A Sense of Wine

A Sense of Wine is Wine Sense's journal of new products, techniques and behind the scenes info for those who love to make wine. The authors are the Wine Sense staff. You will be familiar with them as the friendly faces that serve you whenever you stop by one of the stores. Join us as we share our insights on new procucts, advice and our experiences. Please feel free to comment on any posts- we look forward to your input!

November 2010


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Thanks for the Hospitality!

November 24, 2010

Craig1We had the pleasure last week to visit with some of our customers in their own homes. If you haven’t realized by the many photos posted (with more to come) on the Wine Sense facebook page and some recent blog posts- It’s Gamay Nouveau Season! 

Some of our customers realized that Tim Vandergrift would be in town for the Wine Sense Limited Edition Wine Tastings at the same time they were having their Gamay Nouveau Parties- and things just started to fall together.

It was a busy week indeed. Colin, Tim, Rick (from Winexpert) and myself were invited to 4 parties during Limited Edition week and we knew it was going to be a marathon not a sprint.

We started in Virden MB with the Warks on the Monday. The Limited Edition Tastings start on a Tuesday in Brandon each year so the Warks planned their party for the Monday night. For this one our crew included Neil and Ben from the Brandon Wine Sense location.


Neil, Colin, Rick, Tim, Barb, Craig and Rick

It was a great evening (although the near sited cabbie made sure the ride from Brandon to Virden was an adventure) and a great way to start our week.

There was about 3o people in attendance. Rick Wark provided a very entertaining speech and Barb and her friends supplied all the food… as you would expect in small town Manitoba- it was all homemade and delicious.

Next was Thursday night at Gino and Sandra Guarino’s. This Gamay Nouveau Party made for a long evening as Gino and many of his guests (and our crew of course) were at our Thursday Limited Edition Wine Tasting before hand!

Gino's Party 2010 05

Gino showed off his carboys!

Gino and Sandra shared their wonderful hospitality and Gino proudly showed off his extensive wine cellar.

How do you end off five nights of Gamay Nouveau Parties and Limited Edition Wine Tastings? With one more night and two parties!

We started with a wonderful steak dinner at Pat and Giselle Mathews’ home. The Steaks were delicious and Cal’s potatoes were great. It was a lot of fun because Colin and I played sports with Pat’s son-in-law for many years- so we got to visit and remember the ‘glory days’. 


Pat showing off some delicious steaks!

It was then off to Roger and Eileen Anton’s home. In true French fashion we were greeted with a glass of Gamay and of course… escargot! There were a lot of winemakers at this party so Tim took some time to answer some questions about wine an winemaking. Afterwards it was good old fashioned visiting and meeting new people.


Although we were at four different events in four different homes I did recognize few commom threads at each of the parties we attended…

Wine Sense has amazing customers, they’re great winemakers and they all have great friends and family.

It was truly an honour and a pleasure to be invited into their homes.


Craig, Wine Sense

Filed under: General by Craig

Some Decisions are Easier than Others

November 22, 2010

Craig1Now that another year of Selection Limited Edition Wine Tastings is over one thing I realize is that some decisions are easier than others. When talking to some of the 1000+ people who attended our tastings they were certainly always struggling with some of the following questions:

Which is your favourite Limited Edition Wine?

Which food pairing did you like best?

Which Limited Edition wines are your going to order?

The answers ranged from ‘I have no idea’ to ‘It’s down to 2’ or ‘I know which ones, I just don’t know how many’…


Do you hear bells ringing?

On Thursday night however one decision was very easy. About 10 minutes into the tasting portion of the evening the fire alarms at the Victoria Inn started ringing. Every person looked around- realized there was no imminent danger- and then looked at the wine glass in their hand.

The decision was made…

“I’m pretty sure there’s no danger- but I’m absolutely sure that I’m tasting great wine…

…I’m not leaving.”

After about 10 minutes of very loud ringing the alarms stopped ( it was of course a false alarm) and everyone went back to the harder decisions in life like…

… ‘How many Limited Edition wines am I going to order?’


Craig, Wine Sense

Filed under: General by Craig

More Gamay Nouveau Party Fun!

November 15, 2010

Craig1Henry and Lynda Nelson (Wine Sense Portage Avenue location customers) got into the Gamay Nouveau Party spirit on Friday, November 12th. They thought a Gamay Nouveau Party would be a great theme for an engagement party for their nephew and his fiance who are getting married in January.

I’ll let Lynda explain the festivities in her own words:

We have been making wine since 2001, have attended the Wine Sene Limited Edition Wine Tastings for the last 6 years, and always enjoy the Special Releases.  We have purchased Beaujolais Nouveau in the past and were excited about making our own!
Our guest list of approximately 25 included family members of both the bride and groom and spanned an age range of 18 months to 85 years.  We wanted a casual fun evening for people to mingle and talk, it was the first time some of the people from the two families met.

gamay nouveau 009









Our wine was perfectly chilled in a vintage galvanized tub we snagged from the farm. It looked and tasted great.  (My sister thought every bottle was even better than the previous one!)  It was great fun to have everyone choose their wine glass based on the assortment of “charms” attached and savour their first “pour”.  After a suitable period for compliments and accolades it was on to the dining room to sample cheeses, crackers, breads, and other assorted savories, such as olives, home made pickles, and little glazed sauages.  Our cheeses included a local cheddar, a French Swiss, Edam, a baked Brie, and some creamy goat cheese with Herbes de Provence.  Cheeses were served in chunks on butcher paper, we kept it interactive by having each guest cut cheese and slice bread to their own liking.  Judging by the conversation and constant returns to the table, everything worked well together.  The set up took a bit of planning, but once everything was set out the party was a breeze to host, all we had to do was keep refilling wine glasses!

gamay nouveau 033









After a gift presentation, and more wine, we served a light lunch of cold meats, buns, assorted condiments, coffee, tea and assorted dainties.
We were very happy with the wine and the party and everyone had a fabulous tim

We hope you do another Gamay Nouveau kit next year.

Well Lynda, based on the great feedback we’ve received at Wine Sense- I’m sure you can expect to see Gamay Nouveau return next September!

It looks like everyone had a great time at the Nelson’s party! You can view more photos of Lynda and Henry’s party at the Wine Sense facebook page.

Keep an eye to A Sense of Wine and the Wine Sense facebook page for more upcoming Gamay Nouveau Parties!


Craig, Wine Sense

Filed under: General by Craig

It's Tasting Time!

November 15, 2010

Craig1It’s that time of year again, when Wine Sense hosts our Limited Edition Wine Tastings. If you’ve never attended one of our Limited Edition Wine Tastings here is what you’re missing:

-A chance to hear Tim Vandergrift’s always entertaining and informative presentation on the Limited Edition wines and a chance to speak in person with him. Tim has an incredible wealth of wine and winemaking knowledge.

-A chance to taste this year’s Limited Edition wines and the opportunity to try each wine with a complimintary food pairing.

-A great evening of fun, food and wine and most importantly great people. Our Limited Edition Wine Tastings have become a social event for many of our customers- they come in groups with their friends and have a great time.


For the Wine Sense folks it’s an incredible opportunity to spend time with our customers and enjoy a glass of wine with you. It’s a great place to enjoy our shared passion together. Although our tastings are planned around the very popular Limited Edition program they are a great example of why wine is the special beverage that it is.

Good people enjoying good times with a glass of good wine.

Hope to see you there!


Craig, Wine Sense

Filed under: General by Craig


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