Wines In Niagara

A local perspective

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Launch of 2013 Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards

Note: With fewer and fewer wine competitions out there for Canadian wines, it’s refreshing to hear that a new tradition continues to show the flag for Ontario wines.

The 2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards is sending out a call for Ontario wineries to get their wines submitted for judging. This is the news release:


The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, is pleased to announce the launch of the 2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines.

Aiming to promote Ontario viticulture and winemaking, this awards program recognizes and honours VQA Ontario wines that are made from 100% Ontario-grown and processed grapes. In this unique competition, all wines compete against each other, with eight to 12 being chosen for their excellence, regardless of vintage or varietal.

-1This awards program is grateful for the continued support of the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario, the Grape Growers of Ontario, and the Wine Council of Ontario.

The awards are administered by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario with wines being adjudicated by expert judges recommended by the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College.

Since its inception in 2011, this annual contest has been enthusiastically received by Ontario’s wine industry, with 535 individual wines having been submitted to date.

Up to four wines may be submitted per winery, and there is no charge to enter. All submitted wines must be commercially available.

For more information, and to fill out an entry form, visit here.

2013 competition timeline

April 15–May 10

Entry form submission period

May 16-17

Bottle drop-off


Announcement of winners

Early July

Consular Corps wine tour Award presentation ceremony


Tutored wine tastings, wining and dining at the Niagara Food and Wine Expo


By Mike Lowe

The Niagara Food & Wine Expo is gearing up for this year’s show with plenty of opportunities to sample fine food, wine, beer and spirits. Last year’s event — see here for coverage — was well attended with no shortage of tasty options to tantalize the palate.



I’ll be there again this year, that’s me above, and look forward to sharing my experiences with you here at Wines In Niagara. Here is a recent news release about this year’s event.

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – The Niagara Food & Wine Expo is returning once again with fantastic grapes, hops and food for everyone. Event organizers are pulling in some of the finest grape growers, master brewers and winemakers from around the world to offer a full-blown food and wine experience, in which guests can sample wares from around the globe and learn more about wine firsthand from industry experts.

The Niagara Food & Wine Expo is Niagara’s premier international tasting event featuring wines, beers and spirits from around the globe and stunning regional wines direct from neighbouring vineyards. The event runs from April 26-28 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ont. The delectable samples will be served alongside fresh, local cuisine prepared by top area restaurants.

“We want guests to get the most out of their experience,” said Christopher Waters of the Niagara Food & Wine Expo. “Our Tutored Tastings wine classes let you taste great wines from around the world, while learning from the experts.”

Tutored Tastings are hosted by industry professionals including Kevin Brauch, known as The Thirsty Traveler and co-host on Iron Chef America, Christopher Waters, editor of VINES Magazine and InterVin head judge, and Mike Langley (above photo), owner of Tide & Vine Oyster Co. Each Tutored Tastings ticket also gives you admission to the Niagara Food & Wine Expo.
On Friday, April 26, Kevin Brauch will delight you with at least eight of his favourite wines from around the world. On Saturday, April 27, Christopher Waters will share highlights from the 2012 InterVin International Wine Awards competition as well as relevant tasting notes, pairing ideas and inspired stories from the winemakers themselves. That same day, Mike Langley and Peter Bodnar Rod from 13th Street Winery will introduce specialty pairings with VQA wines and raw oysters.
The Niagara Food & Wine Expo will feature more than 39 wine exhibitors, from homegrown VQA to other international grape varieties, capturing a variety of flavours to suit all palates.
For some grape growers, the Expo is as close as their own backyards, but others have travelled from much farther distances to showcase their beloved wines. Homegrown wineries that will be providing samples at the Expo include 20 Bees Winery, Between the Lines Winery, GreenLane Estate Winery and Cornerstone Estate Winery, among many others. There will also be a wide variety of international wineries providing samples at the Expo, including Pitars from San Martino, Italy and Ktima Vourvoukeli from Avdira, Xanthi-Thrace, Greece.
  tomek in red

New this year is the Celebrity Live Auction that will be hosted by Kevin Brauch on Saturday, April 27 at 5 p.m., with proceeds supporting the Breast Cancer Society. Guests will have the opportunity to bid on a 90-minute personal tour of the Niagara Food & Wine Expo, to be led by one of the industry experts: TV personality Kevin Brauch, wine expert Christopher Waters, Hernder Estates winemaker Lydia Tomek (above) or Sue-Ann Staff Wines and Megalomaniac Wines winemaker Sue-Ann Staff.

For more information on the Niagara Food & Wine Expo and Tutored Tastings please visit

The Facts:

Niagara Food & Wine Expo
April 26-28, 2013

Dates & Times
Friday, April 26, 2013, 2:00PM-10:00PM 
Saturday, April 27, 2013, 12:00PM-10:00PM 
Sunday, April 28, 2013, 12:00PM-6:00PM

General Admission
$15 at the door
$12 in advance online

Sample Tickets 
• Sample tickets are the official show currency 
• Sample tickets are worth $1 each and are available in sheets of $10 
• Sample tickets are used for sampling wine, spirits, beer and food 
• Sampling prices vary with most at only 1 or 2 tickets per sample
• Enjoy a wide variety of food and drinks for approximately $20 per person

Buy admission tickets at

Peller welcomes back Food Truck Eats, new grape grower chair named and a Riesling Challenge


Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Peller Estates Winery is bringing back one of the biggest Food Truck events in Canada during the May long weekend.

Food Truck Eats at Peller Estates Winery takes place on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 beside Peller Estates’ picturesque estate vineyards.

The event will feature 20 food trucks from Canada and the United States. Some of the most daring, tasty and innovative street food available will be served alongside 20 wines from Peller Estates’ award winning portfolio.

Peller Estates Vineyard View

This year, Peller Estates is introducing some exciting new changes to the event. On Sunday, May 19, participants will experience the magic of the estate vineyards under the stars at the new Night Market. A lineup of DJs will play their best party music while the same delectable food truck creations and Peller Estates wines will be showcased.

tamara• The event will take place on Saturday, May 18 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Sunday, May 19 the new Night Market will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is the same great event enjoyed under the stars with a lineup of live DJs.

• Tickets are available for $15 per person, exclusive of taxes.

Each ticket includes admission to the event, a glass of Peller Estates wine, a souvenir Govino glass and entertainment.

• To purchase tickets visit or call 1-888-673-5537 x 2. Last year, Food Truck Eats was sold out so buy tickets early to avoid disappointment.

• Use the #FoodTruckEats hashtag on Twitter and join the Food Truck Eats at Peller Estates Facebook Event page.


“At Peller Estates we are experts in providing unsurpassable wine and food experiences and we give visitors something beyond a standard tour and tasting,” said Mark Torrance, director of Peller’s Estate Wine Group.

“Food Truck Eats at Peller Estates Winery gives us the chance to showcase great culinary talent in a fun an informal atmosphere. We could think of no better way to celebrate the unofficial kick off to summer.”

Peller Estates Winery is located at 290 John Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake.



George re-elected chair of grape growers

Grape Growers of Ontario CEO Debbie Zimmerman announced that Bill George has been re-elected as the Board Chair for 2013-2014. George is the longest serving member on the Grape Growers of Ontario Board of Directors.

 Bill resides in the Town of Lincoln with his wife Leslieann and their two children. He farms an 80-acre wine grape operation in Beamsville where his family has been growing grapes for over 100 years.

About us - Bill George “I am appreciative of the trust the members have shown in re-electing the board of directors,” said George. “2013 will be focused on developing market share and new markets. It is important for the Grape Growers of Ontario to work with our industry partners to achieve real market growth.”

Matthias Oppenlaender has been re-elected Vice Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario Board and a Director for three years. Oppenlaender lives in Niagara on the Lake where he farms 400 acres of wine grapes.

Bill Schenck of St. Catharines and Kevin Watson of Niagara-on-the-Lake were also elected to the Board of Directors. Trevor Falk of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Brock Puddicombe of Winona, Jim Morrison of Jordan, Steve Pohorly of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Debra Marshall of Prince Edward County, and Bill Jansenberger of Southwestern Ontario, are all mid-way through their three-year terms as Directors.

The Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization that represents almost 500 actively producing growers on 17,000 acres in the province’s three viticulture areas: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County.


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The Ontario Riesling Challenge

The 7th Annual Ontario Consumers’ Riesling Challenge is taking place in Guelph on May 25.

The event is being held LCBO store #495 (615 Scottsdale Drive, Guelph, On), from noon to 4 p.m. and will feature an array of Ontario Rieslings from dry to off-dry.

This is a consumer driven event and trophies are awarded to the winner in both the dry and off-dry categories.

A total of 14 wineries have committed to the event including: Angels Gate, Calamus, Cave Spring Cellars, Coffin Ridge, Cooper’s Hawk, Featherstone, Flat Rock Cellars, The Foreign Affair, The Good Earth Wine Company,

Greenlane, Rosewood, Sue-Ann Staff, 13th Street, and 2027 Cellars.

Participating customers pay a $10 admission fee, which get them four tasting tickets. The collected admission goes directly to Bracelet of Hope.

Consumers will also receive a bracelet, which symbolizes hope; one country reaching out to another and both transformed by the experience. Bracelet of Hope is an example of international co-operation, a project aimed to assist Lesotho in overcoming its AIDS pandemic.

There will also be local food purveyors will, artisanal breads, water and coffee etc. at the event.





Reif’s Magician, Bachelder’s Burgundy, Chateau des Charmes’ top wine and a PEC gem lead Vintages release


Only four wines from Niagara are being released at Vintages this Saturday so we’re going a little farther afield to Prince Edward County and Burgundy (with a Niagara connection) for some LCBO recommendations this week. Continue reading

The stylish single-variety wines from Stratus Vineyards’ 2010 vintage (and, can we talk about the Chardonnay a bit?)


Stratus Vineyards is methodical in pretty much everything it does. Continue reading

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