Ravishing Ravine – A Photo Essay (PLUS – Bonus Contest!)

Where do I start? I suppose I could start where I left off, with this post about our last visit to Ravine. That post ended with the following line: “We’re planning an organized tour this summer for a group of friends and we’re going to make sure that one of the stops is Ravine. ” A man of my word, I did plan Ravine in for the second stop of our tour, a stop that conveniently crossed the lunch period so we could enjoy some of the world class cooking coming out of the kitchen.

Woodruff House, and the great wines of Ravine awaits. (Pic courtesy of Andrew Weber.)

We met up with Jen (Jennifer Coburn) in the tasting room where she started us off with a sampler of one of my favourite wines of 2012, the Picone Vineyard Cab Franc. Jen has the most infectious personality, and she bubbles with enthusiasm, her eyes sparkling the whole time she is engaging us.

Jen in background, beloved Picone Vineyard Cab Franc in the foreground

I had tasted and loved this before, and I found in addition to the previous notes…

The nose is dark cherries with a slight floral note. The palate has loads of luscious dark cherries, black raspberries, and rich, ripe plums, finishing with light spice and tobacco notes. The medium tannins, nice acidity and delicate care in integrating all these components mean that this wine will drink very nicely now or for the next 5-7 years.

…that now there was more blueberry and cassis notes on both the nose and palate, and  I detected a light menthol note on the nose I had missed before. The mineral core was really showing now and I can only say that this wine was even more delicious than before. We had some time to wander around the restored Woodruff house and take some more pictures of the beautifully restored building, including the deli shop/bakery in the back.

More wine!

Love the architectural details of Woodruff House. (Pic courtesy of Andrew Weber).

Old cooking fireplace. (pic courtesy of Andrew Weber)

Great selection of cheese at Ravine (pic courtesy of Andrew Weber)

Chefs at Ravine are now creating their own preserves (pic courtesy of Andrew Weber)

Jen had planned a little tour of the winery grounds, starting with a short walk over to their organic garden. On the way over, chef-proprietor Paul Harber joined us and added some colour on the history of their organic gardener, Gummi, and how she came to be the gardener at Ravine (Paul had worked with Gummi at Michael Stadtländer’s farm restaurant).  She now maintains a large organic garden that provides for the restaurant – picking twice daily for the lunch and dinner menus.

Paul explains the garden crops

The Ladies in the Garden

We then made our way back to the restaurant through the basements of the buildings. Here, in Disney fashion, are all the workings of the winery and the kitchen that most folks never see. First we saw the bakery and the main food prep areas:

Paul explains the workings of the onsite bakery (A. Weber photo)

Ravine production line (A. Weber photo)

And the wine production area:

You can literally smell the wine through the barrel (honest!) (A. Weber photo)

Yum! More Meritage! (A. Weber photo)

Really glad to see more of this coming! (A. Weber photo)

Standing at the vines, the view of the back of the winery.


Vineyards 1

Imposing sky over the vineyards (A. Weber photo)

We originally thought we might sit outside at the bar seating right at the large, wood-fired oven. That lasted about 5 minutes until the rain hit, and then we headed inside for shelter.

Seated at the wood fired oven counter. For now!

Once settled inside, one of the most beautifully presented charcuterie platters arrived for our appetizer! We then ordered our mains for lunch, and each was paired beautifully with Ravine wines. The food is uncomplicated, natural, executed to perfection, and beautifully presented:

Burger & fries, homemade coleslaw

Pizza with arugula

Tomato tart – so fresh!

After a quick lunch, we popped back into the tasting room for a few more tastes and to load up on the wines already sampled (including more of the opulent 2010 Picone Cab Franc). Given our exhaustive tasting in March, I just tried a couple new ones, including an off-dry 2010 Gewurztraminer with a decent acidic backbone to keep it fresh.

For Debbie and I, this wasn’t our first visit to Ravine Vineyards, but for all of us, it won’t be our last.  In fact, my friend Andrew said he would love to take a week and work at Ravine – compared to many “work environments” the staff at Ravine have mastered the art of making hard work look like fun. The energy here is palpable, and I can’t thinks of a better word to describe the feeling other than “electric”!


OK, so you made it all the way to the bottom. Here’s the deal. Wine Country Ontario is running a contest (will be using the hashtag #12DaysWCO on Twitter) where they are giving away prizes for 12 days in a row. The featured gift that they have for Friday the 14th of December was selected by yours truly and is $100 Gift Card for dining at Ravine Vineyard Restaurant! Want to enter? I’ll make it easy for everyone:

Twitter: Tweet the following without modifications: “I just entered to win $100 Gift Card to @RavineVineyard from @UncorkOntario at http://uncorkontario.com/?p=1838 #12DaysWCO” .

Facebook: Like the UncorkOntario Facebook page and/or leave a comment on the page if you have already liked the page.

Comment: Leave a comment about this article below! In the spirit of Christmas, I’ll allow you to combine all three avenues to enter, to a maximum of 3 entries per person.

UPDATE: The winner is Peter Obradovich of Toronto! Congratulations Peter!

Fine Print: Random draw from entries received by Sunday, December 16th at midnight (EST). All other rules & regulations that lawyers involved in contests usually write in small print may or may not apply. Prize supplied by Wine Country Ontario – kudos to them for this fabulous contest (watch Twitter for the #12DaysWCO for other prizes too!).

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22 Responses to Ravishing Ravine – A Photo Essay (PLUS – Bonus Contest!)

  1. Paul Dearborn says:

    This sounds like a great spot. I’ve tried one or two of their wines but I’d love to try more soon. This will definitely be on my list the next time I visit Niagara. Cheers!!

  2. David Rose says:

    Love Ravine. We get there a few times a year and I just joined their wine club so now they can come to me!

  3. Henry Holland says:

    Neat article. Wine sounds great. Unfortunately, not available at my LCBO. The Cab Franc sounds like the Grenache I tried last week. Now have to look for at other LCBO stores.

  4. Adam Young says:

    Sounds great. I’d love to visit the place.

  5. I visited Ravine Vineyard for the first time during Taste the Season this year. I can’t wait to go back and have a meal in the restaurant and try a lineup of their wines.

  6. Laura says:

    Sign me up – would love a chance to try out their wines and restaurant.

  7. Colleen C says:

    We discover Ravine earlier this year and stopped in for a bite to eat. We loved the winery, the wines and the amazing food. This is a terrific giveaway!

  8. Candace Young says:

    It all looks delicious! I’m excited to try the Meritage.

  9. matt says:

    Ravine’s Meritage is incredible! I’d get 4 more with this $100 Gift Card!

  10. Joel says:

    Did you know Ravine is one of my favourite spots? I think you did.

  11. Sandy says:

    Awesome contest! Would love to come visit!!

  12. Yvonne Tsui says:

    So many vineyards, so little time… but Ravine is one I’ve been meaning to try. Time to start booking vacation days? *fingers crossed*

  13. Great prize, Shawn. In fact, if you didn’t get to it first I would have made it the prize for my #12DaysWCO contest next week.

  14. Davindra says:

    The pictures of all that food made me drool. It looks amazing.

  15. Lauren says:

    Awesome article! Ravine is one my favourite wineries too! Glad you’re giving away a chance for others to experience it!

  16. Peter says:

    Happy to be participating in a great contest from a great producer!

  17. pudgy says:

    Mmmm .. charcuterie is like Lunch-ables for grown ups. 🙂

  18. Andrew Weber says:

    Great read! Love the photos 🙂

  19. Nicole says:

    That tomato tart is the most delish thing I have seen in awhile! Must try it out myself this weekend!! Thank you

  20. laura reid says:

    signed up on facebook
    tweeted https://twitter.com/garfan11/status/279718190232268800
    the food looks awesome, would love to check it out

  21. Erika says:

    Looks like a great place to visit!

  22. Kim says:

    Sounds like a wonderful combination of great food and great wine! Looks amazing, too! I look forward to our next trip to Niagara. We’ll be sure to put Ravine Vineyards on the top of our “must try” list!

Comments are closed.