My name is Ken Hayden.
I have been actively working in the Ontario (Canada) wine domain since 1995. Following 5 years of internship with a reputable wine agency and completing the International Sommelier Guild program in 1997, I registered and launched Appellation Wines in 2000.
Seeking a niche sector in the market, I became cognizant of an untapped segment - rare indigenous varietal wines, and headed off to Vinitaly in Verona in 2009 to meet producers, sample a large selection many of which are, even to this day, virtually unknown outside of their country of origin, and introduce them to sommeliers and wine enthusiasts alike in Ontario.
Production, in these times of standardization of food products, is so limited in many instances that these wines are seldom exported. Now that we've created these monocultures that only grow a few varieties of each crop (product), if something happens to just one of these varieties, it can have a dramatic impact upon our food supply. What sets these fine indigenous wines apart is that the grapes are often grown exclusively in very select locations (at times only one winery). All too often the vines on which these grapes grow are, to this day, uprooted, face extinction, lost, forgotten, overwhelmed by undergrowth, or overlooked by human neglect; only to occasionally be recovered by research or happenstance.
After years of research and sampling from Portugal to Georgia, I am astonished, even to this day, as to how few of these incredibly diverse wines, both flavor and texture-wise, are seldom, if ever, available in our local liquor stores.
In an attempt to help alleviate this bias I set out, in 2017, to build a platform - Autoctovino® - that seeks to support the efforts of wineries and importers alike who recognize that we shouldn't be confined to a fraction of the varietal options that account for about 90% of all wine presently sold globally.
Autoctovino®'s primary objective, with this platform, is to globally promote:
• Rare indigenous grape varietals seldom found outside of their country of origin
• Wineries that grow and bottle wines using rare indigenous varietals, primarily as mono-varietals.
• Importers that market these wineries’ products in their respective markets.