This week, we took a quick hop over the border into Canada for an overnight stay in Ontario’s wine country. This is our second year going to this area, and I’ve fallen in love with the area more with each visit. The Niagara Escarpment – or the bench – is a beautiful area right near Lake Ontario, full of fantastic views of the lake, farm country, and of course, over 40 wineries.
Both times we’ve gone to the Beamsville/Vineland/Jordan area of Ontario, we’ve gone on a wine tour with Crush on Niagara and stayed in their Bed & Breakfast, the Harvest Guest Cottage. Their tour package consists of a visit to 4 area wineries with tastings, as well as a stop at a local cheese factory along the way (to give you a little something to absorb all that wine).
The bed & breakfast is definitely one of my favorite parts. It sits right on a small vineyard, so you have beautiful views of wine country, and it’s extremely private. The owners live next door, so you only see them once or twice through your stay. You’re given your own lock code to the house and a key to your room & bathroom and left mostly to your own devices. Both times we went, there was one or two other couples staying at the house as well, with us in one of the rooms downstairs, and them upstairs. They have a full kitchen if you want to cook dinner, or you can go out to one of the many area restaurants. We got a loaf of bread and cheese each time to enjoy some of our wine later in the evening after going out for dinner. There was a bottle of wine (a white blend – good for the white lovers we are) waiting for us in our room when we got there, complete with wine glasses, so we immediately took it to the fridge to chill for later in the evening. You wake up the next morning to a delicious breakfast basket left for you in the kitchen to eat at your leisure – farm fresh eggs, fruit, and the most delicious muffins. We always plan to have lunch out afterward, but haven’t yet done it after such a filling breakfast. This year, we wanted to get back to the kitties, since they were alone for the night, and they’ve been especially rambunctious lately
Now, a bit about the tour. I’ll admit, I’m pretty awful at remembering to take pictures as I’m absorbing the sights and tasting wines, but this year, I told Dave (our tour guide) that I wanted to try to remember, and he kept reminding me every so often, to which I was extremely thankful. Still, I didn’t end up with many pictures, but a good many more than the previous year! We went into the tour determined not to buy anything unless we were really in love with it, as we have about 16 bottles of wine in the apartment right now that we have to drink. We did pretty well, although I think we started out a bit too conservative and only ended up bringing two bottles home (one of which was given to us at the cottage)!
We started off at Kacaba Vineyards, a smaller winery up on the bench. This was by far my favorite stop this year, as we learned about how they ensure the quality of their wines with small yields that they can manage by hand. They told us about their organic practices (most of the wineries we visited don’t use pesticides – which was awesome to hear!) and how they don’t add in sulfites to their wines, as that often causes adverse reactions (which I actually learned quite a bit about in pharmacy school during our asthma section) – the natural amount of sulfites in their wines is almost undetectable.