Articles tagged with: CCOVI

  • Cuvée 2018 toasts 30 years of excellence in Ontario wine

    With the Cuvée Grand Tasting celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, organizers have pulled out all the stops to highlight the best VQA wine and food Ontario has to offer.

    Organized 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 Friday, March 23 at the 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.

    Cuvée is the most prestigious and largest celebration of Ontario wine, with more than 750 people attending last year’s gala. Proceeds from the weekend support grape and wine scholarships for Brock’s oenology and viticulture students as well as industry-driven research initiatives at CCOVI.

    Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic said the Grand Tasting allows guests to enjoy wines from 48 of Ontario’s top winemakers, and culinary delights from celebrated local chefs. Exclusive tastings will be available from up-and-coming wineries and restaurants, as well as the favourites guests have come to know and love.

    “We always strive to bring a mix of new and unique wine and culinary partners to Cuvée, as well as highlight the event’s long-standing partners,” Tatarnic said. “This year will be a true testament to that commitment, as we ring in 30 years of winemaking excellence with our best event yet.”

    Each of the 48 wineries will present two of their winemakers’ favourite wines at the Grand Tasting, offering a rare chance to learn about each selection directly from the winemaker who created it.

    Full story here

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

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  • State-of-the-art fermentation equipment for CCOVI

    Scientists at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) will be able to determine ideal fermentation conditions for a range of wine styles and varieties thanks to a new $482,000 state-of-the-art facility.

    With support from the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, CCOVI is purchasing 30 individually controlled stainless steel tanks along with a computerized glycol heating and cooling system that controls the temperature of the fermentation process occurring within each individual tank.

    This is done through a ‘jacket’ that wraps around every custom built 50-litre tank. A glycol solution pumped into the jacket can cool the tank to a low of -10°C or up to a high of 40°C.

    “The ability to manipulate fermentations on an individual basis allows us to simultaneously research the impact that different conditions have on the quality of a certain wine style or variety for effective, immediate industry uptake,” says CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis.

    The tanks and the heating and cooling system are among an impressive list of CCOVI equipment being funded by a $960,000 research infrastructure grant from Ontario’s Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, announced Monday, Jan. 8 by Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, Reza Moridi.

    This money adds onto a $960,000 Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grant awarded towards the end of last year.

    The two grants, plus contributions from industry, amount to a $2.4-million project that expands and enhances CCOVI’s fermentation, wine flavour and consumer behaviour facilities.

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  • Ontario grant helps Brock create first-of-its-kind wine consumer lab

    The Ontario Government has announced $960,000 in funding to help Brock University create the world’s first augmented reality, virtual reality and sensory reality consumer laboratory.

    The new money from the Ontario Research Fund matches a recent federal grant, and combines with support from the grape and wine industry that will enable Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) to launch the landmark facility, to be known as the R3CL.

    The Ontario grant was announced Monday, Jan. 8 by Reza Moridi, the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. The $1-million R3CL lab is part of a $2.4-million project that will greatly enhance CCOVI’s research and studies into fermentation, wine flavour and consumer behaviour.

    After making the announcement Monday, Moridi was invited to test out the virtual reality technology that will be included in the $1-million R3CL (Physical, Augmented and Virtual Reality Consumer Lab), which will be used to create a variety of environments in which people purchase and consume wines. Researchers will study how a range of factors such as sights, sounds and smells impact choice and impression of wine.

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  • CCOVI Lecture Series kicks off with tribute to industry icon Karl Kaiser

    Brock University’s annual Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) Lecture Series will be returning in January with a tribute to the late wine industry mogul Karl Kaiser.

    The CCOVI Lecture Series will begin on Monday, Jan. 15 with long-time winemaker David Sheppard giving a special presentation of Kaiser’s popular talk, “Pinot Noir: The Savage Yet Seductive Grape.”

    Sheppard is a 35-year industry veteran and winemaker at Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan Station. He also worked under the tutelage of Kaiser at Inniskillin in Niagara-on-the-Lake for 21 years, largely with a focus on the production of Pinot Noir.

    Kaiser’s lecture on the Canadian-winter-friendly red wine grape was first given at the 2008 CCOVI Lecture Series.


    Sheppard will be presenting the lecture on Monday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. in Mackenzie Chown Room H313 at Brock The lecture is free and open to the public, and it will also be livestreamed and can be viewed at

    The CCOVI Lecture Series will continue to run Monday afternoons until March 26 at the same time and location. More information about the series and the complete list of speakers will be announced in the early 2018 and can be found on the lecture series website.

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  • As cider booms, Brock’s CCOVI continues to be a key industry partner

    Grocery stores across the province are vying to be one of 95 new retailers authorized to sell cider to Ontario consumers next year. With Ontario’s thirst for cider far from quenched, Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) continues to be at the forefront of advancing the booming industry.

    CCOVI is the only institution in Canada to offer a certification in cider production through the Cider Institute of North America, and it also provides analytical testing services to help cider makers deliver the best product possible.

    CCOVI’s Continuing Education Manager Barb Tatarnic says that pairing the foundational educational program with testing services brings a holistic approach to the learning process.

    “CCOVI has been able to branch out into an industry that is important here in Niagara and all across Canada,” Tatarnic says. “By delivering the foundational learning elements and then providing the opportunity to test the finished product, we are ensuring cider makers are delivering the quality of product their communities are looking for.”



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  • CCOVI’s Fizz Club goes national as it toasts five years at Brock

    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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  • CCOVI research aims to make better red wine through improved harvesting methods

    With winter weather arriving later each year, wineries in the region are benefitting from giving late-maturing grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon increased ripening time on the vine. The challenge, however, is that hanging grapes later into the growing season can often bring them toe-to-toe with frost.

    Although the grapes themselves can survive a light frost, researchers at Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) have discovered that frozen leaves and petioles, often referred to as MOG (materials other than grapes), can impact the final wine quality.

    “As more wineries in the region opt to hang their late-maturing varieties into the late fall, you then contend with the addition of those frozen leaves and petioles in with the fruit,” CCOVI’s Andrew Reynolds explained. “When mixed with the fruit, the MOG increases the concentrations of compounds most likely responsible for an unfavourable floral or green aroma, decreased colour intensity and a bitter taste in Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.”

    Reynolds and his team began studying the impact of frozen MOG after local winemakers asked them to investigate the origin of undesirable floral characteristics appearing in red wines they’d harvested after a frost in 2015. Emily Aubie (OEVC ’13), a winemaker with a PhD in chemistry, was invited back to Brock as a post-doctoral fellow to help tackle the problem.

    After preliminary research, they discovered that wines containing the highest concentration of frozen leaves and petioles (the stem that joins the leaf to the cane) also had the highest concentration of a variety of odor-active terpene compounds.

    Armed with these findings, the team is now expanding its research to strengthen the results and examine different methods for combating the problem, both in the vineyard and the winery.

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  • University research saving Ontario vineyards one grape bud at a time

    With erratic temperatures and extreme weather events on the rise, researchers at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) are working to make vineyards across the region more resilient to climate change.

    After experiencing an unusually mild October, southern Ontario was blasted with a mass of frigid air that caused a record-breaking cold snap in early November — putting grapevines at risk for early frost injury.

    When the mercury plummeted, CCOVI researchers were already out in the vineyards collecting bud hardiness data for the VineAlert program. By also collecting data on grape bud survival rates after cold weather events, the Institute is able to give growers direction on how to manage any damage vines may have sustained.

    “Thankfully, we had some data available and it didn’t get cold enough to damage the vines based on our preliminary bud survival data,” said Jim Willwerth, CCOVI’s senior viticulturist, “but the extreme variances in temperature are especially problematic when the grapevines are early in their cold acclimation process.”

    Now in its ninth year, the VineAlert program tracks a grape bud’s ability to survive cold temperatures over the dormant season, from October to April, across Ontario’s key grape producing regions.



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  • Karl Kaiser left indelible mark on Brock University

    The Brock University community is mourning the death of a national figure and longtime associate who helped forge Brock’s leading role in grape and wine research, while also turning Niagara into a world-renowned wine region.

    Inniskillin Winery co-founder Karl J. Kaiser, an industry pioneer and a key figure behind Brock’s oenology and viticulture programs, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 22. He was 76 years old.

    Kaiser’s impact on the Niagara and Canadian wine industry is unmatched, and it was through his guidance and drive that Brock created the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and the Oenology and Viticulture (OEVI) undergraduate program in the 1990s, said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis.

    “Karl truly believed that a successful wine region needed a research institute to support it,” said Inglis. “And he was passionate about passing his knowledge on to the next generation.”

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  • Brock celebrates the ‘science of where’ on GIS Day

    Undergraduate and graduate students demonstrated how Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software can be used to visualize and analyze geographic information in order to solve the real-world problems that are the focus of their research at the annual Esri Canada Scholarship Competition.

    “The Esri Canada GIS Scholarship program aims to recognize excellence in research at institutions across Canada by supporting and encouraging students in their future work,” said Krista Amolins, Higher Education Developer and Analyst with Esri Canada, who visited Brock to hear the presentations.


    The competition was the highlight of Brock’s seventh annual GIS Day, hosted by Brock’s Map, Data & GIS Library and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies. GIS Day falls during Geography Awareness Week.

    Competitor Brian Giordano, a PhD candidate for the Centre for Biotechnology who studies the spread of West Nile virus, finds that GIS software helps him share his findings more widely.

    “Trying to explain complex analyses to the general public can be difficult,” said Giordano. “Mapping software provides a simple yet elegant way to showcase the data in a way that the general public can relate to and easily understand.”

    Brent Thorne, who is working on a master’s degree in the Department of Earth Science, believes that GIS can be applied to almost any project.

    “I’ve had the opportunity to work on an accessibility web map application and remote sensing of Niagara region vineyards, and to conduct GIS analysis on Arctic vegetation,” said Thorne, who also completed a BSc in Physical Geography at Brock. He credits his GIS courses with opening his eyes to the possibilities of GIS software.

    Thorne now shares his GIS knowledge and experience with others by posting tutorials on his YouTube channel.

    With presentations complete, Assistant Professor Kevin Turner and instructor Brodie Hague, both of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, and Colleen Beard and Sharon Janzen, both of the Map, Data & GIS Library, will meet to deliberate and choose a winner, who will be announced in mid-January.

    In addition to a cash award of $1,000, the winner will receive several of Esri’s ArcGIS products, including desktop software, an ArcGIS Developer subscription, publications, training, conference registration, and eligibility for future awards and opportunities — a value of more than $50,000. They will also be added to the gallery of recipients at

    Students, staff, and faculty interested in obtaining ArcGIS software can learn more on the Map, Data and GIS Library web page.

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