Welcome to my life in Niagara! Grab a glass, there's bound to be wine.

Cuvée 2016 – The Grand Tasting

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Last week, I was a little downcast.

I always feel that way when trips come to an end. Florida was fantastic, and even though I had the great good fortune to be away for a whole month, part of me wanted to stay longer.

It’s winter, you see. You know I don’t like it.

The drive home was pretty intense too. I’ve never been great on long car rides, and we were in the car for three days, at least 8 hours a day. We hit the outskirts of Washington, DC at rush hour – which wasn’t the most brilliant strategy. Note to self: Do not hit Washington, of all places, in rush hour ever, ever again.

One thing cheered me during the post-vacation malaise, though.

Cuvée.

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I was looking forward to attending Cuvée this year, as I had never been. By now you know that I’m a big Ontario wine freak, so this was exciting. Cuvée is an annual grand celebration of excellence in VQA Ontario winemaking, showcasing to the world the darn good stuff we make.

And we make a lot.

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In addition, proceeds from the event went to the Cuvée Legacy Fund. This is a fund that has already awarded $15,000 in academic scholarships and contributed $13,000 towards industry-driven research projects. In recognition of their past stewardship of the event, $5,000 also went to support the Niagara Community Foundation.

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Mostly Niagara VQA wines were represented that night. I was hoping to sample products from other Ontario wine regions, as I don’t get to travel to them very often. However, there were many Niagara selections to keep wine lovers happy.

Each winery was only pouring one of their wines – a representative of their best. I am sure this was a very tough decision for them. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in their shoes!

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But there is definitely more to be said about Cuvée. As I am not a gifted wine writer, I’m going to direct you to Rick VanSickle’s Wines In Niagara site for further wine talk. His post about the evening will give you all the specifics about some of the wines poured and awards given. Additionally, he is a great wine writer, so you should all be checking out his site anyway.

Me, I’m just going to show you some pics from the night so you can see how much fun it was – celebrating wonderful wine, with great food, and great people. One small issue though. The lighting was very dark, so really great shots were a tad difficult. Ken’s brightened them up as best he can, and some actually improved being transferred to black and white. I’ve still included some that may be a bit blurry, just cause I thought they were great pics.

Make sure you join us next year, okay?

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There was some pretty spectacular food on offer that night.

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But, I didn’t get to sample any of it. I was too busy sampling wine and talking. The evening went by so fast.

One of the things I did get to do, is watch some of the chefs at work. I always find that fascinating.

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I didn’t get to sample as many wines as I would have liked either. Though my wine drinking stamina is pretty good, there really is only so much you can sample in a couple of hours.

I started off my evening at The Foreign Affair‘s Table.

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I’m a big fan of The Foreign Affair, and was thrilled to see they were pouring one of my favourite wines, their 2012 Dream. I was also thrilled to meet Barclay Robinson, their winemaker – the man responsible for making these swoon-worthy beverages.

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I also stopped at Kacaba, where Vadim was pouring their 2012 Reserve Syrah. I love Kacaba‘s Syrah in general, and this one was no exception.

Violette from Westcott is also a must whenever I can have it.

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Stratus was offering their Gamay. I am not partial to Gamay, but the one from Stratus is making me change my mind. I don’t have a picture of the wine, but I do have one of Suzanne pouring it. That counts, right?

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I also spent time with friends

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One of the best things about social media, is that it’s brought some terrific people into my life. Ralph, Elaine, and Denny and Jon from The Wine Boys

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We also got the lovely Sue-Ann Staff to join us for a little while.

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And here’s my sweetie, who had been hard at work all night snapping the photos.

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If you’ve been following me on social media, you may know of the struggles Ken and I have with taking selfies. (Our selfie attempts are really getting ridiculous at this point. Who would have thought we could be so selfie-deficient?) Jon took pity on us after I showed him what was in my phone, and took the shot above.

I also indulged in one of my favourite things to do at these events, people-watching.

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It was a great chance to get gussied up and kick up your heels –  all in honour of delicious VQA wine made by dedicated, hardworking people.

The party kept on going after we left. The long drive from a few days earlier caught up with us, but those who stayed for the Après Cuvée Party kept the place rocking.

See you next year?

This is just part one of my Cuvée experience. Look for part two very soon, all about Cuvée en Route.

** Disclosure – I was given complimentary tickets for Cuvée, but my opinion that this was a terrific event is entirely my own.