It looked a lot like speed dating: strangers exchanging introductions and asking questions before a buzzer sounds to mark a switch in conversation partners.But instead of looking for their perfect match, Brock Oenology and Viticulture (OEVI) students were using the 15-minute windows to meet and impress potential employers.Hosted at Pond Inlet by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, the Jan. 15 event brought students together with a dozen industry professionals to explore careers in the wine industry, including the booming field of cider production.The evening’s setup offered the chance to ask questions about employment opportunities without the pressure and nerves that sometimes come with a job interview. The list of prospective employers included a research development specialist, a vineyard manager, an oenologist and several winemakers, as well as three representatives from the craft cider sector.A little more than five years ago, there were only a handful of cider producers in Ontario, but today, that number sits at more than 60. “The industry is definitely exploding,” said Antonella Presta, a winemaker and cider maker at Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery and Ironwood Hard Cider, who came out to meet CCOVI’s latest cohort of talented students. “There are so many different styles and opportunities to make great unique products, not only apple cider but also perry (pear cider) and other fruit ciders. They can be hopped or oaked — the possibilities really are endless.”That innovation has cider makers creating a range of products that appeal to a large and growing consumer base, which has led to a booming industry. With growing demand for cider comes the need for more qualified workers, making the CCOVI career event a solid recruitment opportunity for producers.Colio Estates Wines, in Harrow, Ont., has “changed greatly” since the purchase of Thornbury Cider three years ago and the introduction of Colio’s Cider House, said Chief Financial Officer Derek Cartlidge.The business is currently undergoing a 6,000-square-foot addition and operations have doubled in size over the last several years and continue to grow. That sizeable growth was a big factor in bringing Cartlidge and Colio Estate winemaker Alison Christ to the Brock career night.“It is a great opportunity to get face-to-face with some of these students who may not necessarily think of coming to Lake Erie North Shore, where we are located,” Cartlidge said. “We need help during harvest and we have co-op placements to fill. We are looking for people who are interested in learning and getting a hands-on approach.”Colio and Sunnybrook Farm are just two of the many Ontario wineries now also producing cider.CCOVI is helping apple growers and hard cider producers meet the demands of this rapidly growing market.The Brock institute is the only program provider in Canada to offer a certification in cider production through the Cider Institute of North America (CINA), and also provides analytical testing services to help cider makers deliver the best product possible.“With the strength of the OEVI program and CCOVI’s central role in professional development, our students and alumni are in a great position to be leaders in the growing Canadian cider industry,” said Steven Trussler, the CINA-certified instructor in CCOVI’s cider program. “Seeing these cider-based employers coming to campus to meet our students is great proof of that.”CCOVI is in a position to further drive the industry forward with more advanced courses, including a new professional development program for cider makers that will be unveiled next month at CiderCon — an annual opportunity for the cider community to share ideas, collaborate and learn.“Any time you can get a group of people with experience and knowledge to educate more people about cider, it improves the quality of the entire industry and is great for Ontario,” Christ said.
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Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Organizers of the ‘Glendi’ Festival in Perth have a very specific goal in mind: to break the record of the ‘World’s Largest LiveLighter Zorba Dance’, set at the 2016 edition, when 2,000 people engaged in joyous sirtaki. “We are hoping to break that record, on Sunday 22 April at Elizabeth Quay and maybe set a world record,” they say.Perth’s ‘Glendi’ Greek Festival returns to Elizabeth Quay on the weekend of 21 and 22 April, with a promise to offer unforgettable moments of energy and vitality to people of all ages. During the weekend, visitors will have the opportunity to taste signature Greek dishes, like souvlaki, gyros, calamari and octopus, while famous pastry chef George Diakomichalis, will create some gastronomic surprises.Pastry chef George Diakomichalis (left), has gastronomic surprises up his sleeve.At the same time, festival goers will enjoy greek folk music and traditional dances from various parts of Greece, as well as oriental dancers and a demonstration of plate-smashing.The festival also includes fun and leisure activities for children, stalls showcasing Greek produce and a bar offering a vast variety of drinks and coffee.Perth’s Glendi Greek Festival, taking place under the auspices of LiveLighter, a Western Australia program to Australian adults to lead healthier lifestyles, is a cultural platform welcoming and uniting Greeks in Perth.“The popularity of the two previous editions of the festival reflects Western Australia’s interest in Greek cultur and I’m certain that the upcoming Glendi will surprise and, once again, unite and delight the broader community that wants to celebrate Greek lifestyle,” says Festival organizer Despene Kalaf. Brought up with the ideals of Greek culture instilled in her by her parents and grandmother, Despene Kalaf developed a strong sense of appreciation from very early age. “I believe that it is very important for my generation to embrace the Greek traditions that our forebearers taught us and ensure that these customs will continue in the future”, she says.The Glendi Festival will take place on Saturday 21 April (3-10pm) and on Sunday 22 April (11am-8pm).Entry fee is $2 per person – free for children under 12 years old.Perth Glendi Association is a not-for-profit organisation.