Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An unforseen hand in the Ontario winery industry gets his own wine

Larry Patterson wasn't a household name in the news media when it came to Ontario wine but he was a tireless force behind the promotion and growth of the Ontario wine industry. He was a front line employee with the LCBO but you wouldn't know it by how he was on a first name basis with industry leaders.  When I found out about Larry's passing I was not surprised because I knew he was very ill but I was none the less very saddened.  Got a chance to see first hand what he did. Larry (aka Little Fat Wino) first contacted me a decade ago when he found my Wine Dining site on a much younger and less mature Internet. He indicated his desire in wanting to meet me because my site specialized in Ontario wine. I went to one of his tastings at his home and many of his guests were known names in Ontario wine that I had read about in the media.
I brought him a couple bottles of wine as a gift and he insisted on giving me some other wines of equal value in return. He had no interest in personal gain and pursued his wine activities with an energy that made you tired by just watching him.
He helped organize the Fiesta Buckhorn wine and food show and the Ontario Viticulture Association and was involved in a number of wine related charity functions. At an Association meeting I watched Larry run around getting things organized and then on the way home I saw him load his trunk with boxes of dirty glasses that needed to be washed
One year he arranged for me to have a table at Fiesta Buckhorn to promote my website and he introduced me to Klaus Reif. I had already been introduced to wine writer Richard Best. He told people that he spent almost as much time on my website as he did on his and mentioned my site to many. For this I will always be grateful to Larry
Larry's site Little Fat was unbelievably popular and was noted for being very critical of the LCBO for what he saw as a lack of attention to Ontario wines but also had comparisons in tastings of offshore and local wines.
Posthumously, Stony Ridge winery will be making a red in Larry's name called Radical Red a blend of Merlot and French hybrid Landot. A batch of 300 battles will be sold with the proceeds donated to charities designated by Larry's wife. (there is no one better deserving of this)
Calumus Estate Winery will be holding a memorial tasting in his memory on June 12.
Larry's site LittleFat is still online and as long as it is, Wine Dining will be linked to it.
For more details on Larry's activities there is a good article at Wines in Niagara .com. Just click the title of this entry to see it

No comments: