Chillin’ in Niagara Wine Country

Summer in Niagara Wine Country can’t be beat.

First, there’s the glorious weather.

IMG_6825

Then there’s the scenery

IMG_8552

And oh, those stunning sunsets, made even better with a glass of wine in hand.

20160611_201506_HDR-01

Yep, there’s a lot to be said for wine country living in the summer.

IMG_1685

Know what else there is? There’s a lot of events. If you do a bit of research, you’ll find there are a TON of events happening at wineries in the summer. Lately, I’ve been to three.

20160611_185211-01

The thing that made these events so great to me, is that they were all laid-back, relaxed, inexpensive ones. Don’t get me wrong, I love the big, fancy, special happenings too. But it’s kind of nice to just, you know, hang out and chill at a winery.

The epitome of relaxed summer living.

IMG_6996

Of course, part of relaxed summer living includes food.

When I think of take-it-easy summer food, I usually think of burgers. A couple of weeks ago, 13th Street Winery hosted a casual backyard barbecue at the winery.

This was in honour of #NationalBurgerDay, and to celebrate the release of their 2015 Burger Blend wines.

20160528_140819_HDR

Burger Blend comes in both red and white. The Burger Blend White was matched with a Veggie Burger, the red with good old beef. I think the white would also go very well with a chicken or salmon burger too.

And the red? In my world, Burger Blend Red goes with just about everything.

20160528_134246

Ken and I got our burgers, and relaxed under the trees with the other guests. A nice way to unwind on a Saturday afternoon.

IMG_631920160528_133612_HDR

There was music, a farmer’s market, and of course, a stop at 13th Street Bakery is always a must. Their butter tarts are legendary around these here parts.

After enjoying our feast and a spot of people-watching, we slowly left our lazy spot under the trees, picked up our butter tarts and, of course –  some Burger Blend.

IMG_6309

The next event was in honour of all things Rosé – The Rosé Festival at Westcott.

IMG_7000 IMG_7003

Though I’ve been a wine lover for many years, I have only recently started drinking this tasty pink-hued wine. Bad youthful memories of White Zinfandel made me give Rosé a miss for a long time. I’m so glad I’ve opened my mind though, as we have a lot of tasty Rosé made here in our own back yard.

Westcott’s Delphine Rosé is one of them.

IMG_7090

The cost of the ticket was $25, and that gave you four delicious Mexican food items from La Carnita. Wine was purchased by the glass. In addition to Delphine Rosé, Westcott was pouring their other delectable wines too. I can never resist any of their Sparklings or Chardonnays.

20160611_191437-01

Above from right to left, the Tuna Ceviche Tostada, Mexican Street Corn, and the Chicken Taco. All were yummy, but the Tuna Ceviche Tostada was my fave.

IMG_7146

It was a very hot evening, and this Sangria Paleta was so good, but so cold. My lips kept sticking to it. I had visions of it being permanently stuck to my mouth, but no chance of that in that heat.

IMG_7151

Ken started getting creative with a newly met buddy. They placed the Sangria Paleta in a chardonnay filled wine glass, attempting to get the vineyards in the background. All in the quest of a great lifestyle shot.

IMG_7205

It was a festive group.

IMG_7051IMG_7213IMG_7159IMG_7171

All of us taking it easy, drinking in the view and the sunset.

IMG_7170IMG_7215 IMG_7218

Such a great evening.

Westcott does a lot of fun stuff like this throughout the year, so check with them for details of what’s happening next.

IMG_7232

Wine & Swine, at Marynissen, also made for a fun Saturday outing. Promising live music, a BBQ pig roast, and samples of their newly released vintages matched with cheese all for the whopping sum of $5.

Yes, $5.

IMG_7398

But that’s not all. If you purchased a bottle of wine that cost more than $15, you got that $5 back.

Now, if anyone dares to say to me again that “winery events are too expensive”, you just might get an earful from me. Really folks, you just can’t beat $5.

I, however, spent $10 more to take a wine tour with their winemaker, Gordon Robert. We went behind the scenes, through the production facility, with some of their scrumptious sangria in hand. Next, into the cellar where we sampled his 2015 Cabernet Franc right out of the barrel.

20160618_163844

Barrel sampling is such fun.

Cab Franc is a tough one for me. Some I love, some not so much. This one, even at this very young stage, seems like it will be one I like. A lot.

IMG_7494

I also learned that Marynissen has the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes planted in Canada. These vines were planted in 1978, making them almost as old as me.

That’s kinda old.

20160618_164909 20160618_164726

So, let’s sum this all up. I had samples of all their new vintages matched with cheese, a pulled pork sandwich with two salads, and a tour with their winemaker, all for $15. I bought a Cab-Merlot, and a Chardonnay and got my $5 back.

I think that’s a great deal for a fun afternoon out.

IMG_7489

I really enjoyed attending all of these events. Each one so different, but with that same low-key, take-a-breather-and-just-chill vibe. Each winery has its own distinct personality, and I love seeing it come through in the events they offer.

I’m on a mission to attend more of these things this summer. This weekend, you’ll find me at Taste the Place at Southbrook Winery. I’ll be there with my wine loving buddies – Elaine and The Wine Boys – sipping, sampling and watching the world go by. Oh, and visiting with the adorable sheep too.

What better way to spend part of your weekend than drinking wine, eating great food, and appreciating our beautiful wine country?

It makes me already feel more relaxed just thinking about it.

 

**If you know of any more of these events, please let me know about them, and I’ll try to spread the word. I do my best to research, but some get missed. I’d also love to hear what you experience at the wineries too. You can leave comments here, or on any of my social media – I’m most active on Twitter.

**I was invited to attend the 13th Street Winery event as a guest, but all opinions are my own

  • Amelia

    Man, so bummed I missed these!!

    • They were pretty fun! Good thing is, there’s lots more to come this summer!