Author Archives: fromareportersnotebook

About fromareportersnotebook

Former reporter and city editor at The Tribune, Welland, On. Active in various community groups and initiatives, married with two grown children, interested in roses specifically and gardening in general. A collection of previously-written columns was published in book form in the fall of 2013 and is available by contacting the writer at: It sells for $20.

With A Seven-Medal-Sweep By Its Teaching Winery, Niagara College Sparkles At National Wine Awards

Winning Wines: The seven winning wines from Niagara College’s Teaching Winery, from left:  Balance 2014 Blanc de Blanc Brut, N/V Balance Brut, 2017 Balance Gewurztraminer, 2017 Dean’s List Prodigy Icewine, 2017 Marmitons Gastronomy Pinot Noir, 2017 Marmitons Gastronomy Chardonnay Ziraldo, 2018 Balance Rosé. (Supplied photo)

It is proving to be a vintage year for applied learning at the Niagara College Teaching Winery, with seven new medals from a national wine competition – two for sparkling alone.

The Niagara College Teaching Winery recently won a gold, three silvers and three bronze medals at the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada. The competition, known as the Nationals, is the largest wine awards in Canada.

The College’s awards include:
· gold for Balance 2014 Blanc de Blanc Brut (Sparkling category);
· silver for 2017 Marmitons Gastronomy Pinot Noir (Pinot Noir category);
· silver for 2017 Dean’s List Prodigy Icewine (Icewine category);
· silver for 2017 Marmitons Gastronomy Chardonnay Ziraldo (Chardonnay category);
· bronze for 2017 Balance Gewurztraminer (Other Single White including Gewürztraminer and Viognier category);
· bronze for 2018 Balance Rosé (Rosé category); and
· bronze for N/V Balance Brut (Sparkling category).

“Winning seven medals at the Nationals is a real achievement, more so when they are spread among different styles. That speaks to winemaking consistency,” said David Lawrason, co-head judge of the competition.

Lawrason particularly noted the College’s two medals for sparkling wines, including a coveted gold for the Balance Blanc de Blancs 2014 Brut.

“Niagara is positioning itself as a star for traditional method Chardonnay-based bubblies, and the College is now on the leader board,” said Lawrason.

“Winning seven medals at one national competition is an outstanding testament to the high quality of applied learning at Niagara College,” said Steve Gill, general manager of the College’s Learning Enterprises. “Our wine students gain the skills they need to lead and succeed in the industry right here at our on-campus Teaching Winery and on-campus vineyards.”

College winemaker and instructor Gavin Robertson, who is also a graduate of the College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program (2011) noted that the Nationals marked a first win for both sparkling wines, the rosé, and the Marmitons Pinot Noir. He pointed out that he chose only current vintages to submit to this year’s Nationals, as a way to calibrate the College’s winemaking operations relative to the Canadian industry at large.

He was particularly pleased with the 2014 Blanc de Blanc’s gold medal, because it was the Teaching Winery’s first sparkling wine made from 100 percent estate fruit – in this case, Chardonnay, from the NC Teaching Vineyard.

“The fact that the fruit was grown on campus allowed us to have complete control over all aspects of the wine, from bud break through to disgorging, and to involve several cohorts of Winery and Viticulture Technician program students in the nearly five-year production process at various stages.”

Robertson noted that first-year students picked the fruit in early September of 2014, and were in the winery while the base wine fermented, and was stabilized and filtered. During the spring of 2015, they helped bottle the wine for the secondary bottle fermentation, along with some second-year students.

Students from the classes of 2017 and 2018 disgorged the wine early – a process which removes the yeast sediment from the bottles and tops the bottles up. Students also determined the dosage rate – the amount of wine and sugar added at disgorging.

“It’s great to see that all of the work and time involved was recognized by the judges of the National Wine Awards,” said Robertson.

This year’s Nationals drew 1,815 entries from 259 different wineries from six different provinces. Held in a different Canadian wine region each year, the 2019 competition took place in Prince Edward County (Ontario) between June 10 and 14.

WineAlign awards manager Sarah Goddard noted the high calibre of judging at the Nationals. Judging takes place over five days with two days dedicated to re-tasting the top scoring wines.
“The Nationals bring together the best of Canadian wines and Canadian wine critics under one roof,” she said.

For details about the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada visit

The Teaching Winery’s award-winning wines are available at Niagara College’s Wine Visitor + Education Centre, located at its Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus (135 Taylor Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON). Proceeds from sales support student learning. Visit

Niagara College’s Teaching Winery is the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada. It is located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, along with the NC Teaching Brewery and – the latest addition in September 2018 – the NC Teaching Distillery which were also the first of their kind in Canada.

(Source: Niagara College media release)

THIS WEEK: Meetings In Welland

Meetings are open to the public unless otherwise noted. Information is obtained from the applicable agency, board, committee, or commission and downloaded to this calendar as it becomes available. Information is subject to change. Please check back often for the most up-to-date information, including cancellations.

Council Meeting in Committee-of-the-Whole ≫
4:30 PM Tuesday Aug. 6 2019 –
A trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization:
– Brownfield redevelopment opportunity.

Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board:
– Gadsby property transaction.
– Property along the waterway.

A trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial that belongs to the municipality or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value:
– Regional governance Review update.

A trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization:
– Bid opportunities at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC).

Proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board:
– Potential disposition of property.

Personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees and Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board:
– Personnel update

Council Ante Room

Council Meeting ≫
7:00 PM Tuesday Aug. 6 2019 –
Council Chambers

City of Welland Heritage Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
5:00 PM Wednesday Aug. 7 2019 –
Room 108, Civic Square, 60 East Main Street

(Source: City of Welland website)

Bier Ist Wunderbar! Project Brew Is back With Augtoberfest, August 9

Fourth-semester Brewmaster students standing in the craft side of NC’s Teaching Brewery. Students are pictured by the mash tun using paddles to mix the grain for an NC beer. From left to right: Mike Lounds, Clayton Berglis, Doug Rolfe, Collin Wareham, Aidan Roos, Garrett Saulis, George Eagleson, Max Saumure, Tim Miller, Doug Salloum and Woo Chul Sim. (Supplied photo)

Brewmaster students from Niagara College are brewing up a variety of unique and delicious beers for Project Brew: Augtoberfest to take place on August 9 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Market Square in St. Catharines will be the venue for the College’s celebrated student-run craft beer festival. The event, held each semester, will feature 20 innovative and thirst-quenching beers crafted by NC students, and is a chance for the public to sample the small-batch creations of students in their final term of the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program. Local food, music and games are also on tap.

“Project Brew is the capstone of our Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program, said April Tyrrell, faculty advisor for the event. “Students get hands-on experience crafting original recipe beers from scratch while also planning and executing a large-scale public event.”

For Brewmaster student Garrett Saulis and his fellow classmates, the Augtoberfest theme was inspired by the ethos of Oktoberfest. “We loved the idea of a Biergarten, and allowing people to mingle and socialize while sampling beers and discussing their thoughts on what they’re trying,” said Saulis.

Students have brewed a variety of summer-friendly brews to appeal to beer lovers of all kinds, including a raspberry saison, a mango smoothie IPA, a wine-like grisette, a kettle sour, and some grassy IPAs. Other brews include a light Mexican lager, an experimental low calorie beer, and Saulis’s own dark beer made with maple syrup from his aunt and uncle’s sugar bush.

“It’s definitely interesting when you’re toying with the concept of developing a beer that represents who you are as a brewer,” said Saulis. “Project Brew takes all of the knowledge we’ve gained from the program to be able to create the recipe, develop and oversee the steps for production, troubleshoot any problems that arise, and finish with what you hope is a quality beer that people will enjoy.”

Saulis sees Project Brew as preparation for his career as a brewer. “It’s a great way to get our foot in the door of the brewing scene, and add to our resumés that we have experience developing recipes and organizing a beer festival,” he said.

Proceeds from Project Brew support the Matt Soos Memorial Fund, which awards a scholarship each year to the student who brews the best beer at Project Brew. Established by Muskoka Brewery and Railway City Brewing, the scholarship is in memory of Matt Soos who died at the age of 26 in August 2015, just a year after he graduated from the Brewmaster program.
Student beers will be judged on-site by the Soos family who will award a $4,500 scholarship to the graduating student who creates the winning beer.

“Project Brew has a very special meaning to us. We lost Matt four years ago and his dream is alive. What he wanted to do we are doing for him,” said brother Dan Soos, owner and head brewer of Natterjack Brewing in West Lorne, Ontario. The Soos family opened their brewery doors in 2018, dedicated to Matt who dreamed of owning a brewery of his own.

For the first time, two NC Brewmaster students, Aiden Roos and Adam Weverink, had the chance to work with Natterjack Brewing on a special beer for Project Brew – a dark ale brewed with 50lbs of blueberries donated by local farmers in Elgin County.

“Cheers to another successful year of Project Brew, and cheers to Matt. He would have wanted to be right in there up to his elbows in spent grain coming out of the mash tun, joking and chatting with everyone,” said Soos.

Meet the brewers, get a sneak peek at the brews, order tickets and find more details at Tickets will not be available for purchase at the door.
*Must be 19 years of age or older. Valid photo ID required. Proceeds will be donated to the Matt Soos Memorial Scholarship.

(Source: Niagara College media release)

NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program was launched in 2010 as the first of its kind in Canada. The award-winning, two-year program offers extensive hands-on training at an on-site, state-of-the-art Teaching Brewery to prepare students for employment in the expanding brewery, microbrewery and brewpub industries. Located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, students learn from award-winning faculty and have access to on-site hop yard and local farm products to brew a full range of beer styles.


Final Regular Season Home Game Wednesday

Calling all fishheads! The Welland Jackfish are in the middle of a hunt for fourth place for postseason home field advantage. We are calling all fans to join us Wednesday, July 31st at the Pond to cheer on the boys towards the postseason. Remember a fourth place finish guarantees more Jackfish baseball at the Pond.

Wednesday is Country Night presented by Country 89.1 as Ryan Langdon performs in the concourse from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Also Wednesday is another $3 Beer Night, enjoy ice cold Molson products from 6:30 p.m. until the end of the third inning!

Season ticket holders can use their ticket from the Saturday, July 6th rained out game.

For tickets, call 905-736-1346

(Source: Welland Jackfish release)