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We Have Arrived: Q&A with Nondumiso Pikashe of Ses’fikile Wines

Nondumiso Pikashe of Ses'fikile Wines walks a red carpet wearing a traditional red skirt.
Nondumiso Pikashe of Ses’fikile Wines

With an entrepreneurial spirit that just could not be ignored, Nondumiso Pikashe left her career as a high school teacher and jumped into the world of South African wine. This was in 2006 and since then, she has launched her own Ses’Fikile Wines. Meaning “We have arrived”, the brand proudly celebrates Nondumiso’s indigenous culture. The company is 100 percent owned and operated by women, and supports girls pursuing careers in the wine industry.

Nondumiso enrolled in a garagiste winemaking course, as well as the WSET Level 2 award in wine program. She now works in partnership with Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards, deciding on the style of wines that will be made, and working closely with a group of all-female winemakers to get the end result she is looking for. 

WineCollective features two Ses’Fikile wines, and we thought it’d be great to introduce the woman behind these wines to our members.

You’re a successful wine business owner, but you used to be a high school teacher. We’re curious to hear how you ended up where you are today – what propelled the decision to go into wine?

“Thank you for the kind and encouraging words. The decision was informed by socio-political changes and personal ones. South Africa was becoming a free and just society to pursue your dreams. It was a great time of discovery and adventure, a really exciting time. I had a conflicted relationship with alcohol since my two siblings succumbed to alcoholism. Wine as an alcoholic beverage was the most despised in my community, because it was obscured. It was during this time that I discovered the beauty and magic of a grape berry turning into a palatable and complex, yet divine drink.”

Can you tell us something about the meaning of the name “Ses’Fikile” and what it represents?

“Ses’fikile is derived from my language IsiXhosa and means “We have arrived”. It is celebratory and aspirational. It is multifaceted in that it looks back to history with a spirit of triumph, and it celebrates inclusivity and consciousness. It affirms women alongside men for better coexistence and growth. It recognizes the arrival of the South African wine industry on the global platform to compete meaningfully amongst other wine-producing countries.”

Nondumiso Pikashe of Ses'fikile Wines speaks about the wines on display at an event.
Nondumiso Pikashe displaying Ses’fikile wines.

We’ve read that Ses’Fikile strives to break stereotypes about indigenous brands in the wine industry. What are some of these stereotypes, and what is your approach towards working to break them?

“It goes to the extent that you rarely find such beautiful brands as Ses’fikile in the main market in South Africa. But it’s an uphill battle that we are going to win over time. Some of the stereotypes are from our ugly past as a country and others are cultural/societal constructs. We all have a role to play, irrespective of gender and upbringing. The approach was to be intentional and deliberate with the brand Ses’fikile and be proud about it. I try to ensure that the conventional is not the ONLY way. For example, I would do wine and food pairings using African cuisine. I would also share my own supposedly embarrassing moments about the culture of wine openly. I try to educate whenever I find an opportunity about the relevance of the brand in this day and age of innovation.”

I discovered the beauty and magic of a grape berry turning into a palatable and complex, yet divine drink

Nondumiso Pikashe

Does your background in education still come in handy in your day-to-day work, and if so, how?

“It does! I am able to speak confidently about my journey in front of an audience, but most importantly, I am able to apply my own motto: You are never old to learn. I am passionate about ensuring that we as a community talk about responsible wine consumption to young people. This should not be taboo.”

Can you tell us about your decision-making process regarding your wine blends and their overall style? What are some of the considerations you have to keep in mind?

“I did a mini survey on blends in the market and read a bit about what was out there. I discovered there was a gap in this blend space. I needed to create my unique selling point, that’s how the blends came into being. I decided on the two grape varieties, Cinsault and Roussanne, as they are beautiful unsung heroines. They complement the popular Shiraz and Chenin Blanc, respectively. I am for palatability, fruitiness, accessibility of the wine that can be enjoyed freely with no rules attached.”

WineCollective features your Chenin Blanc-Roussanne blend and your Shiraz-Cinsault blend. What are some of your favourite food pairings with these wines?

“Thank you for this. The Ses’fikile white, a Chenin-Roussanne blend, pairs well with light meals from salads to white meats. I pair the red Shiraz-Cinsault blend with my favourite dish, samp and tripe in the company of friends or family.”

Want to discover more inspiring stories behind our wines? Sign up as a WineCollective member today and receive a monthly wine guide with your delivery, filled to the brim with useful tasting notes, winemaker interviews and wine 101s that help you on your wine journey!


International Grapes Versus Native Grapes

You might have heard the term “native grapes,” but what do we mean by it? And what about “international grapes” – what are those? In this blog post we’ll give you the lowdown.

According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV):

  • There are around 10,000 known wine grape varieties
  • 6,000 belong to fine wine species Vitis vinifera
  • 13 of those grape varieties cover more than a third of the global vineyard surface
  • Just 33 grape varieties cover 50% of the global vineyard surface

What are Native Grape Varieties?

“Native” or “indigenous” varieties refer to grapes that thrive in their originated region. These produce quite distinctive wines. Italy alone boasts over 400 registered grape varieties (although probably, lots more varieties occur in the country).
There’s been a worldwide drive to revive obscure, local grapes in the last few decades, literally bringing back more variety. Viognier was one of the firsts. It is so hard to imagine that Viognier was almost extinct in the 1960s, since they have been so widely planted. Other examples include Ruchè from Piedmont, Criolla in Argentina or Trepat in Catalonia.

Why are Native Grapes Rising in Popularity?

Many cultural factors account for the rising popularity of native grapes. With our current generation of winemakers and wine drinkers, there is a newfound enthusiasm for new old-world styles, production methods, and even varieties.


With a high standard placed on localism these days, we see many people reestablishing the bond between grape varieties and their homes! These factors coupled with the ease of growing these varieties in their home environments, these new native varieties produce interesting wines that attract the newer generations of wine drinkers and makers.


These grape varieties also grow in fewer numbers or produce a lower yield. This creates an opportunity for winemakers to explore and create new boutique or novelty varieties of wine.

Bringing Back Tradition with Native Grape Varieties

With the popularity of native grapes rising again, many winemakers, viticulturists, and regions are reviving these grape varieties.

Restoring Old-World Vines in the Present

One leading force in this movement is Spanish winemaker Miguel A. Torres, from Bodega Torres. He went to France to study viticulture, and upon his return to Spain in 1983, he was sure that there would be old vines that had survived the 19th-century phylloxera epidemic –the tiny louse that destroyed most of the vineyards in Europe. So Torres reached out to farmers in Catalonia. He asked them to get in touch if they found vines they could not identify.


In the mid-1980s, a red wine grape that was later identified as Garro was found. Its vine was first checked for disease. Then, using scientific methods, it was acclimated to different soil types to see where it would grow best. The vine was then grafted to another one, eventually planted in Conca de Barberà. The grape made its debut in 1996 as part of the Torres’ Grans Muralles blend. So far to date, the company has been able to identify and revive almost 50 forgotten grapes that survived phylloxera. An upside of these revivals is that many of these grape varieties show good heat and drought resistance; this obviously appeals to today’s winemakers who are struggling to adapt to climate change.

Preserving Old-World Vines for the Future

Another interesting movement is the “Louvre of Wine” that is occurring in France. Scientists from the French National Institute for Research into Agriculture, Food and the Environment will be freezing the largest collection of vines. If the current popular grape varieties die out due to climate change, they might one day be revived. 

Scientists will freeze the vines using liquid nitrogen at -320 °F (-196 °C). The hope is that future researchers will use these these long-lost varieties to find a way to revive them for wine drinkers decades from now. 

What are International Grape Varieties?

Grape varieties that are planted in a lot of different countries are known as “international varieties” or “classic varieties”. Cabernet Sauvignon is the best-known red, and Chardonnay for white. The majority of these varieties are French in origin – this means they are native to certain regions of France.


They gained international recognition when the wines produced were labeled as varietal wines. This means when new-world winemakers started labeling their wines as varietal wines. This was the opposite of what their old world counterparts did. Old-world wines are usually named after the appellation or region that the grapes were grown in.

As per the OIV these are the most popular red wine grape varieties that grow around the world. 

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Merlot 
  • Syrah 
  • Grenache Noir 
A glass of white wine made from popular international grape varieties

As per the OIV, these are the most popular white wine grape varieties that grow worldwide. 

  • Chardonnay 
  • Sauvignon Blanc 
  • Riesling

Why are International Grape Varieties So Widely Planted?

It’s All in the Name

So why are international grapes so popular?
For starters, when winemakers began naming wines after the variety rather than the appellation, and it really caught on among consumers. So, these wines grew in popularity, and many winemakers began copying them by planting these varieties themselves and producing their own wines by the same name.

Smart Marketing

Since they are so recognizable, this was also a commercially smart move for winemakers and wineries trying to get on the map. Many wine lovers would be willing to pick up a bottle of a famous grape variety such as Merlot. However, not many people wanted to experiment with a native variety that is lesser known.

They’re Easy to Grow

Lastly, many of these international varieties are easier to grow than native varieties which often require more tending to. Take Cabernet Sauvignon for an example. This grape can grow in several regions worldwide due to it’s versatility. Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in both cooler and warmer climates alike. However, you can expect wines that differ in taste and characteristics. 

International Grape Varieties aren’t Always Successful

A Merlot Mishap

It is important to remember that even international varieties that have proven their success tend to go in and out of fashion. A good example of this is Merlot in California. Its rapid expansion in the early 2000s (and not a well-thought-out one) led to the rise in the number of Merlot grapes. Soon after this, due to many factors, Merlot dropped in popularity. This obviously included the high number of grapes available. In addition to this, the low pricing, and typical average flavours led Merlot to its demise in popularity.

Precious Pinot

In addition to this, some varieties just aren’t suitable for a particular climate, resulting in poor-quality wine. One of these examples would be Pinot Noir. Even though it is an increasingly popular grape variety, it is difficult to grow. It is even harder to produce optimal wine if it is grown in regions that don’t allow the grape to thrive (outside of its normal growing regions). Therefore, winegrowers need to keep climate and terroir in mind when looking for the right grape varieties to grow.

What Do You Think? 

Do lesser known grape varieties make your wine journey more exciting? Or does it only make wine more confusing? We’d love to know what you think! So tag us or send us a message on our Instagram @WineCollective.

And if you’re looking to discover more interesting grape varieties, then you’re at the right place. Subscribe to become a member and enjoy new and exciting wines from around the world, delivered straight to your door!


Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Wine!

Will You be Wine?

It’s no secret that wine makes the perfect pair for plenty of occasions. We’re hard-pressed thinking of a special holiday, dinner, or event that doesn’t make a great companion to any type of wine. However, if we had to choose, Valentine’s Day would probably win out in a ‘best match’ competition. Nothing compliments a romantic dinner or night-in on Valentine’s Day quite like a bottle (or 2) of wine! At WineCollective we are big proponents of sharing wine any time you feel like pouring a glass, but there is something extra special about wine on v-day. If you’re looking to pair some wine with your Valentine’s plans, here’s a few of our favourite recent bottles that are still available in our online store!

Valentine’s Day Wine Bottles

Let the Sparks Fly!

Sparkling wine makes celebrating feel all the more special. With so many bubbly options available, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to try out something new. Champagne is pretty synonymous with New Years Eve, so we’ve paired together a Prosecco and Sparkling Rosé for some exciting cork popping. Other great bubbles include Cava or Cremant – both of which are typically priced lower than Champagne. Rosé has the added bonus of being very on-brand colour-wise for Valentine’s Day!

The More the Merrier

As with most things, the more the better. Not everyone’s Valentine’s Day looks the same. If you’re having friends or family over for dinner, or maybe a girl’s night, getting an assortment of wine is the best plan of action. We created a 4 pack that is perfect for whatever your night entails. There are no rules when it comes to holidays like Valentine’s Day, so if you want to make plans that go against the grain — that’s great! Lastly, If you want to get someone special in your life a gift for v-day, we do have a special offer on wine gifts. Enter the code XOXOWINE15 at checkout and save on a really awesome gift!

Happy Valentine’s Day no matter how you choose to celebrate!


Featured September Wine

Making the Most of Your Wine Club

Well, we all made it! September 2019 has passed us by and all of our home lives are now a well-oiled machine. We would argue the craziness of September is reason enough to join a wine club, but in fact — we are fast approaching an even better reason: holiday season. That’s right, the perfect time to be in a wine club is during the holidays. Think of how many times in the coming months you’ll be scrambling to stop at the liquor store on your way to a dinner party. Or when your guest list grows and you don’t have time to stock up. Being a WineCollective member means you are ready for all holiday hosting emergencies. We could go on, but instead let’s take a look back at the great wine that got our wine club members through the month of September!

WineCollective Featured Wine

  • Alceño Cibolo — Syrah, Monastrell | Jumilla, Spain
  • Bürgermeister Schweinhardt Weißer Burgunder — Pinot Blanc | Nahe, Germany
  • Le Cirque — Grenache Gris | Côtes Catalanes, France
  • False Bay Old School — Syrah | Coastal Region, South Africa
  • Domaine Sainte Catherine — Syrah, Grenache, Carignan | Côtes du Roussillon Villages, France
  • Black Market Omertà — Merlot | Okanagan Valley, Canada
  • Trius Red The Icon — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot | Niagara Peninsula, Canada
  • San Gregorio Las 75 Vendimias de Emilio González — Garnacha, Tempranillo | Calatayud, Spain
  • Château de la Roulerie Château de la Guerche — Chenin Blanc | Anjou, France
  • Chiorri — Sangiovese | Umbria, Italy
  • Closson Chase The Brock — Chardonnay | Niagara River, Canada
  • 2km — Malbec, Cabernet Franc | Paraje Altamira, Argentina

We hope you loved the wines you received and members don’t forget: shop the WineCollective online store to stock up on your favourites from the month. If you aren’t a WineCollective member, you’re missing out on some really great wine! What are you waiting for?! See you next month when we recap all the amazing October wine or check out last month to see what else we shared!


Celebrating All Amazing Moms

Moms are simply amazing. Whether your mom is a parent, or someone who’s come into your life in a different way – an aunt, family friend, in-law, neighbour or co-worker – they deserve a little thank-you for all they are and do. One of the great things about a holiday like Mother’s Day is that we can make it our own and celebrate our mother figures the way we see fit. And we think that’s pretty awesome!

Getting Mom the Perfect Gift

Here at WineCollective we believe one of the greatest things about wine is that it brings people together— much like Mother’s Day. It can be stressful trying to pick out the perfect gift for the mom in your life and despite being (a little) biased, we think a WineCollective gift suits most any mom. Every month a wine delivery arrives on their doorstep and will act as a reminder about how much you care. Wine is always great to have on-hand and our gift options allow for people to really explore and learn about new types of wine that they might otherwise not take a chance on.

Our wine experts have put together a special Mother’s Day wine gift to surprise mom with. The best part is that you can save up to 30% off of the first month! 

Gift mom a special wine gift that includes:

  • Three professionally-curated wines – you’ll get to pick whether she receives an all-red, mixed or an all-white pack!
  • Three exclusive recipes in her first box to try out
  • A tasting guide for the journey
  • Member perks such as access to our private store with discounted pricing

Head to our Mother’s Day gifting page to learn more about our gift options and get that special mom you care a wine gift she will be truly excited to receive this Mother’s Day!

If you want to stay up to date with all the great events and specials we have coming up in the year to come, be sure to follow our socials! Instagram Facebook Twitter


Earth Day & Recycling Your WineCollective Materials

April 22nd marks Earth Day and at WineCollective we take our impact on the world around us pretty seriously. In fact, it’s one of the reasons we chose to forgo traditional print tasting cards in favour of our digital tasting guides. Since our business relies heavily on shipping fragile product across a very large country, we have to ensure our shipments are protected to minimize breakage. We are always looking for innovative changes to wine shipping and try to source packaging that is sustainable and protective enough so that you always get unbroken bottles that are ready to drink.

The reality is, because of the fragility of wine bottles, we need something substantial to protect them. So we ship our wine in cardboard boxes with expanded polystyrene (EPS) #6 inserts – which is the most readily recyclable Styrofoam material. Luckily over the years it has become increasingly easier to recycle EPS, however we do acknowledge it is still not a perfect process.

Polystyrene (EPS/Styrofroam) Recycling in Canada

(Updated September 2019)

We wanted to take the time today to highlight the locations across Canada that allow for recycling of EPS:

BC

AB

  • Airdrie: Eastside Recycling Depot, 21 East Lake Hill
  • Cochrane: Eco Centre, 50 Griffin Industrial Point
  • Grand Prairie: Aquatera Eco Centre: 10431 – 96 Avenue

SK

  • Regina: Crown Shred & Recycling, 225 6th Avenue East

ON

  • Keswick: Georgina Transfer Station, 23068 Warden Ave
  • Niagara Region: acceptable to place in your Blue Box
  • Richmond Hill: Elgin Mills Community Environmental Centre, 1124 Elgin Mills Road East
  • Vaughn: McCleary Court Community Environmental Centre, 130 McCleary Court
  • Walkerton: The Walkerton Landfill, 320 Kincardine Hwy

NS

  • Pictou County: acceptable in Blue Bag
  • Colchester County: Packaging can be placed in your Containers Product Bag (bag #2) and left curb-side with your other recycling before 7am on pickup day

YK

  • Whitehorse:
    • Raven Recycling, 100 Galena Rd
    • Whitehorse Waste Management Facility, Mile 91972 (Mile 919.72) Alaska Highway

Wine: Reuse & Recycle

Did you know there are a number of ways to recycle wine products?

As everyone tries to work harder and make changes in their lives to reduce their plastic consumption, recycle more, and change old habits, WineCollective is right there with you. We are always striving to look for new ways we can have minimal negative environmental impact and hope that as time goes on, there will be further changes in the packaging industry to offer sustainable and protective shipping solutions.

Happy Earth Day and let’s celebrate our amazing home with some wine by candlelight!


Celebrating The Wonderful World of Malbec

It seems like every day is a new “national” day of celebration – whether it be for hot dogs, beans, or umbrellas, everything gets its own day of recognition. Celebrating is fun, so it’s not that we’re complaining. We bring up this phenomenon because today is Malbec World Day! The name may sound a little funny to English speakers, but the sentiment is all the same: let’s celebrate great Malbec.

Malbec World Day was started in an effort by the Argentine government to ramp up the purchasing of their Malbec and now Argentina produces over 85% of the world’s supply of Malbec. That is quite the market share. Even though the grape originated in France (where it is often known as ‘Côt’), Argentina was the first to really embrace the Malbec varietal. Wine Folly has a really great blog post comparing the two, if you would like to learn more. It is undeniable that the hard work put in by Argentina to expand Malbec as their main grape varietal has allowed the wine type to flourish. Though you can also find Malbec being made in the US, Chile, and Canada – Argentina and France still remain as the world Malbec powers.

Over the years we have had a number of amazing Malbecs cross our paths. Malbec is a great wine to pair with classic Argentine dishes and BBQ – but it also pairs well with Indian cuisine featuring cumin. It’s a great wine to keep on-hand as Malbec is a fantastic wine for sharing that is generally very palatable. We currently have three Malbecs from Argentina available to members:

  • La Chamiza Polo Amateur Malbec : The Amateur line from La Chamiza are intended to portray more youthful and energetic qualities, which is evident in their Malbec. This is a fruit-forward profile on the nose, but there is something extra with every swirl. When tasting, there is a distinct jammy quality in the mid-palate that gives this a bolder presence and fuller body while still remaining effortless with moderate acidity.
  • Sierra Los Andes Malbec : If you want a pure, quintessential example of a mid-priced Argentine Malbec, this is it. Grown from the pristine El Alto Vineyard located in Ugarteche, the 1050 meter altitude gives rise to a balance of fresh acidity, plump texture, and vibrant fruit flavours. This Malbec offers a plush, velvety mouthfeel and lightly chewy tannins. It is definitely dry, but balanced by the ‘sweet’ flavours of sun-kissed fruits, giving us a textbook Malbec.
  • Klassen Astrum Barrel-Fermented Malbec : This premium Malbec is a truly special experience to enjoy. Fermentation occurring directly in oak barrels imparts soft, silky tannins and better oak integration, making this Malbec very quaffable. Medium to full-bodied, good tannin structure and balanced acidity, try serving a glass with a charcuterie platter or lamb. We have a small, finite quantity of this vintage and are very excited to share it with those who choose to invest in such an exceptional Malbec.

No matter which Malbec region you choose to imbibe, we always recommend selecting a Malbec produced by a knowledgeable, reputable grower. Luckily there are many in the world who are sharing incredible wine that can be enjoyed any time of year. So raise your glasses and help us in celebrating Malbec World Day! ¡Salud!


Old World vs New World Wines

This month in WineCollective’s subscription packages, we are featuring a number of wines that would be considered “Old World”. Sound too snobby for you? Let’s break it down a bit.

 

What is “Old World” wine?

Wines that originate in countries that first started winemaking – including France and Italy, which both produced wines featured in this month’s subscription! Old World countries are mostly located in the Mediterranean, but also includes countries like Turkey, Armenia, And Moldova.

 

Is “Old World” wine better than “New World”?

This is fully dependant upon the wine drinker’s tastes. Old World wines are more heavily restricted in how they can be produced and favour tradition over experimentation. Similar to trends in clothing where vintage is cool – Old World wine vs New World can ebb and flow in popularity. Both kinds have a lot to offer and both have fantastic options to imbibe.

 

Grapes Matter

Some grape varietals can be found in both old and new world wines, but have very different taste profiles. An example of the this is Syrah (France) vs Shiraz (Australia). Syrah wines are known for deep, rich flavours whereas Shiraz is generally very fruit forward. Similarly, the two main regions for Sauvignon Blanc are France and New Zealand. Both countries grow the same grape, but produce very different wines – again with France offering a more earthy palate over New Zealand’s fruit-forward profile. These are of course generalizations and you will encounter the occasional wine that falls out of line with tradition.

 

 

Does it really matter which “world” wine is from?

That depends! Sick of hearing that answer? The thing is, wine preference is highly personal and as we just mentioned, the same grapes can have a different taste depending on where they are grown. A collector, for example, might care more about originating country than someone who is stocking their home to share wine with guests. What’s important is knowing the tenets of selecting wine and prioritizing what you favour: style, level of sweetness, and primary flavour. These factors are often way more important when choosing a wine than originating country – especially when you are learning and getting a feel for what you enjoy.

 
Want to learn even more about the different worlds of wine? Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly does a great taste and explains the differences between an old world and new world Pinot Noir:

 

 

While “Old World Wine” carries an air of sophistication in its name, it by no means overrides the great wine that can be produced in a “New World Wine” country. We encourage wine drinkers to experiment, be flexible, and have fun in the process of learning what wine works for you. One of the things that makes WineCollective so great is that we allow you to explore new wines without the hassle of guessing at the liquor store. Wine discovery should be fun and exciting! If you want to learn more about the different worlds of wine every month, we encourage you to take a look at our subscription offerings. Happy exploring!


Holiday Gifting & Giving

It is that time of year when we all try to put in a little extra effort to spread joy and help those in need. We have put together a great opportunity to help you finish all the shopping on your ‘nice’ list, as well as give back to your community.

Are you a Canadian:

  • Charity?
  • Alumni association?
  • Company with a mission?
  • Non-profit organization?

If so, we would like to help you raise $$ while you finish your Holiday shopping. WineCollective and Canada Craft Club have built a significant following for our yearly Holiday Gifts – they are jammed full of delicious boutique wines and craft beer, super savings and bonus treats! We would like you to help us sell more Holiday gifts, and reward your cause for helping us spreading the word.

In the past, we have partnered with alumni associations and non-profits to help share our awesome Holiday Gift ideas with more people, and in return, we give back to these organizations. We ship across the country – expanding your reach and opportunity to fundraise from coast to coast.

How does it work?

  1. Reach out to us and let us know about you and your group, and your fundraising goals.
  2. Let us know how you plan to spread the word.
  3. You will receive a custom coupon code to share with family, friends, co-workers, or whoever you want.
  4. We will provide you with the information needed to share on your social media and email list.
  5. The coupon code will give the user $20 off their Holiday gift purchase*.
  6. AND each time the coupon code is used, your group will receive $20.
  7. You have until December 31st to get as many purchases as possible.
  8. And then you are paid!

What do we need from you?

  • Excitement – Let us know you are really into this opportunity!
  • Marketing – Let us know how you would promote this offer and encourage people to support your initiative.
  • Communication – Keep in touch. We will do our best to help support you in whatever way we can to make sure this is a success for everyone.

We think this is a pretty easy fundraiser, who wouldn’t want to give the gift of wine or craft beer delivered to your door each month? Your friends and followers can do their Holiday shopping and donate to a good cause at the same time – what’s better than that?

Are you interested? Get in touch and we can provide more details, learn about your mission, and find the best way to help you, help us!

*Minimum spend required to apply coupon codes.


Success for ARTS in September

Last month we were host to ARTS Senior Animal Rescue. Throughout the month, customers at Highfield could purchase bottles of wine with a portion of the proceeds going to the non-profit. We also collected donations from patrons throughout the month, and held a meet n’ greet with some of their ‘adoptables’. Can you think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon- sampling wine and petting furry friends?

We are happy to report that with your help, we raised $790 for ARTS, and one of lucky seniors found its forever home! Thanks again for all who joined us and donated!

Stay tuned for our upcoming monthly partnerships, like the donation drive for the Mustard Seed that is running until October 31st.


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.)


Rosé All Day, Every Day!

This year, we’re pairing the hottest season with the hottest wine trend – welcome aboard the Rosé train!  You may have noticed your local wine shops and restaurants focusing more on this delicious style, and we are cheering them on!

Here are just a few reasons why we love Rose:

  1. The mercury can get a little high during the summer, so having something cool and refreshing to drink is key. Rosé provides the delicious flavours of red wine but in a lighter style.
  2. Pairing foods with Rosé is so easy! You don’t have as much of the tannic structure you get from red wine, so the possibilities are wide open. Rosé also has a little more oomph than chilled white wines so you can pair with heartier plates.
  3. A variety of styles to suit any palate. Rosé ranges from light and delicate to robust and flavour forward.  

Long gone are the days of sickly sweet pink wines! The Rosé produced these days offers incredible complexity and depth of flavour; it’s a great alternative to white wines for red wine drinkers!

Rosé is a summer staple, it has been a popular trend in Europe for decades and word is spreading. The increase in popularity has reached wineries and winemakers around the world who are now investing their time and resources into producing the highest quality of Rosé. Production of Rosé has expanded from France, Italy, Spain and America to countries such as Greece, South Africa and New Zealand. Rosé is now being considered a serious style of wine worldwide.

The styles of Rosé reach far and wide! The range of grape varietals used has expanded significantly over the years. The primary grapes used include Grenache, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah to name a few. Each varietal produces a different profile on the flavour spectrum, from light and dry to full-bodied and fruity. Rosé is considered one of the most food-friendly styles of wine. With a moderate flavour profile, it is incredibly versatile, pairing best with warm climate cuisine. Below you’ll find a list of the top ten styles and flavour profiles of Rosé accompanied by suggested food pairings.

Grenache

Profile: Fruity, floral, dry and acidic

Flavour: Strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, cucumber and a hint of lemon zest

Pairing: Dishes with aromatic spices and nightshades. Also, Middle Eastern or Indian and Greek

Provence

(usually a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah)

Profile: Fresh, lean, fruity and dry.

Flavour: Rose petal, fresh watermelon, minerality and hints of spice.

Pairing: Steak salad, seafood, lighter salads or pasta.

Pinot Noir

Profile: Elegant, fruity, dry and acidic

Flavour: Strawberry, citrus zest, watermelon, celery and earthy notes

Pairing: Green or floral spices, savoury seafood, braised lamb or chicken

Tempranillo

Profile: Savoury, light and fruity.

Flavour: Raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, and herbaceous characteristics.

Pairing: Tapas, grilled vegetables and Spanish cuisines.

Sangiovese

Profile: Bold, dry and fruity

Flavour: Cherry, strawberry, clove, allspice and red fruit. Hints of a slight bitterness

Pairing: Chinese, Thai curry, Italian dishes and Moroccan cuisine

Tavel

Profile: Rich, savoury, full-bodied and structured.

Flavour: Summer berries such as cherry, hints of spice, nuttiness and earthy characteristics.

Pairing: Seafood Pasta, cold fish appetizers, herb sausage and brisket

Mourvèdre

Profile: Floral, fruity and full-bodied.

Flavour: Red fruit, floral notes, cherry, pomegranate, plum and sweet anise.

Pairing: Spicy Asian dishes or Mexican cuisine.

Syrah

Profile: Savoury, full-bodied, rich and dry.

Flavour: White pepper, red pepper flakes, cherry and grapefruit. Subtle notes of floral and cured meat.

Pairing: Linguine, shrimp, paella, grilled meats, pizza and chilli.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Profile: Savory, fresh, and acidic.

Flavour: Green bell pepper, cherry, black currant, minerality and a zesty aroma.

Pairing: Beef, lamb, tuna steak and salmon dishes.

Zinfandel

Profile: Sweet, refreshing, and fruity.

Flavour: Peach, strawberry, succulent pear, cotton candy and green melon.

Pairing: Seafood, glazed ham, spicy Thai.

Over the last few years, Rosé has really taken off in North America. Every time we open our Facebook or Instagram, we see images of people enjoying Rosé by the pool, on the lake or with friends in the backyard – and we can’t help but want to join!

We invite you to celebrate the Summer of Rosé with us, use the coupon code ROSEEVERYDAY18 to receive 20% off when you sign up for a new WineCollective subscription or when you place an order in our members-only store! Then, show us what’s in your glass this summer by tagging @winecollective in your photos. And for those of you still having flashbacks to the overly sweet flavours of Rosé, be sure to give these wines a second chance at making your taste buds burst, we promise you won’t be disappointed!