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Monday, August 24, 2009

Launch Event: the media and trade launch of Vice Martini at One, July 30/09

 The Time and Date: Thursday, July 30, 2009  4PM to 6PM
The Event: the media and trade launch of Vice Martini, a combination of
pre-mixed Vidal Icewine and Canadian vodka.
The Venue: One Restaurant, Yorkville
The Target Audience: media and trade
The Availability/Catalogue: this was a single product launch. Such
launches are getting rarer in Toronto, and indeed, I expected to find
some Vineland Estates table wines for an alternative tasting session.
But it was not to be.
The Quote/Background: Brian and Allan Schmidt of Vineland Estates had
been working on Vice Martini for some time now. They wanted a one pour
Icewine Martini, and this is certainly "it" for the home bar.
The Wines: Vice Martini, a combo of Niagara VQA Vidal Icewine with 100%
Canadian vodka, was delicious on its own, or on the rocks, or with a
frozen grape. The ABV is 22.5%, just above Port (indeed, its closest
competitor would probably be white port). The price is $49 retail, and
$42 to licensees. It is available now from the winery or from Winery
Direct. Sometime in October, it will be at the LCBO as a General List
product. One hang-up with the LCBO is placement: it is not VQA because
it has vodka, so it will not in the VQA section. So where?
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-definite Vidal icewine character but with the intense sweetness
thinned out a bit on the palate by the vodka. Normal icewine is 10%
ABV, this is 2.25 times higher at 22.5% ABV. Initially hot on the
finish, but cooled out with passage. Some lychee tones were evidence.
The Food: outstanding service with trays of matching foods such as
samosas, chicken kebabs, sliders, seared tuna, spring rolls, flatbread
pizzas with tomato and fresh cheese and basil.
The Downside: no water was in evidence, and the staff was hard pressed
to get iced water.
The Upside: should prove a winner with the martini crowd, especially if
accompanied by food with off-sweet Asiatic dipping sauces.
The Contact Person:  or
The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 93.

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