Monday, March 26, 2012

Genetically modified foods: Are they safe?

That's the question author Jeffrey Smith will endeavour to answer when he visits Niagara College next month.

Smith, who wrote Seeds of Deception, touted as an "explosive expose" about the frankenfood industry, will be speaking at the college's Niagara-on-the-Lake campus on April 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is hosted by Breast Cancer Prevention and Community Research and the Institute for Responsible  Technology.

Here's the news release that came across my desk today, including a bio about Smith, a consumer advocate, who devotes much of his time to campaigning for the removal of genetically engineered foods from our food supply.

Looking at some of the stats he has unearthed, it's tough not to find this stuff frightening:

Thousands 
of 
sheep,
 buffalo,
 and 
goats
 in 
India
 died
 after
grazing
 on
 Bt
 cotton
 plants


Mice
 eating 
GM 
corn 
for
 the 
long-
term
 had 
fewer 
and
 smaller babies


More
 than 
half
 the 
babies 
of 
mother
 rats 
fed 
GM
 soy
 died
 within 
three
 weeks

 and

were
 smaller


Testicle
 cells 
of
 mice 
and 
rats
 on 
a
 diet of GM 
soy 
change
 significantly


By 
the 
third 
generation, 
most
 GM
 soy‐fed 
hamsters 
lost 
the 
ability 
to 
have 
babies


Rodents
 fed 
GM
 corn 
and 
soy
 showed 
immune
 system 
responses 
and 
signs
 of
 toxicity


Cooked 
GM 
soy 
contains 
as 
much 
as 
seven times 
the 
amount 
of 
a 
known
 soy 
allergen 
Soy
 allergies
 skyrocketed
 by
 50 per cent 
in
 the
 UK, 
soon
 after 
GM
 soy
 was 
introduced


The
 stomach 
lining 
of
 rats 
fed 
GM 
potatoes 
showed 
excessive
 cell
 growth,
 a 
condition
 that
may 
lead
 to 
cancer.

Here's the poster with all the details. Feel free to print it off and pass it around. See you on April 24.

Antigmo Poster Final

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting my green thumb on

I chalk any gardening successes I've had up to a stroke of luck more than a stroke of genius.

I've only been a gardener — a term I use rather loosely — for the past three summers and never could there have been three summers more different when it came to what Mother Nature bestowed upon us. Cool and wet, hot and dry and just plain bizarre sum up 2009 to 2011 respectively.

What little knowledge I do have when managing that plot of dirt in my yard, I've gleaned from those few moments I've tried helping (read: probably hindering) Linda Crago on her farm early in the season, usually as she preps for her annual tomato transplant sale.

I've read select passages in gardening books, too, but still, other than garlic and greens, plants struggle in my care. I've blamed it on my postage stamp yard and the legal envelope-sized silver maple occupying most of it, casting its shade in critical spots.

There's also so much I don't know about gardening. The problem is, because I'm such a novice, I don't always know what I don't know, so I don't even know what questions I should be asking to find out, you know?

Fortunately, there are people like Linda to fill in the blanks, including the ones I didn't know existed.

So, yesterday, I took my tarnished green thumbs to a gardening workshop that she hosted in a hoophouse full of sprouting inspiration. Against a backdrop of healthy, vibrant greens that are the makings of her current CSA baskets, this heirloom vegetable grower tried to set about 20 keeners down the right garden path for this growing season — and every other one — ahead.

First things first, though. One can't have a garden without seeds. I've tried starting plants from seed with mixed results. No surprise, greens aren't a problem for me. But other veggies in waiting haven't done so well. Beets are one. Spring onions are another. And peas have been so-so. So, I'm a little daunted by the whole prospect of starting plants from a little bitty speck of something.

Some of the tomato seeds I planted at Linda's gardening workshop.

"Seeds are meant to grow," Linda told us. "It's really amazing. You shouldn't be intimidated by seeds."

Turns out my problem may have been how I've stored my seeds. That dark drawer in the kitchen that I thought was ideal was sucking all the life force out of my future gardens.

"I've had the best luck putting seed in the freezer," Linda said. "I've had some seed viable after 10 years."

Most though, has grown into something up to seven years after she has acquired it and let it chill. But her success could also be the source of her seeds.

I haven't tried saving seed yet — maybe I will this year should I grow a healthy specimen of something I'd like to propagate — so finding good seed is a matter of asking those who grow vegetables successfully where they get theirs. In Linda's case, it's William Dam, the Cottage Gardener, Urban Harvest and, particularly, Seed Savers Exchange.

"They've saved more seed from extinction worldwide than any other company so I'm happy to support them," she noted.

Still, to ensure seeds are viable, Linda gave us a helpful hint. You can wet the seeds and put them between a wet paper towel, wrapping the soggy mass in a plastic bag to see if anything germinates. Or, if you prefer to have your hopes confirmed or dashed more quickly, put them in a jar with water. Those that sink are viable. Those that float are duds.

My pepper seeds are duds.

Next up: judging when to plant.

I admit, I'm a bit of an eager beaver and this week, this third week of March in southern Ontario when temperatures freakishly soared to the mid-20s (Celsius for any American readers), I found myself feeling like I needed to get out there soon. Gardening season was upon us, despite what the calendar said. I reined myself in, mostly because my patch is a mucky mess. Good thing, too.

Stay off soil until you can pick up a handful, make a fist with it and have it crumble. If it forms a ball, it's still too wet to work.

"Once you mess with wet soil, you've made a mess of your soil for years. You don't want to mess with wet soil," Linda warned.

Linda's clay soil deconstructed.
While I'm fairly certain my soil is more clay than sand, judging by the way it holds moisture and the feel of it, those unsure can throw a handful of their backyard earth in a jar with water, shake for a good five minutes and see how everything settles.

The heaviest soil particles — sand — will sink. Mid-level, you'll find silt.

"Clay is the finest particulate and it will float," Linda said. And, if you're — ahem — blessed, with clay soil, she recommends amending it instead of bringing in new soil entirely.

When it comes to planting seeds indoors, mid-February is high time for seeding onions and leeks, cutting back the fine, grass-like tops when they get to about five inches long so the young sprouts put their energy into bulbs. After 12 weeks, they can be transplanted.

Next, seed eggplants. This happens about 10 weeks before the great outdoors is ready for them and they can be transplanted. Tomatoes can be seeded six to eight weeks before transplant time.

Another helpful tip: plant seeds to a depth that is twice their length. I know I've planted some in my gardening career that are the equivalent of six feet under and that could be why the only thing that grew was my disappointment.

Last year, I dropped my kale seed directly into my garden. I have to admit, of all the greens I grew, it was my poorest. Linda suggested seeding brassicas indoors and getting them out early. She's an even bigger proponent of it this year, given our mild winter. That has her wagering pests are going to relentless this summer, enjoying our harvests before we can. It's not even April and Linda reported a potato beetle sighting already.

Diatomaceous soil sprinkled on plants kills pesky flea beetles. Keeping plants as healthy as possible will also help fend off hungry bugs. Unhealthy plants attract pests that will, ultimately, do them in.

Using a mix of perlite and vermiculite as a soil starter helps to ensure air gets to the seed. Another note to self for me since I use garden soil, which I learned can suffocate seeds. I've choked many in my time, I'm certain. The soggy cells in my peat trays with no sprouts to bear are a sure sign. After watering my newly sown seeds, I saw my fluffy garden soil deflate and felt a bad feeling settle into my gut. Even this year, I've made this mistake, leaving me crossing my fingers that those compacted little pods will become more than caked mud.

Fingers crossed I make it to this point, but next up comes transplanting.

My first year gardening, I missed one crucial step. Impatient to get growing, I didn't bother hardening off any plants I started myself. Going from a full-time existence indoors to a permanent life outdoors caused my chard to look rather sad within a few hours in the sun. It came back but all those young beautiful leaves I'd nurtured indoors were toast.

Harden off by leaving plants outdoors for a short period of time (I started leaving mine in the shade at first after the chard debacle) and increasing their exposure a little more each day. That should get them ready for their big debut in the garden.

Linda transplanting a tomato and showing
us how it's done. 
Transplants grown in plastic containers create a good root ball, Linda said. Making transplant pots out of paper is a low-cost option and the paper doesn't have to be removed before the plant goes in the ground. There's also peat. But it dries out and the roots don't break through, Linda said.

Be sure to fertilize when putting plants in the ground. Kelp was Linda's recommendation. Fertilizing monthly is also in order.

Unless you're a tomato. I would have thought this would be cruelty to tomatoes, those apples of Linda's eye, but it turns out she doesn't water them once they're transplanted, except at the end of the season. No matter how sad, there's always tomorrow, with pathetic leaves looking like new in the morning.

I can't help but feel for me, this is just asking for trouble and gambling with my garden. So for the non-believers out there, she offered this advice to avoid the dreaded, ugly, brown blossom end rot: "Don't water too much, but if you water, water consistently."

When all else fails, ask Linda. Her blog will be loaded with vegetable growing tips throughout the season.

Wish me luck!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Of YIMBYs and spring: Dreams of gardening glory take root

Seeds I have started in preparation of the garden I will grow in a
borrowed backyard.


The white-blue glow of grow lights tucked into a corner of my kitchen casts a harsh and eerie glare that clashes with the yellow warmth thrown by fixtures hanging from the ceiling.

Their cool appearance is a bit of an irony, given the comfortable heat they throw on the dirt filled containers beneath them. The brightness that my two grow lamps radiate is a beacon for me, inviting me over to inspect what they're shining down upon, to watch nature forced into action.

But I should know, a watched seed never grows.

Still, those rays of light pouring into the heated indoor greenhouse beneath them are symbolic of the release I feel of energy pent up over the winter. It has waited impatiently to be expended on another season's promise in the garden, starting with seeding the plants that will become my company in the yard this summer, my meals in the fall.

This week, I broke out my early gardening season supplies — lights, pods, seeds, soils, and heated bed — and broke free of the cold weather season that was, not that it felt like much of a winter this year anyway, though the calendar deemed it so.

I set about seeding 60 red Wethersfield and yellow Borettana onions, 20 Spigiarelli broccoli seeds, Lacinato kale and Georgia southern collards. Ten Corno di Toro Giallo — sweet, mildly spicy yellow peppers  — joined them in a warm, moist earth bed, catching that fluorescent glow that will spur them along.

There are cucumbers at the ready, oh so sweet melons, scarlet Nantes carrots and Sutton's harbinger peas, too.  And, of course, there will be a long list of tomato plants that will eventually join them.

It's not as though my postage stamp-sized yard has grown over the winter — the one in which garlic, chard and bloody dock are the only edibles that seem to really thrive. Instead, I will be borrowing someone else's backyard to reap what I've just sown.

You can call this generous homeowner a YIMBY because she invited me to take over her unused sunny swath on Scott Street in St. Catharines after letting me scale her towering Kieffer pear tree last fall for The Garden of Eating - Niagara.

Red wethersfield onion seeds.
It's not a huge backyard by any stretch but one whose space has been maximized by her greenthumb parents who lived there before her, divvying the square lot into beds for vegetables and flowers that see the sun morning to night while basking in the added warmth of light bouncing off a white brick wall nearby.

Sorry if I seem like I'm waxing poetic about something as pragmatic as vegetable gardening but truth is, I can't wait to starting digging in the earth again, getting dirt under my nails.

My impatience is helped along by the knowledge that I'll have a garden where everything really does seem to be in the proverbial cards — space, sunlight and soil that has been nurtured through its years of use and protected in its dormancy of late.

My attempts at using what I have at my condo, where the sun's presence and room to grow is scant, have given me a complex about my gardening (in)abilities and this summer will be the true test, provided Mother Nature is in a good mood, of that green thumb of mine with its seemingly unshakable brown tinge.

I will be embarking upon my latest gardening adventure with my friend Rowan, a fellow proponent of local food security who is  working to bring a food store to downtown St. Catharines. 

All we have to do is clean up a tiny corner of the borrowed yard that has grown into a mish-mash of weeds and fuzzy lamb's ears in exchange for use of a swath brimming with what seems like guaranteed gardening glory.

Those remnants of landscaping gone wrong will be replaced with bee friendly flowers. Yes, I want my garden teeming with those hard-done-by pollinators or at least make whoever shows up feel welcome.

It's a small fee for a summer's access to land and water and the bounty at the end of it all.

Spring starts officially in less than a week. But in that corner of my kitchen where that acerbic grow-light glare and gentler luminosity spilling from frosted lampshades collide, it has already begun.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Back in the homemade cheese saddle

My homemade goat's milk cream cheese with tomato jam. 


Get me a cigarette.

I've just had a really satisfying experience.

And it happened in the kitchen, first on the stove, then the counter, before moving to kitchen table where I've been nibbling a buckwheat crisp slathered in cream cheese with The Good Earth's tomato jam — a fantastic snacking experience, yes, but it was something else that made it so.

I made the cream cheese myself.

It has been about a year since I last made what is the freshest tasting, creamiest yet light, snow-white spreadable cheese using goat's milk from Hewitt's Dairy in Hagersville, which dairy goat farmers here in Niagara supply.

This post isn't to brag about being a cheesemaker. Really, it's to encourage everyone to try making cheese themselves because if I can, you can.

My first foray into cheesemaking was in November 2010 when I took a workshop in Niagara Falls dedicated to curdling milk, growing mold and ultimately engaging in what has been one of my most satisfying culinary coups.

After setting myself up with the beginnings of Roquefort and Brie cheese and heading home for weeks of nursing my milky masses to become ripe rounds of oozing, rich goodness, I pledged with my friend who joined me at the workshop that we would continue making cheese together on our own.

So we did, once we had emboldened ourselves enough to eat our workshop homework, discovered it was seriously swoon-worthy stuff and lived to tell about it.

Being newbies and on our own with our cheesemaking supplies now, we tried our hands at cream cheese. The recipe looked less intense and time consuming than our guided efforts at our workshop. Heat milk to a specified temperature, add bacteria and non-animal rennet, let sit for about 17 hours to curdle, then drain into spreadable magic.

It seemed less risky and a guaranteed confidence boost compared to weeks of surgeon-like handwashing just to flip our fermenting fromage every day until the right mold started to blanket it, before wrapping it and waiting another six to eight weeks for it to ripen fully.

My goat milk cream cheese.


Cream cheese and the subsequent ricotta made from the leftover whey seemed like instant gratification in comparison to our all-consuming Camembert and offered less chance of food poisoning-inducing error.

As we sampled our spreadable handiwork last year, we vowed to do it again soon but then life and conflicting schedules threw an unsanitized cheese ladle into those plans.

But last weekend, we finally reconvened and reminded ourselves over a glass of wine and watched-pot of (good) bacteria-riddled warm milk why homemade cheese was in a league all its own when it comes to food feats.

A date has already been set aside for our next attempt, our confidence soaring just high enough to try another round of Camembert on our own. So psyched up we are, plans are afoot for other D-I-Y food escapades. We're going to tap my friend's maple tree next year and make syrup. Old hat for her, but for me, a prospective feather in the cap of truly satisfying eating experiences.

In the meantime, pass that cigarette. Or a canapé knife.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rah rah ramen

This was a staple of my diet once upon a time. But the humble ramen deserves
some credit and can easily be Niagara-fied for us locavores. (Keep reading...)


Stop the presses. I didn't eat well in university.

OK, don't stop them because who didn't eat questionable "meals" during their academic career and somehow manage to graduate with brain function in tact, still relatively svelte with their res butt but a memory and having done little more exercise than lug a heavy textbook to and fro?

High metabolism, how I miss you.

One of the staples of my diet while doing my first degree was Mr. Noodles instant ramen. Not Sapporo Ichiban. At 88 cents a pop, I had to wait until Safeway put those puppies on sale and only then would I treat myself to such a gourmet package of noodles and salty pouch of simulated flavour. Otherwise, Mr. Noodles was my regular lunchtime companion. At 33 cents a package, who could afford not to eat them?

Add copious quantities of Frank's Red Hot sauce to give the broth a fluorescent orange tinge and push the sodium levels off the proverbial charts and voila. I was sated and my heart was beating just a little faster.

This was my ritual every day for three years.

So why am I, someone who now flogs the antithesis of cheap processed food going on about my diet un-glory days? No, I'm not about to champion a local source of ramen (though throw in a few garlic greens from the garden, shredded local carrots and homemade hot sauce and you've got some Niagara-fied noodles).

I had to share what came by way of email today.

The exchange started with an unsolicited message from a man who asked me to look over  his team's graphic and give feedback. It came from a gmail account and there was no explanation about what said graphic was. I grew suspicious, feared virus-spouting attachments or worse — something with a nightmarish image that would forever be seared to memory.

Instead, I got a ramen infographic by the masterminds at Hack College, on a mission to make young up-and-comers more tech savvy.  This very detailed and thoughtful picture dedicated to all things ramen gave me a laugh and taught me a thing or two about the squiggly noodles that once sustained me. Not sure how its creator got my email (did he come across my gussied up ramen recipe and think he found a kindred ramen-appreciating spirit?) but I'm grateful nonetheless.

The only thing seared to mind's eye now is a cartoonish steaming bowl of noodles and the factory where they're made.

So here it is. I hope it elicits a smile or at least gives you something to help you win your next trivia tournament.

And in keeping with all things local, check out the dandelion ramen recipe. Spring is coming and with it, those ubiquitous weeds. It's how I plan to use some of my yard greens this year, though I think I'll really treat myself and splurge on those 88-cent Sapporo Ichiban to eat with them.

We Love Ramen Infographic
Created by: Hack College

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wasted youth and the evolution of lemon meringue pie

Laurie Oakes, a Grade 12 student at Notre Dame College School
in Welland gives her rolls an egg wash and secures top spot at a
recent regional Skills Ontario competition for baking. 


I'm relatively unfazed in the kitchen.

Unless I have to bake something. I hear it's easy but making pie is on my bucket list, relegated to such stature because mere thought of putting together a proper crust and a filling that holds its own kind of scares the heck out of me. It's daunting. I won't lie.

But last Thursday, I watched as nine local high school students from the Niagara Catholic District School Board whipped up 24 buns — some knotted, some contorted into a figure eight, others just simple bulbous round rolls — iced a layer a cake with precision and made a lemon meringue pie, crust, filling and all in four hours as they competed in a regional Skills Canada - Ontario competition for baking held at Niagara College.

The winners move up the ranks to the next level of competition, going stand mixer to stand mixer with students from high schools elsewhere, all as part of the annual competition that tests the mettle of tradespeople in the making.

As a judge, I had to look critically at what they were doing but truth is, I was in awe of how they whipped up their baked goods with ease in a fraction of the time I could ever imagine doing it. Made me think that perhaps I wasted my youth, a time when I shunned all things seemingly domestic in my quest to be a modern career woman.

Well, that and my abysmal performance in Grade 9 family studies when my efforts to bake were really more a sign to find something else to do with my life. Take the time I made a gingerbread house and in my impatience to get it done as the teacher was doing her rounds to mark our edible abodes, I didn't wait to let my melted sugar — snow in gingerbread landscaping speak — cool before drizzling it on the peaked roof of my cookie housing complex. The roof collapsed, leaving a gaping hole and a disapproving teacher.

"It has solar heating," my smart ass self told her in an effort to save my grade. I got one of the lowest marks in the class on that project.

The patience and precision that baking demands was — and still is — like oil to my water. If I mess up with a meal, well there's salt and pepper to make it better. A caved in gingerbread house and, well, nothing can fix that except eating it quickly to hide all evidence of my incompetence.

However, this team of young pastry chefs I met last week wowed and inspired me to the point that when all marks were added up, I was dubbed the nice judge alongside Commisso's Fine Foods' bakers Glen Lauzon and Nathan Libertini, my fellow critics for the day.

In a room that smelled like warm sugar, yeast and lemons, it was Laurie Oakes, a Grade 12 student at Notre Dame College School in Welland, who took the top spot in the competition. As she worked at her cluttered but clean work station, she had the air of a Hausfrau — hair in a bun and net, apron hiked high on her waist. She worked quietly and with determination. Hers was the only pie that stayed in perfectly triangular pieces when sliced, her cake was iced with the most steady of hands and her rolls, well, they were in the oven a little too long but a solid effort nonetheless.

More than what I can say for that flimsy gingerbread house of mine. And many of these students don't have much more experience in baking than I did back in the day.

Congratulations to them all, really.

Given the pedestal upon which I put pie-making, I shot copious photos of the making of the day's lemon meringue pie. Here is a montage of some of the students' work and the ingredients for envy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cheers to Niagara wines



One of my favourite things to do is look at wine bottles.

At wineries, in the liquor store, I love walking alongside the shelves, taking in the labels, vintages and varieties and piquing my curiosity about the contents inside each bottle.

Last night, the Cuvée Wine Awards were handed out in Niagara Falls at the Fallsview Casino, reaffirming that what's inside so many Ontario bottles is fabulous wine. The awards, dubbed the Oscars of this province's wine industry, have been handed out for 24 years and are a celebration of all that fermented grape goodness and its soulmate, food. The awards also benefit the Niagara Community Foundation.

There were 45 wineries at the gala and 10 chefs serving up some of the most delicious and creative morsels. Hospitality on Hand wins my award for best use of a sweet potato with its vegetarian "spare rib" made of the tubers. It shares the honours with Fallsview Casino Resort, which served up a whimsical take on fish and chips with its potato wrapped tuna, served with an Asian slaw, pureed edamame (mushy peas anyone?) and an edible rice paper front page of a newspaper.

Wines that won my tastebuds over last night included Maleta Winery's 2008 Grape Brain Riesling, which could fool you into thinking it's bone dry one until you get a sweet kick in the aftertaste, Cornerstone Estate's 2009 Chenin Blanc reserve, packed with pears and honey, Calamus Estate Winery's light and refreshing 2010 Pinot Gris, 2027 Cellars' 2008 Falls Vineyard Riesling and Hinterbrook Estate Winery's 2010 Riesling, which to me smelled like delicious brown sugar and apples (I was standing near the dessert table when I stuck my schnoz in the glass, mind you, but it still tasted spectacular).

Without further ado here are the 2012 Cuvée winners:
Red wine: Palatine Hills Estate Winery Proprietor's Reserve Merlot 2007
Limited edition red wine: Angels Gate Winery Mountainview Pinot Noir 2009
White wine: Greenlane Estate Winery Riesling 2010
Limited edition white wine: 2027 Cellars 19th Street Chardonnay 2010
LCBO red wine: Creekside Estate Winery Shiraz 2009
LCBO white wine: Hillebrand Winery Trius Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Dessert wine: G. Marquis Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2009 (1st place), Inniskillin Wines Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2010 (2nd place)
Limited edition dessert wine: Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Riesling Icewine 2007 (1st Place), Diamond Estates — The Winery Dan Aykroyd Signature Series Vidal Icewine 2006 (2nd place)
Sparkling wine: Tawse Winery Spark Rosé 2009 (1st place), Featherstone Estate Winery Joy Sparkling Wine 2008 (2nd place), Peller Estates Winery Ice Cuvé Rosé NV (3rd place)
Chardonnay: Stoney Ridge Cellars Excellence Chardonnay 2009 (1st place), Tawse Winery Robyn's Block Chardonnay 2009 (2nd place)
Riesling: Greenlane Estate Winery Riesling 2010 (1st place), Hinterbrook Estate Winery Riesling 2010 (2nd place), Cave Spring Cellars Riseling CSV 2009 (3rd place)
Gewürztraminer: Konzelmann Estate Winery Gewürztraminer Late Harvest 2010 (1st place), Riverview Cellars Winery Gewürztraminer 2010 (2nd place)
Sauvignon Blanc: Peller Estates Winery Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (1st place), Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (2nd place)
White blend: Stonechurch Vineyards Riesling Gewürztraminer 2009 (1st place), Rockway Glen Estate Winery Chardonnay/Riseling 2010 (2nd place), Diamond Estates  — The Winery Hat Trick White 2009 (3rd place)
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris: Fielding Estate Winery Estate Bottle Pinot Gris 2010
Viognier: Fielding Estate Winery Viognier 2010 (1st place), Creekside Estate Winery Reserve Viognier 2010 (2nd place)
Cabernet Sauvignon: Peller Estates Winery Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (1st place), Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007 (2nd place)
Cabernet Franc: Fielding Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2010 (1st  place), Vignoble Rancourt Winery Cabernet France 2007 (2nd place), Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Cabernet Franc 2009 (3rd place)
Meritage: Kacaba Vineyards Reserve Meritage 2007 (1st place), Vineland Estates Winery Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2007 (2nd place), Tawse Winery Meritage 2008 (3rd place)
Pinot Noir: Angels Gate Winery Mountainview Pinot Noir 2009 (1st place), Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Pinot Noir 2009 (2nd place)
Merlot: Palatine Hills Estate Winery Proprietor's Reserve Merlot 2007 (1st place), Kacaba Vineyards Reserve Merlot 2007 (2nd place)
Gamay Noir: 13th Street Winery Gamay Noir Sandstone Old Vines 2010
Red Blend: Colaneri Estate Winery Insieme 2009 (1st place), Diamond Estates — The Winery Hat Trick Red 2010 (2nd place)
Syrah/Shiraz: Creekside Estate Winery Broken Press Syrah 2008 (1st place), Colio Estate Wines, Inc. CEV Small Lot Shiraz 2008 (2nd place)
Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence: Ron Giesbrecht, Winemaker, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery (for consistently producing fine wines across Henry of Pelham's portfolio for 22 years)
Cuvée Award of Excellence in Viticulture: Duarte Oliveira Sr., Oliveira Vineyards.

Congratulations!
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