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Lindsay’s perfect recipe for an Ontario wine country picnic

Ontario wine

By Lindsay Schwenker

All of this amazing weather has me craving a great afternoon hangout by the lake and under some shade with a great group of friends! What could be better?

Summer picnics are the best and the planning around them is so easy. All your need is an afternoon off, the summer sun and a good shady place. Of course choosing the wine is the most important part and … I guess you also need to pack a few things eat as well, snacks are always important.


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Pack up all of your delicious snacks. There are no rules here for what you choose to bring except that it needs to be delicious. I would also suggest that whatever it is, make it easy. For example, bring a fresh salad and fruit, a couple of cheeses, maybe some dried Italian salami or other charcuterie and finish with a few delish pastries.


Now that you have picked out what yummy foods you’re bringing, let’s decide on some wines! A really important rule to follow is that the wine should be versatile and easy to pair with all different types of snacks.

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The Perfect Picnic White, 2016 Pinot Gris from Big Head Winery, $21! (winery only). First off everyone is going to like this wine; it’s super friendly. It’s like that guy in your friend group who is always happy and nobody ever has anything bad to say about them. It’s fruit forward, low on sweetness and full of texture, overall very easy to get along with. It can be drank ice cold and right out of the cooler but also will build up so much flavour the longer you leave it sitting on the picnic blanket. I would have this wine with a lots-of-melon salad that has chunks of feta, a quick squeeze of lemon, basil and mint … just all of the fresh herbs. Maybe try some fresh veggies and a yogurt based dip, delish!

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Rosé … obviously, 2017 Vivant Rosé from Malivoire Winery, $19.95. I don’t think I have ever even heard of a picnic without rosé. Is it even possible for those two things to co-exist without each other? We all know Malivoire makes amazing pink wines! Their flagship Ladybug, of course, is always a great choice but my personal favourite from the winery is the Vivant! This is Malivoire’s mid-tier rosé crafted from 100% Pinot Noir and made in a pale, bone-dry, Provençal style with stunning concentrated flavours of strawberries and cranberries. This light Provençal style also happens to be my personal favourite and a style I believe more and more winemakers in Ontario are heading toward.

PRO TIP: make sure if there’s rosé that you stop into the Pie Plate on Niagara Stone Rd. in Virgil to pick up some of their amazing blueberry scones. The acidity in the rosé cuts right through the butter flakiness of the scone, and the fresh strawberry notes really are a match made in heaven with the blueberry tartness.

RED WINE ON A PICNIC? Heck yes, The Almanac Red 2014 Field Blend from The Grange of Prince Edward County, $18.95. An amazing wine with a bit less body and all of the juicy red fruit characteristics. Just pop it in the cooler around 30 minutes before enjoying and you are good to go! That chill on this red will make it just that much more refreshing and perfect to pair with all of those amazing cheeses and maybe some dried meats you plan on packing in your bag. This wine is crafted from 100% Prince Edward County fruit and really shows off the region. It has tension that is not to be messed with and a vibrancy of red cherries and juicy plums. Its tannins are present but soft and it has an amazing mouth feel that will take your picnic from zero to hero!

Snap, Crackle, Pop … it’s Bubbles but in a can! Outset Sparkling Wine, Between the Line Winery, $4.65/can. Really what is more refreshing than something sparkling on a hot sunny day and this is a no brainer! Throw it in your cooler and crack it open, enjoy. You’re at a picnic it’s easy to pack and easy sip, all this means less planning and more fun. This sparkling is from Between the Lines Winery and it is so full of stone fruits like peaches and apricots all the while showcasing so much citrus like ripe lemons and juicy yellow grapefruit. Finished off with a touch of Vidal Icewine, this can of bubbles has a beautiful sweetness to it that will pair so well with a hot sunny day and basically anything you are going to pack in your snack bag.

Chill it down and drink it up. I personally would bring a glass for full enjoyment but you don’t need too. This wine comes fully equipped in its drinking vessel, no glass necessary.

Call your friends, pack up your blanket, pull together a few snacks and grab one or all of these wines from your local LCBO or right from the winery. Summer will be gone before you even know it is even here. Take my word for it, these wines are perfect to enjoy on a summer day with great friends and a good view.