Bringing the Wineries to You…

(Ed. note: I was going to label this post “How to Talk about MyWineShop and the LCBO at the Same Time in a Positive Manner”, but the title was too long.)

My wife and I are huge advocate of getting people out and about, exploring the great wine regions of Ontario. We’ve been to wineries from Niagara to Bala, Prince Edward County to Ottawa (yes, I said Ottawa). We still haven’t made it to the Lake Erie North Shore (LENS, now known as the EPIC region) nor those in other regions like Grey County, but they are on our list. There is just something amazing that happens when you connect with the winery and the people producing the wine.

For those of you that find it hard to find the time and or money to afford a trip to a wine region, there are several alternatives (hopefully there will be more if the #MyWineShop movements is successful). Until then, there are a couple of options for Ottawa area wine enthusiasts.

I’ve posted several times on the Savvy Company events in Ottawa and they have a host of new events posted here. Savvy events happen throughout the year, and Savvy Company owner Debbie Trenholm is adding  some smaller events this year in addition to her 3 big events (Wineries of Niagara on the Lake, Outstanding in their Fields, and Sip, Savour, Selebrate). All great opportunities to taste and buy at an affordable price.

Picture 13

Another one of my favourites events is coming up around the corner and brings more than 30 wineries from the Niagara Peninsula and Prince Edward County here to Ottawa for one “not-to-be-missed” evening. I’m talking about the Taste Ontario event, put on in conjunction with the LCBO Vintages. Here’s the details:


(Click on Picture to be taken to purchase tickets)

(Click on Picture to be taken to purchase tickets)


When: Monday, February 11, 2013, 6:30pm—9:00pm

Location: National Gallery of Canada. 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa

Cost: $65 per person (Click on the picture above to be taken to the Vintages page where you can purchase your tickets)

The format is like many of these events, where each of the 30 or so wineries has a booth set up and will be pouring 2-4 wines each (~100 in total). There are no additional per-sample tasting fees (no tickets to purchase like Ottawa’s famous Food & Wine show), and there is some pretty amazing food served to accompany your tastings. It is a “Taste & Buy” event, where you can purchase (and for the most part, take with you) your favourite wines of the evening from the LCBO kiosk set up on site.

The best part (for us) is that many of the winery principals attend the event, so you have a chance to meet the farmers/owners/winemakers (occasionally all the same person) and find out a little bit more about where the wine you are tasting came from and how it was made. Personally, I tend to think everything tastes better when you’ve met the people who made it. These people are PASSIONATE about what they do, and they love coming to Ottawa to showcase their wines because Ottawa folks show such great interest in the fruits of their labours.

Here are some ideas on how to make it a fun evening:

  • THEME: Pick a theme wine for the night (like Riesling, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir), and then sample all of the wines of that varietal, trying to pick a winner (your favourite).
  • STYLE: Pick a style of wines you enjoy (“fresh, fruity whites” or “big, bold, reds”) and then find what you think is the best one and why.
  • MYSTERY: Find wines you don’t normally drink. Occasionally there will be a different varietal, or a varietal done in a unique way (wines like white Merlot, sparkling Vidal, Sauvignon Blanc icewine come to mind). Search out the unique and try it anyway – it is one of the benefits of an event like this where you can sample so many wines.
  • FOOD & WINE: Have a look at the food area first, and then attempt to find wines that match the best with each of the foods offered.
  • BEST OF THE BEST: Bring a group and all try different wines. Each person picks their best wine of the night and then try all the “winners” as a group.
  • REMEMBER: If you want to try a lot of wines, indulge safely. You can make use of the spitoons at each station, drink water between tastings, sample the food. Whatever you do, drink responsibly so everyone gets home safe.

Happy Tasting!




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