Tasteful Women of the County

It’s a scientific fact that women have more taste buds than men. In fact 35% of women qualify as ‘super tasters’ and only 15% of men but most of us know good when we taste it. Winemakers are super tasters, or they wouldn’t be in business long. Another interesting fact: the majority of LCBO wine purchasers are women age 40 and older, Which might add to the success factor of women winemakers.

While researching a recent article for County and Quinte Living Women of the Grape I had the privilege of meeting fourteen of those Super Women Tasters  who work in winemaking in Prince Edward County. Not only do they make great wine but they have added significantly to the development of the County as a respected wine region.  The first five are part owners of the wineries as well as winemakers. Continue reading


42 splashes of wine – Terroir 2015

42 splashes of wine in the glass
42 splashes of wine
Another splash and I’ll fall on my …

“You don’t spit?”  Dan asked incredulously.

Dan Tweyman is the nearly new winemaker at Trail Winery. I met him Saturday at Terroir  2015 in Picton. Prince Edward County. He is one of four new winemakers that I met at Terroir.

It was a marvelous day: 21 wineries, 35 other vendors with foods, pickles, preserves, cheeses and chocolate. The sun was shining, it was over 30 ºC and packed with people happily buying wine and goodies. Terroir is the start of wine seasons. Continue reading

The Joys and Heartbreak of 2014 Wassail

Friendship more than wine brought me out to Prince Edward County this Wassail. The news of Richard Karlo’s death last week on November 26 had stunned me and I needed to be with other people who were also saddened by his passing. Saturday was  a raw cold day like the one in 2010 for my first Wassail. That year I’d come as a stranger, this year I came as a friend. Continue reading

Going to the Dogs

John and  Sacha Squair are going it alone in the Prince Edward County wine region. They aren’t in Wellington, the Closson Road, Hillier, South Bay or North Marysburgh. They aren’t even near heavily trafficked roads like Huff Estates, Sugar Bush or Black Prince.  They are out in the middle of nowhere wine related  on Fish Lake Road way beyond Demorestville,  and there’s not another winery in sight for at least half an hour of driving.

Standing out from the crowd.
It’s not the only way John Squair stands apart from the other wineries. After seven years working with Sandbanks Estates Winery, John knows that there are three ways to approach running a winery.

3 Dog Winery

3 Dog Winery

You can have deep pockets and be a purist and use only Prince Edward County vinifera grapes, you can grow affordable hardy grapes which the market is not all that interested in buying, or you can use what you have and blend it with grapes from Niagara and make enough to pay your bills

John opted for #3, actually, he  had no choice. He and Sacha had planted grapes for their own wine consumption on the Fish Lake Road property back in 2003, but they both continued to hold down full-time jobs. With his 50th birthday on the horizon, John realized the time was right for them to start their own winery. There was one problem, you must have five acres of vines planted  to start a winery, they only had three.

Getting by with a little help from his friends
Undaunted, he sent out an email to everyone  on his  contacts list who loved wine and invited them to a planting party. After seven years at Sandbanks, John knew a lot of people and they all turned up. There was even a waitlist, County Cider donated cider, Barley Days donated beer,  Rosehall Run, Karlo Estates, Lighthall  Vineyards and others donated wine. Food was donated by Seed to Sausage, Fiddlehead Farms, Pyramid Farms and Ferments as well as desserts from Moonlight on the Lake B & B. It was a huge success, despite the rain. At the end of it all, he had 7 acres of vines planted, more than enough to meet the legal requirements;  however, only three acres of mature grapes were ready for harvest and the other four acres would take three more years before they could be picked. Continue reading

Wine to pair with real meals – Week #8

Suggested wine pairings rarely match with real family dinner favourites like Dad’s spicy Italian pasta sauce, Five Alarm  chilli or Friday night pepper steak and chips. Connoisseurs’ favourites like Pinot Noir or Gamay can be overwhelmed by heavy spices, strong sauces, salt and oil. Over Valentine’s weekend, I discovered a gutsy wine that is up to the challenge. It’s my choice for  2014 Wine of the Week #8.

Bergeron Estate  Cabernet Franc 2009

Bergeron Estate
Cabernet Franc 2009

The wine: Bergeron Estate Cabernet Franc 2009 $21.95
Aged in French Oak for 16 months, rich flavours of blackberries, black  cherry,  raspberries, sloes, pepper and spicy tobacco with a dry finish. At five years old, this wine is at its peak.

The winery:  Bergeron Estate Winery
Located on highway 33, near Adolphustown, Bergeron Estates was purchased in 2002 by brothers Ted and Dave Bergeron and opened in 2007. It has been expanding ever since. The tasting room has a lovely adjoining sun room and wide wrap around veranda with a view down to Adolphus Reach. It serves  gourmet pizzas made by Nonna, Dave’s Italian mother-in-law, most weekends year-round and sells a selection of  Estate wines and its Cole Point Cider.

The winemaker: David Bergeron has been learning on the job like many County winemakers. For his first two vintages in 2006 and 2007, Dan Sullivan of Rosehall Run was hired as the winemaker, while he trained at his side. Dave has attended winemaking forums at Brock University and in Prince Edward County and  has completed a sommelier certification program from Algonquin. Two years ago, he bought out his brother’s share  and now he and his wife are sole owners. Continue reading

Marquesa Port & Dark Chocolate Week #7

Valentine’s Day is past and I have a plethora of dark chocolate to take me through the cold nights of February,  perfect for pairing with red port. For several years, Karlo Estates‘ Van Alstine red was the signature Prince Edward County port-style wine  but,  these days, there is serious competition.



The Wine:  Harwood Marquesa 2011 $29
This is a port style wine made from a blend of Marquette and Cabernet Franc grapes, aged for 12 months in old  American and French oak barrels. 18% alc.

The WineryHarwood Estates
Opened in 2009 near Hillier, Harwood is a family business run by Don and Judy Harwood, John Rode and Kerry Wicks. The winery is off grid with solar, wood and propane providing their energy sources. Something that proved really beneficial with the power outages this winter. Continue reading

Wine of the Week – Week 2 – Karlo Estates Van Alstine White

Throughout 2014, I will be featuring one wine each week from wineries I’ve toured and sharing what makes the winery unique and this wine worth trying.  This week is my favourite white port to finish a dinner celebration.Van_Alstine_White 2

The wine:  Karlo Estates Van Alstine White
A fortified port style wine made from a blend of Frontenac Blanc and Traminette 17 % alc.
The  winery:  Karlo Estates Winery 
A beautiful old barn winery dating back to the 1840’s near Wellington, Prince Edward County
The owner / winemaker:  Richard Karlo Continue reading

Ontario Wines to be sold at Farmer’s Markets

Ontario Wines will soon be available at Ontario Farmer’s Markets. This is HUGE.

An Ontario provincial government’s press release on December 17, about New Opportunities for Ontario Wine Growers  was barely mentioned in the  business news but this will be a game changer for all of Ontario’s wine regions.

There are around 100 Ontario wineries who do not sell through the provincialy run LCBO stores because they don’t produce sufficient quantity or because the LCBO cuts so deeply into their profits that they lose money selling through it. Unless a tourist stumbles upon their winery travelling country roads, they have to rely on word of mouth and a growing stack of awards to let people know they even exist. Come winter, opportunities for sales to new customers are miniscule.  Continue reading

Maple Madness at Prince Edward County Wineries

Tasting Marqueza port with maple chocolate shots at Harwood Estates.

Tasting Marqueza port with maple chocolate shots at Harwood Estates.

There are thirty wineries in Prince Edward County Ontario and during Maple Madness, 17 of them had interesting gourmet wine pairing events. How did people choose where to go?The wine connoisseurs would probably have headed for Norman Hardie. Norm was offering maple cured smoked salmon gravlox with his 2009 Pinots and Chardonnays or Closson Chase who were pairing Chard and Pinot with mini maple cured ham and cheese sandwiches. Rosehall Run could also have been part of that tour offering mini grilled maple cheese, caramelized onion and apples paired with their Chardonnay.

The traditionalist wine tourists would have gone for the most well known county wineries, whose wines are available through the LCBO with a variety of price options. They might have started at 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.