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By Drew Halfnight

Ryerson’s top brass met Monday evening to make a crucial decision regarding the school’s future. They were choosing Ryerson’s “official wine.” Set before each man and woman in attendance was enough booze to impair the motor skills and judgment of a yeti. In order to proceed, they would first have to drink, and drink blindly, until they felt ready.

The administrators determined, after tasting and spitting liberally into spittoons, that none of the wines (priced from $10 to $15 a bottle) were good enough for Ryerson, the grand cru classé of technical universities.

They opted for a second round of blind tasting, next time with more expensive wines ($15 to $20) that reflect the superior body and rich, chewy aftertaste of the Ryerson fruitage.

“We want something that alumni will be proud to serve,” said Tyler Forkes, executive director of alumni relations. The wine, he added, has to taste good because it is used at university events that are attended by potential donors and is a fundraising promotion. President Sheldon Levy wanted the wines to be of good quality, saying “we serve them at many events, including convocation.”

After much tippling and merriment, the votes were tallied. The party found the reds especially lacking. Forkes, who had joked that one of the whites tasted like the antiseptic Bactine, suggested they bump up to the next “pricepoint” in the interest of taste and quality.

“We’ll have to do another round,” agreed Adam Kahan, VP university advancement, who mentioned he likes Californian and South African wines best. The new wines will replenish the school’s depleted previous selections, a chardonnay and a cabernet blend. The administration could not say how many bottles Ryerson goes through annually.

All of the wines are from Ontario wineries.

Once chosen, the wine will also be sold to graduates via the school’s website in cases of two, six or the usual 12 bottles. The label, specially designed by alumnni relations, will feature both the Ryerson logo and the winery of origin.

The “official wine” is part of an alumni relations fundraising plan called Affinity Partners, whereby companies offer special products and services to Ryerson alumni in return for access to the coveted university-graduate market.

Some proceeds also support alumni relations programming and student bursaries.

The Canadian Signature Wine Company is the fifth business to partner with Ryerson alumni relations under the program. The other four are Manulife Financial, Clearsight Investment, Meloche Monex and Mastercard.

Canadian Signature Wine already has a similar arrangement with Nipissing, Brock, Lakehead and several other Canadian schools.

Note: The administration’s merry band of reveling taste-testers invited The Eyeopener to return for Round Two. More coverage to follow.

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