Malcolm Jolley attends the annual gentlemen’s celebration of Ontario Rosé.

John Maxwell and Billy Munnelly

Restaurateur John Maxwell, of the esteemed Allen’s on the Danforth, once again played host, with oenological impressario Billy Munnelly, to the annual luncheon known as Men In Pink. The two men thought up the event in the not that long ago era when rosé wine wasn’t being taken especially seriously, especially by men. Why not, they asked themselves, congregate a collection of guys who make or sell or write about, or just plain love wine and restrict them pink wine over an afternoon food and conversation. The price? Attendees must wear at least one item of clothing in a pink hue.

So, here’s how the afternoon unfolded with some of the characters who declared themselves Men In Pink this year…

Allens PatioThe event takes place in the patio garden behind Allen’s, which is shut to the public for the afternoon.

Rose Wine at MIPThere is no shortage of rosé, as the winemakers, sellers and proprietors bring many bottles. Most elect to begin with a glass (or several) of sparkling rosé.

Greg WurschtHere is Greg Wertsch from Between The Lines Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. He and his winemaking brother Yannick are the first Ontario winey to sell sparkling wine in a can.

Tony Aspler and Billy MunnellyEvery year a few wine writers manage to sneak in, like Tony Aspler CM.

Charles Baker and Jay JohnsonFierce rivals like Charles Baker (Stratus) and Jay Johnson (Flat Rock Cellars) lay down their bloody corkscrews for the afternoon and enjoy an Olympic-style truce.

Bill Redelmeier and friendReal Men In Pink veterans, like Southbrook’s Bill Redelmeier (right), know to bring a hat in case of a sunny seat.

Pickled Beet SoupIt’s not just the wine and clothing that’s pink at MIP, the food is too. A sprig of dill garnishes a cold soup of pickled beets.

Brined and Smoked SalmonChef Viji Ponniah’s second pink course: brined, then hot smoked salmon paired perfectly with rosé.

Steak and AsparagusYou’ll have to take it from me that the inside of the steak was pink. The true purpose of this dish was to prove that rosé can stand up, and even flourish, when paired to big flavours.

Joe BersaniRestaurateurs are part of the Men In Pink crowd, like Nord Bistro’s Joe Bersani.

Dan SullivanAfter lunch, there are speeches on the virtues of rosé. Rosehall Run’s Dan Sullivan wins over the crowd with a salient point on pink wine.

Billy Munelly on the PulpitBilly Munnelly cannot resist the pink wine pulpit, and thanks John Maxwell for Allen’s hospitality.

Kevin Gallagher and Viji Ponniah Kevin Gallagher of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen joins in the applause for Chef Ponniah who has been beckoned from his kitchen by the happy diners.

Decampo Pennachetti MaxwellAttendees then withdraw from the table to taste rare and old wines brought by the vignerons. Southbrook’s Paul DeCampo talks about the winery’s orange wine, as Cave Spring’s Len Pennachetti and John Maxwell look on.

Malcolm and BillyAs the afternoon began to slip into the evening, and the patio was being prepared to open for the after work crowd, it was time to say farewell.

In all seriousness, Men In Pink may look like a silly event but its purpose is an important one. Ontario makes great rosé, in every style. As he does every year, John Maxwell (whose support of local wine is as legendary as it has been steadfast) exhorted the gentlemen around to be proud of our pink prowess and spread the word about these cool climate wines. So, gentlmen go pour yourself (and ladies present) a glass and toast to Ontario rosé.