Cognac’s rise from a regional product to a worldwide phenomenon

Export sales drove the development of the industry, a feature as true today as it was three centuries ago

Cognac’s rise from a regional product to a worldwide phenomenonFrom the very beginning, the cognac industry was dominated by cognac houses that acted as intermediaries between the producers of eau de vie and their overseas markets. Many of the first cognac houses were founded by English and Irish entrepreneurs: Jean Martell was from Jersey, while Isaac Ransom, James Delamain and Richard Hennessy were all…

Getting to the essence of cognac: the distiller’s art

The deft hand of the master blender is critical to production

Getting to the essence of cognac: the distiller’s artAt first glance, cognac production seems straightforward. The local wine is distilled twice, aged in oak casks from a few years to decades and eventually bottled. In reality, it’s an exceedingly complex minuet where the subtle influences of terroir merge with the distiller’s art and ultimately flower under the deft hand of the master blender.…

With Cognac, it’s all about terroir

The environment, including the chalky soil, is everything when it comes to producing the right grapes

With Cognac, it’s all about terroirCognac begins as wine. Like any wine, it’s shaped in part by the environment in which it grows. Soil, aspect and climate, among other things, combine to create a unique environment, what the French call terroir. A wine, in turn, is a distinct expression of that terroir. In the Cognac region, terroir is, for the…

How to choose wines for Thanksgiving dinner

Our columnist's picks for Thanksgiving dinner wines

How to choose wines for Thanksgiving dinner“Our life is frittered away by detail,” proclaimed Henry David Thoreau. “Simplify, simplify, simplify!” On Thanksgiving, many of us heed Thoreau’s advice and remind ourselves and our loved ones to stop fretting over little things and give thanks for the big things we too often take for granted. Yet, one area that seems to defy…

Cognac, a short history of an enduring spirit

What is the difference between cognac and other types of brandy?

Cognac, a short history of an enduring spiritCognac is a type of brandy produced in the Charente region of France, centred around the towns of Cognac and Jarnac, and stretching from the Île de Ré to the Gironde Estuary on the Atlantic coast, to Angoulême and the foothills of the Mastiff Central. The Cognac Delimited Region, the exclusive area where cognac can…

Pour a Riesling and travel vicariously to Germany’s Weinfeste

There is no better way to experience German culture at its most authentic than to attend a Weinfest

Pour a Riesling and travel vicariously to Germany’s WeinfesteWine enthusiasts love to travel – a pastime that the pandemic has rudely interrupted. As a result, many of us are hatching plans for future trips, or at least picturing ourselves in rugged Priorat or manicured Bordeaux as we refill our glasses with the eponymous wine. I find myself thinking a lot about Germany and…

You don’t need lots of money to appreciate wine

All you need is a decent bottle of wine and a couple of friends with whom to share it

You don’t need lots of money to appreciate wineMany people assume wine is a passion for the rich. They picture Jay Gatsby toasting his Champagne coupe at a lavish party, or well-dressed couples stepping out of a limo at a winery tasting. Admission to the world of wine, it seems, comes at a price. For everyone else, there’s homebrew and boxed wine. It’s…

Will Canada finally get interprovincial alcohol trade?

A private member’s bill in Ottawa is offering Canadians a renewed chance to ‘free the beer’

Will Canada finally get interprovincial alcohol trade?Interprovincial alcohol distribution in Canada has always been a nightmare. For our wineries, breweries and spirit makers, selling alcohol to Americans is easier than selling to consumers outside their own province. Many Canadian alcoholic products like wines, beers and spirits have won international prestigious awards but can’t be sold to most Canadians. It’s simply ridiculous.…

For beer fairness, end price controls and corporate welfare

If government believes it should discourage alcohol consumption, why does it subsidize the beer and wine industries?

For beer fairness, end price controls and corporate welfareWith much fanfare, the Ontario government has brought back “Buck-a-Beer” by lowering the government-mandated price floor on a bottle or can of beer (with alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent) from $1.25 to $1. Ontarians who don’t drink or who consume only more expensive alcoholic beverages won’t be much affected by this policy. But for…

The trouble with edible marijuana products

Edibles scare Health Canada and the food industry, since they’re discrete, convenient and potentially dangerous

The trouble with edible marijuana productsOn Oct. 17, smoking cannabis will become legal in Canada. Cannabis edibles, on the other hand, will be legal in a little less than a year. Once cannabis-infused food products are available, things will get complicated in Canada’s food industry. But with the right regulations, this is a profit opportunity that doesn’t come by every…