WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE DO
Wines In Niagara is a website that focuses primarily on the wonderful wines, food, ciders, beer and spirits 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. While our focus is on wine, we also write about cider, beer and spirits that we find fascinating and that are available to drinks lovers in Ontario. Our food and restaurant writer/reviewer Michael Lowe follows the dining scene closely, while Tas Fraser covers ciders and Stephen Beaumont covers beer and spirits. 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, food and drinks 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, Instagram 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 over 1,400 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 was formerly a feature writer and international wine reviewer for Quench Wine Magazine and also wrote other freelance articles on wine-related travel, and features related to the wine industry. He now dedicates is full attention to Wines In Niagara.
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, beer, cider and spirits 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
Mike Lowe was born and raised in the Niagara region.
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 Stephen Beaumont
Stephen Beaumont began writing about beer and spirits in 1990 and hasn’t stopped since. At last count, he has authored or co-authored 15 books, including 2019’s definitive Canadian distilleries guide, Canadian Spirits (with Christine Sismondo) and the new, fully revised and updated third edition of The World Atlas of Beer (with Tim Webb), expected out in North America in the spring of 2021.
Stephen began his career writing the first-ever beer column to appear in a major Canadian daily, the aptly titled Brew for The Toronto Star, and has since gone on to write articles and columns for publications as diverse as Esquire, The Globe and Mail, Playboy, Food & Drink, and Wine Enthusiast. His column in Whisky Advocate, The Thinking Drinker, is the longest running feature in the magazine, now entering its 27th year.
Stephen’s first book was 1994’s Great Canadian Beer Guide, which he reprised in 2001, each time covering every brewery in the country. He later applied his detailed knowledge of Canadian and international beer to the menu at Toronto’s beerbistro, which he helped open as co-owner and beverage director in 2003, six years later documenting that experience in The beerbistro Cookbook, co-written with chef and co-owner Brian Morin.
In normal times, Stephen travels almost incessantly, researching breweries and distilleries and hosting tastings and dinners from Vancouver to Beijing and London to São Paulo. Recently, out of necessity and interest, his focus has grown more local, as he acquaints or reacquaints himself with the beers of Ontario’s over 400 operating breweries.
About Tas Fraser
I am a Canadian Cider lover located in Mississauga. I am the founder of @girlwithaciderreview on Instagram where I share my reviews of ciders across Canada, host contests and more. I started my Instagram in February 2018 and since have been able to taste ciders from Ontario as well as the East and West Coast of the country, network with other professionals and share my love of cider. I am currently hosting weekly chats with those in the cider world on my IGTV show Cider & Life (#ciderandlife). I am also the Canadian Cider representative for the popular cider blog @ciderscene, which posts about ciders across the U.S. and Canada and shares articles about Canadian cideries and beverages. I spent the last six years in the Niagara region and was able to enjoy beautiful Wine Country before changing lanes to living the city life. Outside of cider, I spend my time in nature, biking, singing, listening to/writing music, and travelling to see cool places and taste amazing ciders.
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 Hatch
Lindsay Hatch is a self-proclaimed wine groupie. She has worked in many areas of the wine industry including sales and writing but finds her passion in production. Lindsay has worked many harvests, making wine across the globe from Niagara to Yarra Valley, Australia and Alsace, France. 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 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.
About Elena Galey-Pride
Elena Galey-Pride switched gears 20 years ago, leaving the corporate world to take her PR and marketing skills to wine country. After successful start-ups with two innovative Niagara wineries, Elena launched her solo effort as a marketing and social media consultant, dealing primarily with winery and wine event clients. Along the way, she picked up her camera again, and began focusing in on vineyards, wineries, wine events and wine people. Her company, Winestains, is named for the stain that wine made on Elena’s life, and for the indelible impressions that she helps her clients to make.