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Konzelmann & WineCollective Wine Label Design Contest!

Cheers to Canada’s 150th!

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In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, WineCollective and Konzelmann Estate Winery have teamed up to produce wine that will showcase our country.

We need your help!

Konzelmann will be producing a red and a white wine and both need a unique label to celebrate Canada’s birthday. We want YOU to design the labels. Each winner will receive over $1500 in wine-related prizes and ultimate bragging rights!

The theme is ‘Canada’s 150th Birthday’

You can highlight our history, culture, food, diversity, nature, or even, Canadian wine! If you’ve ever dreamed of designing your own wine label, this is your chance!

Who can submit?:

Anyone! All we ask is that you create a label in honour of our fine country and keep the design within the designated specs. Contestants must be of legal drinking age in your residing province.

How to enter: Send your designs to contest@winecollective.ca
Deadline to enter is January 1st at 9 am MST.

The Winner

The winner will be decided by a public vote. All submissions received, and meeting criteria, will be shared publicly by WineCollective. The public will vote for their favourite labels. The voting deadline is January 31st, 2017 at 11:59 MST. The winner will be announced February 10th!

The winning labels will be featured on wine produced by Konzelmann and featured in WineCollective packages. Besides bragging rights, the winner will receive a case of the wine with your custom label, a year’s subscription to WineCollective (48 bottles of wine, a value of approximately $1080), a year’s subscription to Tannic and a $150 credit, and a Konzelmann prize package.

Design Requirements

  • Height 7.62cm (3 inches) x Width 7.62cm (3 inches)
  • 300 dpi resolution/ CMYK colour mode
  • 0.3175cm (1/8 inch) bleed on all sides
  • Straight, orthogonal sides (simple square or rectangle labels rather than die-cut)
  • File size maximum 5MB
  • Files submitted in PDF format
  • Or PSD (all type must be outlined).

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Additional information

  • All entries must be submitted to contest@winecollective.ca
  • Please indicate if your label is intended for a red wine, white wine or either.
  • Feel free to send along any additional information with your entry, explaining your art and theme, or why you decided to share your submission.
  • Once your entry is received, you will be emailed a consent form. Prior to your submission being posted, the form must be signed and returned no later than 11:59 pm MST, January 1, 2017.

Nitty gritty details…

  • All artwork must be original. The contestant must own the rights to all the imagery contained in their submission.
  • Any artwork submitted that is not deemed original will be disqualified.
  • Release forms from models, number and confirmation of any licensed images must be submitted.
  • Submissions with trademarked images, nudity, illicit images or profanity will be disqualified.
  • All artwork must fit the designated label outline and meet the outlined requirements.
  • All required label information will be added to the submission if it is not already included in the submission (wine name, vintage, VQA designation).
  • WineCollective reserves the right to disqualify any entries that are deemed inappropriate, offensive or not fitting to the theme.WineCollective may disqualify any entry that does not meet the design requirements or guidelines.
  • All contestants must agree to allowing the printing, reproduction and sharing of the submission. Both WineCollective and Konzelmann may use any submissions for promotional or marketing material.

Good luck to all designers! We can’t wait to see your label on Konzelmann’s newest wines!


Evolution of WineCollective Tasting Cards

If you have been a WineCollective member for more than a month, you would have un-boxed July’s package to a surprise! WineCollective Tasting Cards are better than ever – we hope you agree!

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Since our inception, almost seven years ago, WineCollective members have experienced 4 versions of tasting card designs.

In 2010, WineCollective President, David Gluzman, spent many hours printing AND folding each and every card. At that time, our volume was apparently not enough to please the printers (we showed them)! With every crease, David says he remembers thinking, “I hope this will be worth it someday.”

Well… today, with the help of Little Rock, we print over 5,000 cards each and every month. One card for every bottle ordered!

TC2

Our second version was as tall as the bottle itself. While this version was excellent for viewing details, they were not paper friendly. We quickly learned our lesson and moved on to our next design, which stayed with us for 4 years!

TC3

Did You Know?

WineCollective staff completes every part of the Tasting Card from start to finish! Inside HQ, we have a small photo studio, where every bottle is photographed. From there, we taste and create our reviews and notes before our designer, Chris, pieces all the parts together!

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2016 Tasting Cards

  • We’ve expanded our review to include more information on the winery, vineyards, regions and grape varieties.
  • Check out the map! Our new cards contain a map of the region from which the wine was created. We hope this new visual inspires you to visit these regions!
  • Your personal tasting note section has been removed. Instead, tell us your thoughts online! Login to your WineCollective account to view, rate and comment on all of the wines that you receive!

We’ve heard your request! WineCollective will soon introduce a keepsake binder for your tasting cards. Stay tuned!

We would love to hear what you think about WineCollective’s newest Tasting Cards. Leave a comment below!


Introducing Burgundy Oak

We’d like to introduce Burgundy Oak – a new barrel decor manufacturer based out of Calgary. Founded by Joel Jelinski and business partner, Brent Kadler in June 2015, Burgundy Oak uses reclaimed wine barrels to craft gorgeous displays, furniture and beyond. We’re excited to showcase their unique brand and products, plus an additional bonus for WineCollective members!

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While growing up, Joel says he always had a keen interest in using his hands. He purchased a saw, drill and sander and began his first company in creating shaped candles until his mother asked him for a favour. Upon purchasing a wine barrel, Joel’s mother was in the need of some gifts and so Joel took apart the barrel and made candleholders. Burgundy Oak was born!

Through out 2014, Joel, a Civil Engineering student, was working with Cenovus Energy. During his off time, Joel, who was frequently exchanging his ideas with coworker, Brent, began to experiment with more products and gathered customer feedback at local farmer’s markets. As sales and interest increased, and considering the downturn in the oil economy, Joel formally formed his company.

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Today, Burgundy Oak is increasing in popularity and sales – you may have even noticed them during Calgary’s 2015 Rocky Mountain Wine Fest. Up until recently, Joel has crafted all goods, in house but is now beginning to outsource manufacturing to local artesian woodworkers.

“Our woodworking partners are very passionate about their work and strive to maintain the high standards, hand crafted quality that our customers have come to expect.” Joel says. “Although we are drifting away from manufacturing in-house, Brent and I are very involved with developing custom pieces for customers and designing new products to add to our line of products.”

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French and American Oak barrels are sourced for Burgundy Oak products from various wineries in the Okanagan. Due to some recent demand, the pair are researching options for barrels from specific regions, like Napa Valley. Customer’s have also requested pieces made from a barrel sourced at a particular winery, from their favourite wine. Joel expects to reach these challenges with a special project named, the Signature Series, coming soon!

Keep an eye out for more Burgundy Oak and their upcoming products and projects. We also invite you to check out Smoke Barrel – a sister company crafting truly impressive BBQs and Smokers from Burgundy Oak barrels.

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The popular Dual Glass holder is one of Burgundy Oak’s best sellers – visit Highfield to check out the holder along with the full Wine Barrel Cabinet. You can view all Burgundy Oak products on their website, including clocks, trays, candle holders and more! WineCollective members can use the coupon code WINECOLLECTIVE25 for 25% off!

For more information, check out Burgundy Oak on Facebook and Instagram!


Pumpkin carving for wine lovers

Halloween is this weekend and instead of giving WineCollective members our list of “Spooky” wines to drink, we wanted to share a neat-o idea for serving wine at your party. You’ll need: a large pumpkin, a bowl, ice and WINE!

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To make a pumpkin wine cooler, you’ll need to first purchase a rather large pumpkin. At home, clean off any access dirt or grime and then, completely cut off the top portion of the pumpkin. Be careful!

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Next, remove all of the ooey-gooey insides and seeds, completely clearing out the pumpkin. Grab a large bowl and fit it inside – not mandatory but mainly in case of leakage.

You can then fill the pumpkin/bowl or both with ice and which ever wines you wish to serve! For candy enthusiasts, we recommend a sweet white, like Moscato or Riesling or a dry Sauvignon Blanc or Albarino! Chocolate lovers should stick to Gamay, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, depending on the richness of chocolate!

Get creative!

If you want to spruce up your pumpkin cooler, we have some recommendations.

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1. Forget the straight line. Cut your pumpkin top off with jagged ridges, or teeth!

2. Cut individual holes. A little more work, but great for beer or smaller bottles.

3. Decorate the pumpkins exterior for a glamorous or creepy effect.

4. Make a drunk pumpkin! You have a wine cooler anyway…

 

Happy Halloween!

 


Message in your bottle

By just looking at a bottle of wine, you are given hints as to what wine is inside. The bottle’s shape, colour and label can help you identify the style of wine.

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Varietals, regions and styles can have distinguishable bottles types. There are approximately 8 to 12 predominant bottles and a few other quirky ones. Here are a few of the most common bottles and how to identify them.

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Bordeaux

From the name, we know that this bottle was traditionally used for the wines of Bordeaux, France. It is common for bottling wines in many regions, both old and new world. Many different types and styles of wine are found in Bordeaux bottles. From traditional  Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Semillon, to Chianti and sweet wines. The broad shoulders of the bottle help to stop the sediment of tannic or aged wines, from ending up in your glass.

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Mosel, Alsace and Rhine

Most commonly you will find Riesling in these bottles. They are noted by a tall and thin neck with very narrow shoulders. Wines from Mosel and Alsace are traditionally in green glass, while Rhine is in brown glass bottles. Wines in these bottles will range from dry to sweet, so it is important to read the label carefully.

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Champagne

Champagne’s bottle is built for practicle reasons. The pressure of the contents inside requires that the bottle be made of thick glass, with a deep punt (indentation on the bottom of the bottle). Cava, Prosecco and Sparkling wine are also bottled in the Champagne-style bottles. Most noteably, you will find a foiled cork and cage, which helps to contain the contents.

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Burgundy and Rhône

Both these regions have similar shaped bottles. This is a popular format for many wines, and you will commonly find Syrah, Grenache, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in these bottles from Australia to Washington. The defining character is their gently sloping shoulders and wide base. Wines from Rhône, mainly Châteauneuf du Pape, will also have a coat of arms on the neck, above the label.

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Fortified wines

Port, Madeir and Sherry are all types of fortified wine. The most common and consistent bottling is the Port bottles, with the bulge in the neck. The bulge is meant to catch sediment as the wine is being decanted prior to serving.

These bottles are not regulated in many regions and are not required by governing bodies. New world producers will typically follow European traditions, but are not held to any bottling rules and regulations. These most common types of bottles will give you an idea of the wine inside.


Champagne Chair Contest

Each year, Design Within Reach launches a Champagne Chair Design contest. Using only the foil, cage, cork and label of two bottles, winners have managed to create spectacular furniture designs that we wish came in human, and not doll sized form. Below are this year’s winners, 3rd, 2nd and 1st place respectively.

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2nd_winners

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You may have already assumed that these designs are not the easiest to create. In fact, participants are able to use whatever tools they can get their hands on including drills, X Acto and Jewellery knives.

As we can not believe we have never found this contest before, we have decided to launch our very own Champagne Chair Design Contest for WineCollective members! We hope that from recent Champagne and Sparkling WineCollective features, members have some corks and cages still laying around.

Using the materials from two bottles, and which ever tools you would like, we are challenging you to create a chair that you would love to sit in yourself! To participate, simple leave a photo of the chair, as well as a comment on how you built it, materials used, etc, in the comment section below, or, on our Facebook page.

The winner will receive a very special Champagne and Sparkling package, custom created to suit their tastes!

We are very excited to see what you all come up with! For questions, please reach out to us, or leave a comment below.

Happy Champagne Friday!


Exclusive feature from Schug Carneros Estate

WineCollective partnered with esteemed Sonoma producer Schug Carneros Estate, to bring our members an exciting offering. We are proud to showcase the WineCollective Cuvee Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Schug. These wines are exclusive to WineCollective members online, and available only at Highfield by WineCollective in Calgary.

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2013 Schug WineCollective Cuvee

Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast, California

Retail: $29

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2012 Schug Cuvee WineCollective

Chardonnay

Sonoma Coast, California

Retail: $27

Schug Carneros Estate

Owners Walter and Gertrud’s appreciation of wine came early in life, as both their fathers managed estates in Germany. The couple moved to California, where Walter worked for several large producers, such as Joseph Phelps. While living in St Helena, Napa and working as the winemaker at Phelps, Walter had the opportunity to produce produce under his own label. Starting with Pinot Noir, Walter began building the Schug brand.

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The vineyards just south of Schug Carneros Estate.

Through it’s growth, Schug has remained a family ran business. All of Walter and Gertrud’s children are involved in the winery’s success. Axel Schug, one of Walter and Gertrud Schug’s three children, is responsible for the estate’s sales and marketing ventures. Axel hosted WineCollective late last summer, where we were able to learn more about the winery’s history and future.

Schug Carneros Estate is located in its founding location within the Carneros appellation. When the demand for Schug wines outgrew their production in Napa, Schug grew its acreage 1989 with 50 acres in Sonoma. Home to our exclusive cuvees, the Sonoma Coast enjoys a cool maritime climate, perfect for ripening crisp Pinot and Chardonnays! Of the sprawling 500,000 acres designated within Sonoma Coast, only 2% of the land is planted to vineyard. The majority (75%) of the vines are planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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View of the vineyards looking out from Schug Carneros Estate.

The Wines

After meeting with Axel Schug at the winery, we were confident that we had found a great producer to showcase an exclusive wine for WineCollective. Axel Schug toured us through the estate and poured the winery’s current releases. We were blown away by the quality, consistency and dedication of the Schug team, crafting exceptional and accessible wines.

The 2012 Chardonnay is a perfectly versatile Chard, with flavours of peaches, dried apricots, zingy white grapefruits and a hint of vanilla. The body is bold enough to entertain heavy pastas and roasted chicken, with just enough acidity and a long juicy finish.

The 2013 Pinot Noir is sourced from 5 vineyards within the Sonoma Coast AVA, including Ricci, Stage Gulch, and Schug Estate vineyards. The Pinot balances rustic notes, ripe berries and savoury herbs and minerality. The elegance will impress Pinot-lovers, while containing enough bold character to also impress the apprehensive.

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Vineyards to the north of Schug Carneros Estate.

The WineCollective Cuvees are an exclusive opportunity to own a wine from Schug Estate that has been carefully selected by the WineCollective team, directly at the winery. We are proud to be able to offer our members the opportunity to enjoy this Pinot Noir Chardonnay from a premium producer at an exceptional value. We are excited to feature both these wines to WineCollective members at a price substantially below market, one of the benefits of our sourcing wine direct. These wines will be available to members through the online members-only store, Tannic, and at Highfield by WineCollective until they sell-out. We would like to thank the team at Schug for helping to create a memorable wine experience!


Bows & Arrows Coffee Roasters

July’s CoffeeCollective feature comes to us from Victoria, B.C. In late 2011, Drew Johnson and his wife, Leesha Sabine set themselves up a new roastery in the Burnside neighbourhood where they could explore the world of roasting coffee. Formally a baker, Drew wanted to learn the art of coffee and expanded his knowledge from barista to head of his own roastery, Bows & Arrows.

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Today, Drew says he takes on every role at B&A. From janitor to green buyer, sales and even a milkman, being hands on is extremely important to the owner. Although the name Bows & Arrows came about from hitting shuffle on an iPod (an album name from the band “The Walkmen”) it still speaks true to the roastery’s attitude.

“We like the craft inference. The honed skill,” says Drew.

Not to mention, Bows & Arrows is quite a catchy title, and beyond the name comes great marketing. Both Drew and Leesha work on showcasing Bows & Arrows, and considering their packaging is a new CoffeeCollective favourite, we would argue that they are both quite skilled at branding and design.

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Bows & Arrows roastery also holds a bar café where 2 or three daily espresso options are available for tasters.

“It’s growing as the word gets out,” he says. “It’s still incredible to me that people will seek us out and visit. I mean, that was always the goal and intention. But it is still a pleasant surprise.”

For those of you in Victoria, you can find Bows & Arrows at 483 Garbally Road. However, for others across the country, B&A has a long list of retailers that you can purchase their coffee from.

The majority of beans roasted at B&A are sourced from farms in Central and South America, as well as East Africa. While they are not part of a coop, Drew says that they source beans by mostly returning to the same trusted importer year after year. This has not only built relationships with specific producers, but also given them some piece of mind.

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Drew Johnson (left). Photo by Deanna Ladret

“We want to develop the type of relationship where we are investing in the producers and collaborating to make not only their coffees better, and therefore, their incomes more predictable and stable, but also where we are learning the complexities facing each producer from where they are situated,” Drew wrote to us.

Some B&A beans are certified organic, while others are grown organically without certification. Drew however, does look for specific qualities when sourcing such as clean water and washing practices, ethical farm worker practices and investment for improvement. He suggests that all CoffeeCollective members really look into their roastery, their practices and how they conduct themselves.

The two roasts we selected for this month’s packages include the Ethiopia Worka and Hathaway Espresso.

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Kochere, Etiopia is a coffee region next to the well-known coffee-growing region of Yirgacheffe in Southern Ethiopia. These particular beans are sourced from Worka Sakero, a grower’s association with 750 farmers each cultivating roughly 2 hectares. The Ethiopia Kochere Worka is a medium roast, filled with floral notes of cassis, kefir lime and honeysuckle.

With different beans sourced from Mexico, Ethiopia, Bolivia, the Hathaway Espresso brings together flavours of different lands and soils all into one cup. As a tribute to Tony Hathaway, B&A says this espresso blend is perfect on its own, or in milk-based drinks. Try the candied sweetness, stone fruit and Neapolitan ice-cream flavours of the coffee with a latte.

Check out Bows and Arrows Coffee Roasters today through their website and social media pages! If you enjoyed their roasts, you can find more not only across the country and on their site, but also on the CoffeeCollective store which is open to all members and non-members!



Welcome to Wine – Decanting

Decanting wine is a debated issue in the wine world. While some professionals don’t believe it is necessary, most (including the WineCollective team) support that the process does influence the wine’s taste, aroma and overall quality. For new-to-wine drinkers, decanting wine may appear complicated, “Should I decant this, or not?”

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The truth is, all wine can be decanted – including whites and not just and old Bordeaux. There are two reasons to decant:

1. To separate the wine from sediment (common in older wines).

2. To allow oxygen to mix with wine (typical in younger wines).

During ageing, it is common for sediment to appear in the bottle. Sediment is also intentional, if a winemaker chooses not to fine or only lightly filters the wine. While sediment is not harmful, it can leave a bitter taste. To remove, position the bottle upright the day before you plan on serving the wine. This will gather all of the sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Slowly pour the wine into the decanter and stop pouring as soon as you see the sediment. You can do this directly prior to serving or up to half an hour before.

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At times, younger wines need to decant for a long period of time in order for it to fully aerate. Leaving wine for an hour or so in a decanter will allow for more pleasant aromas and a more mellow alcohol taste. Again, slowly pour the wine into the decanter and let sit for some time. You can pour directly from the decanter since they make a nice addition to a table setting.

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With that being said, when choosing a decanter stay away from trendy spiral or painted designs. While they look super cool, they are impractical to clean and you want to be able to see your wine clearly. We suggest one with a big base and wide-open mouth.

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Depending where you shop (Wine Enthusiast has quite the selection) and the decanter’s size and fanciness, prices from $40 to $400. If you don’t normally decant your wine, give it a try and experiment with time. Learning and tasting the difference and effects of decanting wine is all part of expanding your wine knowledge.