Malcolm and Jamie look forward to Cuvée, Niagara’s gala wine awards and tasting.

Award winning drinks and travel writer Sarah Parniak toasts Niagara’s best.

For years Jamie scolded me for not attending the annual Cuvée Grand Tasting. Not only was I missing a fantastic survey of Niagara wines, selected and poured by the women and men who make them, I was also missing a great party. Cuvée is the event in Ontario Wine Country, where winemakers mix it up and honour their best. Jamie was right. Last year I attended my first Cuvée and to say I had fun would be a gross understatement, but I also learned a lot. Despite being a dressy, fancy affair, Cuvée is a much more relaxed event than a trade or public tasting where winemakers and marketers are expected to sell, or even defend, their product. It’s more about a community coming together, and as a civilian interloper I really felt like I was privileged to be let into the party. This year’s Cuvée is coming up on the evening of March 23rd. I’ll be there with Jamie, and now we both highly recommend anyone interested in Ontario wine get in on the fun too. Tickets are still available at cuvé Here are a few photos from last year to get everyone in the mood.

Here winemakers Sebastien Jacquey (Megalomaniac) and Shiraz Mottier (Malivoire) flank Magdalena Kaiser, Director of Public Relations, Marketing & Tourism for Wine Marketing Association of Ontario a.k.a. Wine Country Ontario.

Paul Bosc, Chairman and Founder  of Château des Charmes lends a hand pouring to chief winemaker Amélie Boury.

Yes, they do let in a few wine writers, like Tony Aspler CM and his charming wife, and Ontario Wine Awards co-organzier, Deborah.

In fact, some winemakers will even fraternize with journalists, like Tawse’s Paul Pender and his (now) wife Alison Findlay, assistant winemaker at Flat Rock, with the always dapper Christopher Waters, Editor and Founder of Vines Magazine, and Waters & Wine.

They even let a few sommeliers (despite the incident with Jamie) like Sara d’Amato, critic for Wine Align and President of the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Association Of Professional Sommeliers.

Oh right, and these two guys who wandered in from the Falls boardwalk and met Adam Lowy (centre), founder of Pinot and Chardonnay boutique producer, Cloudsley Cellars.

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