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Crime Plays

What's in a name? According to Bernie Hadley-Beauregard, of Brandever Strategy Inc., quite a lot when it comes to starting a new winery.

"The world doesn't need another wine or, for that matter, another winery," says Hadley-Beauregard, the marketing mind behind popular wine brands Megalomaniac, Blasted Church and Laughing Stock. "The only way for a new wine to get noticed is to elbow your way in and make another bottle fall to the ground."

A good name can get you noticed. It can set you apart from the legion of wineries that market the picturesqueness of their vineyard or the medal-winning quality of their finished wine. "Everyone goes into the business to make good, quality wine. They may not always be successful, but everyone claims quality winemaking as their focus," explains Hadley-Beauregard, who developed an inventive new brand concept for Beamsville winegrowers Jan and Krystyna Tarasewicz.

The trick, the Vancouver-based branding guru says, is to find "innovative ways to be different." With that in mind, ask yourself, would you be more interested in a winery named Pointer's Hill, Polona Vineyard, Four Ponds, Silent Night or The Organized Crime?

"We always like Organized Crime best," says Hadley-Beauregard, who came across a quirky historical footnote about rival Mennonite congregations in Jordan who quarreled over the acquisition of a pipe organ at the Jordan Historical Museum of the Twenty. The religious rivalry was so heated that the organ was stolen by members of the opposing (more conservative) church and tossed down an embankment to the Twenty Mile Creek.

The name did raise some flags with the government agencies responsible for overseeing the making and retailing of wine in this province.

"We kind of encouraged them to think of it as just a wine," Hadley-Beauregard says. In the end, the story won out.

"Consumers are able to take this kind of stuff," he continues. "They may even demand it."

The label artwork depicts various scenes from the historic heist, which helps to tell the story. The cork helps extend the story. It reads, "Thou shall not steal music." The stylized black and white drawings on the labels also shape the cleverly executed winery website, ww.organizedcrimewine.com.

The winery, which is located in the Mountainview Road farmhouse the Tarasewiczes purchased eight years ago, is recognizable by the old Mennonite carriage that sits near the driveway holding the winery sign. The couple works with consulting winemaker Andrzej (Andre) Lipinski, who has turned out an impressive array of white wines, including charming and aromatic Pinot Gris and an impressive Unoaked Chardonnay. The red wines, including an enjoyable, affordable Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend, are still in barrel.

Prices range from $15 for the appealing Pinot Noir rose to $25 for the notable Chardonnay Reserve.

The small operation seeks to produce wine exclusively from the 40-acre farm. Production from 2007 is estimated to be 3,000 cases. The wines are made in a converted barn located behind the house. The tasting room has taken over the family dining room, lending the outfit a homespun charm akin to nearby Daniel Lenko Estate Winery.

The Organized Crime winery, 4043 Mountainview Road, near Locust Lane, will be open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Call 905-563-9802.

Wines of the Week:
Bernie Hadley-Beauregard, of Brandever Strategy Inc., has developed labels for three Niagara wineries to date. Here are recommendations that show the wines are as striking as the labels.

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John Howard Cellars of Distinction 2004 Megalomaniac Vainglorious Merlot/Cabernet
Niagara Peninsula $24.95 (067579)
Two Megalomaniac wines are available for the first time anywhere outside of the winery website with today's Vintages release of the Contrarian Sauvignon Blanc and the Vainglorious Merlot/Cabernet. Earthy and smoky notes add intrigue to the mix of plum and sweet red fruit on the nose and palate of this easy-going red blend. www.megalomaniacwine.com (LCBO Vintages)

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Niagara College Teaching Winery 2006 Dean's List Chardonnay Donald J. P. Ziraldo Vineyard
St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula $28.15
Winemaker Terence van Rooyen continues Niagara College's success streak with Chardonnay with the newly released Dean's List Chardonnay. Very spicy on the nose, this complex and layered white presents focused apple/melon fruit and nicely integrated oak flavours. www.nctwinery.com (135 Taylor Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake)

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The Organized Crime Winery 2006 Gewurztraminer
Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula $22
The high note of the Organized Crime opening portfolio is an exciting, rich Gewurztraminer with a lovely oily texture and exotic fruit and spice flavours and slight sweetness on the palate. www.organizedcrimewine.com (4043 Mountainview Rd., 905-563-9802)

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