Embrace Ontario: March 10th in Ottawa

Embrace Ontario Logo

Embrace Ontario is a new kind of wine event in Ottawa. Organized by two Prince Edward County “legends” – Scott Vader (Vineland Estates Sales Rep for Eastern Ontario), and John Squires (Owner, Three Dog Winery), they wanted to bing a new type of event to Ottawa.

From the Vineland Estates website:
Embrace Ontario is an artisan market that showcases some of the best that Ontario farmers, producers and growers have to offer. It is free to for everyone to attend and stock up on what you need for your Easter Dinner. Embrace Ontario is an reminder of all the great things that this province produces all year. It features more than 20 farmers and 8 VQA wineries (which includes us!!)
So be sure to spread the word, tell 2 friends and bring 2 more with you. If you ate today, thank a farmer!

Recently, I had the chance to ask Scott a few questions about the motivation behind this event:

Shawn: So what exactly is Embrace Ontario?
Scott: Embrace Ontario’s focus is on the diverse food and beverage products produced locally in Ontario and Quebec, but not always readily available. It is about meeting the farmers and people who produce these world class products locally,sampling and above all purchasing.

Shawn: What drove the idea?
Scott: The idea grew out of the many events we have both done over the years that cost winery’s, vendors, and the public too much at the door. Now being able to sell VQA wines at farmers markets is a Gamechanger (pun intended ). The difference with this farm market however is that we have attempted to bring farmers and vendors to that would not normally attend a market and others who are unique in what they grow and produce, and of course Ontario VQA wines.

Shawn: Why did you choose Ottawa?
Scott: Ottawa was the first choice mainly because Prince Edward County is the closest DVA region just 3 hours away, and the majority of winery’s, farmers and vendors are coming from the county for this market.

Shawn: Why now?
Scott: With Easter around the corner, it is the perfect time to pick up some special wine and food in one convenient location.

Shawn: Who’s participating? Who will we see on Thursday?
Scott: There are still folks signing up, but as of today we have the following:


Pyramid Ferments
Against the Grain Farms
Gees Bees Honey Company
Nyman Farms
PEC Hot Sauce Co.
County Yum
HaanoverView Farms
TrueBee by Peachey Honey Farm
Four B Farms
King’s Creek Garlic Farms
Coronation Hall Cider Mill
Britannia Backyard Edibles
Upper Canada Creamery (Biomede Yogurt)

Other Vendors

Empire Cheese
Fromagerie Montabello
Meow That’s Hot
Unrefined Olive
Top Shelf Preserves
Cured Smokehouse
Seed to Sausage

Shawn: What should people attending expect to see?
Scott: There something for everyone attending, to sample and buy from heritage pork products to an amazing producer of ancient grains and of course wines from PEC and Niagara.

Shawn: What goals have you set for the event?
Scott: The only real goal for the event is for all the vendors to have a profitable day and raise the awareness of what buying locally contributes to the well being of our economy.

Shawn: Will you do it again?
Scott: It is not our aim to compete with the local markets. However if we can introduce farmers, vendors, and of course winery’s into markets they would not normally attend a few times a year, then yes, we will do it again.

Shawn: When & where is it?
Scott: Lansdowne Park (Horticulture Building), 1015 Bank Street. The time is this Thursday, March 10 from 4PM-8PM.

Posted in Artisan, Craft, Experience, Niagara, Prince Edward County, Tasting Event | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Embrace Ontario: March 10th in Ottawa

Day 30: The Finish Line

calendarDone. Finished. Finito. The End? Certainly not.

When I first set a goal of blogging for 30 days straight, I had a lot of reasons:

  • My blogging history this year had been abysmal at best
  • I had always liked Spotlight Toronto’s 30 Days of wine feature, to which I contributed a few posts. September just seems like the right time to celebrate all things ON wine.
  • I had lots to say but just never seemed to get around to posting
  • I wanted to write, but seemed roadblocked by making each post “perfect”
  • I figured if I set a goal I would push myself to finish it
  • I felt stuck, or in a rut

Reaction to my idea ranged from “You’re an idiot”, “What the f@#* were you thinking?”, to others asking what had motivated me (to which I think I replied “Stupidity?”). In the midst of building my cellar, working on some outdoor building projects, and a super busy period at my day job, I also signed up for WSET3. At this point I was even asking myself “What the f@#* were you thinking?”!

When I started, I had an inkling that I would ask for help from other Ontario wine lovers/bloggers/friends. My Q&A interviews and guest posts ended up contributing 12 posts, which certainly made coming up with content for the others much less intimidating. I had more help at the end than the beginning, which was good as I started to realize the WSET3 course load is not insignificant!

I don’t think all the posts were great material. Some definitely felt rushed and I had to end some more abruptly that I wanted to, but it was important to me to get something out that I felt was “good enough”. “Shipping” as Seth Godin calls it, is more important than perfection. In the end, nearly 16,000 words were written. Experiences and photos were shared. And you all know a little bit more about Mark, Gary, Rick, Krista, Calvin, Paul, Kari, and Bethany. I really appreciate those folks who took time out of their busy schedules to help me with this little project!

So what’s next? I really liked the Q&A posts, which helped even me know a little bit more about my fellow Ontario wine supporters. There’s a few others in the community who I would still like to do that Q&A with, so I think I will continue those when I can. And who knows…maybe next September I’ll do it all over again!

I feel invigorated, and I am setting a more regular blog update schedule going forward. Mission accomplished!

Posted in #30DaysofBlogging | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Day 30: The Finish Line