River Street Red on liquor store shelves

Moose Jaw Express.com - - Front Page - By Scott Hellings

The story of Moose Jaw’s in­fa­mous tun­nels and the city’s al­leged con­nec­tion to gang­ster Al Capone has spread across the world thanks to Moose Jaw’s thriv­ing tourist in­dus­try. That story is gain­ing fur­ther trac­tion in a rather un­usual place—in the wine sec­tion of var­i­ous liquor stores across Saskatchewan and Bri­tish Columbia. That’s be­cause for­mer Moose Ja­vian Stan Sa­gal has been sell­ing a new wine known as River Street Red. The wine is de­signed to pro­mote Moose Jaw’s story and its colour­ful past. Sa­gal, a wine lover, knew the story was worth telling. “My neigh­bour two doors down owns a small win­ery. I was on the deck one night and he was telling me about his wine busi­ness,” said Sa­gal. “And I said, ‘You know, there’s a story in Moose Jaw that I would like to pro­mote...There is some­thing that we could do here.’ And that’s how it all started.” Sa­gal’s neigh­bour makes the wine. He does not own any or­chards be­cause he is known as a né­go­ciant, which means he pur­chases grapes and then pro­duces the wine and sells it un­der his own name. The bot­tle de­scribes the Caber­net Mer­lot wine as be­ing made with 50 per cent Caber­net Sauvi­gnon and 50 per cent Mer­lot grapes. It is also de­scribed as hav­ing dark cherry and plum flavours with sub­tle tan­nins. “When we first started this, we wanted to do it top­notch,” said Sa­gal, who notes that he has re­ceived great feed­back thus far. “Es­pe­cially in Saskatchewan ev­ery­thing has been very good. The Liquor Board has been very good to us and has been good to work with. Ob­vi­ously Moose Jaw is my big­gest sell­ing area. It is very highly com­pet­i­tive now in the wine in­dus­try; in B.C. here in our area there are 140 winer­ies and every­body is fight­ing for space on the shelf. So we’re quite happy to have a space on the shelf.” Per­haps the most no­tice­able as­pect of the wine is the bot­tle it­self, with its colour­ful and unique la­bel. Given the highly com­pet­i­tive na­ture of the in­dus­try, it’s no doubt a pos­i­tive for River Street Red that it stands out so well on the shelf. The la­bel fea­tures a car­i­ca­ture of Al Capone and was drawn by noted car­i­ca­tur­ist, Kerry Waghorn, who is renowned for his work at the San Fran­cisco Chronicle along­side other greats such as Gary Lar­son (The Far Side) and Charles Schultz (Peanuts). “We knew we were go­ing to do ev­ery­thing top-notch on this [pro­ject] so we went to him,” said Sa­gal. Cer­tainly, it is a process mak­ing the wine and get­ting it onto the shelf, but it has clearly been worth it. River Street Red is just an­other way that Moose Jaw’s in­famy is spread­ing and wine con­nois­seurs will cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate Sa­gal’s ef­fort. “We wanted to do it first-class and we’re pick­ing our wines to be the best wines. We’re pro­mot­ing Moose Jaw be­cause there is a real good story there and it needed to be pro­moted,” said Sa­gal. “Our busi­ness plan was to stick with a high grade wine.” River Street Red is cur­rently avail­able at the Liquor Board store, lo­cated at 5 Man­i­toba St. E. in the for­mer CPR sta­tion. For more in­for­ma­tion on River Street Red, visit www.boun­ty­cel­lars.com.

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