SOUTHBROOK VINEYARDS BOASTS NEW NIAGARA-INSPIRED CULINARY OFFERINGS TO COMPLEMENT ITS AWARD-WINNING ORGANIC WINES
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.
SCORE POINTS WITH YOUR OENOPHILE FRIENDS BY TOURING THESE SMALL-BATCH WINERIES IN NIAGARA—AND BY BRINGING HOME A BOTTLE OR TWO
Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery
Less than two hours southwest of Toronto lies the pastoral Niagara region, where row upon row of vines are cultivated to produce award-winning ice wines, Cabernets, Merlots, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. The area’s big-name pioneers—such as Jackson-Triggs, Peller Estates, Château des Charmes, Inniskillin and Reif Estate—remain vital and worth a visit, but a number of small, often family-run wineries in Niagara are now also garnering the attention and acclaim of oenophiles.
In the 1990s, few wine writers were focusing on Canadian wine. Rick VanSickle, then the executive Sunday editor for the Calgary Sun, was a frequent visitor to Okanagan Valley wine region from his then home in Calgary and when the wine writer position at his paper became available in 1999, he snatched it up himself (it helps to be the boss!) and started peppering his wine coverage with stories about homegrown wine varieties. He later branched out, writing wine columns in Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg, and eventually moved to his current home in St. Catharines, Ontario (he’s a Toronto native), to focus on the Niagara wine region. (more…)
By ALINA SEAGAL
Queen Street (Photo: Sean_Marshall)
As one of the best-preserved 19th-century towns in North America, Niagara-on-the-Lake has a lot to reveal—beyond its many nearby wineries. Pretty Victorian architecture, a great lineup of summer festivals, and sidewalks made for strolling and window-shopping are just a handful of the attractions in this charming southern Ontario town. (more…)
By SHANNON KELLY
Similkameen Valley, British Columbia (Photo: Megan Mallen)
By global standards, the Canadian wine industry is still in its infancy, but increasingly its vintners are perfecting the varieties of grapes that thrive in our climate and wineries are producing award-wining bottles.
Young also means interesting: Many Canadian wineries are a pleasure to visit for their innovative pairings and tours, forward-thinking design and meals prepared by chefs snagged from top restaurants in metropolitan areas, who enjoy creating menus from the surrounding local bounty. A small wine community can also mean a chance to chat with the winemaker directly and not fighting back-to-back tour buses. (more…)
By Waheeda Harris
Like chocolate? Like wine? The perfect pairing can be discovered during the upcoming Days of Wine and Chocolate in Niagara on the Lake, held on weekends in February. (more…)
Icewine tasting at Peller Estates Winery
By Pamela MacNaughtan
Icewine originates in 18th-century Germany, but it has been perfected in the Niagara region, and people travel from all over the world to try icewines from this southern Ontario appellation. Today Niagara is the only place on earth where the full-flavoured dessert wine is produced annually.
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By MARCELLA DEVINCENZO
© 2011 Creative Media
A foodie adventure is always a great reason to travel. The pretty waterfront Victorian town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, at the heel of Ontario’s greenbelt, has a wealth of wonderful restaurants and shops that make use of local produce and wineries—especially during the autumn harvest. There is a lot you can learn from a city just by the food and the people who create the dishes.
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By Waheeda Harris
A visit to Ontario’s wine country is the perfect way to spend an autumn day or an overnight escape to the area of Niagara locals call “the Bench” on the edge of the Niagara escarpment. Here you’ll find memorable vintages, a relaxed drive, and several distractions for your palate.
Start: St. Catharines, ON
End: Beamsville, ON
Overnight: Jordan Village, ON
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1. Kick off the journey by heading along Pelham Street North, which leads out of St. Catharines to the vineyards. Make your first stop at Short Hills Provincial Park to see the trillium, Ontario’s provincial flower, and hike paths lined with sugar maples and black oak trees showing off dazzling shades of yellow, orange and red. (15 min, 8 km)
2. Less than five minutes from the park is Henry of Pelham Family Estate, one of the first vineyards to produce wine from 100% Ontario-grown grapes. Make sure to taste the critic’s choice: Reserve Baco Noir or Reserve Cabernet/Merlot. Visit the Coach House Café & Cheese Shoppe for some pairing items and take advantage of the vineyard picnic areas. (3 min, 1.3 km)
Discover the fruits of the Niagara region with a tour of the area’s wineries. You won’t leave without taking home a bottle—or several!
—By Viviane Kertész
The barrel cellar of Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery (photo by Linda Luong).
Like most wineries in the Niagara Peninsula, Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery offers tours of their cellar, tastings and the possibility to pick up Vintners’ Quality Alliance (VQA) bottles available exclusively on their property. Oenophiles are spoilt for choice at this mod Douglas-fir-and-aluminum agro-building that houses vintages aged in Canadian, French and Hungarian oak barrels.
Situated on the sloping hillside of the famed Beamsville Bench, Thirty Bench Vineyard & Winery earns its street cred through production methods like hand-harvesting.