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Multiple Sclerosis Fundraiser

WineCollective recently took part in a Multiple Sclerosis Fundraiser with the help of our friend, Amy Nadeau. Amy is one of 100,000 Canadians living with MS. While the disease is life changing, she has managed to put together fundraisers such as the one held earlier this month on May 10, as well as run the MS 10km run that took place this past Sunday, May 25 in Calgary.

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The fundraiser was held at the Blind Monk Pub with over 90 guests supporting the cause. A total of $7,000 was raised for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

WineCollective donated an Evolution Mixed package, valued at $90, which sold in a silent auction for $105. It appeared to be one of the more popular donations at the event!

The MS fundraiser was also supported by various donations from breweries, wine representatives and yoga studios. VIP tickets to a Calgary Flames game were also up for bidding. In addition to the auction, Hot Super Hot, volunteered to entertain the guests with their Caribbean jams throughout the evening.

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As always, we feel very thankful and overjoyed to be able to take part in fundraisers around the city. Some members of the WineCollective team have personal connections to those living with MS and understand the struggle and symptoms of the disease. We are always willing to assist in any way we can.

Thank you to Amy and those who attended the event in support of finding treatment for MS. Click here to donate today to the MS Society of Canada and keep an eye out for future fundraising events supported by WineCollective to find out how you can help and donate.


Moms Love Wine!

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, we want to help our WineCollective members find the perfect gift for the most special woman in their life. After work, cooking, laundry, cleaning and taking care of everyone in the fam, most moms would love to kick back with a glass of vino at the end of a long, hard day. And you, being the world’s best son or daughter can easily make that happen with a WineCollective store order or gift subscription!

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We’ll be working hard this month to ship out all store orders for mom before Mother’s Day. If you make your store purchase before Monday, May 5th, your wine will arrive for Sunday, May 11th.

For mom’s that prefer java over wine, we suggest checking out our little sister CoffeeCollective for store orders and monthly gift subscriptions. Each month, CoffeeCollective features freshly roasted beans from a different Canadian roaster.

Currently, we have some amazing wines in our members-only store that are perfect for mom including:

Mauricio Lorca Fantasia

A sparkling wine from Mendoza, Argentina made from Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The wine is fresh with fruity and bouquet aromas and flavours! It’s a perfect edition to mimosas along with brunch.

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2012 Colterenzio Lumo Blanc

For a mom as bright as sunshine, this Italian blend is composed of Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The palate is a citrus and tropical fruit salad with strong acidity and lifted finish of blanched almonds.

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Purchasing from the store is a great option if you’re looking to get your mom a bottle or two of something special we have featured in our packages. However, WineCollective also offers gift subscriptions, which will keep the gift of wine coming! Purchase a gift subscription for your mother before April 30th and the first shipment will arrive in May. Although your mother won’t receive the wines in time for Sunday brunch, you can easily print off the WineCollective gift email to put inside a card. Our gift emails explain the gift and process to the receiver as well as how to log in to their WineCollective.ca account so your mom will have something to look forward to.

If you’re looking to purchase a gift for mom we invite you to use our Mother’s Day coupon code MOMSLOVEWINE for $15 off a store or gift purchase over $50.

In celebration of Mother’s Day we’ve found a few women who dominate the wine industry, but do so with a few youngins hanging on their sides.

Elizabeth Grant Douglas – La Crema

Born in Niagara Falls, Elizabeth has worked at various wineries around Canada, France, and the United States. Today she is the director of winemaking at La Crema in the Sonoma Valley and manages to make perfect cool climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris while taking care of her 4-year-old son Malcolm.

Lise Asimont – Francis Ford Coppola Winery

As the Director of Growers Relations at the Francis Ford, Lise is responsible for overseeing cultivation and sourcing grapes from over 100 Napa Valley growers. While busy, Lise still finds time out of the vineyards for her two kids, 12 and nine.

Stephanie Honig – Honig Vineyard and Winery

While she handles public relations, Stephanie’s husband Michael is president of their family-owned estate. The two are raising their three kids, Sophia (6), Lola (4), and Sebastian (2) in their Napa Valley vineyards.

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While we are positively sure the above moms love wine, we’re fairly certain yours does too! Feel free to contact us for assistance or any questions about ordering for Mother’s Day and be sure to use the coupon at checkout as all other orders without will be shipped with regular subscription packages mid-May.

For all of our WineCollective moms, Happy Mother’s Day! Cheers!


AER’s silent auction for United Way

WineCollective has always jumped at the opportunity to participate in various United Way fundraisers in the past. Recently, we joined Alberta Energy Regulator in their silent auction in support of United Way that focused on three areas including:

–       Helping kids be all they can be

–       Moving people from poverty to possibility

–       Building healthy people in strong communities

Towards the end of 2013, WineCollective donated a 6-Month Holiday Package, valued at $556, which was featured in the AER silent auction.  This donation included all of the bells and whistles of a typical WC gift package such as tasting notes and access to our online community of wine-lovers. We sincerely hope the highest bidder enjoys their upcoming six months of wine!

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Along with other companies and organizations who generously donated to the auction, Alberta Energy Regulator raised $19,472.98 for United Way.

Thank you to AER for hosting this very successful silent auction. We look forward to working with them and other United Way supporters in the future.


WineCollective’s Wine n’ Wares

This past Friday, the women of WineCollective transformed the office into a boutique for a festive ladies night. We welcomed friends, family, wine distributors and customers for Wine n’ Wares, an evening combined all of our favourite gifts and personal pampering products into a one stop shop.

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Friend of WineCollective, Shelly Bata filled our boardroom with fabulous Stella & Dot jewelry and accessories. While skincare and beauty products from NuCerity and Arbonne were also featured, thanks to consultants Amy Wilford and Amy Protti.

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Shelly was kind enough to offer a free draw prize, which happened to go to our NuCerity representative, Amy. She won a beautiful Stella & Dot turquoise necklace that caught her eye earlier in the evening.

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Of course, bottles were popped to pair alongside the snack spread, which even included a very fancy Cabernet Sauvignon cheese. We selected the 2010 Le Roc Blanc, a red wine blend of Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache and Carignan that was featured in most WineCollective June 2013 packages. While light, this wine is impressively flavourful with notes of blackberries and oak. The vintage is a great companion to food; however, it can easily be enjoyed alone while trying on jewelry or sampling lotions.

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We also served the 2009 Palmadina Pinot Grigio for our white wine fans. This vintage is full bodied in its fresh and crisp flavours of grapefruit and peach and also makes a great pairing for appetizers.  You may have this Italian charm in part of your November shipment.

All of the ladies that attended Wine n’ Wares were entered in a draw for two bottles of each wine. We hope that our winner, Amanda, enjoys the gift as a thank you for attending! Both the 2010 Le Roc Blanc and 2009 Palmadina Pinot Grigio can be found in our WineCollective store for a member’s only price.

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Once again, we would like to thank all attendees and hostesses for a great evening at WineCollective. Ladies, stay tuned for future Wine n’ Wares events!


Preparing for your best cup of joe with CoffeeCollective

If you haven’t heard yet, WineCollective has a new brainchild that is warming the taste buds of beverage lovers, before noon. CoffeeCollective is our latest club, where members receive 2 lbs of fresh roasted beans from a featured Canadian roaster each month. If you have yet to check out the coffee club, then we suggest you do. In the meantime, here is a blog post to make you crave a hot steaming cup of coffee.

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Not all coffee tastes the same. In fact, there are many elements in preparing your cup of joe, beyond the roast, that will effect the overall quality and taste of your coffee.

Fortunately, we at CoffeeCollective want to make sure you have all the information necessary to make a great cup of coffee. Being aware of the following five fundamental requirements to coffee making with ensure just that.

 

Equipment

Make sure you thoroughly clean your coffee maker between each use. It doesn’t matter if you use a Drip Brew or French Press, a build up of coffee grounds or oil will make your coffee taste bitter.

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Coffee

For the best cup of coffee, make sure your beans are freshly roasted. If your bag is left open for more than 2 weeks you will notice a strong difference in taste. CoffeeCollective only buys the freshest beans from our featured roasters. If you need to store your coffee, put the tightly sealed bag in the freezer and remove beans for a weeks use.

Grind

For a consistent size in your coffee grounds use a Burr or Mill grinder. Grinding your coffee beans right before brew time will give you the best results for a hearty mug. Depending on your brewing method, adjust your grind to suit. Over grinding your coffee will make it over extracted and leave a bitter taste while under grinding will under extract your beans making the coffee taste flat. A helpful tip: rub grinds in between your fingers to feel out your preferred grind. Never reuse coffee grinds.

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Water

Do not use tap, distilled or softened water for making coffee as it typically contains chlorine or a slight odour. Use filtered water instead and heat to 35°C or just after boil.

Coffee to Water

Use 1 Tbs of coffee per 6 ounces of water. Maintaining this coffee to ratio balance will help you always to prepare a hearty and flavourful cup.

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Be sure to enjoy your coffee right after its brewed for its best aroma and taste. You can also keep your coffee in an insulated travel mug for up to two hours without loosing too much flavour. While these steps may seem amateur, many coffee lovers overlook the simple inconsistencies that alter the taste of their coffee.  Following these simple steps, we guarantee will put you one step closer to preferring your own home brew and avoiding a crowded Tim Horton’s drive-thru.

 

To enjoy premium coffee roasts from small Canadian houses, check out CoffeeCollective today. We invite WineCollective members to use the coupon code WINECOLLECTIVE15 for $15 off your first CoffeeCollective shipment.


WineCollective + Carnivore Club

A few weeks ago, we discovered Carnivore Club, and for those of you that follow us on Twitter and Facebook, you have probably already seen our adoration.  Like WineCollective, Carnivore Club curates and delivers premium product on a monthly basis.  We recently received our first package and we decided to share it with you!

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What do you pair with charcuterie? Quite simply, one might think that meat = red wine, but that is not taking into account all of the variables in seasoning, body and textures, from salami to pâté.

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We decided to select some of our favourite Canadian wines and match them up with the November Carnivore Club shipment. Each package comes with your own “Meat-Eaters” handbook, explaining the flavours and uniqueness of each selection. This guide is very helpful when looking for your charcuterie wine pairing.

Here is what we received:

  • Iberico Chorizo – Produceed from the black Iberian pig. Seasoned with paprika, peppers, garlic, and wine.
  • Culatello – Produced from the rear leg muscle of the pig. Aged for 12 months in 500 year old caves in Parma, Italy.
  • Bresaola – Salt cured, air dried beef. Seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, juniper, pepper, bay leaf, cloves, thyme oregano, rosemary.
  • Pâté de Champage – A traditional Quebecois pâté from pork. Seasoned with pepper, wild mushrooms, white wine.
  • Pata Negra – Cured ham from Iberico, Spain. Free range Iberico pigs feast on grass, herbs, nuts and truffles in an ecological reserve of oaks, conifers and cork.
  • Toscana Salami a Finocchio – Traditional sausage made with pork. Seasoned with fennel seeds.

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The common trend among cured meats is the astounding and delicious amount of fat and salt. If you were to pair one wine with all the above, go for a dry and crisp sparkling wine like a Prosecco or Cava. The acidity and freshness will be able to cut through the fats. Alternatively, sherry is also traditionally paired with cured meats and a great way to keep warm over the holidays! We decided to open a white, a red and a fortified wine, here are our thoughts:

Sperling Vineyards Gewürztraminer

The Gewürztraminer paired well with some of the lighter cuts and the pâté, but was too delicate for the chorizo and salami. The florals and honey notes were great with the pâté. An alternate white that could stand up to these meats would be a new-world Riesling with crisp acidity and light residual sweetness. You can order this wine directly from Sperling Vineyards and see what you think!

Kalala Zweigelt

This is a unique varietal from Austria, where a lot of the diet contains cured meats. Although we loved this wine, and it also paired well with the Bresaola and pâté, a spicier red like a Washington Syrah or Cab Franc would not be overshadowed by the seasoning of the Chorizo and Salami. You can find out more about Kalala and even order this wine directly from their wine club!

Southbrook Whimsey! The Anniversary

A fortified wine can be hit or miss depending on who you are serving. This is a great alternative to a common pairing with a still wine. The Anniversary offers great spice, texture and fruit, plus a slight sweetness that lightly coats the palate. You can also buy this online from Southbrook’s wine club.

Here are a couple quick guidelines when pairing wine with charcuterie:

  • When in doubt, choose sparkling!
  • Excess of salt requires great acidity and some residual sugar
  • Pâté and terrine can be paired with whites like Rieslings, and reds like Zinfandel
  • Spicy meats should be paired with spicier wines, like Syrah
  • Great bread is always necessary and helps to cleanse your palate when sampling a selection like charcuterie (ours came from our own in-house developer/baker, Tim)

We think that you should check out Carnivore Club, it is the perfect gift to compliment your Holiday Package or subscription.  WineCollective members can use the promo code “WC10” to receive $10 off the first delivery.

We are giving away one of the Carnivore Club packages to a WineCollective member. Tell us your favourite charcuterie pairing by commenting on this blog, writing to us on Twitter or Facebook by December 1. We will randomly draw from everyone who submitted a pairing suggestion!


Cured and couriered from Carnivore Club

We are very excited to introduce a new monthly club in Canada that may just be the perfect gift for any man in your life – unless he’s a vegetarian.

Carnivore Club is a monthly subscription that provides exclusive meat to club members. Each month, members receive 4 to 6 selections of “unique charcuterie, exotic terrines and artisan crafted jerky’s from around the world.”

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The team at Carnivore Club ensures that you receive fresh and top quality selections that cannot be found at your local grocery store or butcher shop. Their partners are small producers because CC believes that they provide the furthest care and attention to their products.

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What’s great about Carnivore Club is each month, delivered right to your front door, comes a perfect wine pairing. They are also very generous in providing WineCollective members with $10 off their first shipment when you use the promo code WC10 at checkout.

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The WineCollective team has already ordered our first shipment and it’s headed straight for our office. We plan on creating a perfect pairing between Carnivore Club and WineCollective selections. You can look forward to an upcoming blog post on what the office foodies cook up, recipe and wine pairing included!


WineCollective 2013 Holiday Packages

We are very excited to announce that our WineCollective Holiday Packages are now available for the 2013 holiday season. Each wine subscription is wrapped in an educational experience that is delivered monthly to your recipient, anywhere across Canada.

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This year, playing Santa Claus is easy. Skip the crowded malls, lines, wrapping paper and let us do all of the work. Packages range from$134.99 to $1489.99, making it a breeze to find a suitable gift for your colleague or nearest and dearest.

Packages include four to six bottles each month, with your choice of red or mixed wines. Decide between 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6-month subscription, or truly impress with a full year of wine. We are also happy to introduce quarterly shipments, if cellar space is an issue.

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Unlike our regular gift subscriptions that are available throughout the year, WineCollective Holiday Packages include numerous perks for you and your gift recipient, as well as up to a 30% discount! Here’s a full list of reasons (besides the wine) that aholiday package is what you need to please all the grown-ups on your list. This is the gift that keeps on pouring.

–       Give your gift recipient access to the online WineCollective community where they   can rate and discuss the wines they receive each month

–       Tasting cards delivered with each wine, giving your recipient some quality education of the wine’s characteristics and crafting.

–       Access to the online store to buy even more wine!

–       Choose between a gift email, which will be sent out to your recipient on December   25th, or a printable email you can stuff into a socking or give in a card. This email     will give your recipient all the details for their WineCollective account and upcoming wine packages.

–       Purchase 10 or more gifts for clients and receive a 10% discount

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This year, our packages are going above and beyond as we’ve added a few extra gifts depending on your package selection.

–       WineCollective tote bag

–       WineCollective cork screw

–       Wine guide

–       CoffeeCollective coupon (our new brainchild!)

–       Tannic.ca membership ($195 value)

–       $2 donation for every month of your subscription to Rebuild the Zoo

 

Get your shopping done early and check out WineCollective for holiday packages today!


4th Annual Fort McMurray Wine Auction

In support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray will be hosting their 4th SMS Equipment Wine Auction this Saturday, October 5th. Each year this event welcomes 450 guests to take part in both a silent auction and raffle for numerous prestigious wines and spirits.

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2012 Fort McMurray Wine Auction. Courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters Wood Buffalo

Many of the wines to be featured in the auction are extremely rare and valuable. For example, wine hunter Dr. Carl Deane recently found a 1962 Chateau de la Riviere Fronsac, after a 22 km trail in caverns underneath the Bordeaux estate. This exact wine will be sold this weekend as part of the silent auction. Last year, the auction raised $120,000.

The Fort McMurray auction will be held at Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre, which has been transformed into a whimsical “outdoor” park thanks to planning by Events With Vizability. The event will also feature the CEDA International tasting room ($40) with 5 tasting booths.

Performances by Juno nominee Suzie McNeil and local artist Becca Hess will also take place, making the entire evening full of entertainment. Tickets (which are more than likely 90% sold out) sell for $200 or 10 for $1900.

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2012 Fort McMurray Wine Auction. Courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters Wood Buffalo

Apart from some major corporate sponsors such as, Suncor Energy and ConocoPhillips Canada, WineCollective and Tannic have also made donations for both raffle prizes and the silent auction. We have included:

 

Silent Auction

–       WineCollective:  3 months of our Evolution package delivered

–       Tannic membership valued at $195 and $100 credit towards Tannic purchase

Raffle Prizes

–       Tannic membership and a 6 pack of previously featured wines, a $650 value

 

We hope the event is truly successful and can’t wait to hear from our auction and raffle winners. If you can’t get to the event this weekend, keep an eye out for next years Fort McMurray Wine Auction and visit their website.


Season of LOVE at WineCollective

Church bells are ringing meaning Wedding Season is most definitely upon us. Personally, I enjoy the five or so weddings I attend every year. Great food and wine, the reunion of friends and family and of course the puppy-dog love shared by the new Mr. and Mrs.

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As a guest to your loved one’s special day, the challenge may only be in finding the perfect gift. A dramatized, “Oh thanks Aunt Liz, another tea set is just what we needed,” may not be the response you want to hear.  And lets face it, who really wants to go walk around Bed Bath & Beyond to find the couples chosen gravy boat?

If you have a hard time coming up with a genuine and unique wedding gift, WineCollective once again is here to help. For the remainder of the season of love from July through to the end of September, WineCollective is offering a $25 discount with the coupon code MR&MRS2013 on gift packages that will be easily delivered to the happy couple’s front door.

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A wedding gift from WineCollective is effortless and stress free. The discount can be used on any gift package subscription on a purchase of $200 or more. With delivery across Canada, wine can be delivered to your destination wedding in Ontario and even postponed until the couple returns from their honeymoon. Also included is a gift message, which can be sent to the recipients, via email, or yourself to include in the card and kept for a surprise.

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WineCollective is pleased to be offering the MRMRS2013 coupon for those attending a wedding this year. For a great value the newly-weds will enjoy fabulous wine, chosen and critiqued by our wine professionals, delivered monthly. Thanks to your crafty idea, bottles will be opened and the celebration will continue months after saying “I do!”


WineCollective at 2012 ICU Education Day

At WineCollective, we understand the importance of health and appreciate an opportunity to support our health care workers. We were especially proud to help sponsor the 2012 ICU education day at the Foothills Hospital. As Critical Care nurse Pam Hruska explains, this is an important event meant to promote broader education for those responsible for caring for our health:

“Each year we organize this full day conference for critical care nurses, physiotherapists and respiratory therapists to provide a forum to refine knowledge and skills on relevant topics in our clinical practice.

Our enrollment this year included 120 critical care staff from all intensive care units within the city and we had six guest speakers.  Our topics ranged from hemodynamic support, ecstasy & PMMA overdose, care of organ donors, the experience of life and death in the ICU, treatment of stroke patients, and an overview of critical care provided in STARS transport.”

WineCollective provided two packages as door prizes for the event. The winners were two hard-working Critical Care Nurses:

 

Congratulations! We’re more than happy to support the frontlines of Critical Care for the important and compassionate work they do.

On a side note,  we think that wine and your health go hand in hand!

 


Happy Thanksgiving, wine lovers!

This was shot at Fairview Cellars on Oliver, BC’s Golden Mile Bench, South Okanagan.

WineCollective members, we have a task for you. Don’t worry, no homework involved and no wrong answers! All we want you to do is enjoy a bottle of wine, and tell us about it.

Let us know what wine you served with your turkey, ham or tofurkey for Thanksgiving. Share your stories on Facebook, Twitter or as a comment on the wine in your WineCollective account. All contributions submitted between October 5th to October 9th will be entered into a draw to receive your November shipment for free. Now that’s something to be thank-ful for!

You aren’t a WineCollective member? Sign-up now and you can still be entered to win when you share your Thanksgiving wine-of-choice.

Need some help selecting the perfect wine to bring to the in-laws, or what to pour for your guests? Check-out some suggested bottles and basics to turkey pairing from WineCollective.

Photo credit: Judy Bishop – The Travelling Eye