WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE DO
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, but only craft beers that we find fascinating and that are available to beer lovers in Ontario. And cider, good Ontario craft ciders. Also spirits, if they are being made locally and are interesting to us. Our food and restaurant writer/reviewer Michael Lowe follows the dining scene closely. So, basically everything that is delicious and local, we’ve got it covered.
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.
As of 2017, Wines In Niagara started accepting advertising on the website. For rates and booking email us at rvswine (at) gmail.com
Wines In Niagara is a website started in 2010 and now has close to 1,200 posts.
ABOUT RICK VANSICKLE, Publisher
Rick VanSickle’s background is in the newspaper industry as an editor and a wine writer.
He wrote a weekly column for the Calgary Sun in 1999 that expanded to include most Sun newspapers, including the Toronto Sun and, later, as the local wine writer for the St. Catharines Standard.
Rick has now turned his attention to focus on Niagara, Ontario and B.C. wines. He is a feature writer and international wine reviewer for Quench Wine Magazine and also writes other freelance articles on wine-related travel, and features related to the wine industry.
Rick was 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 and Mike Lowe 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, writer
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 MONICA KOSIOR, writer
Monica Kosior was born in Hamilton and for the past 13+ years has resided in Niagara.
She successfully completed her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Daemen College in Amherst, NY. Her first job in the Niagara industry was at Inniskillin in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This is where her spark and interest for wine and the wine business was ignited.
Monica has completed her WSET Level 2 certification in Wine and Spirits. She is currently in pursuit of her Level 3 certification and eventually WSET Level 4 Diploma. To further her industry education, Monica graduated with honours from Niagara College in 2016 with her Graduate Certificate in Wine Business Management. While at Niagara College, Monica was selected to be a part of the Wine Team for the annual Caps, Corks and Forks student competition. Alongside her teammates they paired only Niagara Wines with the designated menu, the Wine Team was selected as the winner (by the attendees) of the competition versus the Beer Team.
Monica is an advocate for supporting local wineries and establishments; her mantra includes drinking local and eating local. She attends many wine events either as a participant or as a representative for wineries/agencies.
Monica is self diagnosed with novinophobia — please send wine.
About Peter Rod
Peter A. Rod is a 30-year veteran of the food and drinks business. Currently, Peter is program coordinator and professor of wine programs at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College, and part time instructor for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust at Brock University. Before that he was curriculum department head and sommelier instructor with the International Sommelier Guild.
He has held management positions in fine establishments such as The Windsor Arms Hotel, Inn and Tennis Club at Manitou, C Restaurant, Raincity Grill and Biffs. He worked for a combined 12 years for Mission Hill Family Estate and 13thStreet Winery as brand ambassador and sales consultant. Peter is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Education at Queen’s University and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Hospitality Management from University of Guelph.
He is also an Associate of International Wines and Spirits from the WSET, a certified wine educator through the Society of Wine Educators, a fellow of the OHI and was named top sommelier in western Canada in 1997 and in Ontario in 2006. Oh and please don’t ask him what his desert island wine is.
ABOUT LINDSAY SCHWENKER, writer
Lindsay Schwenker is a self-proclaimed wine groupie. She has worked in many areas of the wine industry from production to sales and, of course, plenty of consumption. Lindsay is on a perpetual mission to quench her thirst for the knowledge of wine. She is best known for her fun, funky and informative Niagara wine column in The Sound STC newspaper based in St. Catharines and her totally wicked instagram page @TheJustRipe. There you will catch her writing about wine in a way that encourages you to leave all your snobbery at the door. Dive headfirst into Niagara wine country with Lindsay as she explores the region’s wines, winemakers and everything in between.