Wine Enthusiast Magazine – Top 100 Value Wines of 09

Wine Enthusiast magazine has released their Top 100 list of value wines for 2009. What makes a wine a contender for their value list? The bottle price must be less than or equal to $15 dollars US and be rated at least 87+ points. As with most US based publications, there are several wines that we haven't encountered but we recognized a one of the top 10's that is available in Alberta. The Segura Vidas NV Brut Reserva is a Cava that we have reviewed and enjoy thouroughtly. It has an outstanding QPR (Quality Price Ratio) and if you are looking to celebrate life with some inexpensive bubbles, its tough to top. We found a remarkable number of Sauvignon Blancs on this list with one seemingly on each page. One other noteable varietal that was missing was Pinot Noir. We are always on the lookout for value Pinot and were optimistic a few might make the grade.

These lists make for handy guides at your next market visit. Download the list here. Happy hunting friends!


Become the Next Virtual Rothschild

Fancy yourself as the brains behind the production of a top Bordeaux or Burgundy? With the development and marketing of computer games aimed at gamers becoming railroad or amusement park tycoons, it was only a matter of time before the same concept would be applied to wine. The time appears to be now.

Wine Tycoon aims to put gamers in full control of a French Chateau and takes them through the entire operation around the production of wine. The game retails for about twenty two dollars and is the newest release for producer Got Game Entertainment. From what we have seen, the game looks incredibly detailed as it covers every aspect of the winemaking process from the agriculture all the way down to the choices of varietal blends to make up the end product.

We think it looks like a lot of fun and believe it might be a educational way to expose enthusiasts to the intricacies of being a winemaker. Christmas is just around the corner!

Check out Wine Tycoon here.


Imported Grapes in Canadian Wine – Buyer Beware

I recently received this story from one of WineCollectives loyal members RTT. It would seem that certain Canadian producers have been using imported fruit from the US and marketing it as Canadian wine. While this seems wholly fraudulent to me, it would seem the practice is widely accepted and continues. Our advice to consumers looking to purchase Canadian wine: Read the label and look for the VQA mark on the wine. Another thing to look for is “Cellared in Canada” which is a tell-tale that the wine consists of imported fruit.

The article is an interesting read and as always, we welcome your comments. Thanks to RTT for linking this up.

Imported Grapes in Canadian Wines

There is also another article from The Economist which I am linking up as well, talking about the same problem.

Outsourcing Terroir


High Level view of Massive Wine Fraud

Mike Steinberger from Slate Magazine has an interesting piece around one of the greatest wine hoaxes ever perpetrated. In it he talks about how these events affected the reputation of the wine expert Michael Broadbent who auctioned and sold the fraudulent wine. It highlights how human fallibility can damage professional reputations and tarnish careers. After reading this, my next book purchase will undoubtedly be The Billionaire's Vinegar.


Check the Slate article out – Greatest Wine Hoax Ever

Italian Banks take wine as collateral!

wine from the cellar

Recession? No matter:

“Italian bank vaults may soon resemble well stocked delicatessens if a plan goes ahead to accept expensive wines and dry-cured hams as collateral on bank loans from crisis-hit producers.

The idea, which was launched this week by an influential Italian bank chairman and wine producer, was backed by an Italian minister and follows the tradition of Italian banks storing massive wheels of parmesan cheese as loan collateral.”

Like I needed more reasons to move back to Italy!

Read more via the Guardian.

Palate Training with Gary V.

We love sharing videos and links especially when we see them being a huge benefit to our members. Gary Vaynerchuk is one of those internet sensations who has appeared on Conan, Ellen and a variety of other media outlets. He produces a almost daily video blog called Wine Library TV where he reviews wines, interviews producers and generally does so in a 'drunk on passion' sort of way. A New Jersey native, his style and dialogue might be abrasive to some but his knowledge and every-man perspective is a welcome change to the stuffiness and snobbery that is occasionally projected by other wine critics.

This video is around how to train your palate to taste wine like the pros do. Its lengthy at about 30 minutes but worth every second. You might want to turn your volume down a bit before you start the clip as Gary V tends to get a little loud. 😉


And the WineCollective Summer Contest winner is……

We are pleased to announce the WineCollective Summer Contest grand prize goes to the member named rtt. Congratulations are in order as rtt submitted numerous contest entries and will receive two stunning bottles of wine for the effort. We'd like to thank all those who entered and appreciate your thoughts and feedback around the wine you have received. Keep up the good work and keep your eyes peeled for our next contest which will be announced shortly.

Thanks again and enjoy your prize rtt.

David and Adrian

Why French Wine is still on Top

Mike Steinberger has a great recent article on about the wines of France still being considered as best in the world. He makes a great point that although enthusiasts often move around the world in search of new varietals and expressions of terroir, they invariably come back to France as the source for their wine. I won't give the rest away but it is an interesting read and will hopefully make you think about giving French wine a shot at your next market or restaurant visit.

Two Cheers for France

Bottoms Up!

WineCollective Summer Contest Extension

Maybe two weeks wasn't enough time!. We here at WineCollective are all about fairness so we have decided to give our members a little time extension on the June contest. Therefore, we are changing the cut-off date for contest entries. The contest now will close on July 31st, 2009 at Midnight, with the winner announced shortly after that. The contest name is also changing to the Summer Contest due to the fact that it is no longer limited to June.

To enter, simply log into the site, go to the My Wines page and leave a comment based off the wines you have received. Each time you comment, that will count as one entry towards the contest. The grand prize is 2 brilliant bottles of wine to be delivered along side of the August packages.

Good luck, thanks for your understanding and we look forward to reading and responding to your feedback.

David and Adrian

Update – June Contest

Time is running out to get your entries in for WineCollectives June contest. To enter, simply log into the WineCollective website and select the My Wines link at the top right corner of the page. With each comment submitted, members will earn one entry for our grand prize of 2 spectacular bottles of wine delivered with the July packages. The contest closes on June 30th, 2009 at midnight so be sure to enter soon and enter often. There is no restrictions on which wines you can comment on so if you have feedback on previous months wines, those comments qualify as contest entries as well. Good luck and we are looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Have a great weekend! Cheers!

WineCollective June Contest

Contest time at WineCollective. The rules are simple. For each comment that you leave on the WineCollective site, you will earn you one entry into our latest and greatest contest. Sounds easy right? Maybe you're asking what's in it for you? We have a stupendous prize this time around. It's amazing wine, and not just one bottle but two for our grand prize winner.

This prize will arrive with the winners regular package for July delivery. Eligible contestants are any current members or gift recipients for the month of June.

Don't wait, log on to the WineCollective site, go to the My Wines section and rate / comment your wines. The more you comment, the more entries you earn thus the better your chances for winning. Not only do you get contest entries but you also garner user points for your efforts. Double dipping has never been so easy and so much fun! The contest closes on June 30th with announcement of the winner shortly after.

Good luck, have fun and comment often.

June Package Bonus Perk

For all those WineCollective members who ordered memberships or gifts, we are stoked to include 2 sample Wine Wipes courtesy of Perfect for stashing in your pocket or purse, Wine Wipes are small, disposable towelettes designed to discreetly remove red wine stains from teeth or lips. Wine Wipes are available at various locations in Calgary and are available for order on-line at Wine

We hope you enjoy your complimentary Wine Wipes and hope you are looking forward to a great contest kicking off with tomorrow's wine delivery. Stay tuned for details.