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Canada Wine Wire: Dillon’s new recipe book, Arterra pays homage to pioneer, Grape King 2019, Evolve Cellars on the move

The Canadian wine industry is a vibrant, ever-evolving community with many synergies that keep it moving forward.

In this post, we have news for Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, a company that has integrated well into Niagara wine country, plus news for Evolved Cellars in the Okanagan Valley, a new Grape King is crowned, and Arterra being respect to a wine pioneer with a new wine brand being launched.

Dillon’s Craft Cocktails recipe
book on sale Oct. 1

A beautifully photographed recipe book called Craft Cocktails: Seasonally Inspired Drinks and Snacks From Our Sipping Room from Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers in Niagara goes on sale Oct. 1.

Compiled and written by Dillon’s founder Geoff Dillon, founder of Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, and Whitney Rorison, it’s a collection of cocktails for every season and recipes for the perfect snacks to enjoy with them.

Grounded in the belief in using fresh ingredients, this must-have collection of cocktails offers impressive yet simple modern cocktails with an elegant vintage feel.

The 100 recipes, divided by season, range from the classics, like a warm-weather Whisky Sour and a cool-weather Manhattan, to custom creations inspired by seasonal produce and local barkeeps. Imagine a glass filled with the fresh aroma of spring strawberries alongside the clean, crisp taste of lemon, with herbal notes of absinthe and a hint of rich sweetness from white port, then recreate this award-winning drink called the Royal Velvet at home.

Quick and easy large batch recipes like Summer Sangria and Holiday Pomegranate Punch are sure to please a crowd, and snacks like Rosemary Maple Pecans, Roasted Cranberry Flatbreads, and Blackberry-Topped Brie will be the perfect complement to any cocktail.

Whether you’re craving a Plum Sparkler to refresh you on a sticky summer afternoon, or a Hot Toddy recipe to enjoy by the fire on a cold winter night, this complete collection of cocktails has the perfect recipe for every occasion and every season.

What you’ll find inside the pages:

100 recipes {both cocktails and snacks} inspired by the seasons

• a selection of some of large-batch recipes that are meant to be enjoyed with a group

• all the tips and tricks for stocking your home bar

• a collection of recipes for handcrafted cocktail staples like simple syrups, shrubs, ginger beer, whisky-soaked cherries and more cocktail garnishes

• suggestions for cocktail tools and glassware that are sure to make cocktail mixing easy and beautiful

• Cocktail Recipe Sneak Peek:

Raspberry Thyme Smash

• 2 fresh thyme sprigs, more for garnish

• 6 raspberries, more for garnish

• 2 ounces vodka

• 1 ounce fresh lime juice

• 1 ounce orangecello or orange liqueur of choice

• ½ ounce simple syrup

• Handful of ice cubes, more for serving

• 1 ounce soda water (optional)

1 Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add them to a cocktail shaker. Add the raspberries and muddle. Add the vodka, lime juice, orangecello or orange liqueur, and syrup, if desired. Add the ice and shake for 10 to 15 seconds.

2 Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice cubes and top with soda water, if desired. Garnish with raspberries and a sprig of thyme.

The official release of the book is being held at Dillon’s on Sunday, Sept. 29 from 12pm-4pm at the distillery. ⁠There will be cocktails, snacks copies of the book for purchase.⁠

Arterra Wines pays homage
to Niagara wine pioneer

Arterra Wines Canada honours Niagara wine pioneer with the launch of The Audacity of Thomas G. Bright, a new VQA wine that’s an ode to audacious explorers and mavericks.

Arterra Wines Canada announced a special homage to one of its original founders, with the launch of the company’s newest VQA wine The Audacity of Thomas G. Bright.

In 1874, a young man named Thomas G. Bright had a bold idea: grow European grapes in Niagara. In the face of countless challenges, from the soil conditions to the unique Canadian climate and an army of naysayers, T.G. Bright & Co. – his company – persevered, eventually importing hundreds of types of vines to Canada. His innovation and leadership were fundamental to the development of the Niagara wine industry, and his company eventually became part of the modern-day Arterra Wines Canada.

Anyone who has ever enjoyed a glass of Canadian wine owes a debt to Thomas G. Bright,” explains Andrea Hunt, senior vice president marketing, Arterra Wines Canada. “He was a bold risk-taker who defied the odds to build an industry from the ground up. With this new launch, we’re thrilled to honour his legacy and raise a glass to all those who share his audacious spirit.”

Since the beginning, Bright produced “limited edition” wines from small yields of experimentally grown grapes. In fact, he was one of the first to grow some of Europe’s most prestigious grapes in Canada. Made from grapes grown in the Niagara Peninsula and the Okanagan Valley, the new VQA wines will celebrate his commitment to quality and innovation with two wines: Chardonnay Sussreserve ($16.95), and a Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Blend ($17.95).

To bring to life Thomas’ audacious commitment to “growing vines where others won’t”, the brand has recreated an underground vineyard in Toronto’s PATH system. The out-of-home-installation will feature live vines and a barrel cellar. The activation runs between Roy Thomson Hall and St. Andrew Station until Oct. 6.

The Audacity of Thomas G. Bright wines are available in Ontario (at both the LCBO and come November, at Wine Rack), and British Columbia (at B.C. Liquor Stores).

B.C.’s Evolve Cellars evolving

To ‘evolve’ means to change or develop slowly, step by step, one day at a time, ideally into a better, more complex, more advanced, and more progressive state of being. That is the core value and inspiration for the Evolve Cellars brand.

Now, Evolve Cellars, the winery that celebrates transformation and growing with its fan base, is going to literally live out its brand stance and relocate.

Evolve Cellars’ new home will be at 361 Martin St., in downtown Penticton, B.C., sharing a roof with sibling TIME Winery.

Evolve Cellars was established in 2015 by the McWatters family as a label created by their company, ENCORE Vineyards, to offer fresh, fruit-forward, crisp, approachable, well-balanced and affordable wines that can be enjoyed by anyone, and at every occasion. This, the winery team believes, is the natural essence of Okanagan wine today.

Encore Vineyards’ past president and CEO Harry McWatters passed away this past summer. Christa-Lee McWatters (above) is the new president and CEO, as per the family’s succession plan. Harry had been in the wine business for 51 years and mentored Christa-Lee in the business from the time she was a child. Evolve Cellars is a project led by Christa-Lee, noting that the brand values of celebrating the Okanagan and living as the best version of herself is something she aspires to.

The original home of Evolve Cellars was on leased property, and the lease is up, so the decision was made to consolidate the company’s labels into one enhanced guest experience. With the McWatters family changes, evolutions in company roles, and harvest all happening at the same time, the team agreed this is the perfect time to pivot, focus, and, well, evolve the brand.

Said Christa-Lee McWatters:

“It’s been an exciting challenge as I take over managing the company. I miss my dad and his mentorship, and moving ahead without him is a struggle some days, but I know he would want us to carve out our own way to carry on the family legacy.”

Christa-Lee’s first significant change as leader is to unite the brands. As of Sept. 16 Evolve Cellars has a new residence in the refurbished Pen-Mar theater that is home to TIME Winery & Kitchen, and the new location will especially showcase Evolve Cellars’ popular sparkling wine collection.

Under construction over the fall and winter of 2019 for opening next spring is the new Evolution Lounge, where visitors will be able to enjoy Evolve Cellars’ fresh whites, luscious reds and popular sparkling wines, and then move next door for a taste of TIME Winery wines, plus enjoy some of the many delicious and creative options from the celebrated menu created seasonally by Chef AK Campbell and his culinary team.

This decision is in accordance with the brand’s core values. “After all, Evolve was founded under the principles of embracing change and moving ahead,” says Christa-Lee. “Every time a person reads one of the Evolve wine labels, they are reminded how important it is to take a step forward, to try to accomplish more and strive to achieve their best. Well, now we need to ‘walk the talk’ and keep changing and growing ourselves.”

Evolve Cellars will continue to offer quality B.C. VQA wines made by Graham Pierce.

New Ontario Grape King crowned

The Grape Growers of Ontario announced this week that John Fedorkow of Fruithaven Farms in St. David’s has been chosen by his peers as the 2019 Grape King.

“We are thrilled to have John serve as the 2019 Grape King and act as the ambassador for our industry for the next year. The industry will benefit from John’s experience as a grape grower and involvement in the agricultural community,” says Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario’s Board of Directors, Matthias Oppenlaender.

The selection of a Grape King is part of Ontario’s grape growing history and an annual tradition that dates back to 1956. While the regalia has changed from a crown and cape, the King wears a chain that carries the names of all of the Kings that came before.

The title of Grape King carries the distinction of being chosen based on vineyard management and knowledge of the industry, and serves as a representative for Ontario’s grape and wine industry at events across the country, starting with the Mayor’s Grape Stomp on Sept. 21 in Montebello Park and in the 68th annual Grande Parade on Sept. 28 at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.

“John is currently a member of the GGO’s Growers’ Committee and the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Agricultural Sub-Committee, and has been a valued member of several agricultural associations throughout his career. With his experience and his knowledge of all aspects of grape growing, John will be an asset as Ontario’s next grape and wine industry representative,” says Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario.

Fedorkow was born and raised on a mixed tender fruit farm in St. David’s, and graduated from the University of Guelph in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.

Fedorkow briefly left the area to sell pesticide for four years, two in Alberta and two back in Ontario, but following his desire to return to Niagara he purchased Fruithaven Farms in 1984 not far from where he grew up. The farm was planted with Labrusca grapes, which were removed and replaced with tender fruit and berries, including strawberries, raspberries, apples, cling peaches, pears and plums. A Pick-Your-Own operation that gave school tours in the fall was developed.

After removing the apples in 1999 Fedorkow began planting wine grapes, and underwent a major expansion into grapes in 2008 after the canning factory closure. Fedorkow is currently growing 75 acres of vinifera grapes for Peller Estates and Creekside Estate Winery including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Semillon.

Fedorkow will be officially installed as the 64th Grape King on Wednesday in his vineyard located at 1064 Line 8 in St. David’s.

— All information provided to Wines In Niagara