From the President’s Desk — November 2010

We’ve just finished a very busy weekend at the Ottawa Food and Wine Show and set a few records. This year we set for a number of sold out tasting rooms that delivered wine tasting and education to 60 people at sittings that presented between 8 and 12 wines. To do that we relied on a number of volunteers to get things in place in a short period of time. In one case we set a new record cleaning and resetting the room in 20 minutes—a new record! Many of our volunteers have been working with me for 3 years at the Lansdowne location and have become quite proficient performing the various tasks required by the speakers and presenters. I would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all of you and look forward to seeing you again next year. The Food and Wine Show is a major source of funding for the Guild and goes a long way towards offsetting the rising cost of our operations including liability insurance required for running events. I would also like to thank show owner Joan Culliton for giving us this opportunity and making our people feel welcome and appreciated.

This year the tastings were run by a group of presenters that included local wine writers, Embassy officials, industry representatives and product specialists. The observation that I made was there was a combination of wine enthusiasts and novices, but there was an increase in the number of young people that seemed intently interested in acquiring a knowledge of wine. A number of inquiries were made and again we will see our Guild grow meaning a demand for new and different events as well as continuing with monthly Vintage Pre-Release Tastings (VPRs). Your board is up to the challenge!

Speaking of events, upcoming in November is a “glass tasting”. It is a great value since not only can you taste a great array of consignment wines but you keep the glasses. At the tasting you will have the opportunity to purchase additional glassware and with Christmas around the corner it is perfect timing for the event. We will also be seeing another VPR in November and in December will have the “Festive Fizz” VPR. Our members missed this one last year and have asked that it be offered again for the holidays. The “Have Your Say” approach has been a great success at VPRs as we have been successful in offering many of the wines requested by participants in advance.

Lastly, remember that due to a busy holiday season, we have moved the Holiday Gala to January 22, 2011 at the NAC. We are working with Chef Michael Blackie to plan a stunning menu to pair with fabulous wine selections. As soon as the details are finalized we will publish them. In looking ahead we have a full slate of exciting events for 2011 so stay tuned!

Cheers,
Bill Ellis
bill.ellis@sommelierguild.com