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A collection of 2,500 bottles of Canadian wine from writer Michael Vaughan’s personal collection has been welcomed into the cellar at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) to further its research and outreach efforts.
The wines, which date back to 1993, have been collected over the years and preserved in Vaughan’s climate- and humidity-controlled cellar, including sections that are maintained at temperatures as low as 4 Celsius.
Ideal wine storage temperatures are typically suggested to range between 10 and 15 C (50 and 59 F), which allows flavours to develop. Colder temperatures slow that development.
“I keep my wine very cold because I don’t want it to evolve, so my secret of having wines that are still drinkable after 50 years is the temperature,” says Vaughan, who served as columnist for the Globe and Mail and National Post and continues to review wines at vintageassessments.com.
The wines, which were appraised at a value of $200,000 due to current market prices, rarity and the provenance of the storage conditions, were moved in batches from Vaughan’s home in Toronto to the state-of-the-art cellar at Inniskillin Hall on Brock’s campus in St. Catharines. The collection includes red, white, sparkling and Icewines produced at wineries located in Ontario and British Columbia.
Debbie Inglis, the director of Brock’s wine institute, says the wines will help foster better understanding of how Canadian wines age and facilitate research that continues to grow the quality of wines produced in the future. She explains special tastings and seminars will be organized later in the year, once health and safety protocols allow for in-person tasting events at the university.
“This generous donation, coupled with Michael’s expertise, will be a valuable asset to the Institute as we work to address the evolving research and outreach needs of our industry and educate future generations of grape growers and winemakers,” Inglis says. “This collection serves as a living history of the evolution of Canadian wine, allowing us to learn from the past and bolster the sustainability and success of our industry in the future.”
CCOVI, which is poised to celebrate its 25th anniversary in October, was established in partnership with Grape Growers of Ontario and the Wine Council of Ontario to focus on research priorities of Canada’s grape and wine industry and the education and outreach needs of that community. The institute has grown with the needs of the industry, expanding its activities to cover wine business, policy research and agri-tourism areas as well.