Day Trippin 2017......Niagara Wine Region
THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND......
Well, it’s summer, and we’re off to the Niagara Region again on August 12, 2017 with a busload of wine enthusiasts to visit 4 wineries. We like to visit the region at least once annually to keep up to date with what is happening in our industry on a local level. What better way to enjoy wine tasting when the bus driver is your designated driver! This year, we are visiting The Hare Wine Company, a newer enterprise that has just opened its beautiful Tuscan-style winery on Stone Road for a tour and tasting. We are visiting the rustic Caroline Cellars for a tasting and lovely lunch, followed by a visit to Small Talk Winery for a wagon tour of the vineyard and wine and cider tastings. We finish off at The Lakeview Wine Company/Diamond Estates back on Stone Road for a visit and tasting. This unique facility is home to many Niagara wines, such as 20 Bees, East Dell, FRESH, Dan Aykroyd, Lakeview Cellars, Seasons by De Sousa, McMichael Collection and Tzafona Cellars. Did we mention that there would be tastings?
We like to do these tours so that our customers can experience some of the challenges facing grape growers and wine makers as they describe how their year/seasons are going. If you are not familiar with the Niagara Region as one of the most northerly successful grape producing areas in the world, it is due to the geophysical conditions that are specific to the area. Wine making is not easy due to the huge number of variables that Mother Nature can throw at them. The uniqueness of the Niagara Region with its many microclimates and growing conditions is always interesting. With the (relatively) warm waters of Lake Ontario to the north, the predominately northwesterly winds, and the Niagara Escarpment to the south, the Niagara Peninsula is truly a study in these microclimates. The convection effect caused by these conditions is what keeps the warmer air on the vines, and allows them to stay alive over our harsh winters. It is also fun to meet the newest crop of summer helpers and guides at the wineries as they increase their portfolios and display their enthusiasm with winery-related summer jobs. We get information first hand on how last year’s grapes and wines turned out (including the ice wine harvest), and how the growing season is going so far for this year. Niagara College and Viticulture School is of course located in the area and summer employment for students is very competitive for them to stay in their home area and work in the field they are studying.
Not only do we sample some of the Niagara’s finest, it also allows for our customers to purchase some wines that are only available at the wineries and not at the local LCBO. Sometimes there are “specials”, end of lines or other interesting offers that are only available locally. We usually stop at a couple of roadside fruit stands to purchase some fresh-picked peaches, apples, plums, fresh vegetables and whatever else the Niagara grocery basket has available. The tour takes a full day, and once we return to London, everyone is usually quite tired, but a great time was had by all.