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


Vintage Wine Tours in Niagara

As much as I love wine, I love good theatre too, so for the past two years, Colin and I have had a mini escape for a matinée at the Stratford Festival, two nights in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a wine tour, a performance at the Shaw Festival and some solo wine touring on the way home through the Niagara Escarpment. This year we brought our bikes to cycle the trails along the Avon and around Fort George.

The plays were King Lear with Colm Feore, incredible, and Arms and the Man, a delightful saucy comedy. The accommodations were Mary’s Street Bed and Breakfast, very affordable,  with great food, a comfortable room, a private patio and extremely helpful owners. The restaurants, were the Stone Road Grille, and the Epicurean which both served interesting food at reasonable prices for the quality. The prices for a glass of wine were surprisingly high at both places.

Our half day wine tour was with  Niagara Vintage Wine Tours this year. Their very large comfortable bus picked us up at the B & B and we were warmly welcomed by our guide, Gus Bagarozza.  He provided us with a geological and social history of Niagara and a lot of information about the wine industry. A retired teacher, Gus is an amateur winemaker himself and so keeps up with what’s new in the industry while conducting tours.  Our group included a combined family of seven from Canada and Ireland who were on their first ever wine tour and were there as much for the joy of spending time together as the experience of wine touring in Canada and a couple celebrating their 17 th wedding anniversary from Port Dover. Continue reading

Gewurz Eggs – April Wines

Fermentation EggsThis was going to be my April Fool’s Blog about how Gewurztraminer wine is hatched from eggs. I even had a photo to prove it but last week was so frantic I didn’t get it written.

Several Prince Edward County Wineries make surprisingly good Gewurztraminer Lacey Estates, Sugarbush and Lighthal Vineyards leap to mind but really the climate in Niagara and Pelée Island gives their wineries a better chance of getting the full Gevurz flavour right.

The wine: Carlton Vineyard Outlier Gewurztraminer. 2012  $25
This  Showcase wine is called Outlier because it comes from a patch of Gerwurz vines in a section of Carlton Vineyards where it is surrounded by red wine  vines. It picked late in the season at full ripeness. Continue reading

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.