A Word from Bill – March 2014

At the Guild Gala this year we had the pleasure of announcing the Wine Person of the Year for 2013: Ottawa Wine and Food Festival (OWFF) Owner/Producer Joan Culliton. Joan took over ownership of what was then called the Ottawa Wine and Food show in 2008 and after her initial challenge of running the event at Lansdowne Park, she saw its return to the Ottawa Convention Centre in 2011.

The OWFF has now passed the 25- year mark and it continues to grow and evolve under Joan?s direction. She is planning a spring event in addition to the fall festival. Joan and the OWFF annually give Guild members a chance to get involved, listen and learn. Thanks for that Joan!

Past winners of this award are His Excellency, John Ralston Saul; writers Peter Ward, Michael Botner and Natalie MacLean; educators and writers Vic Harradine and Janet Dorozynski; Guild co-founder Philip Nicholson; former Ottawa Wine and Food Show owner Halina Player; Sommelier Véronique Rivest; Ottawa Citizen wine columnist Rod Phillips; Stacey Metulynsky and Sean Moher of Groovy Grapes; LCBO product consultant Natale Lofaro; and Dan Albus, MP for Okanagan–Coquihalla.

Another item of note is the 25th anniversary of the initial Expert?s Tasting event celebrating Niagara wines. The VQA Promoters Awards are presented annually at the Expert?s Tasting during Cuvée weekend. Incidentally, the first Expert?s Tasting was around the same time that the Free Trade Agreement was signed. A lot has happened in the 25 years since. Ontario wines have come a long way! I?m making a conscious effort to include more Canadian product in my cellar—they don?t take a back seat to anyone. As an Ontario winemaker once told me, “People should kiss French, but buy Niagara!” Let this be a lesson to us all.

As a last point as a reminder, when we taste our wines blind it can be a challenge to pick out the attributes of any wine and that on its own can be a challenge. It is even more challenging when there are scents around us. To that point, I?d like to ask that members refrain from wearing perfume or aftershave or lotions of any kind before or during the tasting. Just a simple rule and this will provide an environment more conducive to tasting.

Cheers, Bill Ellis, President