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.

Stanners and Waupoos win Double Gold #ACWC

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Stanners Vineyard

The first time I visited Stanners Vineyard in 2012, I was told they specialized in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Almost every Prince Edward County winery I visited that year were doing the same two wines. How do you compete I wondered, when all 30 of the other wineries in the region were featuring the same two wines.

Father and son team, Cliff and Colin Stanners have diversified a little  over the years with one of the best County Pinot Gris which is only made in small batches, a Riesling and a Cabernet Franc, but the focus and the love has been on the Pinot Noir and this year they are getting national and international recognition for that dedication.

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Remembering the Moselle

A year ago, I was wine touring through the Mosel River Valley in Germany with  Avalon Waterways on the beautiful Avalon Visionary.  Visit my article on this wonderful experience  Wine touring by River Cruise at winetouristmagazine.com 

Related blog on this site

Wine Touring on the Mosel River Part 1

A Tide of Medals for NS Wines at #ACWC

On my recent wine tour in Nova Scotia, I tasted  a lot of lovely wines, so this week I wanted to see how they scored at the All Canadian Wine Championships ACWC. Surprisingly for such a small wine region, they did astonishingly well across a range of categories winning twelve medals between six wineries and a cidery.

The ACWC awards were hit by a tidal wave of wines from BC who took all the top awards of the competition and swept several entire categories, so for  Nova Scotia to win medals for 12 of the 33 wines submitted said they could stand up and be counted. Not all Nova Scotia wineries took part in the competition.

If you want to impress your dinner guests, here are some winners to have on hand. None of them will break the bank so splurge on a mixed case. Continue reading

#ACWS2017 – Expect Greatness

Been there done that, tasted a whole lot of wine.

The Atlantic Wine Symposium 2017 runs from Sunday June 11-13 at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax, It includes wine tastings  winery tours, updates on the state of the wine industry in Atlantic Canada and workshops on new trends and wine making.

I had a foretaste of what was in store during my two day stay at  the beautiful Blomidon Inn in Wolfville when I managed seven winery visits with my husband Colin,who is my photographer and designated driver. For the record the 2016 vintage wines are sensational.

me sniffing 2 TB

So many Tidal Bays, so little time

Since my last visit four years ago, there have been major changes. All the wineries are expanding their number of fields under cultivation and their winery facilities. While their popular hybrids like L’Acadie, Muscat, Ortega, Luci Kuhlmann, and others continue to be the backbone of the industry, more European vinifera are also being planted. Most wineries have set aside an acre or two for experimentation with new vines.

Nova Scotia’s short growing season and the acidic soils of post glacial tilth and sandy clay loam have also proven to be ideal for the production of traditional method and charmat sparkling wine. All of the wineries, I visited have one or more sparkling wines in their portfolio.

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Winetouring by Westerdam

 

I discovered this winter, that wines get seasick.

We had booked on a 19 day cruise through the Panama Canal on Holland America’s Westerdam  and I was almost as excited about exploring the international wine menu as our many ports of call.

My voyage of discovery started ashore in San Diego,  with  San Pasqual Summer Vine rosé made from passion fruit with a touch of habanero.  (Everything  in San Diego had a touch of habanero). You will never read a wine review about this wine but for rosé lovers it’s a “must try.”

The Westerdam’s wine list was an exciting assortment of wines from South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand the States and even Mission Hill Merlot from Canada.

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Wine tasting with winelovers from Victoria BC.

Surprisingly I couldn’t find a white wine that I liked.
I even went to a special wine tasting event and  a group of us savoured  five whites from a number of countries and none of us could actually identify a single flavour.  The reds were better especially the oaked and appasimento wines but the whites just didn’t cut it. Continue reading

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

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

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