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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.



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