Thursday, June 28, 2007

Celebrities Juice Canadian Wines

OK, I know that I've done a fair share of boosting Canadian wines lately, specifically wines of the Niagara Peninsula. Can't help it. I calls 'em likes I see 'em, and the wines in the Niagara region I tried during a recent trip there were very, very good across the board -- we're not just talking ice wines anymore.

I suspect, however, that there won't be any surprise about it in the near future since a few Canadian celebrities are putting their names behind some of these wines. Much as that annoys the purists who believe in the merits of the wines winning the day, I'm afraid star power is a much quicker route to fame and fortune, and Niagara wines are beginning to line up the big marketing guns.

The latest big name to get behind Canadian wines and start his own line of Niagara wines is Wayne Gretzky. And, just a few weeks ago, Dan Aykroyd announced that he was investing heavily in Niagara wines.

Keeping in mind how things work, this is not a bad thing. The wines of Niagara deserve wider attention. There has been a noticeable upturn in the quality of Canadian wines since most have adopted better viticultural practices and learned more about what does best in their respective terroirs. Let's face it, most of just don't know that much about the facts of Canadian wine.

The fact is that Niagara escarpment makes possible many delicious wines on the peninsula. And, British Columbia makes many fine wines as well.

But, what will really put them on the map, I'm sure, is the celebrity component. For some people, the celebrity name in and of itself is enough to get them out of the house and into these wineries. For others, the money celebrities have to invest in quality wines and state-of-the-art wineries is what will turn the region into a real destination. A lot of people are really attracted to the flashy, opulent palaces that many wineries are building these days. Celebrities help make them possible.

Yup, Canadian wines are headed for new-found status in the years ahead, and the way will be paved in part by celebrities. Joni Mitchell Wine, anyone?


Blogger Marcus said...

I just read in the news about a Joni Mitchell Canadian stamp being created so I guess us Canadians do like our celebrities.

And some of the wines we make are themselves being celebrated to the point of becoming celebrities. I wrote about one in the most recent post on my blog, and Natalie MacLean of "Nat Decants" commented to weigh in it too. Clearly, there's some fine produce there if Nat takes the time to write on other people's blogs about it. It's a Cab Franc varietal from Hillebrand wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake and it's been getting a lot of press recently. Definitely worth checking out.

9:17 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Marcus, thanks. You know, we sampled Hillebrand wines and found some were really terrific, but I don't believe we had the 2000 Cab Franc. Now I'm kicking myself! By the way, happy belated birthday.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Thanks JD.

The Trius line from Hillebrand is easier to get your hands on if not entirely indicative of the region's potential. Oh well those are only $20. Natalie MacLean still commends them, though if you pay twice as much on a bottle you are more likely going to find something to write home about, worthwhile and memorable.

2:10 PM  
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