Sunday, July 09, 2006


I must have driven through Niagara wine country a million times on the way to the Falls or New York state, but thanks to my cousins from New Jersey, Jing and Uday, who came Niagara_wine_tour_july_2006_022up to Toronto for the Canada Day / Independence Day weekend, I finally got the chance to stop and take a wine-tasting tour of those was like a more mature and more refined version of bar hopping.....we really are getting old....though, it was fitting that I got to do it with Jing, seeing as how I taught her and her sister how to drink way back in our early teens....ya I was a bad what....we all turned out relatively normal....

I'm not really a wine connoisseur, Niagara_wine_tour_july_2006_026i_1I mean I'll have a glass of wine with dinner occasionally, but Tu Anh usually finishes it for me.....I know, there's a lot of research that points to all the cardiovascular and possibly anti-cancer benefits attributed to antioxidants found in red wines.....that's the main reason why I try to drink the stuff.....but I also know that I prefer the sweeter white wines..... heck just give me a coke with dinner.....

When I think of fine wines, I usually think of France, or Italy, or maybe even California.....but when I'm in the liquor store I find myself gravitating towards the Ontario wines, especially those of the Niagara region.... perhaps its a subconcious curiosity, since I've driven past those vineyards all my lifeNiagara_wine_tour_july_2006_029...... I guess we're not known internationally as a wine producing nation, except maybe for ice wines (which I would recommend to the sweet toothed people out there, like me), but I do know that I've picked up a bottle or two of Niagara wine that even I could appreciate......there are actually a lot of award winning Ontario wines out there.....

If you're like me and don't know Wineroutesigntoo much about wine, or if you're a connoisseur, and you happen to be on the Q.E.W. headed towards Niagara, I recommend taking the wine route..... the signs are everywhere......the first winery you'll hit is Puddicombe Estate in Winona, on exit 78.....they're all so very friendly and are more than eager to answer your questions and teach you a thing or two about wine..... like the differences in sugar ratings, and the flavour of wines that have sat in oak vs. Niagara_wine_tour_july_2006_016aluminum barrels, etc..... Most places will offer 3 or 4 complimentary tastings of their red and whites, or may charge $1 or so.....most places charge for ice wine tastings.....mmmmm ice here if you want to know exactly what Icewine is: ICEWINE

Here's the map of Niagara Wine Country which spans several towns from Winona to Niagara-on-the-Lake......I counted 52 in total.....we only hit 8 of them, which is not bad considering we did the whole tour in about 4 hours.....needless to say its easy to get a nice light buzz after all that alcohol......good thing my brother took the wheel so I was able to enjoy myself better....

Mapnr Here are the top TEN Touring Tips from the "Official Guide to the Wineries of Ontario":

  1. Designate a driver who will not consume alcohol or hire a driver for the day. (don't be that sucker)

  2. Don't rush. Plan to visit no more than four to five wineries in a day. (ya right!)

  3. Don't feel you have to drink every ounce that's poured. It's appropriate to spit out or dump a wine (there are buckets for just this purpose). Ontario law restricts you to four ounces per winery. (what?! ever hear of "waste not want not"?)

  4. Don't taste wine on an empty stomach. Food helps to metabolize alcohol.

  5. Avoid wearing anything with a strong scent. The sense of smell is fundamental to enjoying the taste of wine and appreciating its bouquet. And don't chew gum. It will affect the taste of the wine.

  6. While touring you'll get to taste wines that are available only at the winery. This is your opportunity to purchase the wines you like. Bring along a cooler or, better yet, have the wine shipped to your home. (We learned that Americans don't have a limit as to how much wine they can bring home with them!)

  7. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you don't know the difference between Pinot Noir and Merlot, just ask. Winemakers and staff are only too happy to explain and odds are that you're not the only one who needs answers.

  8. Bring a pocket notebook to record wines you enjoyed.

  9. Stop the car! Take the time to enjoy other places of interest that catch your eye. (like Llama farms, fruit stands, and Tim Hortons)

  10. Have fun! (fo shizle ma nizzle) Niagara_wine_tour_july_2006_031_1

You can get a copy of the "Official Guide to the Wineries of Ontario" at any LCBO or download it from the Wines of Ontario website: Official Guide 2006 Their website is chock full of info if you want to plan a trip to Ontario Wine Country: Wines of Ontario

Niagara_wine_tour_july_2006_032 Well, as I write this, Tu Anh and I have finished our second bottle of Reisling, she's working on a red from Maison Domaine D'or and I'm finishing off the bottle of Reisling icewine from Fielding Estates....CHEERS and BON SANTE! Belated Happy Canada Day and Fourth of July!



ghee said...

Nice pics,angelo!

yeah,maybe wine tasting is cooler than bar hopping :)

I`m not that fond of wine but maybe a wine tour will be perfect day!

have a nice week ahead!Happy Canada Day!!

aragorn said...

thanx for visiting my blog...:D

BRAD said...

oh! like the vineyard... and cute baby! blog hop.

Yarilyn said...

HI Angelo
Thanks for coming to my blog, I just decided to start posting but I'll keep it up in english.
I was on the vineyards tasting wines too, ohh I loved it!!!
Now I'm buying wines once in a while, that place is so beautiful and the weather there was marvellous.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer driving by Ontario and posting pictures of the places, Canada is a beautifull place to show to rest of the world.

Bob said...

I've driven through there on the Q.E.W. a lot of times on the way to Michigan, and my wife and I always say we need to stop there sometime! You've now rekindled my desire to do just that!

ETK said...

Cheers from China!

spread your smile said...

hi, i would love for you to contribute to my blog! check it out:

Angelo de los Angeles said...

Hey ghee! Just let me know when you'll be in Ontario ;)

Hey aragorn and Brad Peace!

Saludos yarilyn! If you bump into me in the subway or in the vineyards, don't forget to say hello :)

Hey Bob! You and your wife should definitely do won't regret it, just don't regret buying too much of the wines you like :)

Ni Hao etk :)

Great blog spread your smile! I'll be sending you my smile soon :) Cheers!

Kyle Korleski said...

Happy belated Canada Day ^_^ and nice pics.

John said...

hi Angelo,

thanks for dropping by on my blog.
Pwede ba kami mag tagalog rito? Just asking: are you by chance a filipino? your name sounds like one, and you said you had cousins "jing and uday", besides, I saw some tagalog somewhere on your blog.


Angelo de los Angeles said...

Hey Kyle! Thanks, hope your Canada Day was great!

Hi John, pinoy ka pala? Diba na sa Nigeria ka? of cors, pwede maga Tagalog dito, pero I'm only just almost fluent... haha.... Mabuhay!

Michael said...

Enjoyed the tour.
Thanks for beng our guide.

Take Care

sir realist said...

next time you're there definitely check out Inniskillin. They make surprisingly nice world class reds as well.
Cheers from Slovenia!

Angelo de los Angeles said...

Michael, I'm really glad to hear that! Cheers to you!

Sir Realist, I will definitely try to visit Inniskillin, I actually have tried their work, I'm pleasantly surprised to hear you know of them all the way in Slovenia! Cheers :)

Anonymous said...

Hi fren.. how's canada ?? :D

iEn said...

hi angelo :D

Serendipity said...

Love the pictures.....Niagarra, one of my planned destination. It's probably wise for me to buy leashes first.

Serendipity said...

Leashes for my very very lively kids. I am afraid they'll jump rihjt off the falls!

Leah said...

I should try a wine tour once...sounds exciting.

And you are right Jing and i have a striking resemblance...chinky eyes, chubby face and a beautiful smile (he!he!)

We even wear glasses too. I think I might be a tad bit taller though and she is fairer.

Nonetheless, I still want to be invited on the next reunion, ok?