Issuu on Google+

DRINK UP The Sheaf explores the finer wines in life Michelle Berg Educating the inebriated: changing winos into connoisseurs Ashleigh Mattern Arts Writer The title of Drayton Thomson’s business says it all. It’s About Wine is all about wine: what to drink, how to drink it and what to drink it with. Thomson conducts wine seminars for large or small groups, focusing on education. “We are a country that is still learning about wine,” said Thomson. “Compared to the rest of the world, we’re a young country in wine knowledge and there’s a thirst for the knowledge out there.” Canada has only been known as a wine producer for about 10 to 15 years, said Thomson. This is partly due to the cooler Canadian climate. “We have farmers and wine makers that know how to produce grapes and wine in our climate,” he said. “There has been work in creating clones of grape varieties that are better suited to our cooler climate.” Canada may even be better suited to create quality wines than some European countries, Thomson suggested. Canadian grapes have a higher natural acidity, an important factor when making the drink. Wineries in warmer places like southern France even add acid to their wines to improve their taste. “We have a climate suited to making good quality wine, especially micro-climates, or small areas, such as Kelowna and Vancouver Island,” he said, adding these wineries are quickly building a good reputation. This idea tends to run counter to the general belief that European wines are better. Thomson said it’s all a matter of education. That’s where It’s About Wine steps in. “Wine is a learned experience,” he said. “Wine has astrigincy and tannin and if your palate is not used to that, you can’t taste the fruit.... (The palate) needs to be trained or you have to learn how to appreciate that kind of taste in your mouth.” Besides training the palate, Thomson hopes to train people how to drink wine as well. He said he dislikes the North American mindset of drinking to get drunk, suggesting wine should never be consumed by itself. Many of his seminars revolve around matching wine with food. “To have wine by itself is almost a shame because the wine is so much better when you pair it with food.” Thompson also said he sees drinking wine as a social engagement and thinks it’s important to know what you’re talking about. “Drinking wine and talking about wine makes the ambience of the evening that much more enjoyable,” he said. “If your knowledge of wine increases, you’ll be able to participate more.” So before you drink up, do your research. The more you know, the better your appreciation and enjoyment of the end product will be. DIY booze-making for beginners Make your own liquor cabinet BURNABY, B.C. (CUP) “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” —Benjamin Franklin The big beer and wine companies may make you think that the art of booze-making is some of kind of advanced science that requires a PhD. Well, they are wrong. Home beer and wine-making is a task that can be learned in an afternoon and one which only takes several weeks of patience to enjoy the fruits of your efforts. So, here, for your brewing pleasure, are the basics. Beer-making Is there anything more wonderful than a cold beer in the summer? I doubt it! Beer has been enjoyed since ancient times — apparently first invented by the Mesopotamians. Some scholars have even suggested that it pre-dates bread as a grain food staple. History also tells us that beermaking is not just a macho exercise. Ale-making was a chore that women usually took care of in the great days of the Middle Ages. When it comes to beer-making you have two major options, just like sex — you can either do it at home or you can do it somewhere else. Somewhere else means a U-Brew place, which has some advantages to making beer at home. They clean the mess for you, you have less work to do and if you are short on clean bottles or other supplies, they generally have some handy. U-Brews are also good if you are planning a party in two weeks and need a keg. The disadvantage is that they are more expensive than making beer at home and the batches are larger and thus less economical — ­ most batches cost over $100. Bottles from U-Brews cost an arm and a leg and you have to transport the beer back home. If you are doing things truly DIY and making the beer at home, you need to get yourself some supplies. There are starter kits for purchase, which include your primary, glass carboy, a big-ass spoon, siphon and siphon rod, airlock / bung, sanitizer and hydrometer (more on these later). Bottles are a difficult thing for beginners to amass in a large enough quantity through routine drinking. Luckily, I have a secret that I must share with you. Japanese restaurants sell beer like Sapporo and Kirin and will gladly sell you the used bottles for the deposit (10 cents each). The bottles are around 650 millilitre capacity, thus a better size to use for DIY beer making because you use less caps, less energy and generally people drink more than a beer a night anyway. Continued on B5 TOMSON HIGHWAY Signing UPCOMING EVENTS Joe Paling The Peak (Simon Fraser University) Saturday, October 18, 10:00 AM � RANDALL MAGGS Reading & Signing Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems Monday, October 20, 7:30 PM B1 • 16 October 2008 • the sheaf run Oct 16, 08.indd 1 10/08/08 2:56:59 PM

Sheaf Section B 2008-10-16

Related publications