As wine consumers begin pondering which bottle of bubbly to serve this holiday season, 40 winemakers from across Canada gathered at Brock University to swap secrets for making the best sparkling wine.
The fifth anniversary of the annual Fizz Club, organized by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), took place Thursday, Dec. 7 in Inniskillin Hall.
Restricted to sparkling winemakers only, the sold-out event allowed those in the industry to discuss triumphs and challenges and to learn about new research projects taking place at CCOVI and around the world.
The theme this year was From Field to Fizz, which took a vine-to-glass approach for the first time by including research and discussions on both viticulture practices and winemaking, including CCOVI research on leaf removal, clones and soil type trials and their impact on sparkling wine quality.
CCOVI senior oenologist Belinda Kemp, who has been organizing the event since its inception in 2013, said she is excited by how much the event has grown. “When we started this, there were fewer than 40 wineries making sparkling in the province and most of the winemakers who attended Fizz Club were based in Niagara,” she said. “Five years later, the event continues to sell out and we have winemakers coming from all across Canada, which is fantastic.”
The growth in popularity of Fizz Club is reflective of the massive growth in the sparkling wine industry. As Kemp pointed out, the number of wineries with a sparkling wine program in Ontario has ballooned to 90 and is constantly increasing. This year’s Fizz Club drew in attendees from across Ontario as well as B.C. and Nova Scotia.
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