Blog

New Year’s Day Bubbles Contest!

If you follow WineCollective on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed our obsession with the combination of Friday and bubbles. Something we like to call #ChampagneFriday!

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 11.27.59 AM

This week, we’ll be celebrating the ultimate #ChampagneFriday on New Year’s Day and we would love for you to join us!

This Friday, January 1, 2016, tag or tweet us a photo of you enjoying some sort of Sparkling wine (Prosecco, Spumante, Cava, Champagne, etc) for your chance to win our Bubbly Prize Pack!

Simply use #ChampagneFriday2016 when posting your photo.

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 11.18.48 AM

For those celebrating NYE tonight with a likely inability to participate tomorrow 😉 all entries submitted after midnight, New Year’s Eve, will be included!

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 11.12.31 AM

To join in on our #ChampagneFriday2016 action, find us on Twitter and Instagram @WineCollective or at Facebook.com/WineCollective

HAPPY NEW YEAR & CHEERS!

The WineCollective Team.


A Christmas Treat: Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Warm, cozy hot chocolate with a boozy touch. YUM! Enjoy this Wine-O Hot Chocolate recipe with (adult) friends & family over the holidays!
hot+chocolate+with+red+wine+-+chasing+saturdays
Ingredients – Recipe by Cassie Johnston
  • ⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅔ cup dry red wine (see below for our recommendations)
  • Âœ cup milk
  • Âœ cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional (see notes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Âœ teaspoon vanilla extract
How to:
  1. Combine the chocolate chips, wine, milk, half, and half and sugar* in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is hot.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour into mugs and serve.
* If you’ll need to use the sugar or not will depend on the sweetness of your wine. If you’re using a very dry wine, you’ll want to add in the sugar. It’s best to take a sip without the sugar, and then add it in if need be.
Which wine do I use?
The 60 North Merlot, with touches of Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, Zinfandel and Malbec is a balance of fruity and savoury. Bright and fresh without overdone acidity will really blend into the chocolate with added spice and sweetness.
60-North-Merlot
Empordàlia Verdera Negre is a blend of Grenache and Carignan. The emphasis on tart berries, spice and even hints of cocoa will compliment the rich chocolate flavours and limit the use of added sugar.
Verdera-Negre-2013
Witt’s End, Luna Shiraz is a slightly older WineCollective feature but is always kept in stock due to its popularity. From McLaren Vale, Australia, you can expect along the lines of a rich fruit bomb with oaky spice. What makes this great for your hot cocoa, is the silky mouthfeel and balanced tannins and acidity.
Wits-End-Luna-Shiraz--McLaren-Vale-2012
Undurraga U is entirely Cabernet Sauvignon, which is well known for its love affair with chocolate. The Chilean wine is youthful and vibrant, and sees no oak. It’s dark berry and chocolate spice characteristics are a bonus.
Undurraga-'U'-Cabernet-Sauvignon-2014-2
If you’ve already consumed these wines without any left in your cellar, we recommend sticking to Merlot, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz based wines for your hot chocolate.
For last minute shoppers, remember that WineCollective Holiday Wine Experience Packages are still available until Dec 31st. We’d like to wish all of our members a very Happy Holiday Season, with great food, friends & wine! Cheers!

Introducing Canada Craft Club

WineCollective is expanding it’s palate… to beer! For Craft Beer enthusiasts across Canada, we are thrilled to introduce, Canada Craft Club!

ccc-logo_360

Much like WineCollective, Canada Craft Club is an education subscription service aimed at providing members with unique, hard-to-find brews from around the world. Packages range from 2-6 large format beers per month (650mL & 750mL).

What do you get with Canada Craft Club?
1. Access to limited release, small distribution, exclusive and new-to-market brews!
2. Courier delivery to your door via Canada Post or FedEx.
3. Tasting cards on every Craft Beer that you receive, explaining unique details about the brewer and the style of beer.
4. Expertly selected beers retailing between $12 and $18.

MBIEL4YUAY

Canada Craft Club also has Holiday Packages! Select a package for a beer-loving friend anywhere across Canada, available until December 31st! These holiday gifts also include bonus value with additional perks and offers.

Who will love Canada Craft Club? 

– Beer enthusiasts who are looking for newest, coolest and tastiest

– People who want to learn more about beer – we provide all the information.

– Craft lovers who live in remote locations, with limited access to world-wide selections.

– Those overwhelmed with all of today’s Craft Beer choices. Let us do all the hard work for you!

banner-flags

For any questions about Canada Craft Club, visit the website today, or email in at hello@canadacraftclub.ca

For WineCollective members wanting to join us in our beer adventure, use the coupon code WINEANDBEER for 10% off your purchase of a subscription or gift!

 


WineCollective’s Holiday Open House!

With the help of wine importing friends, and local restaurants and brewery’s, our first Holiday Open House at Highfield was a great success!

RedBackOpenHouse

This past Saturday, we invited WineCollective, Tannic and Highfield customers, members and supporters to join us for an afternoon of wine tastings. We’d like to thank those who offered their time and donations and even more, those that came for a visit!

Our Holiday House featured 9 different WineCollective & Tannic favourites including Joseph Mellot Le Tronsec, Pierre Amadieu Grand Romane and EmpordĂ lia’s Verdera Negre thanks to Jason and Evolution Fine Wines.

Jason-OpenHouse

Scott from Redback Wines poured Les Anges Chardonnay and the delicious Les Terriades RosĂ© D’Anjou, which was a huge hit. The rosĂ© nearly sold out and only 3 bottles are remaining in store!

Plaid Cap Imports poured the long time favourite, Gelso Nero and Albet i Noya’s Lignum Blanc, while the lovely Deb at Cellar Door poured Dictador Rum & Colombian Gin – now available at Highfield!

IMG_2605

We at WineCollective also poured Schug Estate’s Sauvignon Blanc and the Konzelmann Pinot Noir recently featured in November.

Every guest also received a gift bag, filled with goodies and special deals from our Open House sponsors Chef Bar and LDV Pizza Bar. LDV also donated pizza and bruschetta to nibble on during the tastings!

70d1e9a96212437c8527518630187_smallChefBarLDV

 

A big thanks to Village Brewery for their donation of a raffle prize which included free tour passes and of course, beer!

All of the wines poured at our Open House are still available on the WineCollective online store and in Highfield! Thanks again to all who participated – we look forward to our 2016 Holiday House!


WineCollective on The Marilyn Denis Show!

We are quite excited to share WineCollective‘s first TV appearance on The Marilyn Denis Show in part of Marilyn’s 10 Days of Giveaways!

mds

Visit The Marilyn Denis Show and watch the full episode online!

Through out the month of December, Marilyn is surprising audience members with her annual gift giveaway shows. WineCollective was featured in the Hostess Gift Guide and each audience member walked away with $100 to spend on a personal subscription or Holiday Wine Experience Package!

Other features included gifts from our friends at Carnivore Club, Ten Thousand Villages, Retro Festive and more! For your chance to win the same gifts as audience members, you can enter the online draw!

For those lucky audience members joining us, Welcome to WineCollective!


Fairtales, Legends, Fashion & Wine!

Last weekend, WineCollective & Highfield were extremely fortunate to take part in the Calgary Philharmonic’s Fairytales and Legends Fashion Gala!

IMG_2541

Featuring Holt Renfrew fashion, styled by the ladies of Styleista, this event brought together Calgary’s elite and huge sponsors. The magical event took place at Devonian Gardens, transformed into a magical forest with ambient and fashion show music from the orchestra’s finest.

WineCollective donated a variety of wines to the event’s huge raffle prize, valued at $2,000 with gifts from Craft Beer Market, Big Surf, Anējo and Lake Breeze wines. Highfield donated all of the spirits for the pre-event and fashion show after party.

IMG_2543

For our participation, Calgary Philharmonic spoiled us with four VIP tickets to the gala! After a quick contest, WineCollective member Michelle B and guest, joined Amber and Larissa for the evening.

We’d like to thank CPO for having us and giving us the opportunity to take part! Next year, we hope to be back with more donations and creative ideas (involving wine of course!) to further inspire this enchanting fundraiser.


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!

Pumpkin-Wine-Bucket-copy

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!

WineChiller4

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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 12.42.43 PM

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!

 


Experience Destination Tours

Summer is now in full swing and it is time to get out and enjoy what beautiful British Columbia has to offer with numerous excursions to the Okanagan Valley via Destination Tours.

NaramataWineTour2012

Destination Tours’ passion and expertise lies in creating unique, exciting tours and vacation getaways in our own Canadian backyard. Okanagan Wine Tours are a great way to experience the fine wineries in the Okanagan, some of which have been previously featured in your WineCollective packages.

As a WineCollective member, Destination Tours would like to offer $25 off per person off any of their tour packages by using the promo code “WineCollective”.

Destination Tours holds six different wine tours within the Okanagan region from our Kelowna to Summerland and Naramata as well as Whistler Getaways. In addition, with each unique tour, Destination Tours will find a variety of accommodations for you, minutes away from wine hot spots.

Each tour includes:

  • 2 nights accommodations
  • Visits to 4-5 different winery’s with over 25 tastings!
  • Included lunch at participating wineries.
  • Professional driver with wine and region knowledge and all rides in the AC touring vehicle.

To take advantage of this exclusive offer, visit www.destinationtours.ca to pick your tour and add in the promo code “WineCollective”. If you require any assistance, you can reach Destination Tours’ office at 1-877-507-5596.


Summer Sipping: Radlers in Canada

The WineCollective not-so definitive ranking of Radlers, available at Highfield.

new_grapefruit1

The German Beer Institute (yes it exists) defines Radlermass (aka Radler in North America) a beverage that is a half-and-half mix of blond lager, usually Pils or Helles, and lemonade and/or fruit juice such as grapefruit. This drink originated in Bavaria in the early 20th century, but it is now bottled and canned premixed and available in all of Germany.

Literally, Radler means cyclist and mass means a litre of beer, which makes a little more sense when you discover their initial creation.

Radlers were invented by Franz Xaver Kugler, an innkeeper, who opened a bar outside of Munich in the late 1800s. After WWI, bicycle riding became very popular and Herr Kugler’s bar was on a popular bike path. As legend has it, Herr mixed lemon soda water with beer to improve his inventory of beer so to not run out.

kugler

When mixing this lemon soda with his remaining beer at a 50/50 ratio, Herr proudly declared that he had invented this concoction deliberately just for the cyclists so that they would not fall off their bikes on their way home. He called the mixture a Radlermass.

This is not the first time beer had been mixed with other substances. Shandy in the UK is a mixture of beer and ginger beer and even in Canada we have beer mixed with a Caesar. However, the unique characteristics of an enjoyable blond lager and refreshing juice has made Radlers the go-to summer drink this year!

So, while WineCollective loves its summer wines (Rose is the appropriate answer here), we also love Radlers and have recently had a blind tasting of four of the most popular Radlers available at Highfield by WineCollective. This tasting was made up of twelve people who simply enough, tasted the radlers one at a time and identified the one they liked the most and the least.

WaterlooRadler

Winner: Waterloo Radler

Made in Ontario and recently awarded a gold medal from the 2015 Monde Selection, the Waterloo Radler was the big winner garnering the most first place votes. The Waterloo was significantly sweeter than some of the other radlers, and this is likely due to the addition of high fructose corn syrup to the mixture. Also, while it markets itself as “grapefruit” grape juice concentrate is actually the second ingredient. Waterloo was the only radler to not receive a “liked it the least” vote from our esteemed panel as well. It also has the highest alcohol level in the group at 3.1%.

Ingredients: Beer, Grape Juice Concentrate, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Grapefruit Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Flavour.

SteiglRadler

Runner Up: Stiegl Radler

The German original, but not really because it’s actually Austrian. When most people think radlers they think Stiegl, as this is by far the most prevalent option out in the general public right now. This Austrian import was the runner up with the second most first place scores but also a couple of “liked it least” scores in there as well. A more polarizing radler made from Stiegl Goldbrau beer and lemonade. It is significantly less sweet than the Waterloo with more of a lemon, lime taste than grapefruit. Brewed in accordance with the Bavarian purity laws, this is a more straight up example of a radler.

Ingredients: Beer, Lemonade

BavariaRadler

Third Place: Bavaria Grapefruit Radler 

Confusing all around. Not Bavarian, actually brewed in the Netherlands. Grapefruit radler, but actually shows it’s ingredients as lemonade with elderberry flavour. The lightest of the radlers, with only a 2.0% alcohol content. This one skated through in the middle, eliciting neither a love it or hate it sentiment from our dozen tasters. Only one person ranked it the best and one ranked it at the bottom, with no strong feelings either way.

TreeBrewingRadler

Fourth Place: Tree Brewing Grapefruit Radler

Now talk about polarizing! Brewed in Kelowna, the Tree Brewing Radler is a love it or hate it affair. Garnering almost solely “best” or “worst” ratings with only two tasters in between. Most tasters found the grapefruit taste to be too strong and too tart, which isn’t surprising given the ingredient list is: 50% grapefruit juice, 50% beer. That’s it. For full disclosure, this was my favourite radler, it was tarter and less sweet than the Waterloo and has just the right amount of kick coming in at 2.5%. You can also get 40% of your daily vitamin C intake with one of these.

Ingredients: Beer, Grapefruit juice

While the majority of our WineCollective tasters preferred the sweeter, higher alcohol Waterloo Radler (North American flavour profile anyone?) we found that all of the radlers here would be huge hits as the summer rolls on.

We stock a wide selection of radlers (including a couple not tasted here) in Highfield by WineCollective. Pop by and pick up one, or four, and enjoy them outside as the perfect drink for summer heat.


What wine to pair with wild Stampede food

It is Calgary’s favourite time of the year again, Stampede! Along with the boots and cowboy hats, us Calgarians are also used to seeing some adventurous food and treats on the midway.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetGlazed donut grilled cheese, via The Big Cheese. 

Each year, vendors release some delicious, or disturbing, menu items. Last year’s scorpion pizza or the mini donut poutine, we can only imagine how the wrong beverage pairing could off throw these gutsy food combos. This year, after picking up some yummy (hopefully) grub, head to the beer gardens or the Western Oasis, wine garden for the perfect Cabernet, cowboy.

Better yet, try these recipes out for yourself with the best match from the WineCollective store!

GLAZED DONUT GRILLED CHEESE

A single glazed donut stuffed with the exceptional string cheese!

The creamy cheese and sweetness calls for sparkling and specifically, the vibrant bubbles and fruity character of Prosecco!

Terre-di-San-Venanzio

Terre di San Venanzio Fortunato 

Club price: $17.99

With plenty of sweet ripe fruit (melons, apricot and pear) the sweetness of the donut glaze will be matched. White flowers and bountiful acidity will cut through the cheesy goop. With textured bubbles, your palate is left cleansed and refreshed!

DRAGON DOG

At $100, this is the most expensive hotdog in the world according to Guinness Book of Records! Kobe beef, cooked in truffle oil with lobster tail, garlic, truffles and ricotta cheese.

Grain-fed Kobe beef* needs a wine with earthy quality and balanced tannins. Combined with lobster, truffles and ricotta cheese a versatile wine is a must with fruity nuances and just enough structure.

elios---Consters-del-priorat-2010

Costers del Priorat Elios

Club price: $20.50

A $100 hot dog deserves the fanciest Stampede dinner possible. Fortunately, you can find this blend of Grenache, Cab Sauv, Syrah and Carignan at the Western Oasis! Juicy fruits and soft tannins won’t overwhelm this combo of foods and texture.

MAPLE BACON BOX

Maple + bacon = every Canadian’s dream! Add noodles and chicken and you’re on top of the ferris wheel!

High acidity is needed to break through the salty fats, so we would definitely recommend a refreshing rosĂ©! For a sneak peak into July’s package, check out the


Domaine-du-Savard-Cheverny-Rose

Domaine du Salvard Rosé $20.49

Made with Pinot Noir, the rosé is full of bright red fruits, peaches and minerality with big but balanced acidity. Not overly sweet, this dry example will stand up to the bacon and chicken as well all while matching the sweet maple!

 

Check out the WineCollective store for any of the wines listed, or others similar to for delicious pairings to wild Stampede fare.

If you find something strange or tasty on the grounds and are eager for a wine pairing, share with us on social media! Chances are we’ll be two-stepping somewhere near by and are willing to take on the challenge!

 

* For the best wine pairings for particular cuts of beef, check out our Cuts & Cabernet blog!