Behind the ‘Black Ball’

(In response to Rick VanSickle’s article on the VQA’s rejection of Pearl Morissette’s ‘Black Ball’ Riesling – original here. Also posted in-part as a comment.)

Kudos to Mr. VanSickle, as his piece is the most well-researched commentary that I have seen about the ‘Black Ball’ – a subject that is undoubtedly (and justifiably) being followed closely by the Ontario wine community and has now garnered international attention.

There are however a couple of critical discussion points that are aptly raised in the article but demand elaboration:

1) The role of the VQA and its legal Act as an Appellation System needs to be put into the appropriate historical context;

2) The importance of producers like François Morissette and his role as an industry innovator. Continue reading “Behind the ‘Black Ball’”


In defense of the LCBO…?


Like most industry professionals, I could regale you with hours of anecdotal evidence that the LCBO is an over-privileged monopole that has no regard for its customers¹, private or licensee. I could complain about a lacking selection, fees and taxation driving up prices and a bottle-necked logistics department for importing, distribution and licensing. Furthermore I could argue that it stands as both a deliberate and incidental roadblock for individuals and restaurateurs trying to broaden their wine and beer horizons. The tone of such arguments (which have been made for decades) has now evolved into something profoundly aggressive. Many writers and critics of varying degrees of fame and respect (Jan WongMike MckennaJohn Szabo) have gone so far as to predict or even demand the end of the LCBO.

But perhaps we can find a couple of things to appreciate about the LCBO as it may not be around for that much longer (we can only hope…)!

Continue reading “In defense of the LCBO…?”