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Thursday, November 19, 2009

GOSH: Big split in Association for Cellared in Canada Wines, PETG to mobilize.


Big wineries split from Council; Ontario's largest vintners pull cash, clout from association, form own group --- St. Catharines Standard, Nov 19, 2009.



TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – As predicted several times in the past few months by GOSH's top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby, the Association for Cellared Wines in Canada (ACWC) has split up because of its warring factions.


The news, while not dramatic, still had some chase value as wine writers fell all over themselves to cover the story.


Some wineries will become part of the existing Canadian Group for Cellared in Canada Wines (CGCICW), others will form a liaison with grape protectors. Both associations have been campaigning to attract the PETG (People for the Ethical Treatment of Grapes), and this might be the best time to do it since the two groups can now present alternative but parallel universes.


The PETG has been trying to affiliate with like wine groups for quite some time. They have recently succeeded in appropriating the American slogan "Free the Grapes!" for their own use in Canada, and they want to get some mileage out of it.


Brett Grimsby interviewed PETG to learn more details. Shirley Ujest, President, said the group started when several ethical wine people quit in disgust over the shabby treatment of grapes. "Did you known that growers actually starve the grapes? That they make them struggle for survival? Did you know that close pruning is painful? Did you know that wineries bend grapevines against their will, forcing them into awkward positions, crucifying them on stakes and wires? Did you know that grapillions, those rejects, just languish on the ground and die a dreadful death?"


She went on: "I'm appalled at what I found out. We want to negotiate with both associations to give grapes a better life. We want to give grapes a chance."


Later, Ujest went into shock when she – a life long vegan – found out that wines were fined with isinglass (from fish bladders), egg white albumen, gelatine, and casein. She said that PETG would immediately make a pitch for bentonite.


All three associations were weary after dealing with the wine media's incessant questions about the split, the merger and the future of grapes in Ontario, A Have-Not Province.


And they were wary about answering too many contextual queries. "It makes my job that much more difficult," said the head of CGCICW with a friendly tone, "if our business is played out in the press. Go home."


More on this story as it does indeed play out…

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