From the President's Desk – January 2011

Happy New Year! I hope all of you and your families had a great holiday season and had a chance to enjoy many good wines. This year the LCBO had a great selection of Sparkling wines and Champagnes that we had a chance to taste at the December Vintages Pre-Release (VPR). By all accounts it was the best of the year! We we will continue to run a monthly VPR in 2011. The events have attracted quite a loyal following and have for the most part been sold out.
Looking back at the Guild over the 2010 season and having spoken to quite a few of you, I am quite happy with the comments that I have received. The Guild’s success is due to the commitment of our Board and some key volunteers. This year’s Board of Directors has been able to do three things quite well.

  • Firstly, we have a VPR Team that has sole responsibility for running the event monthly. This specialization has proven to be successful in the planning and delivery of the VPRs. The “Have Your Say” approach that allows members to get involved in the wine selection for the VPR tasting has proven successful. This has provided savings to wine budgets in some cases, but sent members running to Vintages to spend in other cases.
  • Secondly, we will continue to organize diverse events. Our Premium Shiraz tasting offered hard to get wines that were accumulated over a number of years, we are assembling wine for an upcoming Premium Cabernet event. Prior to the New Zealand Wine Show we were able to organize a Guild only tasting with 10 winemakers talking to Guild members offering product not available on the show floor. We arranged a Guild only portfolio tasting of South African Wines with a winemaker guiding us through his product (at no charge I may add) and also in cooperation with the Vineyard Vixens had a Schott-Zweizel glass tasting. We look forward to arranging some equally interesting events in 2011.
  • Thirdly, we continue to deliver our Guild signature events. This summer we delivered the Mechoui for a second year with our friends at the Ottawa Slow Food Society. In August our friend and Guild Governor Gay Cook was again the perfect host at the Guild Garden Dinner Party. Our annual Guild Gala has been moved to January so that we can celebrate during a less hectic time on a Saturday night. Chef Michael Blackie has outdone himself with this year’s menu and the event is filling up quickly.

As I look ahead to 2011 I can’t help but feel excited when I look at the inventory of events that we will be offering. We have some new events like a vegetarian dinner at Zen Kitchen in February. Two of our Governors, Phil Nicholson and Steven Beckta, have helped organize two fabulous events that we will tell you about in later newsletters, one featuring Sherry the other event featuring Wine and Cheese. In 2011 we look forward to seeing more involvement from our members and Governors in the organization of our events.

All in all I believe that we had a great year in 2010 and am looking forward to a year of great tasting in 2011!

Cheers, Bill Ellis bill.ellis@sommelierguild.com