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It Was Written in the Stars … A Celestial Experience at Niagara’s Calamus Estate Winery

By Monica Kosior

I couldn’t have dreamt up a more perfect evening. Surrounded by my closest friends and family, a roaring fire and a beautiful August night sky.

We had the pleasure of visiting and experiencing one of the most unique wineries and properties in Lincoln, the Calamus Estate Winery. Why is Calamus so unique? Simple: it is the only winery that houses a deep space telescope in their Chronos Observatory.

When most people think of wine country they don’t typically think of observatories. But through a joint project the telescope was added to the winery, and eventually moved onto their upper deck. Located beside Balls Falls in Lincoln, Calamus Estate Winery is proudly owned by husband and wife team, Derek Saunders and Pat Latin.

After enjoying some appetizers and s’mores we were able to join Derek group by group to view the Moon through the telescope. And by 9:30 p.m. it was repositioned to view Saturn. The sights were both breathtaking and unbelievable. Never have I felt so little on our planet next to our neighbours in the solar system.

One of Derek and Pat’s most memorable sightings was during an evening viewing Jupiter. Derek explains that “when a planet or moon crosses in front of another celestial body,

it is called a transit … we experienced the transit of one of the Jovian moons as it crossed in front of Jupiter.” And most recently during the lunar eclipse, a mere 150 people dropped by to check out the view at Calamus.

The wines

Crackle 2016 ($18.95) — Made in the charmat method, Crackle is a blend of 75% Vidal, 12.5% Chardonnay and 12.5% Pinot Gris. Notes of white peach, floral and lots of pear on the nose and palate. The perfect bubbles to start or end your meal, drink now and serve chilled.

150 Eh Red 2013 ($15.95) — In paying homage to Canada’s sesquicentennial birthday, the 150 Eh series includes a Red blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. Spending 28 months in French oak the Red was released in June under screwcap. Notes of plum and dark berries and slight smokiness on the nose. Drink now or hold, serve with your BBQ favourites or next bowl of bolognese.

150 eh Rosé 2016 ($13.95) — My favourite part of spring/summer wine releases are rosés! This wine is a blend of 69% Chardonnay, 28% Riesling and 3% Merlot. Notes of field strawberries, white flowers and ripe cherries on the nose, finishing with great balance. Drink now, served chilled with your favourite summer salads or salmon dishes.

The expansion

Calamus is currently expanding and creating a brand new barrel cellar, with a crush pad above. They explain that the construction will be completed in time for this year’s harvest and ultimately increase case production. It will “allow for custom crush facilities for local producers that need help keeping on top of their needs,” said Derek Saunders. Soon you will be able to join the winery’s “barrel club” where your membership will generate a barrel purchase, access to cellar tastings and winery events.

It truly was a magical evening, many thanks to our hosts Derek and Pat for having my family and I enjoy a memorable night for many years to come.

Want to experience a starry night for yourself? Check out Calamus’s event page here for upcoming events at the winery and observatory. Feel free to visit the estate during business hours to enjoy a tasting or a glass of wine with your picnic lunch on the property.