Award Winning Wine Labels

It is estimated that there are more than 6,000 wineries in the U.S., another 6,000 in Australia, and over 360 in Canada and each may produce 10 different wines or more.  Add in Europe and South America and you clearly have a very, very crowded market-place.  Even if you decide to purchase through your local wine store, the choice is formidable.  The BC Liquor Stores Product Catalogue, for example, lists 3103 table wines.  If you are one of those wineries, how can you try to ensure prospective customers hear about your wine.
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Second Brain Or Third Brain

In writing about the Other Brain, we conveniently slid over a confusion about just what other brains there may be.  Just which is the Second Brain and could there be a Third Brain.

Dr.  Michael Gershon, an expert in the nascent field of neurogastroenterology, laid the seeds of confusion with his 1998 book The Second Brain.   A Scientific American article earlier in the year was a useful  recap of what is involved.  It was called “Think Twice: How the Gut’s ‘Second Brain’ Influences Mood and Well-Being.”

There is an often-overlooked network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our “second brain”.

A deeper understanding of this mass of neural tissue, filled with important neurotransmitters, is revealing that it does much more than merely handle digestion or inflict the occasional nervous pang. The little brain in our innards, in connection with the big one in our skulls, partly determines our mental state and plays key roles in certain diseases throughout the body.

Although its influence is far-reaching, the second brain is not the seat of any conscious thoughts or decision-making.

Marghi Merzenich provides more details on this “Second Brain”.

The second brain is a mass of tissue in our intestines that shares many qualities with our brains–millions of neurons, many of the same key chemicals (like dopamine and serotonin). This “second brain” is officially called the “enteric nervous system,” and it’s a fascinating part of the body.

The brain and spinal cord are known as the “central nervous system.” The “peripheral nervous system” connects the central nervous system to the rest of the body, moving the messages along until they reach their destination. The enteric nervous system (the “second brain”)  is part of the peripheral nervous system.

What makes the “second brain” unique from other parts of the peripheral nervous system, though, is that it can function even without input from the central nervous system, and sends many more messages to the central nervous system than it receives. And while it’s not a center of conscious thought, it has widespread influence on our physical bodies and our emotional well-being. This may have implications for how we treat emotional problems like depression.

That’s all well and good but that Second Brain term was being used by others in a different context.  A 2009 article proclaimed, Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct

This article noted that neuro-scientists have demonstrated that we have a brain in our heart and another in our intestines. What we have in each of these, in actual fact, is an extensive mass of neurons that behave in a fashion similar to the neurons contained in the brain, and that appear to function at mega-speeds, often much greater than those of our cerebral neurons.  

What they are referring to is the work of J. Andrew Armour, M.D., Ph.D. in Montreal and others.  Their picture is that the heart brain is the second brain and the enteric (intestine) brain is the third brain.

Whether you consider that we have two brains or three brains, either picture states very clearly that your logical brain is not the sole way you are assessing information, processing it and making decisions.  At least one other brain or perhaps two is/are unconsciously involved and you probably never realize it. 

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Becoming more aware of these different brains and balancing the way they interact can bring significant improvement in the way you try to achieve your goals.  The Three Brain Synergy website provides more information on these issues and can show you what is involved in ensuring all your brains are working in the most effective collaboration.

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Golden Ears Bridge BC now on Google Maps

The Golden Ears Bridge across the Fraser River in British Columbia has been in operation for 9 months now. It was being constructed for almost two years before that. Unfortunately it has been invisible in Google Maps until now. Many have commented on the invisibility of the Golden Ears Bridge, which is a major landmark. Although repeated messages have been sent to places where Googlers congregate such as the Google Maps Forum, the organization seemed blind. As usual, they seemed to be relying on computer-generated data rather than inputs from humans.

golden ears bridge

It was said that the reason for the delay was that the Golden Ears Bridge had not been included in the database used by Google Maps.  One of these is maintained by TeleAtlas.  However the Bridge was added to the database as of March 31, 2010 and still there was no change.  MapQuest, the Google Maps competitor, was not asleep at the wheel and almost immediately included the Golden Ears Bridge in its directions information.

It was only this morning that finally Google has registered the Golden Ears Bridge in its database.  Use Google Maps to help you find the way across the Fraser River from Langley to Pitt Meadows and here is the route that Google will provide.

Google Maps from Langley to Pitt Meadows

It was good to finally see the Bridge taking up the important role it now has in Fraser Valley transportation.  However in a somewhat ironic announcement, Google later in the morning announced that it was now Keeping Canada’s map current.

The map of Canada is constantly changing – new roads are being built, highways are being renamed, and bike trails are opening. To keep up with all these changes, we’ve started using new map data in Canada. This new base map is built from a wide range of sources, just as we recently announced for the US in October. In Canada, we’ve made use of data from organizations such as the National Hydrography Network and Canadian Council on Geomatics. Once again things like satellite imagery and Street View were also helpful to make a rich, thorough base map.

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That’s all very well.  However if only they had worked more promptly in synchronizing with their existing map database contributors such as TeleAtlas, perhaps the Golden Ears Bridge would have been on our screens at least a month earlier.

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Latest Gmail Phishing Very Tough To Spot – Watch Out

If Phishing is a new term to you then please read this post. Wikipedia will tell you that “phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” Often it may look like a message from your bank, or it could be Paypal or eBay. The phisher does not know whether you really have an account, but tries everyone in the hope that some may fall from it.

Here is one of the best phishing exploits I have seen. I have now twice received a message apparently from Google within the past three days that read as follows:

phishing Gmail message

When you click on the link, then you see the familiar Google Gmail Welcome page. 

Phishing Gmail Welcome Page

Except that this is not the regular Google page.  If you look up at the address field, you will find the URL is on the domain, Phishing website .

Checking WhoIs for this page you will find that the administrative contact is the following person.

Phishing Administrative Contact

Undoubtedly if I had keyed in my Gmail username and password, that gentleman would have had access to my Gmail account and could do whatever he wished with it.  Needless to say I immediately changed the password, in case he had already been there.

This is a particularly difficult one to spot, so it is important to be extra vigilant.  Google has some good information about Messages asking for personal information.  It also provides more detailed information about Suspicious results and strange behavior: Phishing attacks in other words.

You can forward such phishing Gmail messages to and can send the Phishing URL to the Google Phishing team using their Phishing Report.  Google also provides a link to, where you can learn more about malware that can infect your computer.

Some phishing attacks are not too difficult to spot, often including spelling mistakes and somewhat curious links.  This particular current Gmail phishing incident is highly professional and the only clue is that URL address when you click on the apparent Google link. 

Please spread the word rapidly.  If you are on Twitter, then please ReTweet the message below.

Pl.RT: Important Alert: Latest Gmail phishing exploit is very tough to spot: : pass it on.

Undoubtedly many people will be taken in.

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Are You On Google?

What sort of question is that?  Isn’t everyone on Google to a certain extent?  However you probably do not believe it is something you join like Facebook or Twitter.

Well that has changed although you may have missed the memo.  As MG Siegler has pointed out, Google Profiles Is Taking An Important Social Step With Vanity URLs.

The problem with Google’s movement towards becoming more of a social entity is that it lacks one cohesive place to tie everything together. Google lacks a singular area – like a Facebook profile page – where all that Google knows about you can reside and be easily seen. Actually there is such an area, Google Profiles and Google is now making it quite a bit easier to find.

So are you on Google?  You can check this out with the following search for your name on Google Profiles.

google logo

If you already have a Google Account and have a Gmail address, then you are well along in joining this new potential social network.

Mike Elgan believes this will be Google’s ‘Facebook Killer’.  He feels that Google is just one acquisition away from offering a social network that does everything Facebook does, minus all the things everybody hates about Facebook.  That acquisition he is pushing for is that Google should buy Twitter.

The end result of this integration would be a social network far better than Facebook.  Rather than being a link dead-end like Facebook, Profiles would be a launching pad of discoverability for everything you want to promote. It would be cleaner, faster and easier to use than Facebook. And it would be a one-stop shop for both social networking and Twitter.

I believe he is over-valuing what Twitter would bring to such an acquisition.  Twitter has relatively rudimentary features and undoubtedly the Twitter owners will put far too high a price on their social network.  If Google was of a mind to add the social media trappings to Google Profiles, it would not be rocket science to do so.  The Google name would ensure people would flock to it.  Indeed how many of you reading this have already claimed your Google Profile once you heard about it.

All the concept needs is a little marketing.  Google Profiles is clearly a no-no. Thinking over possible names and remembering the precedent of the Google Chrome browser, one name jumps out.

Google Glitter!  The name would almost market itself.  The related concepts are multitudinous.  Status reports would be glints of course.  Perhaps if some related helpful ideas come to mind for Google, you could add them in the comments.   It undoubtedly would be much cheaper to buy the appropriate domain(s) and/or trademark(s) to allow the concept to shine than it would to buy that tottering whale.

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Fraser Valley Wine Tour

Touring beautiful valleys that have fine wines is a pleasure that is hard to beat. Just think of the Loire Valley or the Napa Valley.

Somewhat less well known at the moment but certainly rivaling them in beauty and in the quality of the wines on offer is the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. As the world comes to British Columbia for the Winter Olympics in 2010, it is certain that this fabulous corner of the wine world will become very much better known.

wine tour - Mount Baker

Early in the week we toured four of the Fraser Valley wineries and can certainly vouch for the excellence of their welcome. The quality of the wines compares well with those found in the Okanagan Valley even though the climatic conditions are a little less favorable. The four we visited have quite distinctive appearances and certainly seemed to be appreciated by the other visitors we met from around the world.

wine tour- Township7

The first on our tour was Township7 Vineyards and Winery From the website we learn:

The vines at Township 7/Langley were planted in the spring of 2000 and the winery opened for business in July of 2001. In the fall of 2003, a second vineyard property was purchased on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley. The Langley wine shop is housed in the beautiful south Langley countryside in a quaint building reminiscent, on the outside, of the many riding stables in the neighbourhood. Aside from the vineyards in Langley and on the Naramata Bench, grapes for their wines are grown in the Oliver area of British Columbia, a world-renowned location for growing grapes for the more full-bodied Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, Syrahs and Chardonnays that Township 7 produces.

wine tour - Domaine de Chaberton

Next we visited the Domaine de Chaberton Estates Winery. The website provides some fascinating history of this most impressive winery:

Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery is the largest and oldest winery in the Fraser Valley. In 1975, Claude and Inge Violet, having sold their winery and vineyard in France decided to start afresh in the New World. The pioneer spirit was not new to the Violet blood line as Claude�s family had been in the wine business since 1644. After visiting California, Ontario and the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Claude and Inge purchased the land where the present site of the Domaine de Chaberton and the Bacchus Bistro are located.

Claude quickly became known as the �Mad Frenchman� when word spread that he planned on planting wine grapes in the Fraser Valley. After doing much research, Claude had found that the property was located in a microclimate with weather conditions much like those that exists in northern France. Their wines have won numerous awards in wine competitions held throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. The 2003 Canoe Cove Shiraz was chosen by a select panel as one of only 11 B.C. wines to receive the Lieutenant Governor General’s 2006 Award of Excellence in British Columbia wines.

wine tour - Lotusland

Lotusland Vineyards, the next stop on our wine tour, was a most charming contrast to the overwhelming magnificence of the Domaine. The winery provides a whole array of premium organic wines:

About Us
David and Liz Avery had a dream – to spend their days outdoors in the vineyard and to share the fruits of their labour of love. Nestled in the Fraser Valley surrounded by snow topped mountains and just 27 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean, Lotusland’s three and one half hectare vineyard offers not only spectacular views, but also the perfect coastal climate for growing some of the world’s finest wine grapes.

Their first vintage in 2000, was the result of a great deal of hard work and both David and wife Liz remain hands-on proprietors – from planting to bottling, they are actively involved in all aspects of production. Additional labour is provided by an international array of hands they affectionately call “WWOOFers”. The World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program provides international travel and organic farming experience to men and women from around the globe. The Lotusland vineyard can change your world view, evoking the comment from one such visitor that she couldn’t believe how “big the sky was” here. Lotusland hosts up to five WWOOFers at a time and have had more than 40 people from Japan, Switzerland, and Germany, participate in the program.

wine tour - The Fort Wine Company

The last stop of the afternoon was at the Fort Wine Company located just minutes from historic Fort Langley, the place where on November 19, 1858, the new colony�s governor, Sir James Douglas, read the official proclamation of the new province of British Columbia. We were in for a surprise:

The Fort Wine Co. is a premium fruit winery located in the picturesque Glen Valley. The winery has been recognized with numerous awards at major wine competitions for the fine quality, innovation and flavour of the pure fruit products. In fact, their wines have been competing with grape wines in some large competitions, and coming out on top. Fruit wines have arrived and are a delicious, fun and healthy alternative to the sea of grape wines available on the market. They are not snooty. They are not syrupy. They are for the young at heart and for those seeking something refreshingly different.

If you have a full day, then you can go from the mouth of the Fraser River right up to Chilliwack at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley. There is more information about the wineries tours on the Fraser Valley Wineries Association website. The other wineries that can be visited are:

Westham Island Estate Winery
A pastoral Agri Tourism designated Farm planting, picking and processing fruit into the fine home grown fruit wines sold at the winery.
Sanduz Estate Winery
offers a range of fruit and grape wines that awaken the palate, mind and passion within.
Wellbrook Winery
The Old Grainery Store at the Wellbrook Winery in Delta, British Columbia, takes you back into history.
Pacific Breeze Winery
producing the highest quality vinifera wines by exploring the differences that appellation and winemaking impart to a given varietal.
River’s Bend Winery
a recent addition to the growing sector of farm-based wineries located in Surrey, BC.
Vista D’oro Farms Winery
producing the highest quality infused fortified wines in British Columbia with old world passion
St. Urban Winery Ltd.
The owner and wine maker grew up in the vineyards of Slovakia and makes wines in the traditional European style. White wine grape varieties include Kerner and Siegerebbe, German Riesling hybrids. The signature red wine is from the Hungarian Turan grape variety.

Following the Trans-Canada Highway with Google Maps

There’s a new feature on Google Maps that I find most impressive. On our recent move from LaSalle, Quebec to Langley BC, we intended to follow the Trans-Canada Highway. In our planning we did not want to use one of the more complex sites that gives many itineraries. We wanted something simple. At that time we could have used Google maps but instead chose MapQuest.

To illustrate the problem that gave us, here is what such a program will suggest as the route to follow.

Google Maps 1

As it happens this is a Google Maps image, but MapQuest would offer an identical route. The length is 4,861 km and it suggests it would take 45 hours of continuous driving. That’s a somewhat astonishing average speed of 108 km/hour.

We wanted to travel in Canada so at that time using MapQuest we used a new feature which allows you to step along the route specifying the points you which to pass through. More details are available on this Beta process for MapQuest.

The new functionality that Google Maps now allows is that you can drag the route with your mouse to pass through other points. Take a Google Maps Tour, to find out more on how to get driving directions. Since we wished to pass through Calgary, that’s the first point we changed.

Google Maps 2

This increased the length to 4,943 km and the driving time to 50 hours. Again this gave an unbelievable average driving speed of 99 km/hour, presumably based on driving at the limits on all roads. Since it still took us through the United States, we then dragged the route to pass through Winnipeg.

Google Maps 2

That still didn’t do the trick. The length had now increased to 5,068 km and the driving time to 53 hours. For the record this is an average driving speed of 96 km/hour. By dragging the route to pass through Thunder Bay, finally we did follow the Trans-Canada Highway.

Google Maps 2

The length was now shorter than for the first route at 4,770 km with a driving time of 55 hours. This equates to an average driving speed of 87 km/hour.

Freelance writing

I hope you enjoyed this article, which is seen by many appreciative visitors. Part of that comes from its visibility in Google keyword searches.

If you would like to have quality articles like this on your website, then my services as a freelance writer are available to you. Click here for more details.

Barry Welford

The whole exercise was extremely rapid and took much less time than it has taken to describe it. Clearly Google Maps tries to find the fastest route from Point A to Point B. It does not try to estimate the time to cross international borders. It also does not take into account the beauty to be seen along the way. However as a planning tool Google Maps can be highly recommended.

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Is Mary Coming Back To The Royal Bank (RBC)?


The Montreal Gazette tells us that the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will be introducing a new virtual agent to help us all online. CodeBaby of Edmonton is providing this. I wonder what this new virtual agent will be called. You’ve got to be very careful not to create the wrong impression. Microsoft may be happy with Ms. Dewey but that would hardly be appropriate in banking. Perhaps it’s time to bring back Mary.

That should be safe. After all CodeBaby tells us it was the creator of Emily on the Sympatico website. That’s another good, respectable name. Surprisingly I wasn’t able to find Emily on the site: I wonder whether she’s still around. The only Google reference for Bell and Emily that I found was to a YouTube spoof on Internet Spying entitled Emily of the State. Hopefully the Royal Bank’s choice will get more respect.

Related: RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) – To Boldly Go .. Hello, May


Chabanel, heart of the Montreal garment industry

The Chabanel industrial neighbourhood, once known as the Montreal garment district, is featured on Page 1 of the Montreal Gazette. That’s not necessarily good news.

Just 6 weeks ago, it was the turn of the Montreal fur industry. Newspapers thrive on bad news and seem less interested in good news. Business successes are normally to be found on Page 1 of the Business section. For businesses, Page 1 of the newspaper is often equivalent to the obituary page for humans.

Certainly the Montreal garment industry has seen massive changes under the force of globalization. Employment in the clothing sector in Quebec fell from 57,000 in 2003 and is now at 30,000 in 2005 according to Statistics Canada. That’s a massive change in only two years. The secret seems to be reflected in the words of Eddy Wiltzer, an industry veteran, “If you want to be in this business, you have to build a brand, become a brand or be a distributor of a brand.” Much of the manufacturing is now off shore but local manufacture can still win out when great quality and on-time delivery are needed.

Nevertheless the Centre International de Mode de Montréal (CIMM) at 555 Chabanel St. W. now has 95 per cent of the building as showrooms when 20 years ago 40 per cent was used for manufacturing. With over 200 tenants and over 850 collections, the building houses in whole or in part over 70 per cent of the garment industry in Montreal. Over 1,200 buyers from across North America attend the twice yearly “fashion sessions”. There’s also a lavish collective fashion show twice a year as part of Montreal fashion week.

Despite these changes, the Chabanel sector remains the third largest employment centre in the greater Montreal area, after the downtown area and industrial St. Laurent. As the garment industry shrinks, other industries such as banking and insurance are taking the vacated space. There’s even talk of the Montreal fur trade moving here, which is about where we came in.

Freelance writing

I hope you enjoyed this article, which is seen by many appreciative visitors. Part of that comes from its visibility in Google keyword searches.

If you would like to have quality articles like this on your website, then my services as a freelance writer are available to you. Click here for more details.

Barry Welford

Related Books:
For this and other interesting Montreal places to visit, see
Frommer’s Montreal & Quebec City 2009 Guide (Frommer’s Complete)
Montreal & Quebec City For Dummies (Dummies Travel)

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