Heard it through the grapevine

- March 31, 2009

Mark Raven-Zemla and Sophie Murphy of the Dal Wine Society. (Nick Pearce Photo)

There’s a lot to know about wine. What region does it come from? Which kind best complements a certain meal? When should you send back a bottle of wine at a restaurant

The Dalhousie Wine Society could tell you. This group of students get together every month to try out different wines, exchange knowledge, and of course, socialize.

“We like to mix it up to keep people interested,” says Will Demers, society chair. “We tend to have different themed events. They’re based on region or grape varietal.”

The last event, held close to Valentine’s Day, had an Italian theme and was the society’s most successful so far, with more than 30 people attending. The turnout to events has increased steadily since the society was founded in September of 2007.

Most events are about $15 per person to cover the cost of wine. The next event is a formal on Friday, March 27. “We’re going to be serving French wines and sporting moustaches if possible,” says Mr. Demers.

Laura Mackenzie, a third-year journalism student who just got involved with the wine society this term, says that it’s a great way to meet new people. She says she has always liked wine but joining the society makes her really appreciate it.

This society is not just about the wine though. “I like considering the wines almost more than tasting them,” explains Mark Raven-Zemla, a third-year theatre student and the society’s treasurer. “I like to look at the bottle, look at the label, smell it, look at the colour, because I think that gives you a sense of the thought and effort that went into the wine.”

Mr. Raven-Zemla’s favourite event so far was a casual get-together in January. Everyone brought a bottle of wine and had a chance to taste each other’s recommendation.
He learned a lot that night. One member brought over a bottle of ‘corked’ wine; that’s when the cork is not moistened by the wine so it shrinks and allows air into the bottle. This air spoils the wine and makes it taste like wet leaves. And that’s when you send a bottle of wine back at a restaurant.

Ms. Mackenzie, 20, says that someone should join this society “if they have an interest in wine or want to know more about it, or even if they want to step outside their comfort zone to learn more about something that they don’t know about at all.”

“We’re always accepting new members,” said Mr. Demers, 23. “Those that do come out always have a great time.”

Interested? You can e-mail the society at: dalwinesociety@gmail.com.


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