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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dec 8, 2009: TOUR of Vintage One (V1) Wines

The Time and Date: Wednesday, December 8, 2009  2PM to 4PM
The Event: Tour of Vintage One (V1) Wines
The Venue: on site cellar winery, 4896 Dundas St. West, in Etobicoke
The Target Audience: wine media, on a limited basis.
The Availability/Catalogue: This is a big U-Vint: a 10,000 square foot
winery in the inner suburbs. There are 80 stainless steel fermenting
tanks from Italy. These range in size from 100 to 300 to 500 litres. 
There is an impressive grape-crushing area (maceration occurs five
times a day). Through a glass wall with glass doors there are over 50
oak aging barrels from France, Hungary, and the US. There are five
levels of wine quality available. It might be best to visit the website
to check out what each is and the various price levels. But the first
level is "Blends", running about $90 and up for 20 Litres (two cases of
wine plus 2 bottles). Blends come from different countries, sort of
like a Cellared in Canada wine without the stretch water component. The
next level, "Cortes", is country specific, with Merlot and Chardonnay
from Chile, and Muscat Ottonel from Argentina. There is also a Norman-
style sparkling apple cider, about $108 for 9 litres (one case), with
Ontario fruit. The "Estates" and "Select" levels move into the valleys
of Argentina, Chile, and Italy, ranging from $260 to $470 per 20
litres. There is also a pre-order "Domain" level, with local estates'
best production being determined each harvest. This is by the barrel
only, usually 108 litre barrels (133 bottles) made of French, Hungarian
or American oak. Or in 225 litre barrels (300 bottles). The variable
prices here start at $2800 per barrel.
The Quote/Background: Vintage One Wines, as a U-Vint, offers a wide
selection of grape varieties, including some from Ontario and
California. Customers can be as involved as they want to be with the
winemaking team during the entire process. There is a money back
guarantee included when the wine is bottled on the premises.
The Wines: Alejandra De Miguel is the Founder (her brother Jeronimo is
in charge of Business Development). She's the latest generation of a
family of Argentine winemakers, and she greeted us in her fashionable
winemaker suspenders. As she says, "There is no better way to learn
about wine than by being a part of the creative journey." She's worked
with her winemaker father, Alejandro, in Argentina, and has apprenticed
in Spain, Chile, and Argentina. She will soon complete a degree in
viticulture and oenology from UC Davis – at the age of 27. She's been
eight years in the winemaking end, and even managed to get to McGill
University. Her father acts as primary winemaking consultant to V1,
which uses frozen grapes and refrigerated juice (no concentrates). The
juices are mainly for white wines, while the whole grapes add
complexity to the red wines. Imports are totally based on demand. The
whole winemaking process should be six to eight weeks, with the whites
being faster. Anything in barrels is for three months and more, with
additional storage fees. Of interest is the fact that Nero d'Avola
grapes and juice is brought in from Sicily. Currently, V1 is also
making wines for the restaurant located above it, and it could be
branching out as a winemaker/consultant for other startup micro-
wineries in Ontario.
We couldn't taste any wines since the operation is not allowed to have
bottles on premises, and the wines in the tanks were not their
The Food: I had an espresso.
The Downside: no sampling, which was a disappointment since I wanted to
taste for quality.
The Upside: the winery is open Tuesday through Saturday, and by
The Contact Person:

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