The Niagara region of Ontario has it all! Tourist attractions, the infamous Canadian falls, copious amounts of wineries and much more. Visiting wineries has been on my bucket for quite sometime now. I have been craving to visit some of the wineries and test out the different wine’s at each cellar. Gavin surprised me with this wine tour for my birthday in August. He knew visiting one wouldn’t be enough so he bought a package to visit four different wineries! You could just imagine my excitement! I had been looking forward to this day for quite some time now! Being able to visit the different wineries and spend the experience with Gavin was amazing. I loved every minute of it between the atmosphere, the food, the wine and the experience. I did not want to leave! Niagara has 37 different wineries across the region, we only visited 4 that day which means I have another 33 to check off the bucket list! 🙂
I am quite familiar with most wines at the LCBO (not to sound like an alcoholic, but I do enjoy tasting and appreciating different wines). Many of the wineries that we visited were more of the smaller ones that were family owned. Their wine’s were typically not sold at the LCBO which means you were only able to purchase the wines at the wineries themselves. I though this was a pretty unique quality and attraction. Can you imagine growing up on a winery? Running through the grape vines as a kid, chasing the dog and having an unlimited amount of grapes to snack on?!
Riverview Cellars was by far one of my favourite wineries to visit, not only for their wine, but for their culture. This winery is family owned by Pillitteri family, and first discovered by Sam in 1992 and currently managed by his son Michael.
Each wine I tasted was absolutely delicious. Now, I am not much of a red wine fan, mainly because I get migraines, but with the lighter wines like the Pinot Noir I was able to really enjoy it. With every wine we tasted the individual educating us on the different wines told us which Italian dish the wine would go best with. This was amazing and really educated us and allowed us to appreciate how different wines were to be enjoyed and complimented with different foods. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of my childhood and growing up my grandparents. My grandfather would always have a glass of red wine with his spaghetti and meatballs. Picture it as the typical Italian setting, my grandfather always wore his white white beater tank top, sitting with a plate of tomato sauce spaghetti with a glass of his homemade red wine, while my grandmother would be cooking in the kitchen or sewing her dresses.
Rief Estate Winery
The Reif Estate Winery was very educational. They took us on an hour long tour and explained in detail the process on how wine is produced. Keep in mind that I was a few glasses of wine deep, so the whole process did not quite stick, but I hope the pictures can help depict the story!
At this winery they had us trying dessert ice wines. These wines are VERY sweet and very expensive, mainly for two reasons. Firstly, in a regular bottle of wine, it takes about 600-800 grapes to be crushed and juiced, and for a dessert wine you need about 3-4 times that amount! Thats a ton of grapes, which is why it is a lot more expensive and super sweet. Ice wines can usually be enjoyed as a dessert wine poured over ice cream or as a baking ingredient. Although many people drink it on its own, it is definitely too sweet for me.
Once the grapes are picked and crushed, they are stored in these barrels for several years to help with the aging process.
Our time on this tour was very limited, and even though we almost didn’t have time for all four wineries, we were able to squeeze in a fourth! Caroline’s Cellar had one of the best variety’s of different fruit wines. They had cherry wine, blueberry wine, cranberry, and plum! Personally, I only thought there was grape wine out there. Am I the only one who thought that? Was I missing something?
I tried the blueberry wine which was really delicious. The lady who was working at the winery and helping to serve us told me that, wine is just aged fruit, so any fruit really can be turned into a wine. After some thought I did feel kind of silly, but in a way it also made so much sense! Grape wine is the more common and preferred wine out there! (See I caught some educational facts throughout the day, even with a few glasses of wine in me 🙂 )
Between The Lines Winery
Between the Lines Winery is definitely a newer type winery being only 7 years old. This winery is run by two brothers Greg and Yannick, who both live on the winery, sell and produce the wine. Both these men learned their wine expertise by studying in Germany and moving to Canada to pursue their dream of making wine and developing a family owned business. These two brothers are always trying new things and creating delicious wines. I really enjoyed tasting their different wines. In particular, my favourites were their white wines, the Riesling and the Gewürztraminer.
The reason why this wine is called “Pinot Noah” instead of “Pinot Noir” is because when Greg’s son Noah was born, they decided to name a wine after him. How adorable is that? I wish I had a wine named after me!
These two brothers have a lot of love and dedication put into their winery. Being able to produce such great tasting wines is truly a talent. They were able to build this winery at such a young age, and are in the process of building a family owned winery for their children and grandchildren to eventually take over one day. This is one of the aspects that I love most. The family culture and the appreciation of their education and dedication to build this estate with their own two hands is inspiring.
Finally, a shot of the handsome man behind all of my pictures! You have all heard me talk about Gavin in my previous blog posts so I thought I would finally feature him on the blog! After spending a whole day of taking pictures and helping me capture all the amazing moments, I thought it was his turn to be in the spot light for once. 🙂
Are you a wine connoisseur? Have you visited any wineries? If so which ones are your favourite? 🙂