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ARTEVÏNO 

On April 1, 2005, there will be an extraordinary evening of fine art and wine, titled ARTEVÏNO, at Maxwell College, 270 Front Street, Belleville, Ontario, in support of the Quinte Arts Council (QAC).

The Quinte area has a rich cultural heritage and boasts a number of accomplished artists and a plethora of studios. New to the area is the nascent wine industry, with over 600 acres planted, over 80% of it fine European vinifera varieties. ARTEVÏNO celebrates the confluence of these two traditions, one new and one established. The artists and wineries will work in partnership for the first time and present examples of their best in what is the first art and wine auction in Eastern Ontario.

All of the wineries in the area are participating. Each is offering a unique item for auction, typically large format (3- and 6-litre bottles) with one-of-a-kind labeling and packaging designed and produced by the artist of their choice. Many of these wines are from first or second crops. All are unique and highly collectable as first editions from one of the world's newest wine regions.

In addition, this event will feature the first-ever barrel of wine to be auctioned in Canada. The barrel, approximately 25 cases, contains wine made from 100% chardonnay grapes grown on the Waupoos Estate in Prince Edward County. It has been donated by the Waupoos Estates Winery – the first commercial winery in Prince Edward County since prohibition.

A labour of love by Ed Neuser and Rita Kaimins, the Waupoos Estates Winery began planting grapes in 1993 in what was originally an apple orchard. "Everyone thought we were crazy," laughs Ed Neuser. A true pioneer in the wine industry of Prince Edward County, he used a tractor with a front end loader and jack hammer with compression in the back to break through the solid limestone subsoil to plant his grapes.

The barrel of wine, one of the County's best Chardonnays, will be featured at a live auction along with a number of original art pieces, the large format bottles and a trip to the Burgundy to raise funds for QAC's year round programming. Ed and Rita are particularly proud to be the first contributors of this barrel to support a charitable organization, the fact that it is made of 100% County grapes and also because the entire operation at Waupoos Estates involves people from the County.

This includes winemaker Jason MacDonald and vineyard manager Kyle Baldwin, who have been with Ed and Rita since they were teenagers, as well as all of the staff at the winery, restaurant and gift shop, both seasonal and full-time employees.

Andrew Laliberte, sommelier and Co-Chair of the ARTEVÏNO event committee, states, "Having tasted all of these wines, the 2004 vintage will be the one that will help to define the reputation of Prince Edward County as a serious, quality wine region. The 2004 Reserve Chardonnay donated by Waupoos is deservedly the highlight of the evening. It has rich, complex citrus notes, fine weight, subtle oak and a refreshing finish. The style of wine compares well to a premier cru Chablis. All of the wines are representative of their various terroirs. The reds, notably Long Dog's Pinot Noir and Huff's South Bay red (Cabernet/Merlot blend) – both from the 2003 vintage – show the marked difference between Prince Edward County and Niagara. These are definitely cool-climate reds with subtle flavors and aromas which explore the high notes of the scale. For anyone that has not comprehensively tasted PEC wines, this event offers unique showcase to see what the fuss is all about."

The evening, which includes a pre-event media and VIP tasting at 6 pm, will be open to the public at 7 pm and features wine poured from the participating wineries and an amazing array of fabulous French cheeses from Capers Brasserie.

The highlights of the evening are live, radio and silent auctions of art as well as first edition special format bottles of wine with artist-designed labels from Huff Estates, The Grange of Prince Edward Inc. Estate Winery, Black Prince Winery, Long Dog Vineyards & Winery Inc. County Cider Company, Carmela Estates Winery and By Chadsey's Cairns Winery and Vineyard. One other item of interest is an original bottle of the first commercial release of wine from the County – a 1999 Vidal from Waupoos Estates, signed by Ed in 2000. Less than one hundred cases were produced and there may be only six or seven bottles in existence today – none signed from the time of release. This is a rare opportunity to purchase a true first edition with provenance, of the first wine from a wine region.

 

 

 

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