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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Faux Voix Wine Investigations Unit Finishes a Very Exciting -- and Exacting -- Year in 2008

TRAWNA -- (GOSH Wine News Services) -- GOSH folks, we're here to celebrate!  Welcome to 2009 ..The Faux Voix VinCuisine Wine Investigations Unit has finished a very exciting -- and exacting -- year in 2008.


We've broken more stories than any other wine source on the Internet..


We've dealt with many sources who have spoken to us off the record because they are familiar with the situations, and spoke to us on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while being very close to the centre of discussions. And besides, they lost their dark glasses and didn't want to be shot at.


We have collectively called them all Miffed Mole.


Top reporters who have worked for us included Moe Mentum and Brett Grimsby. Moe, I'm afraid, may no longer be with us...


A Superior Court judge yesterday ordered GOSH Wine News reporter Moe Mentum to cease reporting on negotiations between the LCBO and the industry. The judge had issued the publication ban even though neither the LCBO nor the industry had requested it. An industry spokesperson said: "We love Moe..he's got the real goods from his unnamed sources." The LCBO simply referred to Moe as a bothersome gnat, but did not want to take away his right to free speech. The judge apparently believed that Mentum's reporting had a chilling effect on any discussions.


Meanwhile, Mentum and Grimsby helped to break the following stories, all of which are still on the Faux Voix VinCuisine blog site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. If you missed any, check them out:


-The LCBO knows the location of every bottle of alcoholic beverage in Ontario


-The New Coalition is to take on the LCBO


-Constellation Brands buys Peller Estates for its wine stores, promises to take on the LCBO for wine sales.


-LCBO motto contest


-Repatriation of Vincor


-Niagara Frontier catches on fire with disgruntled  grape growers.


-Wine Writers Circle welcomes geezers with its Vieilles Vignes membership category.


-Hidden study reveals that corks are dead at LCBO, to be replaced by twist tops.


-Melamine found in "Cellared in Canada" wines imported from China.


-LCBO to license wine writers in Ontario


-LCBO song contest produces a variant of "Y-M-C-A"


-Federal Conservative Party campaign promise to rescind 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Beverages Act


-Ontario wine now available at The Beer Store


-Vieux Beaujolais Cougar wine will arrive November 19, 2008


-LCBO to go 24/7 in time for Christmas


-Canadian zombie gene isolated, to be spliced into Canadian grapes.


-Vincor to release high end wines in tetra paks


-Wines to be sold at Farmers' Markets in Toronto


-Ontario licensed wine writers to receive 10% discount for wine purchases.



Look for more exciting – and exacting – stories in 2009!! That's a promise. We're working on a dozen or more, filing our FOI requests, mining our Miffed Moles. Guaranteed to create a special PNG status…


Chimo!  www.deantudor.com



Friday, December 19, 2008

LCBO wants Tudor to work over the Holiday Season

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – The LCBO today chastised Dean Tudor for taking two weeks off at Christmas and New Year's.


Said a spokesperson for the LCBO, A Crown Corporation, "He can't do that! We need him to keep us honest, to bounce ideas off of for the future possibilities of life in Ontario. We're 24/7 via the Internet, we're only shut down on Christmas Day and the legal holidays…Why can't he?"


In response, Tudor asserts: "I need time to be with my family and to rest my palate – I've been exposed to over 3,000 wines this year, and I need time off."


In an email message received from the LCBO, the Board said: "That's not enough…Look how active we are, how much we do. Why does he need all that time away? He's the lifeblood of criticism of our policies…We desperately need an adversary at this time of year, especially when the economy is tanking."


Tudor replied: "I need more time to work through and develop my thoughts on the critical issues facing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Ontario. I need to re-charge my batteries before going up against the alphabet soup of LCBO-VQA-WCO-OVA-WPA. I'm not supposed to say this, but the industry has asked me to come up with a bailout plan, to take advantage of the $30 billion that the Harper Regime will bribe us with…"


More on this development as it occurs, and watch if Tudor goes from BFF to PNG (and how long it takes to change)…



Saturday, December 13, 2008

LCBO knows the location of every bottle of alcoholic beverage in Ontario

QUEENS PARK – (GOSH Wine News Services) --  The Provincial Auditor today confirmed that the LCBO, A Crown Corporation, knows the location of every single bottle of alcoholic beverage in Ontario, from the time it enters the province to the time it leaves. And this includes all the bottling lines within the province.


The Auditor also confirmed that the LCBO super software can track liquid levels in the bottle and the absolute rate of depletion. In addition, the empty bottles continue to be tracked through the recycling process.


The Privacy Act, though, prohibits the LCBO from knowing "who" is holding the bottle.


How the public found about the bottle tracking is a story in itself.


Ontarians were stunned last month when it was revealed that the super LCBO software crashed when the TSX crashed. When the LCBO computers rebooted, administrators were shocked to discover that there were over 120 SKUS of pre-phylloxera Bordeaux wines in the Durham warehouse. This represented several thousands of cases of wines, all in wooden boxes and smelly straw.


According to the Ontario Archives, these wines were purchased by the Ontario Government in 1880, and kept in relatively good condition over the past 130 years. Investigative wine reporter Moe Mentum dug out all of this data, and became involved with the major tracking story when he discovered that the computer systems were busy synthesizing the pre-phylloxera material using special tracking formulae. He turned his data over to the Provincial Auditor for further analysis, and this led directly to the major story.


Unfortunately, because of this fall's economic downturn, nobody is able to afford the re-discovered wines. And Mr. Mentum found out that apparently the Accounting Department at the LCBO did not factor in any storage fees. This precluded any possibility of the LCBO making money on the products and showing a profit for the good people of Ontario, A Have-Not Province.


More on this story of economic woes as it develops…stand by for special LCBO wine auctions in 2009…




Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Coalition to Take on LCBO; announcmeent expected Monday Dec 8


TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – At a stunning announcement to be made at a Press Conference called for Monday December 8 at noon in front of the Queen's Park Legislative Assembly building, the Wine Council of Ontario, the Ontario Viniculture Association, the Wine Producers' Association, The Beer Store, the newly formed Churchill Cellars Stores (with the just merged Vineyard Estates stores and The Wine Rack stores), plus the Colio Estates stores and all the farmgate tasting-room stores of all the fruit and grape wineries of Ontario will promulgate their COALITION (Committee for Alternative Liquor in Toronto, in Ontario, and into the North) to wrest control of sales from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.


The groups had earlier approached the GMG (Grate McGinty) to propose alternative distribution systems for the dissemination of alcoholic beverages in Ontario. And to their great surprise, he agreed. "The time has come," he said, "for the private sector to propose alternative ways of doing business. This PPP (public-private-partnerships) is an ideal situation. The numbers crunch. The good people of Ontario will see the price of alcohol come down, and the revenues to the provincial coffers will increase."


The immediate question was what to do with the LCBO, A Crown Corporation within the province of Ontario, A Have-Not Province. It was suggested by a source -- who was familiar with the announcement and the meeting with the GMG but who also wishes to retain anonymity because he was involved with the necessary activities that led up to the announcement -- that the larger stores could be turned into shopping malls and condos, which would allow them to continue to show a slight but none-the-less appreciated  profit for the public coffers.


The smaller LCBO stores would continue to be boutique operations, offering Vintages Products, which represent some 8% of the total operation of the former LCBO and 92% of the headaches. The LCBO is unfortunately mired down in many programs of Vintages delivery, and this has contributed to the COALITION's grab for power. The LCBO would retain such programs as Internet Sales, Vintages, Vintages Online, Classics Catalogue, Classics Online, Vintages Essentials, Vintages Insider's Direct Sales, Vintages Holiday Sales, Vintages Holiday Fizz Sale, Vintages Special Air Miles Promotion Sales, Monthly Vintages Air Miles Promotion Sales, InStore Discoveries, Vintages Limited Time Offers, Classics Limited Time Offers, Rapid Release Program, Go-to-Market Program, Craft Winery Program, plus the various Delist Opportunities, InStore Disappearances, and coin operated washrooms. The Vintages Auctions Program will be re-evaluated in light of the economic downturns; many safe items such as Australian cask wines and imported tetrapaks did not even make their opening bids.


A response is anticipated from the LCBO after the head office staff return from their policy sessions.


At the Press Conference, the Federal Government is also expected to announce that Santa Claus has been exempted from the 1928 Act that prohibits carrying alcohol across provincial boundaries.


Pierogies, the new buzzword in food products, will be served. More on this and other stories as they relate to the COALITION's power struggles with the LCBO when they develop…




Sunday, November 30, 2008

GOSH: Constellation Brands buys Peller; merges wine store oprations...



VIAGARA FAILS – (GOSH Wine News Services) – At a stunning Press Conference to be made tomorrow jointly at Viagara Fails, ON and Niagara Falls, NY, Constellation Brands, A Constellation Company, will announce the purchase of Andrew Peller Ltd by Vincor Canada, A Constellation Company.


A senior official familiar with the two companies, and speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge specific details, commented on this announcement. He said that their only motive was to get the Vineyards Estate Wines stores and boutiques in Ontario. "With these stores, we can now be a tower of strength and compete wine sales with the LCBO, A Crown Corporation."


Apparently, the existing wine properties will be sold off by public auction, said the source, although a deal with Diamond Estates, Not A Constellation Company, is also in the works. Distribution rights to all of the Peller wines would remain with Vincor, A Constellation Company. Liquors and beers are not affected by this new development; they will continue to be sold through the LCBO, A Crown Corporation, and The Beer Store, Not A Crown Corporation.


There are 165 Wine Rack stores in the Vincor, A Constellation Company, portfolio. With Vineyards Estate Wines, there will be about 250, at a critical mass to take on the LCBO's 600 stores.


The strategy is to merge the Wine Rack and Vineyard Estates stores and rename them after the existing wine agency, Churchill Cellars Ltd. Constellation Brands apparently has the numbers and clout, say the retail marketing experts, to put up larger numbers in the table wine business than the LCBO, A Crown Corporation.


"With their combined agency and winery skills, the retail stores of Churchill Cellars Ltd. should be able to offer all the Vincor, Peller, imported Australian, American – and other international wines - that Constellation Brands own or otherwise distribute throughout the world. These products can be vended through the CCL stores, at a lower price than the LCBO is currently asking", says the source familiar with the ins and outs of the international liquor retail and wholesale business.


At the same time, Churchill Cellars Ltd. will continue to sell their wines to licensees and private customers. It will become a multi-faceted company engaging both the public and the private sector. Ontario, A Have-Not Province, Premier Grate McGinty welcomes this new development in the PPP [public-private partnership] spectrum. He said: "With the economy tanking these days, we need to look at new developments through innovative thinking. Enough revenue can be generated from this PPP to more than offset any losses at the LCBO. It also answers those critics who lament a lack of private ownership in the alcohol beverage business in Ontario, A Have-Not Province."


Neither the Wine Council of Ontario nor the Ontario Viniculture Association had any printable comments to make.


The LCBO, A Crown Corporation, has not responded to any emails on this matter, although an anonymous source in their accounting department has said that they have been well aware of the Peller purchase for some time. Everybody in the accounts section had worked 24/7 all week long on restating and resolving the dollar and mark-up numbers. A press conference is expected later this week.


More on this story as it develops…You betcha…



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Wine Sales: reports from the field

I'm hearing reports from some wine agents that "Consignment" product sales to licensees are dropping, and that expensive wine sales are down. There are  even requests being made of some restaurants to pay their invoices as they order, so the agent won't be stuck with the bills after the restaurant inevitably closes or declares bankruptcy in January or February of 2009...
Distressing. Unstable economic conditions are causing havoc throughout the wine world, with top cru wines selling for half their September values.
Does anybody have hard figures from the recent Vintages auction? I saw a display advert in the Globe announcing a SECOND auction of presumably unsold product: Dec 6 and 7 are the dates. Will they sell?
Two recent art auctions crashed. Sotheby's Canada-Ritchies only had 60 % of its lots sold, and sold 66% by value. The Joyner Waddington sale of Nov 25 was less than half the sale of November 2007; they said 36% of their lots went unsold.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Letter from Steve Kocsis of Mountain Road Winery, VQA Ontario re: rotting grapes in Ontario

Letter from Steve Kocsis of Mountain Road Winery, VQA Ontario:

Dear Kathy, Bill and Debbie,

As thousands of tons of Ontario grapes are thrown to the ground
to rot the Government of Ontario throws a bone for starving dog grape
growers and farm based wineries to fight over. The bone is barely enough to
feed a few, but hundreds will snarl and bite fighting to get a mouthful.

The cowardice of the GGO to confront the government on the real
issue of market access for 100% Ontario wine is to be expected from a
chained dog that heels to the jerk of its owner, the Government of Ontario.
Sit, beg, roll over, here is another bone for you to gnaw on but the meat
goes somewhere else.

The WCO is similarly chained to the Government of Ontario in
their pact to protect the current monopoly (Triopoly) of the LCBO, Vincor
and Andre's. They have three chains around their neck if you count the
Cellared in Canada giants' veto power at WCO. Their mandate is to market
imported and blended wines under the halo effect of VQA wines and the happy
faces of Ontario grape growers slowly starving to death but too proud to
show it on their faces.

The all time award for hypocrisy goes to the Government of
Ontario for pillaging the grape and wine industry wearing the hood of the
Green Belt to make it seem benign, greenwashing the economic bloodbath
taking place in wine country. Farmers and farm wineries are going into debt
review and bankruptcy and fire sale mode but no one dares speak the truth at
the peril of losing the work of a lifetime or perhaps the work of multiple
generations of lifetimes.

The government's cowardice to face the LCBO unions is
monumental. Their self-serving greed to build and maintain an overpaid and
under worked bureaucracy only mirrors the total lack of integrity that has
become the corporate culture of both the LCBO and Government of Ontario.

Ontario grapes rotting on the ground while the shelves are
filled with imported and imported/blended wines; shame on us all for not
taking to the streets with pick axes and WD-40 ing up the guillotines.

There is a solution, however, that is obvious.

Why not let the government create a monopoly to retail cars to
the public, making sure that only foreign cars are displayed on the car lot.
After all, cars are the most dangerous product on the market, they kill
thousands a year. Only the Car Control Board of Ontario (CCBO) is qualified
to sell this dangerous product to the public. Once they have pigged out at
this new trough, perhaps the right of Canadian farmers to take their product
to market guaranteed by the British North America Act could be reinstated.

All I want to do is grow grapes, make wine, take it to market
and make a living from the land. The only roadblock is the LCBO and the
Government of Ontario and their co-opted industry associations purportedly
representing our interests.

Steve Kocsis

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Newspaper Wine Writing in Toronto

Apparently, the lineage allocated to wine writing in the Toronto newspaper world has shrunk dramatically over the past four months.
* The writer at the Globe and Mail seems to be making only cameo appearances.
* The writer at Metro has apparently moved to Metro online.
* The writer at the Star has had his Vintages coverage cut back.
* The writer at the Sun doesn`t seem to be in every week, and writes a smaller column than before,
* The writer at the National Post used to cover six wines or so, and lately has been cut back to three wines.
* The writer at Now is less featured, and while there are still three items being covered, there is less display space available.
* The Wine Ladies at 24 Hours now only answer just one question.
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I`d say the same fellow was writing all of the wine articles for all of the six newspaper outlets -- there are so few words being published that one wine writer can handle them all!
Any thoughts I can post, send them in...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Vieux Beaujolais Cougar Wine Will Arrive Nov. 19, 2008

BEAUJOLAIS – (GOSH Wine News Services) – In a revealing press conference to be called in just a few hours, Drowsy LaBeef Wines will announce a new Beaujolais in their Fall line-up. To be called Vieux Beaujolais, it will be sold annually on the Wednesday immediately preceding the release of Beaujolais Nouveau. This year, that'll be November 19, 2008


A senior Beaujolais official familiar with these activities, and speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge specific details, commented that when faced with warehoused stock and returned wines, LaBeef developed an idea for a mature Beaujolais for today's lifestyles. At the same time, to enhance sales, the company has pounced on the New World marketing values, and has created a "critter" for the label: a Brazilian cougar, in a three-dimensional motif. Advance press notice from the UK shows some intense excitement.


One Brit wine writer was provided an advanced sample, and raved about the wine. She said: "the penetrating initial entry quickly leads to a mouthfilling rush of pleasurable mature gamey – er, Gamay – fruit that explodes with orgasmic intensity at the end. Sustainable finish, aided by a very long length."  


Many North American wine writers are doubtful about the value of this wine, and are adopting a wait-and-see attitude. Early sample tastings show that neither the sustainable finish nor the long length travels very well across the ocean. "Pity", said one Canadian writer, who said that otherwise she was looking forward to it. She went on to say that "Nouveau is so young, so premature, so short, so 'over and done with' quickly. It's only worth – what's the word? Early e…ejac…?  No, early expectoration"


This country's wine bloggers, who are, by and large, under the age of 30, are drooling at the thought that the Cougars will "arrive in style", to be tasted at bars and parties. They don't mind the short finish or the diminished length. One said: "We're used to it, happens all the time."


A special promotion by the LCBO will ensure that its mature status lasts beyond Christmas, unlike the Nouveau. Early marketing indications are that it will outsell Beaujolais Nouveau.


More on this story as the Cougars play out…


Chimo!  www.deantudor.com


Sunday, November 9, 2008

LCBO to go 24/7 in time for Christmas? Rumours fly...

One of my favourite moles in the LCBO Accounting Department is working with a study team to find a way to be accessible to the public 24/7. There's no problem with the website -- it's just with the stuff you pour.
One of the major problems is the employee pay for non-standard time: where to get the money? The main idea they are working on is to INCREASE the price of alcohol by 10% -- if you buy it between the hours of midnight and 8 AM. This seems reasonable, and the idea is being selectively leaked to a variety of informants to see how the public reacts.
It is hoped that the concept will be ready by December 1, just in time for the annual Christmas splurge.
Initially, there will only be four stores in the GTA open 24/7, but if the idea flies, then within a week there will be others in the larger urban districts of Ontario. I understand that they will eventually extend this 24/7 option to The Beer Store by December 20, but will close down the bottle return function during those night hours. To maximize their own revenues, the LCBO will NOT allow winery stores or winery tasting rooms to be open 24/7.
In a response from the temperance movement, a spokesperson said: "24/7 should mean, at least to us, that the LCBO is only open 24 hours a week, and then for only 7 months of the year. This is a disgrace...".
The Slow Food movement had no comment as their policy is always to wait and see.
Wine writers were anticipating that LCBO lab tastings, which may involve almost 200 products, may now begin at 6 AM and close by Noon.
Restaurateurs were hopeful that alcoholic beverages may soon be served at breakfast and at early brunches.
More on this as it develops, but be prepared for the usual LCBO denials.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Winery Questions are being raised and asked of the LCBO

Winery issues to be resolved in Ontario?
1) why is there an environmental levy charged when a bottle deposit applies?
2) why are wineries required to pay taxes on tasting samples?
3) why are small wineries audited by Federal Excise Tax when no taxes will be paid?
4) why are small wineries audited by LCBO to the last half litre of wine when larger wineries are apparently not?
5) why are public funds used to produce the Official Winery Map when only Wine Council members appear on the map?
6) why are all 100% Ontario wines not eligible to be sold through licensees (restaurants and hotels) at the same tax rate as VQA wines?
7) why are all 100% Ontario wines not eligible for the government rebate on sales through LCBO?
8) why can't wineries sell their wines at approved Farmers' Markets as in Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick?
9) by extension, why can't wineries sell their products at various food-oriented consumer shows?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Canadian Zombie Gene isolated, to be spliced into Canadian grapes

VIAGRA FAILS – (GOSH News Services) – Scientists at Vineland Research Station today announced that they have isolated the Canadian Zombie gene.


This DNA product, responsible for so many Canadian somnolent activities, will begin to be available for genetically-modified grapes in an attempt to calm down the hot – the very hot – "Cellared in Canada" wine program.


To quote Harley Crusted, owner of the vast Pandemic ("we source grapes from everywhere") Winery: "This is a boon to the Ontario wine industry. With this GM grape, we can not only solve the woes of the Canadian auto industry, but we can further stretch our supplies of the "Cellared in Canada" program. As I understand it, the zombie gene will only be spliced into those grapes that we use for this program. We won't dicker with the VQA grapes – they're our bread and butter and cannot be staked. The zombie has eluded us for many vintages, but at last it is within our grasp!"


When asked to explain why the gene was developed, a senior government administrative researcher, who did not want to be named because s/he was a source too familiar with the activities, said:


"Well, we thought that the "Cellared in Canada" wine program was setting the country on edge, creating a bit of a buzz and ADD. After all, in certain years, these wines can be 99% by volume from a hot Latin country, and that can lead to all kinds of crazy things. You know how stirred up those revolutionaries can be. The wine appeared to be making people sit up and take notice of their surroundings. We thought it was time to calm things down a little, to placate the people, to return them to responsible citizenship. The Canadian zombie gene, unique to this country, is the appropriate carrier in returning citizens to sensibilities and responsibilities."


An accelerated production program with more vineyard workers means that this gene can be spliced in time for the 2009 harvest. Ironically, this will now mean full employment for Canadian zombies…


More on this story after Hallowe'en…



Saturday, October 25, 2008

GOSH: Vincor to release high end wines in tetra paks

NIAGARA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – In a stunning decision reluctantly announced today by Vincor, A Constellation Company, it appears that The Grand Closer Dan will soon be available in tetra paks. The wine, slated to be released in the Classics Catalogue in November, will retail for $65 (Chardonnay) and $70 (Pinot Noir) a 750 mL carton, making it the highest priced carton available anywhere on the planet. The words "blanc" and "rouge" will appear on the appropriate label. The LCBO, A Crown Corporation, dissatisfied with the slowness of the greening of Ontario wineries, has stated that Vincor, A Constellation Company, should make a better corporate Canadian statement about being green.


A spokesperson for the LCBO, A Crown Corporation, said: "The sustainable environment of the recycling climate must be a commitment. If Vincor, A Constellation Company, can produce "Cellared in Canada" product in tetra paks, and if their partner Boisset, La Famille Des Grands Vins, can do the same with French PlayBunny, then together they could make a high end wine to kick start the green wine movement in Ontario. We owe it to the good people of Ontario, A Have Not Province."


As an added enticement to Vincor, A Constellation Company, the LCBO, A Crown Corporation, has allowed declassified Dan to be offered as a rose blend, called Fausse Danielle. It too would be in tetra paks, retailing at about $25 a carton.


When asked to comment on why Vincor, A Constellation Company, is doing this green release, another spokesperson for the LCBO, A Crown Corporation, replied: "Because we asked them to. Plain and simple."  Top officials at Vincor, A Constellation Company, remained tip-lipped, and would not speak to the media.


More as this story develops…


Saturday, October 18, 2008

GOSH: Investigative wine journalist reveals shocking news about the "Cellared in Canada" program.

GOSH: Investigative wine journalist reveals shocking news about the "Cellared in Canada" program.


TORONTO –  Last week's revelation from Health Canada and the LCBO that high levels of melamine were found in "Cellared in Canada" red wines (Lot Number #A100F) sent top wine investigative reporter Moe Mentum off to dig deeper. He asked: what was melamine doing in bulk wine? He found that the same lot number was used by every one of the many wineries in the "Cellared in Canada" program. Apparently, while lot numbers on imported wines are constantly being surveyed, noted, scrutinized, and commented on, nobody had ever thought to cross-check the lot numbers on the "Cellared in Canada" wines.


As we all know, "Cellared in Canada" product is allowed to be a minimum of 70% imported wine, but its contents could go as high as 99% imported wines. So long as it has 1% "Canadian content" it can be called "Product of Canada" and not be classified as imported wine.


In a stunning discovery, Moe Mentum found that the melamined wine could be traced directly to a night-tanker from China which had slipped into a quay on the West Coast. This quay also serves as the main entry for all bulk wines from abroad. It was this tanker that provided the wine for lot #A100F. Since every "Cellared in Canada" red wine had the same lot number for this tanker, Mr. Mentum did the math, cross-checked all the other lot numbers with other tankers, and concluded that every single red wine in the "Cellared in Canada" program comes from tankers in this quay. In other words, ALL of the "Cellared in Canada" wines are EXACTLY the same, with the same taste profiles. It doesn't matter what the label states: a cabernet is the same as a shiraz is the same as a pinot noir. In a remarkable disclosure, Mr. Mentum found that no wine writer had actually tasted and compared these wines; they were not in a position to alert the public to their commonality. The only difference is the lot numbers which vary from tanker to tanker, and which must appear, by law, on every "Cellared in Canada" package. Thus, lot #A100F (from China) appeared on every red wine package from such re-sellers as Pandemic Winery and Erehwon Winery Estates and other big wineries during the September 3 to September 17 time period. That lot had been the subject of a recall.


White wines are apparently treated in the same manner, while roses result from the improper switching of the siphon hoses from red containers to white containers, and vice versa. This has created, unfortunately, variable amounts of rose in the "Cellared in Canada" program. Trying to be helpful in re-connecting to her Canadian roots, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin wondered: "Can't we build a bridge to that thing, that quay? It would be easier to get there and correct the siphons."


If it were not for this accidental discovery of the melamine levels in some of the "Cellared in Canada" wines, then we might never have known that Canada's largest winemakers were fantasizing the labels on their "Cellared in Canada" product. The WCO was shocked to discover that the wines were all the same. A spokesperson said: "I guess the addition of 1% real Canadian wine had no effect on the taste." A member of the Wine Writer's Circle confessed: "By and large, wine writers don't taste the Cellared series. We have our palates and taste buds to protect, so we don't really know what goes on with the Cellared program."


The vigilance of the LCBO's testing laboratories has once again saved the day for true Canadian wine drinkers.



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ontario Licensed Wine Writers to receive 10% discount for wine purchases in Ontario

From our GOSH Wine News Services --
TORONTO -- (GOSH) -- Mitigating its recent hard stance on licensing wine writers, the LCBO today adopted a new policy of allowing licensed wine writers a 10% discount on all wine purchases made in the province of Ontario. This includes both domestic and imported wines, made from any source including non-grape fruit. This discount is viewed as a perk of licensed membership.
There are several conditions.
Licensed wine writers must present an inventory booklet at POS, and have it checked off into the LCBO's computers. Regulations will allow a pro-rated sale of two bottles a day, one for each member of a couple. Licensed writers will have to prove that they are in some kind of a relationship in order to quality for the discount on the second bottle. And terminations of relationships must be reported at once. On this basis, licensed wine writers will be eligible for the discount on a maximum of either 365 (366 in Leap Years) bottles or 730 (732 in Leap Years) bottles a year.
Also, the discount will be reported by the LCBO computers to the Federal government as part of a T5 slip for additional revenue; the licensed writers MUST declare this amount as extra income, and will thus be taxable.
The discount, of course, does not apply to the twenty-cent bottle deposit, nor to beers and spirits -- unless the wine writer can prove that, on a proportional basis, he or she also writes about beers and spirits. A separate application must be made in conjunction with the beer writers.
A spokesperson for the LCBO said: "The 10% discount actually will come out of the supplier's profit or agency fee, and not from the LCBO. Our computers can shift money around like that. Thus, this discount will not, I emphasize, NOT take away any of the funds or revenue streams that we so proudly give to the Ontario government each year."
Developing..stay tuned...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Slinging Juice

For a less mischievous humour wine blog, check out the sterling

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wine Review Generator

For a refreshing series of wine tasting notes, try:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

GOSH: LCBO Announces Winner of Its Song Contest

This just in from our GOSH news services ---


TORONTO – Today, the LCBO has announced the winner of its new participatory contest to find a song or jingle that reflects the LCBO's latest endeavour: reaching out to the community.


An unnamed source in the External Relations department at the LCBO confirmed the dismal failure of the province-wide search for a motto that would have been incorporated into the song. Several suggestions had included "Hell No We Won't Go", "Liquor for Life", and "Liquor is Quicker", but the LCBO felt that the tone was unacceptable for the modern lifestyle.


"We decided to scrap the motto and open it up to a song or jingle. Rather than go through the expensive advertising and search process, we just sifted through the 14,685 rejects from the Hockey Night in Canada theme song contest. We certainly saved a bundle in costs, and these savings will be passed along to our customers in the form of value added attractions, such as a larger and better Food and Drink magazine."


The spokesperson went on: "The rejects seemed to have some bona fide musical ideas, but the winning entry wanted too much money in residuals, being tied to a flat fee for every bottle sold in Ontario. We felt that this mill rate was too high, and that it exceeded even our executives' compensation packages."


Apparently, the next idea was to approach pop music critics in order to adapt an existing song. Within ten minutes, the LCBO had its song, and within an hour, they had sealed the deal with the Village People's music publisher.


The LCBO's spokesperson said: "It seemed to be a no-brainer. I don't know why we didn't think of it before, but "Y-M-C-A" is perfect. Everybody knows the tune, everybody knows the lyrics, and everybody knows the movements. We just changed a few words around. The song is now known as "L-C-B-O". We initially had some problems with the "B" shape – who hasn't? – but we solved that one by hiring a twelve year old unemployed Chinese gymnast who had been let go from the Olympic team because she was too old. In fact, we had her demonstrate all of the movements for a new DVD of the song that we will be including with the Holiday edition of Food and Drink. It's a shame that we can't use the word "Christmas" any more, but that's life in the 21st century."


Typical lyrics read:


                  You can drink there, and I'm sure you will find

                  Many ways to have a good time.


                  It's fun to drink through the l-c-b-o.


                  And just go there, to the l.c.b.o

                  I'm sure they can help you whoa-oh-oh-oh





Friday, October 3, 2008

Cooking With Balls: World's first testicle recipe book

Cooking With Balls: World's first testicle recipe book
By Alastair Jamieson

A chef is publishing a book of recipes for cooking with testicles.

> Hailed as the world's first recipe collection of its kind, Cooking With
> Balls includes testicle pizza, battered testicles and and barbecued
> testicles with giblets.
> Ljubomir Erovic, the chef behind the book, said testicles are rich in
> testosterone and are believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac in China as
> well as his homeland of Serbia.

More at ...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3121465/Cooking-With-Balls-Worlds-first-testicle-recipe-book.htmlChimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rejected New Zealand wine going cheap

A New Zealand wine rejected by European buyers because of its high metal
content is being sold at knock-down prices in New World and Pak'n Save

Last year, Martinborough-based Te Kairanga winery had a 4000-case shipment
of its 2006 pinot noir returned after its German buyer discovered the wine's
copper content exceeded European standards.

Copper sulphate or copper citrate is often added to wine to eliminate
sulphurous odours produced during fermentation, but in this instance too
much was added.

More at


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, September 27, 2008

GOSH: If re-elected, the Prime Minister promises to rescind the 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act

OKANAGAN - (GOSH News Services) -- In a prepared speech before many tourists and wine drinkers in the heart of BC wine country, Prime Minister Bubble Boy Harper today promised that if re-elected, he would rescind the 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (IILA).T he IILA prevents the importation into a province of any "intoxicating" liquor that has not been purchased on behalf of and consigned to the government liquor body of the province. Among other things this means that if, say, a Quebecer visits an Okanagan winery website and wants to order a bottle of wine direct from the winery – he can't. It contradicts the act.

But that will all change once the Conservative government is re-elected. Harpy has promised that there will be ease of access to all Canadian wines from whichever province makes it. The same will happen with beer and spirits and ciders.

With this action, Harpy has won the votes of every citizen in the Okanagan, and every citizen living on both sides of the Quebec-Ontario border (sometimes called the "frontier"). His plan calls for every HOV lane on the frontier to be rebranded as ABC lanes (Alcohol Beverage Carrier) and dedicated to cars travelling betwen Quebec and Ontario in the pursuit of wines (in the case of Quebecers) and beers (in the case of Ontarians). He is now assured of winning the election

But not everybody is happy: winery owners like Harleigh Crank of Erehwon Winery in Niagara fears that he might lose sales because his micro-terroir wines are vine specific and come at a high price."As a micro-terroir winery, we don't stand a chance against the ripe, round, rich, ruby fruitiness of the Okanagan reds. The 1928 Act is the only thing keeping these wines out of Ontario...we're gonna lose our shirts!.Why these BC wines clean up every year in the All Canadian and Canadian Wine Awards competitions."

Harleigh's second cousin (once removed) Harley Crusted, of Pandemic Winery, agrees and goes on to say that "We've just won a hard earned access to The Beer Store, and now we have to be competing with the Post Office. It was bad enough when the LCBO shut us out of Farmers' Markets...It just isn't fair, and if Harpy gets in, I'm gonna have to sell my pooch's diamond necklace."

The Conservative spin doctors acknowledge that votes will be lost in Western Ontario, but they are counting on the high roller wine drinkers to step up and vote for the Harpy team, and vote often. The LCBO is in a quandary over the loss of potential income via the markups they will no longer have. A tight-lipped senior spokesman at the LCBO, when asked about impending layoffs, just shrugged his shoulders, and walked away, saying "No comment" -- or something like that -- out of the side of his mouth.

More on this election promise as it develops...

Chimo!  www.deantudor.com


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

GOSHerald: Ontario wine at The Beer Store

TORONTO – (GOSH News Services) – Today, the Province of Ontario has introduced a Bill to consolidate the have-not portions of the Ontario wine industry.


A secret study was done a year ago to resolve access issues unique to the Wine Council of Ontario, the Wine Producers Association, Vintners Quality Alliance, Fruit Wines Ontario, and the newly formed Ontario Viniculture Association. An unnamed American wine business consultant was retained and his recommendations included easier availability to wine beverages.


The Province of Ontario has now acted on this. Beginning in December, just in time for the Christmas party period, all the non-listed (at the LCBO) 100% Ontario grape and fruit wines will be available at The Beer Store. Each winery will be allowed one product at each of the hundreds of stores, and the winery can change the product from beer store to beer store to better reflect its inventory position and local community drinking patterns.


"What better place to offer consumers a choice of Ontario wines than through The Beer Store?" said Premier Grate McGinty. "We already have a deposit system in place where consumers must bring back their empties to The Beer Store, so they know their way quite well. They'll be able to return bottles and buy new ones at the same outlet."


It is anticipated that revenue sharing and mark-ups with The Beer Store will actually lower costs and thus reduce overall retail prices. Harley Crusted, owner-winemaker of Pandemic Estates Winery, said "Wonderful..now I can buy that diamond necklace for my little dog, Princess". Small Chubby Wino of the OVA gleefully rubbed his hands at the news. "Now we got 'em"! he exclaimed. A tight-lipped senior official at the LCBO said, "No comment".
More as this topic develops...Your own comments, please?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

GOSHerald Advisory

GRAIN OF SALT ADVISORY: On the advice of my lawyers, the LCBO, the SAQ, the Canadian Library Association, the Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists, the Freedom of Information Act, the Electronic Frontier, Project Censored, Dr. Deacon Fresh, the Wine Writers Circle of Canada, Magazines Canada, Culinary Historians of Ontario, Book and Periodical Council of Canada, and Snopes –


I must add a "take it with a grain of salt" note to each and every spoof and lampoon I post about food, wines, beers and spirits in Canada. I regret this action, but obviously my postings cut too close to the bone; they have a ring of truth about them. They are NOT truths; they are lies, fabrications, rumours, fake news, pseudo news, heinous myths with a faux voix. Hence, http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com.


But apparently they are believable enough that some writers have been deceived. For that, I apologize. Herewith are ashes and sackcloths, grovelings, and all that.


As always, I do what I can to produce articles which are pleasing in every way. Life, however, mocks my efforts. Sometimes I live to regret the clever turns of phrase that seemed so very right at the time. I apologize for errors, ill-conceived metaphors, mistakes of spelling or pronunciation, opinions that will come back to haunt me in years to come, and solecisms of every description. Like you, I try my damnedest, but it doesn't always work. Still, perhaps next time.


Just so you know what is true and what is not, I'm preceding my lampoons with a GOSHerald – "Grain of Salt Herald". E & OE.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Email Wine Fraud?

Well, it turns out that somebody in the GTA is sending a templated email to all the wine importers, complaining about a bottle of wine he had (off taste? corked?) and wondering if the agency would make good his purchase, such as a free bottle or something. The same sort of email has been circulating to a series of restaurants, complaining about wine or service or food. I hear that free certificates for future visits have been issued.
Nice scam..But  it is now in the hands of the Toronto fraud squad..
Anybody know what's happening?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Archaic LCBO upholds the Equally Archaic 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act « END THE LCBO

From End the LCBO blog:

"I recently stumbled upon a gem of a Canadian law called the 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (IILA). This is one of those truly silly pieces of legislation enacted in the prohibition era to "save" Canadians from the evil of drink. Somehow it has survived till now.

Basically the IILA prevents the importation into a province of any "intoxicating" liquor that has not been purchased on behalf of and consigned to the government liquor body of the province. Among other things this means that if, say, a Quebecer visits an Ontarian winery website and wants to order a bottle of wine direct from the winery – they can't. It contradicts the good old 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act."

More at:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wine to be sold at Farmers Markets in Toronto

This just in from Wine News Service...
TORONTO - (WNS) - In a stunning victory for the Farmers Market movement in Ontario, the provincial government has decided to allow wine to be sold at Farmers Markets. There are restrictions, of course, all applied by the LCBO which had apparently fought the issue tooth and nail.
First, the wines can only be sold in a closed-off tent no more than three metres by three metres by three metres in size. It has to be located in the northeast corner of every market, for the sake of consistency. Portable potties must also be provided. Only LCBO personnel will be allowed to sell, and there will be no sampling.
Second, purchasers are restricted to a maximum of two bottles only, one red and one white.
Third, the wines have to be tied-in to the ethnic character of the region. Hence, the wines at Withrow Park on the Danforth must only be Greek wines. The wines at Dufferin Grove park must only be Portuguese wines. The wines at Riverdale Organic Market must only be organic wines.
As part of the pilot project, the wines will only be in the city of Toronto, and, in typical LCBO fashion, will only be available this year starting in October, just before the markets shut down for the winter. The Dufferin Grove Market, open all year, is expected to be under heavy pressure for winter sales of Port and Madeira from Portugal.
Little Fat Wino, commenting from his home in rainy Eastern Ontario, said: "Once again the fruit wineries in Ontario have been shut out. This business of selling at Farmers Markets was originally OUR idea -- it was stolen from us by the government looking for additional revenue streams."  It was pointed out to him that all Ontario wines, no matter what their origin, were shut out. An unnamed source in the LCBO Research Department responded: "We don't consider Ontario wines and fruit wines to be real wines exhibiting terroir. These Ontario wines can be made anywhere and do not reflect the regional character."
More as the story develops...

Friday, September 12, 2008

OntarioWineReview.com - Newsletter 0091 - The LCBO . We're Stuck With Them (by Michael Pinkus)

Nobody dislikes the LCBO more than a wine writer, it's not being boastful, it's just a fact.  I feel that those who shop only at the LiCk-BO and don't go to trade events are the lucky ones.  They don't know what they are missing.  They don't get to try some mouth-watering wines that make you covet them immediately.  They know not of the insanely cheap prices our friends south of the border get, the discounts, mail in rebates, 3-for-$10 specials, or heaven forbid, a $2 bottle of wine.  They'll never know that some of the wines you try at these events are only sold through an agent by the case, but many people don't buy by the case, they want 3 or 4 at the most.  "Get in with a friend," you'll be told, "our hands are tied."  And tied they are, by, you guessed it, the protective liquor board, saving our cities and towns from the wilds of alcohol.

It's those who travel outside the country that get the biggest shock of all.  They find out that Mondavi makes a true Bordeaux blend called Vinetta, or that Rosenblum makes about 800 kinds of Zinfandel … and yet their Ontario agent can't get it, never heard of it or won't bring it in.  If you try on your own, well you'll pay close to, if not more than, double what you paid for it outside the country, thus taking all the fun and value out of your little finds and giving you a headache bigger than if you drank the whole bottle yourself in half-an-hour on an empty stomach.  Sure this system we have might work for a case of 2-Buck-Chuck, but "I-can't-believe-it's-only-12-bucks" a wine find gets close to $30 once you get it home where the LCBO puts it's grubby little duties and taxes on it … then it just doesn't seem like such a deal anymore, does it?
More at

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wine Writer Vilifies VQA wines, causes much concern among colleagues...

A wine writer has inadvertently produced a Freudian slip, says another wine writer colleague who pointed out to me the following paragraph from an article:
 VQA stands for vintners' quality alliance. It also stands for wine that was grown in Ontario (BC as well) to very high standards. Vinification is also held to high standards. These wines pass both the "buy local" test and the terroir test. When I buy a VQA wine, I know what I'm getting. It won't be "Cellared in" or "Cellared by" or "Blended and bottled by". Were it allowed on the label, VQA wines might say "Made from grapes we planted ourselves; grew, tended and harvested ourselves; vilified, aged and bottled ourselves at our own winery." The back label might say "This wine expresses the unique qualities found only when these grapes are allowed to grow right here, in this soil."
Yes, said another wine colleague, "some should be vilified for sure!"
When asked to comment, the original writer blamed it all on spellcheck. Yeah, right.
He said: "Where would we be without spell checkers that take our odd, sometimes misspelled words and replaces them with more interesting ones? I think that to be technically correct, the vilification would take place after bottling rather than before."

I like "vilified" better, since sometimes VQA can stand for Very Questionable Assessment....
More on this story as it develops.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fruit wines of Ontario want a Fair Deal (from Jim Warren)

Sent on the letterhead of the Fruit Wines of Ontario

The Honourable Harinder Takhar,
Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services,
Suite 1306 Whitney Block,
Queen's Park,
99 Wellesley St. W.,
TORONTO, Ontario.
M7A 1W2

Dear Minister Takhar:

The following story is true to life:

A man owned a small winery in Ontario. The Provincial Wage and Hour Ministry
claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent out an agent to
interview him.
"1 need a list of your employees and how much you pay them." demanded the
"Well," replied the winery owner, "there's my winery hand who's been with me
for 3 years. I pay him $400 a week plus free room and board. He continued:
"The Chef has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $300 a week plus

Then there's the half-wit. He works about 18 hours every day and does about
90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own
room and board, and I buy him a bottle of scotch every Saturday night. He
also sleeps with my wife occasionally."

"That's the guy I want to talk to...the half-wit," says the agent. "That
would be me," replied the winemaker.

Though they may not enjoy being called 'half-wits" many small Ontario winery
owners to-day are feeling like the winemaker in the story. They have come
into the industry over the last 15 years, driven by their passion to make
Ontario wine, only to discover that the playing field for wineries in this
province is not level and to face a system that often puts them at a
competitive disadvantage when selling their wines.

Everyone understands that the purpose of policies and
laws relating to Ontario wine since the early 1990's has been both to
encourage the production of quality wine and to address in some measure the
losses faced by the wine industry after the Free Trade and GATT agreements.
Most winery owners thus accept the reality of 'grand-fathered privileges'
enjoyed by established businesses and it is easy to understand and
appreciate government's on-going financial and other support for our VQA

I am writing to you to-day on behalf of the 15 members of Fruit Wines of
Ontario (FWO) and the 45 members of the Ontario Vinicultural Association
(OVA) who do not understand the inappropriate discrimination that other
wineries are facing in this province and who are now contemplating another
harvest of their 1OO% Ontario grown grapes and fruit with serious concerns.

In particular we have been advocating for some time that a change be made in
the policy (described by the AGCO as 'section 3 of the Terms and Conditions
for the on-site fruit winery retail store) that restricts a fruit winery to
making only 20% of its wine from grapes. I have met with Luisa Tomej, Maria
DiFabrizio, and Kathy Clarke to discuss the matter in depth and have written
to the Honourable Ted MeMeekin, but have yet to receive any response. This
will be a serious problem for a small Ontario winery again this Fall - -
already threatened by the AGCO with having their licence revoked - - which
is growing its own grapes that it cannot use to make into wine. There are
many problems related to this 'policy' and I would caution that ignoring a
problem like this is not a solution. It is urgent that a solution be found
before the matter becomes one of embarrassment to all concerned this

There are 3 other issues or concerns that I would like to bring to your

1. Some 3 years ago financial support was offered to VQA wines being sold
in the LCBO by your Ministry. Other producers of quality, 100% Ontario
wines, both fruit and grape, were excluded from this consideration.

2. VQA wines that are direct delivered to a licencee receive a different
financial treatment than other wines, whether 'Cellared in Canada' or
non-VQA fruit and grape wines. The return to the winery for VQA sales is
considerably higher.

No one is questionning the support being given to VQA wines but from the
point of view of many other wineries this is providing an unfair competitive
edge to VQA. All wineries in Ontario pay the same taxes and fees otherwise
and abide by the same regulations. Surely all lOO% Ontario produced wines
should be sold to the LCBO and to licencees under the same rules! In this
way all Ontario quality wine could benefit from an equality of opportunity
which is now lacking and serving as a deterrent to the growth and survival
of many small Ontario businesses.

3. It is also unfortunate that these same wineries are prohibited by the VQA
ACT from even using the word "Ontario" or any form of it as in "Ontario
grown" or "Product of Ontario" on their wine labels even though by law they
must use lOO% Ontario fruit in making their wines. To 'protect' the
credibility of the VQA appellation "VQA Ontario VQA" it is suggested that
other wineries producing fruit wines or non-VQA grape wines might somehow
confuse consumers by using the word 'Ontario' and destroy consumer
confidence in Ontario wines. The VQA has the authority to enforce this
feeling and does send 'inspectors' around to check on the wine labels of
fruit wineries and grape wine producers outside our DVAs.
I believe we are creating an unfortunate situation by denying the logical
use of the word "Ontario" by every winery and it would be better for all
concerned if some serious thought was given to making a change somewhere
along the line.

Our member wineries are asking, through your Ministry, that your government
consider the issues that are making life difficult for them and to implement
significant change that would go a long way to ensuring more equality of
opportunity among our wineries. We believe that for one Ontario winery to
have a financial competitive advantage over another as result of government
initiatives is simply wrong...and I would appreciate having the opportunity
to discuss these concerns with you at your earliest convenience.


Jim Warren

Executive Director, FWO
President, OVA

Chimo! www.deantudor.com