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On Groundhog Day, our attention turns to furry weather prognosticators in Shubenacadie, N.S., Wiarton, Ont., and other communities. According to tradition, if the groundhog sees its shadow, we are in for six more weeks of winter. No shadow calls for an early spring.

In the bleak mid-winter, this shadow play gives us something to talk about. A distraction from the cold and grey.

I have no idea what the groundhogs will see when they emerge on the scene today.

In my world, the sight of a shadow spells six more weeks of hearty red wines. No shadow becomes a welcome invitation to make room in the fridge for crisp and refreshing whites in preparation for warmer days ahead.

Winter wine options include rich and rewarding red wines, such as nebbiolos from Piedmont, shirazes from Barossa and grenache-based blends from the south of France. These are full-bodied and flavourful wines, with robust character that makes them less appetizing, at least to my taste, on a hot and humid summer’s day.

In February, I tend to front rack some excellent big and bold reds to open and enjoy before the moment passes. Before long, my attention will be pulled in a different direction by the excitement of young and bright wines from the 2021 vintage. These new releases offer a sense of discovery of new and emerging producers as well as a chance to reconnect with the latest offerings from established regions and wineries.

Other noteworthy spring selections include racy rieslings from Germany and Austria, albarinos from Rias Baixas in Spain, and rosés from the south of France, which are as mouth-watering and appealing even when the backyard is covered with snow.

I am aware not all wine lovers share my seasonal swings. Some have a go-to bottle they enjoy year-round, revelling in its consistent character and familiar flavour. It gives wine o’clock a safe and predicable outcome. Others routinely enjoy a house red or white, in all kinds of weather and many different social situations, until they are compelled to seek a suitable replacement.

Wine appreciation has never been a one-size-fit- all scenario. We are spoiled for choice. There has never been a better selection of well-made wine available from all corners of the world to discover. Any number of factors can influence our purchasing decision, even whether we are enjoying the snow and the cold or dearly hoping for an early spring.

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