Welcome to The Wine Tourist

Veronica Leonard

Veronica Leonard

I am passionate about wine touring. I love meeting the vintners, the winemakers and the viticulturists who make it all happen. I love the green rows of ripening grapes and the cool tranquility of the barrel cellar where wood and wine languidly embrace. Most of all, I love the wine tasting, selecting wines that appeal to my tastes and bringing them home to cellar and pair with the right time, food and company.

I’m also interested in Canadian craft cider, craft beer and craft distilleries.

I’m not a critic or a wine connoisseur. I’m a tourist, like you, learning as I go. Come tour with me.

visionary-at-dock-3-jpb

Wine Touring on the Mosel River. Part I

There is wine touring by car with a disgruntled designated driver, wine touring by bus with a load of strangers who all need to be poured off the bus after five hours and then there is wine touring by river cruise. The ultimate way to wine tour – a true voyage of discovery:  Our ship was the Avalon Waterways Visionary, our waterway was the Mosel Valley, the Rhine Gorge and Rhine River to Amsterdam, and the wine predominantly Riesling but definitely not all. Continue reading

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WSET Wine Touring in PEC

What’s WSET you ask?

WSET the  Wine and Spirits Education Trust  offers educational programs for people in the wine and spirits business.  My cousin Paul has  a WSET Diploma Level 4 which provides specialist-level knowledge in wine and spirits, for both the trade professional and serious  wine enthusiast.

Paul is an architect in the UK but his company supports life long learning, so when asked what he’d like to take courses in, he chose WSET.  Although it has nothing to do with his work, it gives focus to a lot of his travel choices.

He took classes once a week for two years. The course involved  written papers on wine regions,  styles, viticulture, vinification and marketing as well as blind tastings similar to  those  on WineAlign‘s annual  So You Think You Know Wine Challenge videos requiring  experts to identify the grape variety, region, quality and age of a selection of anonymous wines.

When  Paul visited us in Ontario, he wanted a wine tour in Prince Edward County which included a  visit to Norman Hardie’s Winery. The Wine Society of UK of which he is a member imports cases of Norm’s unfiltered County Pinot Noir  and Norm’s Niagara Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Continue reading

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Autumn Getaway with wine!

Life happens.

This blog has been silent for several months as we dealt with my convalescence from knee surgery coupled with the loss of two elderly much loved parents. Earlier this week, as I hobbled around with a cane and Colin grappled with the after affects of pneumonia, we decided we had to get away for a few days to start healing.

We wanted somewhere not too far away, on water, quiet and comfortable with food and housekeeping included.  I’d heard about Elmhirst Resort in Keene, Peterborough County Ontario and checked out their website. Thirty-two housekeeping cabins, each with  fireplaces, king size beds, double Jacuzzi, WiFi, a deck with barbecue, lawn furniture and its own private dock  It has free access to canoes, kayaks, bicycles, miles of trails, indoor and outdoor pools, sauna and fitness centre. Also available – at a cost – float plane aerial tours of Rice Lake,  power boat rental, horse back riding, spa treatments and guided wine tasting. Continue reading

Quinte Craft Beer by the Bay

Crowd scene CraftMark Rashotte, realtor, owner of the Empire Theatre, and entrepreneur extraordinaire who has made Belleville a centre for avant garde movies and highly sought after musical acts was  a little out of his comfort zone when he organized an outdoor craft beer festival March 12. Continue reading

Canadian Cellars  at Black Prince Winery

2015 Wine Touring Highlights

2015 was a year of discovery while wine touring in Prince Edward County and beyond.

I emerged from winter cold storage in May for Terroir in the County and my blog 42 Splashes of Wine outlined the joys and dangers of being a wine blogger and elicited some much needed advice from other wine bloggers afterwards on the protocols of spitting. I’m looking forward to next year’s Terroir when hopefully I will be able to walk a straight line on my way back to the car, which is never driven by me.

Terroir set the tone and provided the leads for some of the most fun writing assignments I had this year. Continue reading

New spring releases being poured at tasting rooms like this at the Grange Winery across Prince Edward County

Spring Wines / Bay of Quinte Tourism Site

Please visit my blog Spring Offerings at Prince Edward County Wineries at the Bay of Quinte Tourism website

5 Top Reasons to take a Wine Tour

On the road with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours

On the road with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours

Treat yourself to a real wine tour in 2015 – the kind with a bus, a guide and an itinerary. It’s worth the cost in terms of information, safety and pure enjoyment. Here are my top five reasons why to pay for the experience, at least for the first visit to a wine region.

1 No Designated Drivers

It’s hard not to swallow when you are tasting wines even if you are just taking a little sip, they add up. Designated drivers often succumb to the “just a taste” offers of their friends. The cost of an official wine tour is a fraction of the cost of a DUI charge and the consequences of losing your licence. Pay for the tour, and you will all have fun, learn a lot and come home with a Continue reading

Where is PEC in Vintages Essentials?

Vintages Essentials129Vintages Essentials Magazine from the LCBO is out. This classy magazine tells Ontario wine lovers the essential top 130 wines to have in your wine cellar. There is not a single Prince Edward County wine on the list.

There are a 25 from Niagara, three from BC and  102 from the rest of the world.  The LCBO is a government owned monopoly in Ontario, it rakes off a lot of taxes from the sale of wine both through its stores and at the wineries themselves and yet it seem to think that only a couple of dozen Ontario wines, spread across the entire spectrum of wines and only from Niagara grapes, can be called “essential.”  What is the criteria?

I find this so ironic. Two weeks ago, I interviewed Norman Hardie, a leading Prince Edward County winery owner and winemaker, who said “The amazing terroir and soils of Prince Edward County have allowed us to make world-class wines.” Continue reading

South African “braai” wines

Sosaties picture from the Wats4Eats website http://www.whats4eats.com/meats/sosaties-recipe

Sosaties picture from the Wats4Eats website
http://www.whats4eats.com/meats/sosaties-recipe

It’s South Africa’s National Braai Day today Sept 24.  Braai means Barbecue. You might ask why we are celebrating Barbecue Day now when winter is just over the horizon, but for South Africans who are in the southern hemisphere this is the first of spring, when you set the chairs on the deck despite the cool breezes and say “Come on sun, bring on the good times.”

I guess that’s why they market Canada’s Braai Day on Sept 20 before the first day of fall as a final celebration of the great barbecues of the summer before you put the patio furniture away Continue reading