‘Hot to Trot’ – the stakes

There are more wines entering the market today than ever before and with wines making it onto the Canadian turf from unexpected places like China or Brazil, it is not surprising that wineries and agents representing them are coming up with more and more ingenious ways of marketing them.  There are many strategies by which wines are featured to the wider public including:
– visual advertisements;
– direct targeting of customers at the LCBO – entrance tastings, Air Miles promotions, attached 1 oz liquor bottles, neat packaging (holidays), etc;
– paid venues ranging from expo style events (Food and Wine Show; Wine and Cheese Show; etc) to more intimate tutored tastings generally hosted by the owner or wine-master of the winery;
– structured lunches/dinners where media is invited with the intention to share the word around (my case here :-)).
Whichever strategy is employed, they all work and it is because we need to eat, we need to drink and we surely need to have fun.  The more senses are satisfied at the same time, the more successful the product – visually gratifying labels/bottles; touch pleasing textured labels, large glassware; appealing aromas – the more the better (complexity); satisfying mouthfeel – acidity, tannins, fruit sugars (not glucose), minerality (structure); auditory satisfaction coming from popping of a cork enclosure; lastly, though not a sense, sentient fulfilment that comes from discussion of the ever elusive aromas or the complimentary merging of the senses.
In this article, I want to share my experience at a recent event where quite a bit of thought and effort went into making of what ended up being a successful and memorable presentation of two products.


While tasting wines during an event that I described in my previous post ‘The Young and the Eager’, I was asked if I would tentatively like to go to another event that evening. Shortly after we parted, I received an email from HendryPR, formally inviting me (thank you Monika for the refer). The event was to take place at the Turf Lounge from 6 pm to 9 pm, with a dress code to wear something red or a favourite ‘Hot to Trot’ outfit.  Though not having either, I got dressed up and as GrapeSelections I went.




Arriving shortly after 6 pm, being one of the first guests and not knowing anyone, I sat down on a couch and right away was offered a glass of wine – a choice between white or red.  I chose white and since I had no-one to talk, I decided to deduce the varietal and the year of harvest (I knew the winery is from the Washington State).  A gentleman came and sat down on the couch right next to me; not long after we were introduced and in full conversation about wine, how we got there, our day jobs and the relationship between our jobs and our hobbies. While chatting, we were continuously being approached by staff topping-off our glasses or presenting us with trays full of appetizers.


Smoked Goat Cheese & Caramelized Vidalia Onion Pizzettes.
West Coast Crab Cakes with Yuzu Aioli.
Roast Beef Sliders with Horseradish Aioli, Smoked Gouda.
Roasted Beet & Rosemary Crostini.
Tuna Tartare with Green Apple on Shrimp Chip.
Chicken Satay Tandoori Marinated with Sesame & Ginger.


The 14 Hands ‘Hot to Trot’ White 2010 is composed of mainly Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier and small amounts of other white grape varieties, of which small portion was aged in neutral oak barrels. It is a light to medium bodied wine, with light aromas of washed stones, subtle oak and coconut, light pear and citrus. It is dry, has a food friendly acidity and a medium finish. Drink this wine with food at dinner parties; ready to drink now and will be for the next 2-3 years. Score 87-88 pts, retailed for $14.65 LCBO# 280859. Tasted Nov/12.


The 14 Hands ‘Hot to Trot’ Red 2010 is composed of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre aged in French and American Oak for 6 months. It is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with pleasant aromas of cherry/black cherry, dark chocolate, oak and vanilla. It has refined tannins (decant for 15 min), is off-dry and has a long finish. This wine has a mass appeal – can be drunk with food or as a sipper, it will benefit from short-term cellaring; drink 2012-2015. My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts. Retailed for $15.30 LCBO# 226522 Tasted Oct/12.



Around 7 pm, a Anthony Romantini took a microphone and requested all of our attention. He introduced Alexandra LaFontaine from 14 Hands Winery who then took over and talked about the two featured ‘Hot to Trot’ wines with labels depicting horses and how their creation was inspired by the wild horses of the Washington state. She then announced that there is a lottery, where business cards will be drawn to receive a grand prize – a gold-plated horseshoe. Suddenly, it struck me and I realized how much work went into organizing all of the evening’s subtleties – the reason behind choosing the Turf Lounge, why ladies (or men – though nearly none did) were ought to dress in red, the televised horse races, the betting, the gold-plated horseshoe and even the horseradish on the roast beef.


Mark Britton holding his winnings
I spent the rest of the evening chatting with Monika and her husband Erin, met some new people and eventually connected with Mark Britton,  whom I’ve known for some time and who was the winner of the gold-plated horseshoe.  We had a great evening and as I was leaving, to my surprise, I received a snuck ‘Hot to Trot’ bag with both of the wines. The day could not have been any better.



Big thank you to Trina Hendry from hendryPR and the folks from Profile Wine Group



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