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Southbrook Vineyards Adds Field-to-Fork Fare to its Hospitality Menu


Southbrook Vineyards Niagara Winery Patio Food

Chef Shawn Murphy highlights Niagara ingredients in his al fresco offerings at Southbrook Vineyards (photos: Craig Moy)

The Niagara region has dozens of excellent wineries. Some large, some small, almost all very welcoming to enthusiastic visitors looking to learn a little more about the intricacies of winemaking (and wine tasting) in southwestern Ontario. Among the area’s very best, for the quality of its wines and its hospitality, is Southbrook Vineyards.

Southbrook’s property is unmistakeable on Niagara Stone Road, the main route travelling from the Queen Elizabeth Way into Niagara-on-the-Lake: its long, low-slung periwinkle-blue facade was designed by award-winning Diamond & Schmitt Architects, and sits as a gateway to the vineyard’s verdant 150 acres. It also houses a welcoming, light-filled tasting room and wine boutique, and embraces a rustic rear patio, where guests can now indulge in chef-inspired fare with a view of the vines.

Here, Niagara-bred chef Shawn Murphy takes advantage of his relationships with local producers—as well as ingredients cultivated in his on-site garden—to create salads, pizzas and sandwiches whose simplicity belies their bountiful flavour. The oft-changing menu is available à la carte or as a three-course prix fixe; Where‘s recent visit included the likes of an asparagus and pea salad, cheesecake with toasted oats, and a pizza with lamb and fresh mozzarella. Chef Murphy’s pizzas, cooked in an outdoor oven, are particularly notable: the crust, made with Red Fife heritage wheat, also incorporates Southbrook’s Bioflavia, an antioxidant-rich powder that’s made from the skins of the organic grapes the vineyard uses to make its red wines.

That sustainability-conscious ethos is evident throughout the winery, which is one of only two certified organic and biodynamic operations in Ontario. Sheep, for example, can often be seen trimming the wildflowers that spring up between the grape vines, and the animals’ manure is used, naturally, as fertilizer for the fields. Instead of harmful pesticides, a tea made from willow (harvested on the property) is sprayed on the vines to “toughen them up” and help them withstand predators. Interested in learning more? Throughout the summer, Southbrook Vineyards offers a daily schedule of themed tours covering everything from its biodynamic bona fides to the intricacies of pairing its award-winning wines with Ontario’s culinary bounty.  —Craig Moy

• Southbrook Vineyards, 581 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905-641-2548; southbrook.com
Read more about the winery on Where.ca

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