Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hail Vic!

Long before I became a certified sommelier, when I was looking for guidance on what wines to buy at our local monopoly, winecurrent was one of my “go to” sources for good advice.

Even now, though I put together my own list (My Picks) for every release at Vintages, I still check out – after the fact – winecurrent’s reviews because I respect the unpretentious approach to evaluating wines.

Vic Harradine is the publisher and reviewer-in-chief of winecurrent.  In the local wine community, everyone knows Vic.  He’s a Past President of the National Capital Sommelier Guild and the Guild awarded Vic its prestigious Wine Person of the Year.  He’s also a founder of the Algonquin College Sommelier Program and its current Director of Partnerships and Outreach.  Vic is truly a pioneer in making wine appreciation accessible to many more people.

Of course, wine people well beyond the bounds of the National Capital Region also know Vic.

Vic is generous with advice, when asked.  I’ve asked Vic for his perspective on some issue or other a number of times, often trying to decipher the inner machinations of the LCBO, and Vic has always responded promptly.

This morning, the latest edition of winecurrent’s bi-weekly e-newsletter arrived in my Inbox.  In the introduction, Vic announced that winecurrent soon will publish its final edition.  Here’s Vic’s explanation:
Overall time constraints, plus recent changes to the tasting schedule of Vintages Releases caused me to re-evaluate priorities. The LCBO recently shortened considerably the access time allotted for tasting Vintages Release wines. This does not leave sufficient time in the 3½ hours now allotted to professionally taste, evaluate and write notes on those slated for review—there are +200 wines on offer. It would require multiple tastings to cover all wines properly. It’s also time for me to take on less, enjoying some downtime.     
Vic isn’t the only one who is perplexed by Vintages decision to shorten the time made available to taste wines before the release.  Vintages own Product Consultants – the men and women in white shirts whose job it is to advise customers about the products on the shelves – have also had their time for wine tasting cut back.  Why a retail operation that churns out $1.63 billion in profits sees the need to cut back on training time for its front-line staff is just one of the many customer-service puzzles at the LCBO.  (Some rainy day, I’ll do a rant on customer service at the LCBO…it won’t be pretty.)

I have no doubt that we’ll continue to see Vic at many an event where wine is the focus.  In the meantime, thanks, Vic, for many years of great wine buying advice!

Subscribing to this blog through RSS or email is easy! Just click on the subscribe link to the left ←


  1. Yes... sad to be loosing Winecurrent. Nice post.

  2. Well said David. Vic is a class act. Winecurrent excelled at aroma and flavour descriptors. As we learned in class, these are important factors in describing wine as opposed to only addressing "texture" that is done by some reviewers, well, one in particular. With regard to wine tasting cutbacks by the LCBO, maybe it just wants to control even more the marketing of its products. Look at the Vintages catalog and nothing else.