Last time (which was a while ago now!) I only talked about some of the wineries we visited on our Niagara trip. There were too many for one post. I would also like to emphasize that I was working while there as well!
After my meetings however, we did sneak off to a few more places. Colaneri was somewhere I had never heard of, but was also recommended by the people at Vineland. It is a newer vineyard, and have only been producing wine in the last 4-5 years. They are putting a lot of time and attention into their property and it was really gorgeous. The exterior looks like an oasis of an Italian Villa in a sea of grapevines. The people working there were lovely, very friendly. This winery is very much a family affair, with two brothers having married two sisters, and all of the different wines they produce reflects that family spirit. All of the labels are intricately illustrated, telling a story about a different family member. The stories were quite interesting (although some seemed a bit personal for putting on a wine label, but that might be just me). Also, the wine was unexpected and in a good way! All of their wines have some dried grapes included in the fermentation process, and some are made with 100% dried grapes. As a result, there are some interesting flavours. I really enjoyed their Cabernet Franc (it has 50% dried grapes), it was very tasty, full bodied, and had some rich flavours of dark red fruit, raisins, and even a hint of vanilla. So good! We also ended up taking home a bottle of their Pinot Grigio, which was light and refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day. It’s too bad we haven’t seen these wines in the LCBO, but I did see a Riesling of theirs on a menu at a restaurant lately, so it is nice to know they are around – and there’s always shopping online!
The day we left the region to return home, I was on site at Niagara College during the day for a meeting. A professor there was part of our group and raved about their Teaching Brewery and Winery. Luckily I got to check out both (briefly) before hitting the road for our five hour drive. Both the brewery and winery produce wine and beer entirely by students. The brewery encourages experimentation and students can brew small batches using a variety of ingredients or styles. They also offer a more regular collection called the “Brewmasters” collection. You can try samples at the brewery and they sell bottles and refillable growlers. I bought a bottle of the Brewmaster IPA after tasting it, and I was a big fan, as I am of many IPA’s. Crisp, hoppy, and refreshing.
Our final stop was the teaching winery. Here we noticed a variety of different labels. The best wine of the vintage (the wines are graded by a wine writer!) has the honour of earning the “Dean’s List” label, complete with tasting notes and their grade on the label. What an amazing honour for that talented student! We brought home a Dean’s List Cabernet Franc (apparently that was our preferred grape of the trip!) and it’s still here, just waiting to be opened up. Those students worked hard to make that wine, I think we’ll save it for a special occasion.
Overall, we brought home a lot of souvenirs to commemorate a fun and very fast trip. Every time we open a new bottle, it’s a nice chance to reminisce, and think about the great memories we shared. As the supply starts to dwindle, I start thinking about where we should go next!