Bethany Harpur is another Ontario wine blogger, who happens to be based in Ottawa. We started following each other on Twitter, and eventually met at an Ottawa wine event. She joined The Great Canadian Wine Challenge, and took home one of the top prizes with a one year membership in the Vineland Estates wine club. She recently attended the Wine Blogger’s Conference and made sure attendees sampled some fine Ontario wine. Bethany’s Twitter handle and blog are both 2ndFerment.
Q1: How and when did you first get interested in Ontario wine?
A1: I tried my first at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show in 2001. It was a sauvignon blanc, I believe, and I was surprised by how good it tasted. Actually, I went on and on about it; “Is this REALLY Ontario wine? I didn’t even know they MADE wine in Ontario! I mean, this is really GOOD!” You know, the kind of backhanded compliment that winemakers love to hear …
Q2: What do you find most interesting about the Ontario wine industry?
A1: The sense of community. These are farmers, first and foremost, growing crops in some unbelievable conditions at great risk to their financial, personal and mental well-being. When one of them is in need, the community comes together.
Q3: Which Ontario wine regions have you visited?
Niagara and Prince Edward County, with several day trips to wineries right here in the Ottawa Valley.
Q4: Any favourite wineries? If so, what makes them your favourite?
Good lord, how am I supposed to narrow that down? Karlo Estates, Norm Hardie, Lighthall Vineyards, the former Lailey Vineyards, Daniel Lenko. Why? The people. The warm welcome you get at the door, the stories behind the wines, the inside jokes and laughs shared.
Q5: What do you see in the future for the Ontario wine industry?
The County will likely see the same kind of explosion in popularity and growth as Niagara, as people become more familiar with the products. And once provincial barriers are dropped and Ontario wines can be shipped across Canada, then we’ll see huge growth from all the regions.
Q6: If you had any advice to give Ontario wineries, what is it?
Get on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure your website is up-to-date and mobile friendly, that the wines you list online are still in stock, that your hours, contact info and directions are correct.
Q7: What’s your social media channel of choice?
Q8: What was the last bottle of Ontario wine you opened?
Karlo Estates 2013 Lake on the Mountain Riesling