#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.

Continue reading


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.


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

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

Sherry Martin displaying a bottle of Karlo Estates wine

My wine tastes of chocolate

My last column “Where do wine flavours come from?”  paraphrased a lot of information given by Sherry Martin the PR specialist at Karlo Estates winery  of Prince Edward County,when my sisters and I visited  for a tasting.  One of the comments on the  column came from Doreen Pengracs who blogs at Chocolate Travel Diversions  and who is currently finishing up a book called Chocolatour: A quest for the world’s best chocolate.

She wanted to know what caused the chocolate notes in some wines, so I sent the question back to Sherry Martin and the rest of this blog is her response. I thought it was so interesting it needed sharing.

According to Sherry, that chocolate you’re picking up might be because of the varietal: Certain grapes have a chocolate taste profile to begin with, like Merlot. It’s usually the Bordeaux and hotter climate reds that taste of chocolate.

The oak is another place the taste of chocolate can be imparted.Oak can give off may flavours; sweet spices such as cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, or burnt sugar flavours like caramel and vanilla; chocolate or even coffee. The toast level in the oak barrel used can determine the flavour; toastier barrels (where a cooper will brown the wood with fire, just like an old fashioned bread toaster over a camp fire) gives darker richer flavours.  The source of  the oak can be another factor. French oak has a sweeter, more vanilla taste profile while American is more intense and has been said to have more of a coconut note to it.

Chocolate itself can be broken down further to have subtleties like vanilla and leather.Vanilla (otherwise known as vanillin) also comes from oak in the form of vanillic acid, which is where we get artificial vanilla from.Leather comes from the tannins themselves, also from the barrel. (Think tanned leather.)

Keep in mind flavour is very subjective.One person may pick up chocolate, while another might perceive it as molasses or plums.

What is most important is that you enjoy it, so don’t worry, sit back, take a sip and savour the flavours.

For more information on wine flavours visit Tar and Roses The Italian Wine Resource

Thank you, Sherry!

Are Ontario wines overpriced?

Hilled vines for winter protection.

Hilled vines for winter protection.

By Veronica Leonard

In Prince Edward County most of the wineries price their wines between $15 -35 a bottle or higher. You can pick up a bottle of Chilean or Argentinean wine for far less. You can also get good tasting European table wines for low to mid teens, so why should you pay more for Canadian wine? Are we being ripped off?

During an interview with Dan Sullivan, winemaker and co-owner of Rosehall Run in the Prince Edward County, I learned a lot about the costs faced by Ontario winemakers that have to be remembered when you look for that bargain bottle.  Continue reading