Past the food court, down a long, carpeted corridor, and behind drawn black curtains that stretched from floor to ceiling in the Fallsview Casino Resort’s Grand Hall, cameras were click, click, clicking as the chairman of the Wine Council of Ontario ran down a roll call of Ontario winemakers who, one twosome at a time, took turns joining him onstage to pour four bottles of icewine each into a comically oversized wine flute.
Today, the start of the region’s annual Icewine Harvest Festival, this group of 30+ Ontario winemakers gathered in solidarity under one common goal: to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest wine flute filled with icewine. That, and to stake their ceremonious flag firmly into the global wine industry as producers who no longer have anything to prove. “We’re always comparing ourselves to somebody else, and I think it’s time to stop doing that when we break this record today,” said chairman Ed Madronich. “We make amazing wines right here that are uniquely Ontario.”
Fitting, then, that the last drops of icewine were poured by Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser, the founders of Inniskillin Winery and godfathers of Canada’s renowned icewine industry; that’s them pictured above, along with current Inniskillin winemaker Bruce Nicholson.
A round of applause rose as they emptied their bottles, and soon after they were followed to the podium by a Guinness World Record Adjudicator, whom I imagined would resemble the Monopoly Guy, top hat, cane, and all, but in reality looked strangely, disappointingly, like a normal guy wearing a suit; Alfred E. Neuman he was not. He gave a brief overview of Guinness, then did what any good Adjudicator does: he adjudicated, and now it’s official.
Ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars and remember where you were on January 14, 2011: the day that the world’s largest wine flute was filled with 18 liters of icewine in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
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