Given the intrusion of technology and modern business practices into winemaking has VQA as a regulatory standard lost its significance? Does being accredited to wear the VQA symbol have any bearing on a winery's adherence to natural winemaking practices or has the intrusion of modern options outrun this standard as complete and thorough as it is (was?)? A number of years ago there was a similar phenomenon in the music world with the introduction of 'Auto-Tune'. Now anyone with a larynx and nerve can have a career in music. Has the same phenomenon occurred for winemaking?
Brad Wheeler calls it "pitch-correction shenanigans" in his Globe & Mail article, April 20, 2013, "Auto-Tune, the Botox of pop". Why take the chance of forgetting the words to the National Anthem the next time you open the Baseball season, or putting a stanza out of sequence - even hitting that sustained note off key? Instead use a prompter, lip-sync... or be more sophisticated for your entire arrangement by inventing your own 'sound'? Auto-Tune's 'Botox' is your arrangement with crystal accurate melodic notes and custom resonance. Why stay an amateur when you can, with modern technology, be perceived as a professional ?
But Auto-Tune has a defined structure: a musical selection of octaves, sharps and flats, chords although each may be heavily accented with 'nips and tucks' the severity of which is controlled by the Artist or arranger. A personalized set-up can be associated with the style of a single Artist or a music genre. Many modifications are well beyond humanly possible - but does it matter if there's extra 'snare' in the drum or a surreal chorus for accompaniment - as long as it sells? (Cher's hit 'Believe' and Grimes' single Genesis are examples of the 'extreme' use of Auto-Tune.)
- Is there such a thing as 'Auto-Tune' for winemaking?
- Shouldn't I know if/when I'm paying for 'shenanigans' ?
Do I want to pay for wines not carrying the stamp of its origins, its family roots and philosophy? No, I don't - more complete labelling would avoid this but there is a simpler approach. For Canadian wines updating and expanding VQA regulations to enforce levels of a wine's authenticity could do the job. An additional two coloured trademarks (labels, bottle caps or foils) could easily be apparent to anyone perusing LCBO shelves.
- Green - Eco/Sustainable/Biodynamic, single vintage, source vineyard(s), 100% Canadian grapes
- Purple - Additive and -cide free, single vintage, source vineyard(s), 100% Canadian grapes
My opinion, Ww