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Artist Robert Cameron stands on an eighth floor rooftop of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Toronto amongst his wine sculptures that will be auctioned off later this month at a fundraiser benefitting the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, Wednesday, October 8, 2014.Galit Rodan/The Globe and Mail

As a certified sommelier who specializes in designing statement wine cellars, Robert Cameron knew right away what medium he'd work with in creating his first art collection.

"It's incredible the colours you get out of wines," says the Toronto-based Cameron. Initially, he used wine much as you might use paint. But, he says, "It ages and oxidizes so quickly on canvas." Reds lose colour with age, while whites darken over time.

Eventually, inspiration struck. "I had this idea, what if instead of watching the aging of the wine on the canvas I made a suspension of time and did the exact opposite: freeze the evolution of the wines inside a sculpture?"

Cameron uses reds, whites and rosés from many different varietals from all over the world in the sculptures. Each is hermetically sealed in glass vials that are stored behind museum-grade glass to help prevent UV light from changing the wines' colours. Each is finished with a polished steel case.

The sculptures were launched this past weekend at the Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival, an annual fundraiser for Toronto's University Health Network. A dozen sculptures were auctioned off at the event. Bidding started at $1,500. (Figures for winning bids were not available at press time).

Cameron says he enjoys the irony of appreciating wine strictly for its visual appeal, not its taste. Price isn't much of a factor when you're only considering colour and light. "You could have a wine worth $1,000 in one vial next to a $5.99 bottle of plonk, yet they're both seen as beautiful equals," Cameron says.

Sculptures start at $3,000.

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