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Parent Pairings: Back to School Edition

We’re so excited to watch the beautiful leaves fall, don our cozy sweaters, and wander the dog park without fighting the dog into snow booties. For anyone attending classes, teaching students, or paying for those things to happen (parents, you know what I’m talking about) we offer a toast to you!

Parents, we suggest starting September with an optimistic approach called wineglass half-full (or full, we’re not judging.) As the maker of meals, official chauffeur, number one fan and proudest cheerleader; these pairings were designed with you in mind!

1. For the parents perpetually stuck ferrying their rugrats between school and soccer practice, give your sip and snack a boost with a yogurt tube and the Annex Ale Project’s Norm-Core Pale Ale. Upgrade to a romantic evening by sharing the crushed granola bar from the bottom of your bag with your partner and antagonizing that referee as a family.

Annex Norm Core

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. September is a smorgasbord of postponed August birthday parties, not to mention all of the actual September birthdays! It’s go-time on the weekends, balancing multiple birthday parties and ballet before the sun sets on Saturday. Savour the delightful combination of a chocolate pudding cup and a fruity Malbec like the Humberto from Canale Estate, hidden in a travel mug, to remind you that weekends are supposed to be fun and relaxing. Layers of blueberry pie and vanilla in the wine will mix beautifully with the milky chocolate.

3. Too exhausted to make yourself a snack after staying up late to make your ungrateful kids their lunches? Munch those peanut butter and jelly sandwich crusts with a bold, jammy Cabernet Sauvignon like Vinovalie’s Terreo to match the fruit preserves and balance the acidity of the peanut butter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. On a crisp fall evening when you need a break, let the kids reign free in an unsupervised frenzy and take a moment for yourself. Sneak away with a peelable string cheese stick, and devour it as you slam and lock the bathroom door to keep their tiny, sticky fingers out. Open your secret bottle of Cab Sauv (we recommend strategically placing the Avia Cabernet Sauvignon all over the house) and run yourself a hot bath with some stolen, yet effervescent Paw Patrol bubble bath.

To help you survive the month, we’ve combined all of these delicious and necessary bottles into the perfect #ParentPairings mixed package, available to members now, at WineCollective.ca.

Students! You’ve slogged through twelve years of mandatory schooling, and now you’re making your higher-level path with post-secondary! With all of the lectures, labs, and late nights writing papers (or bonding with classmates,) we’ve paired classic comfort foods with fabulous alcohol! All hail grading on a curve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Fall is here, and it’s time to replace the school supplies that disappeared over the summer! For the old school yellow pencil lovers out there, WineCollective Two is the beverage of choice. Sharpen your writing utensils and sip on the wine that surpasses all expectations (just like you, right?) This Shiraz is going to accent the mineral smell from pencil shavings and add a tart cranberry note with a hint of vanilla, to accentuate your hidden potential.

2. When your paper is due Friday evening, make sure you sustain yourself with some classic one-minute ramen. Boil the water, throw those crunchy noodles in a bowl, and prepare to scald yourself because it’s seriously hot! Pop open a bottle of Cuvée Jean-Paul to cool down and enjoy the matching savoury notes from the rustic herb flavour in the wine, with the mystery spice satchel from the ramen.

3. Proven* to help with synonyms when other words escape you, this pairing is a sure-fire hit for late night writing sessions (and asking for extensions!) Grab a slice of leftover pepperoni pizza, borrow your neighbour’s ice bucket and crack open a refreshing bottle of Più Gioia Pinot Grigio. Let the vegetal and herbal notes of the wine create a full meal with the microwaved tomato sauce and sausage playfully mingling.

When the cold frost blows across campus and getting to the dining hall involves crossing the vast Arctic tundra that now separates you from lunch, opt for the Asheville Brewing Ninja Porter instead! Hunker down somewhere warm and enjoy the roasted coffee to keep you awake, nutty chocolate for sustenance and sweet caramel as a bonus treat! A+ for this delicious combo.

*Pinot Grigio has not been verified against a thesaurus to help with synonyms but is recommended by 9/10 university alumni that work at WineCollective. (That last employee prefers reds.)


Backyard Bashes with WineCollective

Do you want to be the host or hostess with the mostest this season? At WineCollective, we have been gathering trendy ideas for creating a lasting impression at your summer gathering and we wanted to share some of our awesome finds with you, just in time for Canada Day!

 

Not-so-seaside Soiree

Land locked and looking for the perfect beach party this summer? Look no further, we found some great, no beach required ideas for throwing the perfect not-so-seaside beach soiree. When we think of hosting, the name Martha Stewart comes to mind. Check out this awesome recipe from Martha to create your very own stove top clam bake, perfect for creating the ultimate beach party in your own backyard. 

Clam bake photo and recipe from marthastewart.com

To pair with this delicious grouping of seafood, we recommend a delightful Portuguese Arinto, or perhaps a lovely French Muscadet easily enjoyed in our backyard ready Wine 2 Go cups

For some seaside decor, we liked the idea of writing guests names on pebbles to create beachy table place cards for your guests. Follow that up by draping an old fishing net and some sandbox toys over your bar and spend the evening imagining the crashing waves rolling in.

Campire Cookout

Looking for a more rustic approach to your Canada Day festivities? How about a campfire cookout complete with a build it yourself s’mores bar? Use Hi Miss Puff’s idea of  extra large mason jars to hold your chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows. No fire pit required with these awesome do it yourself s’mores pots we found from Elisabeth Mcknight’s blog.

Photo and s’smore pots from Elizabeth McKnight.

Still want all the campfire coziness without the smoke and tiresome wood chopping? We loved the idea of this smokeless twilight fire pit from Sunset, to brighten up your party. And ditch the unsightly plastic coolers and complete your outdoorsy theme while keeping your beer cold in this super clever canoe cooler from RusticWeddingChic.com.

 

Photo and string light fire pit idea from Sunset.

 

Twilight Social

Prefer more of a classic garden party motif, complete with a welcoming ambience and good times all around? We’ve got you covered with some awesome ideas for creating a stunning twilight social.

Photo from ID Lights.

The best part about this theme is the opportunity to use so many kinds of lights to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. For this look, we recommend finding all kinds of interesting bulbs and lanterns to keep the idea fresh, while delicately accentuating the natural beauty of your yard. We love trees wrapped in lights and lights hanging from branches and fences and pretty much everything!

Although we enjoy the idea of using mason jars as lanterns, we prefer our version of this classic look. Use these specially designed bottle lights to turn your empty wine bottles into beautiful lanterns; casting romantic rays on your pathways and gathering areas, or use them as centrepieces to softly illuminate your starlit dinner.

For this twinkling atmosphere, we suggest some equally dazzling fare such as these delicious and beautiful Nordic open faced smoked salmon tea sandwiches , an ideal way to incorporate your garden into your cuisine, perfectly paired with a delicate and juicy rosé.

We would love to hear about some of your summer or Canada Day entertaining ideas, we hope you have enjoyed ours! Get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @WineCollective to share your ideas for creating an inspired gathering this season!

 


An Exclusive Tell-All: My Love Affair With Wine

I used to know that I enjoyed wine, but I honestly couldn’t have told you exactly why. I loved the taste, of course, but I was sure that I hated all Merlot and that white wine in general was just ‘okay’. I enjoyed the smell, but to me, all reds just smelled like wine, or if I was getting really creative, like grapes. All white wine tasted like juice, and I tended to drink it as such, without paying much attention to it at all. I was completely content with my limited wine knowledge, because I honestly had no idea how limited it was… until I joined the WineCollective team.

For the last several months I have been surrounded by my very impressive team of wine professionals and they honestly blow me away with their knowledge and love for wine. I remember the first time we did a wine tasting in the office, it was during my very first week working at WineCollective as the Customer Service Coordinator. I probably sat with an inch of California Merlot in my glass for an hour, trying to identify the things that the rest of the team were saying they smelled and tasted. Plum, cedar, vanilla, strawberry, rhubarb… what?? Since when are all of these things, and more, present in this one glass of wine? How have I missed this for all these years? And so my wine education began.

Since that day, I have focussed on learning about wine, I even enrolled in wine school and have completed my Level 1 WSET course through Fine Vintage Ltd.. I now find wine amazing! Not only because it’s delicious, but also because of the culture that exists around it, the generations of families whose way of life rely on the wine industry and the intricacies in each and every wine making process.

 

Here are some of my favourite wine related discoveries:

  • Wine is about 7000 years old!
  • There are over 10,000 grape varietals, about 1,400 of them are used to make wine.
  • Maybe the most obvious, but I swear it never occurred to me, the type of wine, ex. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio is the grape varietal used to make that wine.
  • Shiraz and Syrah are the same grape. Shiraz is grown in warmer climates like Australia, while Syrah is grown in cooler climates like Northern France.
  • Climate, region, growing season, altitude and winemaking practices all have drastic influences on each bottle of wine produced, so a complete dislike for one particular varietal, worldwide, would take a lot of research to confirm.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon was created by combining Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc and recent DNA testing has proven that Cabernet Franc is also a parent of Merlot
  • White wine only tastes like juice if you drink it as such. I have been most surprised by my gained knowledge of white wines! I’ve found beautiful, tantalizing aromas and flavours  in white wines such as peaches, passion fruit, pineapple, honey, caramel, vanilla and so many more, what’s not to love?
  • Riesling, though delicious, can smell and sometimes taste mildly like petrol or rubber bands, usually more apparent in aged wines. This can take some getting used to, however there are many other beautiful flavours present in Riesling to focus on.
  • “Sweet wine” is actually a style of wine, for example Ports or Sauternes. Describing the majority of wines as sweet in inaccurate. Sweetness may be implied by the flavours present in the wine, but there is actually very little sugar in the majority of quality white and red wines, which are mainly categorized as dry wines.

I could go on and on. My family and friends lovingly refer to me as a wine snob now, but I would say that the difference in my attitude towards wine is that I’m actually paying attention. I’m looking for more in wine than I ever have. It takes practice to be able to identify the complexities in wine and I have a lot to learn, but I am definitely enjoying the process. I encourage anyone who has never explored wine this way to try it out. Spend some time looking at, smelling and really tasting the wine in your glass. Don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t smell or taste anything but grapes, keep trying and you will surely enjoy what you find!

Want to talk wine or have questions about WineCollective? Pick up the phone or send a note to Jessica!

thecellar@winecollective.ca

1-855-501-WINE(9463)


How do you like it done?

Steak, that is. From basic to gourmet sauces, seared or grilled, and rare to well, we all know how we like it done. Ritualistic and precise, there is a method to our steak madness. Do you give the same attention to pairing the perfect wine with your choice cut?

We realize that part of the pleasure of steak and wine is in it’s simplicity. The no-fuss approach is to reach for a solid Cabernet, Syrah, even Merlot or Malbec. There is nothing wrong with this, but we would like to share some tips to bring your heavenly duo to the next level.

Temperature

The rarer your temperature, the more the beef will temper your wine. If you like your steak cool and blue, you can opt for a more tannic wine. Younger Cabs, judicious oak and other wines like Syrah, should be strong enough to withhold the mellowing nature of rare to medium rare.

Method

Grills will offer the maximum amount of char, which leave a smokey and bitter taste. To offset the strong flavours from an open flame, choose a wine that is ripe and juicy. Wines like Napa Merlots, or quality Malbec will offer some sweeter tannins to balance the scorched steak.

Cut

The cut of beef will have a substantial impact on the style of wine you should select. Leaner cuts like sirloin should be paired with lighter bodied wines. Depending on the local, look for Grenache and even some Pinots. For richer/fattier cuts like Ribeye, you will want a fuller bodied wine like a hearty Cabernet.

Seasoning

Sauces will change the what wines you should be looking for. For example, a lean cut with a cream sauce might warrant a bold Chardonnay. Mushrooms have an affinity for Pinot, which would work well with flank steaks. Pepper is a bold spice that has a big affect on a wine. Liberal peppering, peppercorn sauces and crusts will increase the ‘heat’ (perceived burn from high alcohol) in a wine. High alchohol wine will seem even hotter with an abundance of pepper.

February WineCollective packages have a wide selection of steak-friendly wines. Here are our suggestions:

Beau Vantage 2010

Medium bodied, high alcohol (14%)

  • Tenderloin, seared, cooked medium, herbs and butter

Bien Salud 2013

Med-light bodied, med+ alcohol (13.9%)

  • Sirloin, grilled, cooked medium, garlic and mushroom

Secret Cellars 2014

Med+ bodied, high alcohol (14%)

  • Beef rib, grilled, medium-rare, wine sauce

Canepa Novísimo Carménère 2014

Medium-bodied, med alcohol (13.5%)

  • Flank steak, cast-iron broiled, cooked medium, chimichurri sauce

TATE Spring Street Merlot 2014

Full-bodied, med + alcohol (13.8%)

– Ribeye, grilled, medium rare, simple salt and pepper

Find these wines in the WineCollective e-Store. Available Now!


Welcome to WineCollective

You have just joined WineCollective, or, you are the recipient of a pretty awesome gift. What to do next? While we are busy preparing next month’s deliveries, here is what you can do to make the most out of your WineCollective experience.

  • Joining us on social media. Be our friend and keep up with what is going on in the WineCollective world, from events and education, to giveaways and contests.
  • Become acquainted with your online account. When you login to your WineCollective account, you can update shipping information and payment information and keep tabs on your upcoming delivery. Once you receive your first delivery of wine, you will also be able to view all the wines you have received.
  • Explore the online wine shop. Members receive 10% off all wines, and some selections are for members-only! Can’t wait for the first delivery, get a head-start on your WineCollective journey. The coupon code NEWWINEJOURNEY10 is good for $10 off your first online store order.
  • Learn more about us! Take some time to discover our Blog and find out why we are so passionate about giving you the ultimate wine journey.
  • In Calgary? Visit our retail store, Highfield by WineCollective for great members-only deals on wine, beer and spirits!

We understand that the anticipation must be overwhelming, waiting for a package is always exciting, especially when it is wine! Here is a bit of what to expect so that you are prepared to receive your wine.

  • We will send you our Heads Up email on the first of the month, reminding you of your delivery and providing you with an estimated ship out date.
  • Make note of our cut-off date in the Heads Up email. You have until the specified date to let us know if you need to arrange an alternate delivery date, or change your shipping information. After this date, we will not be able to amend addresses or delay the delivery, so be sure to reach out in time!
  • You will then receive a Shipped Email when your package leaves our headquarters in Calgary. This email will contain your very valuable tracking number. Use this information to arrange last minute shipping changes with your courier.
  • Your wine must be signed for by someone over the age of 19 and it can not be left on a doorstep or porch.
  • Missed the delivery? Here are the next steps with each of our couriers.
  • Share your experiences with us, from food pairings to favourite features, and even those you would rather not taste again, we love to know what you think of the wines!

Still have questions? Get in touch with us thecellar@winecollective.ca


Don’t leave your meat hanging…

Support it with wine!

Blog

Keep an eye out for your Charcuterie & Wine pairing card in August packs!

Charcuterie and wine can be a difficult pairing if you over think it. Though there is a wide variety of flavours and dishes, avoid trying to make a match for each meat. Opt for a Sparkling or a Rosé which will be best suited to almost everything on your cutting board.

Charcuterie is dominated by fats, spice and salt. These are all components that are important to think about when selecting a wine. High acid wines cut through the richness in fatty foods, which would otherwise leave your palate oily. Skip high alcohol wines with spicy foods, instead select wines that have more sweetness to balance the heat. Salty foods can make a wine seem flabby, another reason to look for wines with higher acid levels.
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With so much going on, on the plate keep the wines simple and light to medium bodied. You do not want your wine to fight for your attention. Your selection should help cleanse your palate and support your charcuterie.
KEY TIPS
  • Low alcohol wines
  • Pick red wines with lower tannins (Pinot).
  • Avoid wines heavily oaked wines.
  • No pickled acutrements (unless you are serving Sherry or Beer).
  • Not the time for your Shiraz or Napa Cabs.
  • Look for regional pairings: Spanish wine & Iberico ham.
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TRY THESE WINES
Fielding-Gewurztraminer-2012
Check out Carnivore Club for the best selection of cured meats, delivered!  Use the promo code WINECOLLECTIVE to get 15% off your first box.
Partnered with your WineCollective package, the combinations are endless! New to WineCollective? Give us a try! Receive $15 off your first purchase using the code: MEATANDWINE15

Continuing Wine Education with WSET

Wine & Spirit Education Trust or WSET has been providing certified wine education and training since 1969. Founded in London, the program is now offered in 66 countries including the London Wine & Spirits School in the U.K.

WSET logo

Through 5 levels (including a 2 year diploma) students learn all about wine regions, grape varieties and food pairings; all of which come along with a whole lot of wine tasting. While you may not be a Master Sommelier in the end, WSET certification is a significant qualification in wine for a curious enthusiast or industry professional.

All WineCollective staff have completed WSET courses and received some level of qualification in wine training, enabling us to choose great wines to deliver to your front door! Over the past few weeks, Larissa completed her Level 2 certification – though we’re still waiting to hear if she passed or not 😉 

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The Level 2 course goes into further detail of everything learned in Level 1. If you already have a great understanding of wine, you are able to skip Level 1 and move directly into Level 2.

“Looking Behind the Label” – Level 2 WSET

The course focuses on production, quality, grape varieties, styles of wine (including sparkling and sweet) and even spirits. Even more, how a bottle’s label can help you determine quality, variety, production, etc.

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At times, reading a label (especially from the Old World) requires some previous wine knowledge, all taught during the course. For example, to determine the label and wine above, the consumer would need to know that Chablis is a sub-region of Burgundy and that the key white grape variety in Burgundy is Chardonnay. Chablis wines particularly must be 100% Chardonnay, normally unoaked.

WSET’s Level 2 goes very into detail about grape varieties, bulk production, which regions they thrive in and the variety of styles and characteristics they can take on. During the 3 days of Larissa’s course, she tasted over 50 wines from around the world using WSET’s Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine, which should already be quite familiar to WineCollective members.

WSET-Taste-Chart-2

To Larissa’s surprise, the recent course had only several industry professionals taking part. The majority of students were wine lovers looking to expand their wine knowledge, including a WineCollective member!

We encourage all of our members to check out WSET courses available in their city through Approved Programme Providers. Larissa took her course through Fine Vintage LTD which offers regular courses and levels through out the year in most Canadian cities.

For more information, visit WSET, or contact us for classes in your city.

Happy Tasting!


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!


Cheating on wine, with beer

Continuing to compare the similarities between beer and wine, we use some of the same framework when evaluating the style and quality. Appearance, aroma, body and finish all translate from wine to beer.

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With tasting beer, there is greater emphasis on the body and taste, less on colour and aroma. So, when you enjoy a brew, do you think about it the same way you might with a glass of wine?

If you always find yourself cracking open a Pilsner, what wine would suit your tastes? Or if you can’t get enough of Zinfandel, which beer style would you be equally enchanted with? WineCollective has taken key descriptors of beer styles and matched them to a corresponding wine.

lager-glass

Lager = Pinot Grigio

Lager is a wide net that catches many different sub-categories. From an American light Lager (Coors and Kokanee) to Dark Lagers and Kolsch. Generally, medium to light bodied, with little malt aromas, neutral flavours and low bitterness (IBU). Think of the addition of stronger malt flavours as a more complex, barrel-fermented Pinot Gris.

Sours = Sparkling

Sours generally are light bodied, have low bitterness, moderate alcohol, and higher carbonation. Flavours range through dough, from the malt, and lemon to tart apple. Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Cremant all offer the similar balance between acidity and sugars. Pair your Sours with the same sparkling pairings, like salty foods, shellfish and fried foods.

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Porter = Tempranillo

Porters are medium to full bodied with strong dark malts, sometimes with a slight burnt quality. Chocolate, coffee and grain, with a off-dry finish. Tempranillo from Toro or Rioja, where Reservas are aged in oak will give high alchohol and chewy weight.

Wheat = Chardonnay

A German Wheat beer has high carbonation and a dry finish. Expect a round, fluffy mouth-feel and medium/light body. Absence of bittering hops gives the perception of  ‘sweetness’. The minimum 50% malted wheat and yeast used give flavours of clove and banana. This style will be best replicated in a barrel-fermented Chardonnay, with a plush body and vanilla oak notes.

stout-glass

Stout = Amarone

Made with dried grapes, produces high alchohol, rich bodied wines. Stouts will range between 8-12% abv and are full to very full bodied. The flavours indicative of Imperial Stout can often include roasted malt, tar and dried fruits like prune and raisin. The finish ranges from dry to moderately sweet.

Ale = Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon

Like the Lager, Ale is a wide category with many sub-styles based on the ingredients and origins. An American Brown Ale is a balance of solid malt and hops with chocolate and caramel flavours. We think that a refined and aged blend of Cab and Merlot also offers the richness and toasted/nutty notes of oak.

IPA

IPA = Syrah

IPAs are distinguished by the strong bitterness. The hoppy bitterness of a standard American IPA ranges from 40-70 IBU (your palate can’t identify bitter units past 100). We wouldn’t classify wines by bitterness, but instead we will partner IPA with wines with equally bold characteristics in tannin, spice and body. Syrah, Aglianico or even Pinotage.

What is your go-to beer and favourite wine? Let’s see if we can find some correlation in our palates. Leave your comments below!

Interested in exploring Craft Beer even more? Don’t forget to check out Canada Craft Club!


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!
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Ingredients – Recipe by Cassie Johnston
  • ⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅔ cup dry red wine (see below for our recommendations)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional (see notes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ 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.
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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!