grand Tasting rang in a milestone 30th anniversary by bringing more than 800 guests together to celebrate excellence in the thriving Ontario wine industry.

    Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), a record crowd came to the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on Friday, March 23 to sample from the largest selection of Ontario wines under one roof and taste unique culinary dishes from local chefs.

    “The strong turnout of guests from across Southern Ontario 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 honors the talented people who work in the $4.4 billion Ontario grape and wine industry.

    The inaugural Winemaker of Excellence Award winner was Angelo Pavan, chosen in a unanimous decision for his major contributions to the industry, his commitment to excellence and his mentorship to winemakers across Canada.

    Pavan, Vice-President, Winemaker and Founding Partner at Cave Spring Cellars, is known for his encyclopedic understanding of viticulture in Niagara. He was among the first in the province to work with numerous grape varieties and was a pioneer in the quest to improve wine quality and sustainability in vinifera varieties.

    “It is humbling to be the first recipient of this great award,” said Pavan. “It validates the passion, time, effort and commitment of over 30 years dedicated to this great wine growing region and having participated in its evolution to international recognition.”

    Pavan is also a founding member and Chair of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Standards Development Committee and has played a key role in determining the most suitable winemaking practices applicable in Ontario. As the founding Chair of the International Riesling Experience, held in conjunction with CCOVI, Pavan has also been instrumental in solidifying Niagara’s place as one of the world’s pre-eminent Riesling producing regions.

    Teamwork and collaboration is also key to success, he stressed, adding “to be successful and to be acknowledged for your work, one needs to contribute to the industry at large and not just your own operation.”

    This year’s Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award went to Albrecht Seeger, an eighth-generation grape grower in Niagara-on-the-Lake and sitting member on the Ontario Grape and Wine Research Technical Committee. Sponsored by BASF Canada Inc., the award recognizes a grape grower who promotes excellence in vineyard practices.

    “BASF believes that we achieve excellence not just by using current practices to their fullest potential, but by looking for new innovations to continuously improve and evolve,” said Scott Hodgins, Crop Manager, Horticulture for BASF Canada Inc. “The Vineyard of Excellence Award provides the opportunity to celebrate others in the industry who do the same.”

    Alongside his wife Anja Bertelmann, Albrecht maintains a sprawling 150-acre vineyard of premium Vitis vinifera grape varieties and has made viticulture his life’s work. He is dedicated to being a grape grower in Ontario, which he calls “one of the best regions in the world to grow grapes.”

    CCOVI Senior Scientist Jim Willwerth said Seegar is “truly deserving of the Vineyard of Excellence Award.”

    “His vineyard is meticulously managed right down to the finest detail,” Willwerth said. “Albrecht strives to produce grapes of the highest quality destined for world class wine and this was demonstrated in every way throughout the evaluation process.”

    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 Sue-Ann Staff. She is a fifth-generation Niagara grape grower and internationally recognized winemaker who has won some of the most respected wine competitions in the world. Staff worked for several Niagara wineries before creating her own eponymous facility, and Tony Aspler said she has since become an “articulate ambassador for the Ontario wine region on the international stage.”

    Cuvée also celebrates the next generation of winemakers and grape growers by providing scholarships to Brock University Oenology and Viticulture students through the Cuvée Legacy Fund.

    The Cuvée Scholarship winners are:

    • Cuvée Hosting Award for Academic Excellence: Grant McKinnon
    • Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence: Nick Pappas
    • Cuvée Award for Academic Excellence in OEVC: Carol McLennan
    • Cuvée Graduate Scholarship: Andréanne HébertHaché

    “We are pleased to provide these funding opportunities and industry recognition for the very deserving students of Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture program,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “The Cuvée Grand Tasting is a full-circle celebration of excellence in our industry, honoring the best and brightest in the business today, and looking forward to those who will shape the industry in the future.”

    Donald Ziraldo, right, presents Angelo Pavan, Vice-President, Winemaker and Founding Partner at Cave Spring Cellars, with the inaugural Cuvée Winemaker of Excellence Award Friday, March 23 in Niagara Falls.

    More than 800 guests took part in the 30th anniversary edition of the Cuvée Grand Tasting Friday, March 23 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls.

    Categories: Media releases

  • Tickets selling fast for Ontario’s biggest VQA celebration

    MEDIA RELEASE: 19 march 2018 –R00057

    The wines have been chosen and Ontario’s top winemakers are ready to pour their favourites this Friday, March 23 at the 30th annual Cuvée Grand Tasting.

    Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the Cuvée Grand Tasting takes place at Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls 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 of Ontario’s best and brightest VQA wineries on hand this year pouring two of their winemakers’ favourite wines for our guests to enjoy,” said Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic. “Local chefs will also be serving our guests a variety of tantalizing culinary options that are sure to excite every palate as we celebrate this 30-year milestone.”

    As well as providing the opportunity to showcase VQA wines to consumers, Cuvée also provides future grape growers and winemakers the chance to interact directly with key industry players.

    The event generated

    more than $37,000 for the fund in 2017 alone.

    “Winning the Graduate Scholarship last year was a tremendous honour and the recognition amongst elite contributors to the wine industry was quite surreal,” said Brock PhD candidate Jennifer Kelly, a beneficiary of the Cuvée Legacy Fund. “It’s such a fun event and offers a unique opportunity for students to access people they may otherwise never have a chance to meet. It also allows everyone to connect with industry friends who are rarely all in one place.”

    Champions in the province’s wine industry will also be showcased at the event, including the first-ever Winemaker of Excellence award. The winner will be announced live before the evening’s popular Après Cuvée begins. Guests are then invited to dance the rest of the

    Proceeds from the event support the Cuvée Legacy Fund, which was established to fund

    industry-driven research initiatives and scholarships for students.

    evening away to live music from local band The Associates, as well as sample Icewine, sparkling wine, cider and local craft beer selections.

    The Cuvée en Route passport program will extend the wine celebration all weekend long running from March 23 to 25 at participating wineries across Niagara. A complete list of participating wineries at the Grand Tasting and en Route can be found at

    Tickets, which include both the Friday night Grand Tasting and the en Route passport are available online at for $200 per person. Tickets for the en Route passport only are $30.

    For those attending the Grand Tasting, a free shuttle service will be available to bring guests from the Scotiabank Convention Centre parking lot right to the front doors.

    NOTE: Media interested in attending Cuvée Friday are asked to RSVP as soon as possible to Media Relations Officer Dan Dakin below.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

    Brock oenology and viticulture student, Genevieve Dublow, is among the numerous student volunteers who participate in Cuvée by working directly with the industry’s top winemakers during the Grand Tasting. This year’s Cuvée event is taking place Friday, March 23 at Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls.

    – 30 –

    Categories: Media releases

  • Winter 2018 edition of the CCOVI News now available!

    Click the image below to read the full newsletter and catch-up with everything that has been happening at CCOVI!

    Categories: What's happening at CCOVI

  • 2018 CCOVI News

    2018 Winter Edition 
    2018 Spring Edition
    2018 Summer Edition 
    2018 Fall Edition

    Categories: CCOVI Newsletters, What's happening at CCOVI

  • Brock set to share cutting-edge wine research with return of CCOVI Lecture Series

    MEDIA RELEASE: 10 JANUARY 2018 –R00006

    Wine aficionados from around the world can soak up Brock University’s leading grape and wine research as the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) Lecture Series returns for its 11th year.

    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 debate over screw cap versus cork closures on wine bottles, to why we buy certain sparkling wines and the latest research on cold hardiness, leaf removal impacts and extracting polyphenolics during ice syrup production.

    The series has become a highly anticipated event both locally and for those accessing the lecture remotely through livestreaming capabilities. In 2017, the CCOVI Lecture Series garnered more than 1,200 views from 51 countries around the world.

    “We are pleased to once again bring the latest in grape and wine research from the lab to the classroom,” 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 series will begin Monday, Jan. 15 with a special presentation of the late Karl Kaiser’s popular talk, “Pinot Noir: The savage yet seductive grape,” by Flat Rock Cellars winemaker David Sheppard.

    Having worked predominantly on Pinot Noir production alongside Kaiser at Inniskillin makes Sheppard uniquely qualified to pay tribute to the industry icon though sharing his still-relevant lecture with a new audience.

    “Being able to once again share Karl Kaiser’s lecture and record it for future generations to access is so exciting,” said Inglis. “He was a gifted educator and there is no better way to pay tribute to his life’s work than beginning our lecture series by educating a new generation.”

    The free lectures start at 2 p.m. every Monday and will take place in room H313 of the Mackenzie Chown complex at Brock University. Paid parking is available in the nearby Lot E. The lectures will also be available to watch online by visiting

    For more information and to see archived lecture videos, visit the CCOVI Lecture Series website.

    2018 CCOVI Lecture Series:

    Jan. 15:  David Sheppard, Winemaker, Flat Rock Cellars
    “Pinot Noir: The savage yet seductive grape.”

    Jan. 22: Janet Dorozynski, Trade Commissioner, Canadian Wine, Beer, Spirits and Tourism at Global Affairs Canada
    “Promoting Canada internationally through wine and food.”

    Jan. 29: Belinda Kemp, CCOVI Senior Oenologist, Brock University
    How method, timing and severity of leaf removal impacts Cabernet franc wine flavour.”

    Feb. 5: Ronald Jackson, Wine Writer, Author
    “Get corked (the intricacies of cork closures and their alternatives).”

    Feb. 12: Annette Nassuth, Associate Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences, University of Guelph
    “Do grapes SCREAM for frost tolerance?”

    Feb. 26: Jim Willwerth, CCOVI Senior Viticulturist, Brock University
    “Effects of abscisic acid form, concentration and application timing on grapevine cold hardiness.”

    Mar. 5: George Soleas, President and CEO at LCBO

    Mar. 12: Tek Thongpapanl, Professor of Marketing and Product Innovation,
    Marketing, International Business & Strategy, Goodman School of Business, Brock University
    “Why we buy the sparkling wine that we buy.”

    Mar. 19: Baozhong Meng, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph
    “Grapevine viruses, their impact and their distribution in Ontario.”

    Mar. 26: Jeff Stuart, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, Brock University
    “Sweet, sticky, and healthy — using metabolomics to develop a ‘green’ protocol for extracting resveratrol and other polyphenolics from the waste pomace of ice syrup production.”


    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

     Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

    – 30 –

    Flat Rock Cellars Winemaker David Sheppard, left, with the late Karl Kaiser. Sheppard will kick off the 2018 CCOVI Lecture Series Monday, Jan. 15 by giving a talk originally presented by Kaiser titled “Pinot Noir: The savage yet seductive grape.”

    Categories: Media releases, What's happening at CCOVI