Ontario Sparkling Wine Technical Symposium

Ontario Sparkling Wine Technical Symposium


At a time when consumer interest is exploding, winemakers from across North America gathered at Brock University May 6 to focus on sparkling wine.

Hosted by the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the sold-out Ontario Sparkling Wine Technical Symposium was a blend of technical theory and practical solutions.

The symposium comes at a time when interest in Ontario sparkling wine is growing, says Shari Mogk-Edwards, vice-president products, sales and merchandising at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

"Our cool climate is yielding world class products," Mogk-Edwards said, "and I am thrilled to say our customers have discovered the value of Ontario VQA sparkling wines.

"There is a growing interest in fizz, so we are very pleased with the success of this premium category.  The future of Ontario VQA sparkling wine is bright."

And the numbers are backing this up.  In 2013, sales in Vintages at the LCBO of VQA sparkling wine were up 59.2 per cent from 2012 sales data.  There are currently 36 wineries producing sparkling wine, with others commited to the production of or have expressed an interest in starting a sparkling program in the near future.

The symposium featured international experts who shared global success stories as well as the latest developments in sparkling wine research.  View their presentations below.

Participants also had the opportunity to taste two sparkling wine research trials that are currently underway at local wineries as well as a comparative blind tasting.  The blind tasting presented a selection of local and international sparkling wines and champagnes and was moderated by Jamie Goode.  The three flights featured Blanc de Blancs, Cuvee/blends and alternative varieties.

The symposium is the latest in sparkling wine outreach events organized by CCOVI.  The idea for the event came out of Fizz Club, a one-day session for sparkling winemakers held last December at Brock.


Speakers bio's and presentation links:

Bertrand Robillard, Ph.D., Director of Research and Development, Institut Œnologique de Champagne (IOC), Champagne.

Topic:  Disgorging, gushing and foaming

Bertrand is currently Director of Research at the Institut Œnologique de Champagne (IOC), Épernay, Champagne. Prior to his existing role, Bertrand was Head of Research and Development at Moet et Chandon for over 20 years. Bertrand has published hundreds of scientific research papers from his sparkling wine research in Champagne and will be presenting results from studies regarding disgorging, riddling aids, gushing, and factors that affect foaming and their management.

View his presentation here.

Ed Carr, Group Sparkling Winemaker, Accolade Wines, Australia

Topic:  Tasmanian sparkling wine production including phenolic and MLF management

Australia’s most decorated sparkling winemaker with 34 years of experience in the Australian wine industry – 27 of these involved with sparkling wine production.  Ed began his career in 1977 with the Wynne Wine Growers Group before being appointed the Seaview Sparkling winemaker. He remained in the Barossa Valley until his move to BRL Hardy (now Accolade Wines) where he continues as Group Sparkling Winemaker.  Ed’s brief was to establish the company as Australia’s leading sparkling wine producer with a portfolio of products that covered all market segments from the best expression of cool climate sparkling to affordable commercial styles. In the seventeen years since joining the group Ed’s results are showing his foresight and extraordinary talent with sparkling wine.  It was Ed’s firm belief in the potential of Tasmania as Australia’s best sparkling fruit resource that was the driving force behind the company’s 1995 decision to produce Tasmanian prestige cuvée, evolving into the House of Arras.
View his presentation here.
Larry Mawby, Owner and Winemaker at L. Mawby, Leelanu Peninsula, Michigan.

Topic:  Making wines for specific markets and challenges during production with alternative grape varieties.

A sparkling pioneer Larry produces estate grown and bottled Leelanau Peninsula sparkling wines since his first crush in the fall of 1978. He now produces entirely traditional method and cuveé closed method sparkling wines and is mid America's largest producer of traditional method sparkling wines. His first vines were planted in 1973 and has just over 18 acres producing around 100,000 bottles of sparkling each year. Mawby is certainly one of the very few producers in North America who make sparkling wine their only focus. Larry will be presenting a talk on his background, making sparkling wine products for specific markets and problems faced in bottle fermented and cuveé closed sparkling wine production.
View his presentation here.

Jamie Goode, Ph.D., London-based wine writer, wine columnist, The Sunday Express

Topic:  Sparkling wine closures and purchaser perception of local, national and international sparkling wines

Jamie is a well-known author and wine writer who came in to wine writing via a PhD in plant biology and several years of working as a book editor before he began publishing www.wineanorak.com which is now one of the worlds’ leading wine websites.  In 2007 he was named Glenfiddich Wine Writer of the year and contributes regularly to a range of publications including The World of Fine Wine, Wine Business International, Wines and Vines, Sommelier Journal, etc.  Goode is also one of the organizers for the UK based International Sparkling Wine Symposium since 2009 and the Sparkling Wine Review.
View his presentation here.


SPONSORS of the Sparkling Technical Symposium include:  Scott Labs, Wine Country Ontario as well as our Friends of FIZZ including AO Wilson Ltd., Cellar Tek Supplies Ltd., Chateau des Charmes Estate Winery, Colio Estate Winery, Fielding Estate Winery, Giusti Wines, Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery, Millesime Sparkling Wine Processing Inc., Trius Winery at Hillebrand and Vines to Vintages.


The Ontario Sparkling Wine Technical Symposium is presented in collaboration with the following partners

Thank you to the following Friends of Fizz for their support of the symposium