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Foreign Affair Winery Presented the Minister's Award for Innovation

October 7, 2013 Video Report - In a presentation ceremony today, Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Government of Ontario have awarded The Foreign Affair Winery with The Minister's Award for Innovation for their innovative approach to wine making and their commitment to Ontario viniculture.

In her remarks, Premier Wynne noted, “(Their) innovation isn’t limited to the vineyard. Their Foreign Affair Winery produces 14 different wines using 100 per cent Ontario grapes, all in a unique appassimento process. Rather than simply recreating the Amarones they adored in Italy, the Crispinos pioneered a Canadian approach.”

The appassimento process, used to create the legendary Amarone wines of Italy, requires a drying process for the grapes after the harvest to concentrate the sugars and the flavours while reducing the percentage of water in the grapes.

“This is a difficult technique – and we’ve certainly had our share of failures including the loss of 15 tons of grapes in our first year,” said Len Crispino, Proprietor of The Foreign Affair. “However the results and now this award, speak to the success we’ve had pioneering, adapting and bringing to life this technique in the Canadian market. The technique requires a continuum of care from vineyard to bottle.”

Len and his wife Marisa were inspired to develop a Canadian version of this beloved Amarone following a stint as expats in Italy. Later joined by their business partner Louis Cimicata, Len and Marisa acquired a 40 acre site, of prime southern sloping land in Niagara’s Vineland. The winery produces a range of wines, all benefitting from their uniquely developed appassimento techniques.

As committed entrepreneurs Len and Marisa credit their success to determined vision, risk taking and an unwillingness to be deterred by challenges.

Innovation Award

This is not the first award recognizing the innovation and dedication of the winery. In 2012, New York State’s Niagara University awarded Len and the winery with “Business Leader of the Year”. And last year the Speaker of the Legislature announced The Foreign Affair 2011 Conspiracy (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in a ripasso method) as official red wine for 2012.

Len’s dedication and belief in Ontario’s wine potential stems from the early 90’s when he led an effort to enter Ontario wines into the VinItaly international competitions, encouraging Ontario wineries to compete with the very best. In doing so, a number of Ontario wineries earned inaugural respect in this international arena.

Click here to download the press release.

Foreign Affair Wines featured at Royal York

'Fairmont Friday' (March 8, 2013) featured Foreign Affair wines in the EPIC Lounge w/ live Jazz. $20 wine flights and $8 select wines.

Click here to visit the EPIC Lounge website or here for the Royal York.

Len Crispino receives Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal

Len Crispino, Chair of Niagara College’s Board of Governors and retired president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has been honoured with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

James Knight, president and CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) presented Crispino with the award during a ceremony on Feb. 21, 2013 at the Wine Visitor + Education Centre. The ACCC was invited by the Office of the Governor General to nominate individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to their respective colleges, as well as Canada’s college sector.

"Len's record of public service and commitment to community are extraordinary," said Knight. "Niagara College and the broader college sector are fortunate to have such a widely-respected business leader champion the important role that colleges play in support of their communities."

Click here for the full article.

Twenty Valley Winter Wine Festival

A sweet, sparkling and sensational winter weekend (January 12 & 13, 2013) on the streets of Jordan Village. The Winter WineFest featured over 80 amazing Twenty Valley VQA red, white and sparkling wines and Icewines from 35 wineries.

Savoury locally inspired dishes, Celebrity Chef demonstrations by Chuck Hughes, the SugarStars and Anna and Michael Olson, winemakers’ challenges, fashion shows and an unforgettable evening street party with headlining musical entertainment by USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker).

Click here for more details!

Foreign Affair Winery and CAA Niagara, Castles & Wineries of Germany

** SOLD OUT! ** Foreign Affair Winery and CAA Niagara proudly present Castles & Wineries of Germany. Spend 2 nights in Prague, then enjoy a 7-night cruise from Nuremberg to Luxembourg, plus 3 nights in Paris. October 29th through November 10th 2013.

Click here for more details!

Online Virtual Tour "Spectacular Wineries of Ontario" ft. Foreign Affair

Our company was selected to be featured in "Spectacular Wineries of Ontario," a fine coffee-table book and an interactive digital book created by Panache Partners.

Click here for a preview of our profile and a 360-degree virtual tour of our winery.

Conspiracy 2011 chosen as official red wine at Queen's Park for 2013

The Grape Growers of Ontario, along with the Honourable Speaker of the Legislature, Dave Levac of Brant County, hosted the Annual Wine Tasting event at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. Bill George, Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario, along with Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario, are pleased to announce that the following wines have been chosen as the official wines of Ontario’s Legislative Assembly for 2012-13:

Red Wine: 2011 Conspiracy, The Foreign Affair Winery, Vineland
White Wine: 2009 Burning Ambition, Small Talk Vineyards, Niagara-on-the-Lake

"We are honoured to have our 2011 Conspiracy (ripasso style) selected as the official red wine at Queen's Park for 2013. While informed by Old World tradition, this wine is a unique Canadian innovation with creative adaptations of appassimento techniques. This recognition further strengthens our belief that with passion, risk and support from life's conspirators, dreams can be realized."

Read more about the 2012-13 Official VQA Wines of Ontario’s Legislative Assembly here.

New book "Spectacular Wineries of Ontario" features Foreign Affair

“As Ontario’s potential is being transformed into reality, we’re right in the middle of it all. What fortune to be part of this meaningful period in winemaking history, and how great to have these trailblazing wineries collected in one magnificent volume.” — John Szabo

The seventh edition of a popular international series, Spectacular Wineries of Ontario (Panache Partners) includes a foreword by master sommelier John Szabo. With hundreds of full-color images, the 352-page volume offers a private tour of a broad spectrum of established, estate, and boutique wineries, including The Foreign Affair Winery. Readers will discover the history, character, and delicious offerings of more than 60 top Ontario vineyards, wineries, tasting rooms, and other wine-related businesses and even meet their hospitable owners.

Download the full press release here.

Len Crispino named Canadian Business Leader of the Year

We are pleased to announce that founder and President of The Foreign Affair Winery, Len Crispino, has been named Canadian Business Leader of the Year. The recognition will be bestowed upon Len by Niagara University in New York on April 24, 2012 at the Conference Centre, Niagara Falls, NY.

Len credits the entire Foreign Affair Winery team for their contribution and dedication to innovation and service excellence. As founder and pioneer of the full application of appassimento to grape varietals grown in Canada, he has brought Canada and Italy a little closer.

The first attempts by the winery were made in 2003. The successful interpretation of appassimento using the classic Bordeaux and Burgundy varietals has been recognized by the industry as a major achievement facilitated by authentic vision, courage and inspiration.

The Exclusive Release of the Foreign Affair's 2009 Vintages

On Saturday November 12th, it was our pleasure to have a great group of people wines at the winery for the release of our 2009 vintage

The Foreign Affair Story

In this Spotlight Toronto article Michael Di Caro tells the story of The Foreign Affair Winery.

Click here to read the article.

Twenty Valley Ice Wine Festival - January 15 & 16, 2011

The Foreign Affair Winery will be a part of the annual “not just icewine” festival in Jordan Village. The festival runs from 11:00am – 5:00pm Saturday January 15 and Sunday January 16. Admission is free, and tokens are $2.50 each, with wine samples offered at 2 tokens, and food samples starting at 1 token.

Dinner at Borealis Grille - November 15, 2010

At this event Ilya shared some of the secrets to our wine making process. We matched our wines with Rising Star Farm’s elk meat. Borealis Grille owner Neil Vandendool was on hand to discuss the challenges of raising elk in a farm setting. It was a sold-out crowd and a huge success!

Dinner at Biagio Restaurant - October 27, 2010

The Foreign Affair Winery was honoured to team up with Biagio Ristorante in Toronto for an exclusive evening of classic Italian cuisine and our appassimento wines.

Biagio and his executive chef crafted a unique seasonal Italian meal and we accompanied each of the 5 courses with the best from Foreign Affair.

Tantalizing Mid Summer Evening at Foreign Affair Winery - August 7, 2010

At this event we introduced our newly minted winemaker Ilya Senchuk who presented some of our soon to be launched 2008 wines, in addition to a number of our much loved and sought after 2007s.

The informative and fun filled evening was paired with a 4-course splendor by Chef/Owner Stephen Treadwell of Treadwell Cuisine

Announcing a new member of the Foreign Affair Winery

May 2010 - We are pleased to announce that Ilya Senchuk, award winning winemaker will be joining The Foreign Affair Winery. Ilya comes to us with some 10 years of wine crafting experience in Ontario and New Zealand. He is a graduate from Brock University with a Bachelor of Science in Oenology and Viticulture. Many of his wines have won major acclaim from notable critics and wine writers. Ilya exhibits the important qualities which align with our winery's broader branding philosophy. We look forward to Ilya's oenological leadership at the Foreign Affair Winery as we continue to push the creative and innovative envelopes for appassimento styled wines.

Partners Magazine - Dream, and the World Conspires

Winter 2010 - In this article Peter Boyd writes on how the combination of passion and life experiences of Len and Marisa Crispino combined to create The Foreign Affair winery.

Read the article here.

Collections Magazine - The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Summer 2009 - This article by Jeremy Finkelstein describes Len Crispino's dream of becoming a winemaker and how it became a reality.

Read the article here.

Taste T.O. Article - Wine of the Week

November 2009 - Dubbing it "An Affair to Remember" Chris Saunders selects The Foreign Affair Riesling 2007 as Taste T.O.'s Wine of the Week.

CBC Radio One - Ontario Today

August 2009 - On Friday, August 28 at 12:30 PM EST Konrad Ejbich and Rita Celli spent a few minutes tasting our 2007 The Temptress and talking about its taste, food matches, drinking window, and more.

Frommer's Niagara Region Guide 2010

Frommer's Niagara Region travel guide awards The Foreign Affair Winery a top rating (three stars) describing the experience of our wine "a special and memorable treat."

Vines Magazine - Confidential

Summer 2008 - There's a vibrant wine scene beyond Niagara-On-The-Lake. Linda Bramble points out some new discoveries.

pdf Download article: PDF 1.0 Mb

Vines Magazine - Last Drop

September 2008 - That's Amore! This is a love story...

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Wine Savvy Consultants

September 2008 - Spectacular tasting scores for The Foreign Affair Wines.

pdf Download article: PDF 76 Kb

The Standard

August 2, 2008 - Patience is rewarded as Foreign Affair Winery produces stunning wines. By Christopher Waters.

pdf Download article: PDF 355 Kb

Vines Magazine - Confidential

Summer 2008 - There's a vibrant wine scene beyond Niagara-on-the-Lake. Linda Bramble points out some new discoveries.

Vines Magazine - Cut & Dried

March 2008 - Christopher Waters reports on Two Niagara wineries who have adopted the ancient Italian technique to make more complex wines.