About

Wines In Niagara is a website that focuses primarily on the wonderful wines and food made in the Niagara Peninsula. The mission is to be as complete, current, interactive and informative as we possibly can be. We hope it’s an evolving community and a starting point for conversations about the wines, food and the people who make them in the Niagara region. Please forgive us if we get off the beaten track and venture to other wine regions of the world. If we travel, we will write it here on this website. We also write about beer from time to time, but only craft beers that we find fascinating and that are available to beer lovers in Ontario. And cider, good Ontario craft ciders.

The intent of Wines In Niagara is to share a similar passion with Niagara wine and food lovers through reviews, stories, photos, videos, news, events, a blog and, perhaps most important, the conversations that we can all take part in whether it’s on this site, Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else we come together and share information, opinions and the fine nuances of what’s in our glass.

Wines In Niagara is a website long dreamed about and now made possible due to the hard and creative work from the web development students at Niagara College. To Tariq, Nathan, Kristen, Kyle, Henri and Chris — cheers! It has also had help from friends like Adam White in Niagara Falls and Suresh Doss in Toronto. A special thanks to you guys!

ABOUT RICK VANSICKLE (WINE GUY)

Rick VansickleRick VanSickle has been a newspaper journalist for over 30 years.

Rick has been a committed lover of wine since his early 20s, and can remember bringing Mateus to the “boys” camping weekend while everyone else brought beer.

It wasn’t until 1999, as Sunday Editor of the Calgary Sun, that Rick took on the added role of wine writer for the paper when a search for a new wine columnist proved difficult (OK, he didn’t search that hard). He wrote a weekly wine column in the Calgary Sun for 10 years and added the Toronto Sun and Ottawa Sun later.

Rick has now turned his attention to focus on Niagara wines with weekly posts on this website from wineries in and around Niagara. He also writes for Pro Shop Magazine on wine-related matters, www.travelinggolfer.net on wine travel destinations, and is a feature writer and international wine reviewer for Quench Wine Magazine. He also writes other freelance articles on wine-related travel,  and features related to the wine industry.

Rick was also named as Brock University’s Promoter of the Year in 2013 and was named Wine Journalist of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards in 2014.

Wines In Niagara does accept wine samples for review purposes but does not guarantee that wines submitted will be reviewed on this website or any publication. Wines are rated by Rick out of 100 points and (generally) only those that rate 85 points or higher are reviewed. Most all wines are tasted non-blind using similar stemware for each wine and generally the same conditions. For information on where to send unsolicited wine samples, send an email to winesniagara(at)gmail.com.

ABOUT MIKE LOWE (FOOD GUY)

Mike Lowe was born and raised in the Niagara region.

During a 28 year career in automotive component manufacturing and design, Mike has dedicated his free time to the study of food and beverages. He is a  firm believer that, with the growth of the region’s wine industry, Niagara has become, and must remain, a prime culinary destination.

Mike began writing about the restaurants of Niagara in 2004 as a regular contributor to View Magazine (formerly Pulse Niagara).  In addition to many food, wine, beer and spirits related articles, his restaurant reviews have become a source for diners looking for Niagara’s best culinary experiences. The reviews are unsolicited, objective accounts of dining at all levels, from the best burger joint to top-tier fine dining establishments.

Mike attends many food and wine events looking for the best in local cuisine and is a frequent visitor to area wineries. An avid cook, Mike is often in the kitchen, a place he calls “a safe haven where I can relax and focus my attention on good eating.” One of his most treasured cookbooks is his copy of Larousse Gastronomique autographed by celebrated French chef Jacques Pépin.

Mike also reviews wines from time to time and rates his wines on a five-point system.

ABOUT BRIAN YEO (beer guy)

Brian was born, raised, and began drinking beer in Sarnia, Ont. many more
years ago than he will ever admit.

Following what he thought was the sage advice of a high school guidance
counsellor who stated “drinking beer is not a career option” Brian moved on to
London, Ontario to pursue a formal college education in Environmental Sciences.
Post-graduation, Brian again relocated this time to Guelph, Ontario to begin a
long and rewarding career with a laboratory focused on the analysis of organic
contaminants within the environment. As strange as it may sound, it was the
science that allowed Brian to develop a keener interest in all things food, wine,
and most importantly beer. Attending trade shows and scientific conferences
around the world, Brian was able to deeply immerse himself in the local food
and drink of England, France, Spain, Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan,
and Korea amongst others. In particular, visits to Munich, Germany and Portland,
Oregon opened Brian’s eyes to the art and craft of beer and how much existed
beyond the world of mass-produced yellow fizzy stuff. In much of his spare time,
Brian would travel down to Niagara to discover and taste the local wines and
learn all he could about the emerging Ontario wine scene.

In the fall of 2008, Brian changed the focus of his life 180 degrees, leaving a
great career behind to relocate to Niagara to pursue his passion for local food
and wine. He enrolled and graduated as part of the inaugural class of the Wine
Business Management program at Niagara College and further solidified his wine
knowledge with a Level 2 accreditation from the International Sommelier Guild
and the Level 3 Advanced certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
Currently, Brian serves as the Hospitality Manager for Coyote’s Run Estate Winery
in St. Davids, Ont.

Living in Niagara provides Brian with the best of both worlds in that he lives the
food and wine lifestyle daily and is still close enough to the Toronto and Western
New York craft beer scene to enjoy both regularly. This is Brian’s first foray into writing on the subject of beer to which he is infinitely grateful to the fine folks behind Wines in Niagara. It is Brian’s intent to provide informal commentary and
insight on the rapidly increasing amount of great beers available to consumers
in Ontario through breweries, bars, the LCBO, The Beer Store, and occasional
cross-border beer runs. In addition, he will provide coverage of the many beer
events, festivals, tastings, releases, and happenings around Southern Ontario and
Western New York and occasionally even get into the kitchen to cook with beer.

Get out there and enjoy good beer!

2 thoughts on “About

  1. ROGER COOTE

    Rick

    I just read yr rum review in Tidings. Some years ago we visited Nicaragua and Flor de Cana distillery and found it to be a great flavour even neat or on the rocks It is in LCBO nowadays and has some aged ones greater than 5 years

    Roger

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