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.

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

All the best elements of Chtistmas and a bad  bottle of wine.

Wonderful Christmas, dreadful wine

“Mum, this wine is ghastly,” said my daughter about the County white I had bought specifically to pair with the best Christmas turkey, Colin has ever cooked.

Three years ago, I bought a bottle of Norm Hardie Chardonnay, and the dinner table became reverently quiet after the first sip for a moment of bliss. I should have looked for another Norm Hardie wine this year but I didn’t.

I’d stopped in at a County winery before Christmas and bought a bottle of a wine I’d had loved in an earlier vintage four years ago. I’ve even written about it several times. I didn’t bother to do a tasting because I was sure it would be superb. 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

Castle Melnik historic castle and winery of the Czech Republic.

Why did I hate this wine?

Melnik Castle, a thousand years of history, the largest vineyard in Bohemia, impressive barrel cellars that may once have been dungeons, and massive oak wine barrels built on site emblazoned with the family crest and other carvings. What’s not to love?

Actually, the wine. Continue reading

Rosehall Run Winery venue for Rosehall Theatre

Wine and Laughter at Rosehall Theatre

Step on the gas, don’t let Test Drive at Rosehall Theatre pass you by.

Rosehall Theatre has got to be one of the nicest venues to spend a summer evening. Theatre goers are on risers under a large canopy close to the stage with a back drop of acres of Rosehall Run vines. The play put on by Festival Players could be a disaster but you’d still enjoy the view. Which is why, when I was told I could exchange my opening night tickets to Test Drive for later in the season, I bet on the view.

TestDriveGraphicThe problem was that the lead actor had left the show and his replacement, Douglas Hughes, had only had six days to prepare to take his place. The director, Sarah Phillips, confessed to the opening night crowd, she had absolutely no idea how the show would go but we were to expect some ad-libbing, surprises and even the odd whispered cue. Continue reading