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Monday, October 10, 2016

The Event: SwirlTO trade show, “an elevated beverage experience” highlighting Drinks Ontario premium drinks.

The Date and Time: Friday, September 30, 2016  2PM to 5PM
The Event: SwirlTO trade show, "an elevated beverage experience" highlighting Drinks Ontario premium drinks.
The Venue: The Carlu
The Target Audience: in the daytime, media and the trade. At night, consumers.
The Availability/Catalogue: The catalogue presentation was reasonable. Vintage dates were missing from a variety of wines, but they were mostly there. I could not read the number of the table (it was in faint yellow in the catalogue), but that did not really matter since the tables themselves were not numbered. The catalogue gave me the importer's name and deets. The wines came from the General List, Vintages (current and upcoming), and consignment. Everything appeared to be landed in Ontario as of this moment. Some Ontario wines were included because they were part of a Drinks Ontario member's portfolio. Eighty or so agencies poured more than 320 products.
The Quote/Background: SwirlTo has been in the planning for three years, co-chaired by Camille Gemmell-Johnston and Debbie Shing. It's been sponsored by Drinks Ontario with the co-operation of the LCBO – as a showcase of quality products for all kinds of wines, beers and spirits. It is unique in the sense that it is comprehensive (not one country, not one beverage, but all of them). Principals were in attendance, as well as seminars on wines, beers and spirits (for the consumer portion at night).
The Wines: I concentrated on wines. Of everything else, I sampled only draught beer.
Leading the way was top rated Nickel Brook Brewing with their Equilibrium ESB (5.5%ABV), Head Stock IPA (7%ABV), Naughty Neighbour APA (4.9%ABV), and Cause & Effect Blonde Ale (4.7%ABV) – all rated "Four Stars". Also tasted in draught were Collective Arts Gose and Beau's Polaris (5.9%ABV). The Growler program at the Scrivener Square LCBO sells about 150 growlers a week for three kinds of draughts. That's an average of 50 growlers per tap.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet 2012 Chile, +358309, $16.95 LCBO
-Killibinbin Scaredy Cat Cabernet Shiraz 2012, $18.95 +470195 LCBO
-Champagne Paul Dangin & Fils Cuvee Carte Blanche NV, +450460, $51.95 Vintages Oct 15
-Taittinger Champagne Brut Reserve NV, +365312   $60.65 LCBO
-Domaine Zinck Gewurztraminer Portrait Alsace   Lifford
-Cornas Les Ruchets 2011, $75   Profile
-Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Colchagua Valley Chile, +322586 Vintages, $19.95
-Veuve Ambal Cremant de Bourgogne Grande Cuvee Brut NV, +429688 LCBO, $17.70 
-Groth Chardonnay 2014, $55.95 Consignment The Vine Agency
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012, +356220, $49.95 Vintages
-Viognier La Violette 2015  France   Profile
-Michele Chiarolo Palas Barolo 2012,  +474437, $37.85 Vintages Dec 2
-Ventisquero Queulat Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2014, $17.95 Vintages, Oct 15
-Chateau Tour Carmail 2011 Bordeaux, +419002, $19.80 LCBO
-Tommasi Il Sestante Valpolicella Ripasso 2014, $18.95 +267070 LCBO
-Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Marlborough New Zealand, $15.95 +417600 LCBO
-Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay 2014 VQA, +268342, $19.95 Vintages
-Domaine Zinck Cremant d'Alsace Brut Alsace   Lifford
-Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 2014 +608653 $27.95 Vintages
-La Guardiense Janare Falanghina Italy  Consignment  The Vine Agency
-Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2015 South Africa, +595280 Vintages, $14.95
-Chateau Argadens Bordeaux 2012, +681643 Vintages, $17.95
-De Chanceny Cremant de Loire Rose, $18.95 Vintages, +211466
-Torbreck Old Vines Grenache/Mourvedre/Shiraz 2013, $21.95 +10223 Vintages
-Bodegas Muga Reserva 2012 Rioja, $23.95 +177345 Vintages
-La Chablisienne Les Venerables 2012 Chablis, $24.95, Vinexx
-E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2012, $19.95, +259721
-Bailly-Lapierre Paul Delane Cremant de Bourgogne Reserve NV, $19.95 LCBO, +214981
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-HaHa Pinot Gris Hawke's Bay 2015, $21.50 retail Consignment  Hobbs
-Columbia Winery Chardonnay Columbia Valley Washington State 2013, $17.95 +462804 LCBO
-Columbia Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbiia Valley Washington State 2013, $17.95 +460675 LCBO
-Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Marlborough New Zealand, +277731, $15.95 LCBO
-McManis Viognier 2015, $20.95  Consignment The Vine Agency
-Helderberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 South Africa, +461509 LCBO, $14.95
-Fairview Shiraz 2014 South Africa, +626358 Vintages, $17.95
The Food: catered by Oliver & Bonacini, with great looking Yorkshire pudding beef boats, crudites, international cheeses, dips, breads, crackers, small plated salmon, four kinds of sliders (lamb, pork belly, beef, chicken), samosas.
The Downside: to me, "premium wines" mean about $25 and up – there were too many wines under $20. Also, it was very dark and hard to note vintages and write it up.
The Upside: there were separate areas for Canadian whisky, growlers, and beers. And it was a great chance to see The Carlu again.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.


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