Niagara Falls isn't the only thing that's free flowing! Wait till you try the wine!
Having recently discovered some amazing cold world wines in my own backyard in Ottawa, I was thrilled to be a part of the TBEX blogger tour to the Niagara Escarpment to discover more fine Ontario wines.
Proprietor Matthew Speck is in charge of the farm operations here, while other family members take care of the business and marketing. It was under Mathew’s guidance that we sampled 7 of Pelham’s finest wines – including 2 sparkling wines that rival anything I’ve had on New Year’s Eve.
Our tasting experience at the Pelham’s estate was spectacular – we sat dozens of barrels deep in the cellar, casks of wine lining the two story walls, with a grand table lit with candles. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting!
The Irreverent Renegades
Their candor about the business of winemaking was frank and refreshing. Those bloggers not from Ontario needed a brief lesson in the role of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and Robert and Mike were able to present the information in a well-rounded manner.
We were treated to lunch on the beautiful patio and it was a delightful example of food being up the standards of the wine. We watched as homemade hummus and pate, heirloom beet salad, and grilled salmon with asparagus was prepared just 10 feet away at the lovely open air kitchen – a relaxing and entertaining way to cap the visit.
Rosewood Estates is more than a winery – it is also a functioning bee keeping operation and these two passions meet in the production of rare regional mead, as smooth and clear as I’ve ever had.
Norm is the first to admit that wine making is far from the idyllic career that most of the world imagines it is – something else he shares with travel bloggers. His expansive property, beautifully restored heritage home turned restaurant, and breathtaking wine store are a testament to his hard work and ambition to put Niagara on the world wine map.
Norm was the fourth proprietor to allude to the mixed legacy of the earlier, less refined Niagara wines that continued to blur the region’s reputation. The region’s early growing pains decades earlier – personified by the infamous Baby Duck wine – seems impossible for older residents to disregard. This was a bit of an eye opener for me, as I consider trying new wines and making new discoveries to be quite a treat!
The idea of enjoying a nice glass of wine on an ordinary Wednesday evening was oft mentioned and the relationship between local food, local wine, and building community spirit was frequently stressed. The pressure to act like a wine snob was off and I can say I truly enjoyed myself. I didn’t sample a single wine that I didn’t enjoy; nor was there one I wouldn’t consider to be a great value. This reaffirms my decision to buy local as a means to not only support local growers and producers but also to have the most enjoyable (and delicious!) experience possible.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Have you ever done a winery tour when you've traveled?
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Henry of Pelham Estates
1469 Pelham Rd R.R.#1
St. Catharines, ON
2170 Fourth Ave Jordan, ON Canada, Earth
4352 Mountainview Rd
Beamsville, ON L0R 1B2
Peninsula Ridge Estates
5600 King St West
P.O. Box 550 Beamsville, ON