Fashion Ecstasy was invited to the launch of D’Ont Poke the Bear wines on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 and it was a treat! This new line of VQA wine is the brainchild of winemakers Andrew von Teichman and Allan Jackson (one of the founders of the Jackson-Triggs Winery and Union Wines).
From now until October 17th, 2017, $1.00 from the sale of each bottle of wine will be directed to Friends First. Friends First is a new non-profit foundation that provides resources and tools to bring awareness to anti-bullying initiatives, promotes empowerment to individuals to stand up to bullies, and encourage empathy and kindness in an increasingly troubled world. Afterwards, $0.25 from the sale of each bottle will be directed to the organization.
This launch party was held at the iYellow Wine Cave, a rustic, inviting, albeit cool underground space on Queen Street West, Toronto (the bear/cave jokes practically write themselves). Upon entry, there is an evident wine theme in the room, with wine crates for shelves and different wine books strategically placed throughout the chamber. The wine-themed décor could have been overwhelmingly kitschy but instead was very tasteful. Greeted with a cool mason jar of the wine, guests mingled and enjoyed the spread of fine cheese and charcuterie from the Cheese Boutique.
During the evening, Andrew von Teichman was pleasant and engaging as he shared the origin of the wines. Both Andrew and Allan were bullied as children. Andrew had to temporarily wear an eye patch for a short period of time in his childhood, which led to some mean nicknames for him. The experience influenced Andrew into creating a platform that brings further awareness to different anti-bullying initiatives with his love of wine. The bear’s red eye patch is a nod to Andrew’s experience and serves as a symbol for people who are friendly and considerate but doesn’t put up with any form of harassment. Natalie von Teichman, a founder of the Friends First Foundation, took over to give the guests more information about the foundation. She explained that the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as they would do onto you,” is the Friends First’s core tenant. The foundation is in progress of becoming a beneficial resource to tackle bullying at the grassroots level, with guests speakers visiting schools to take about bullying as one of their initiatives. Both Andrew and Natalie hope to raise $15,000 for this cause from the sales.
The actual wines were easy to drink and palatable. The white wine is a medium-bodied blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and a small touch of Riesling. It had a fruity aromatic bouquet with a creamy mouthfeel and a clean finish. When asked what food would pair beautifully with the white wine, both Andrew and Natalie enthusiastically recommended meal-size salads like a niçoise salad, Thai food, and curried shrimp. The red wine is a Cabernet/Baco Noir blend. The Baco Noir gives the wine a lovely peppery bouquet with notes of currants and berries, and the Cabernet gives it structure and weight. This wine would make an ideal match for barbecued meats and grilled vegetables.
All in all, the launch party for D’Ont Poke the Bear wines was a fun, inviting, and laidback affair to match the new laidback, consumer-friendly wines. These affordable wines are available in the LCBO now for only $14.95 each.
About D’Ont Poke the Bear
D’Ont Poke the Bear is a passion project of Allan Jackson and Andrew von Teichman, and a line of great Ontario wines that speaks to anti-bullying and celebrates those who stand up to bullies.
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