Konzelmann Estate Winery: German pedigree, Niagara flourish

By Susan Desjardins The Konzelmann family delivers consistently good and good-value award-winning wine—10 medals at this year’s Ottawa Wine Challenge and 5 at the Canadian Wine Awards. It’s hardly surprising considering the focus and dedication of 75-year-old Herbert Konzelmann, and his extensive winemaking pedigree. His great grandfather, Friederich, a successful restauranteur and wine connoisseur, created the Konzelmann Estate Winery  in Germany in 1893. Friederich was soon producing over 200,000 litres of wine, and the successful business was passed from one generation to the next. Herbert joined the family business in 1958 and continued its growth, almost doubling production. But as […]

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Coyote’s Run Winery: Two Soils, Two Styles, Many Fans

By Susan Desjardins Coyote is the trickster in much native American mythology, known for inventiveness and creating mischief. This adaptable creature can still be seen through the vineyards of Coyote’s Run Estate Winery, and is a fine namesake for co-owner Jeff Aubry, who has reinvented himself from a soldier to high-tech engineer and now to winery owner, and admits, “Sometimes I’m serious, sometimes I’m a goof!” A tour of Europe with a group of university buddies introduced Jeff to fine wines and activated the dream of someday opening his own winery. Fast forward . . . the intervention of a […]

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Okanagan Wineries Offer Great Value and Style

By Susan Desjardins A trip to the Okanagan is always an opportunity to explore familiar and  newly established wineries. And that’s exactly what we did in October this year. Tinhorn Creek Vineyards now showcases not only their wonderful wines crafted by winemaker Sandra Oldfield (“She’s been here since the beginning, 16 years ago,” said Jerralynn at the tasting bar) but also the recently ensconced restaurant, Miradoro. The restaurant flies out from the ridge, soaring over the south Okanagan valley like a bird on the wing. And the offerings to be found on the menu don’t disappoint. We enjoyed the rich […]

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Free My Grapes: Ontario Sequel on Shipping Wine Across Borders

by Susan Desjardins In June 2012, Bill C-311, presented by Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, received royal assent just before the House of Commons rose for the summer. Why do we care?  Laws governing the transport and sale of alcohol across provincial boundaries dated back to 1928 and the Prohibition Era. Until the passage of Bill C-311 by unanimous vote of the House, it was a criminal offense to take or ship wine across provincial boundaries. Talk to European winemakers about this and they just shake their heads – “How can this be? You are one country, are you not! […]

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Chateau des Charmes: Making wine is not what we do, it’s who we are

By Susan Desjardins A long history of winemaking, dating back seven generations to Alsace, stands behind Château des Charmes. In the 1840s, the Bosc family ancestors were granted land in Algeria, then a French colony. Paul Bosc Sr. was born and married there, eventually working as General Manager of one of the country’s largest and most successful wine cooperatives. With the revolution which led to Algeria’s independence in 1962, the Bosc family found itself evacuated back to France, forced to leave all behind and start anew. The French Algerians, known as ‘pieds noirs’, found it difficult to re-establish themselves, leading […]

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There’s a Buzz in the Air at Rosewood Estates

By Susan Desjardins While working as a high-tech executive, Eugene Roman was also developing his skills as a master beekeeper and dreaming big about creating a winery and meadery in Niagara. In 2000, he and his wife Renata purchased 40 acres on the Beamsville Bench, an ideal site for producing cool-climate wines, and backing onto the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.  A further 45 acres was subsequently purchased in Jordan. Construction of the winery began in 2005, the design of the building reflecting the family’s European heritage, as do the Renaissance-style parterres and exquisite rose gardens. 2006 marked […]

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Good Earth, Food and Wine in Niagara

By: Susan Desjardins A recent trip to Niagara included yet another fabulous lunch at Nicolette Novak’s Good Earth Food and Wine Companybistro, located on Lincoln Avenue in Beamsville. In this case, it was the Thai Shrimp & Lobster Burger with a tangy Asian slaw and tasty sweet potato fries served, of course, with the fruity medium-dry Riesling. As we sat sipping and sampling, admiring the gardens and vineyards, Nicolette dropped by in her gardening  hat, gloves and trowel in hand, to see how we were enjoying the experience. That’s what it’s like here—it feels like visiting a good friend who […]

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Nova Scotia Wines: Cool Climate Grapes Create a Wide Range of Styles

By Susan Desjardins A recent tasting event in Ottawa provided the opportunity to once again taste a range of wines from Nova Scotia’s burgeoning wine industry. Vines were planted as early as 1611, when a French settler, Louis Herbert, planted a vineyard in the Bear River area – he soon learned that climatic conditions in the region make wine production a challenging enterprise. It wasn’t until 1980 that an intrepid entrepreneur, Roger Dial, produced Nova Scotia’s first commercial vintage at the Grand Pré winery. The Jõst family soon followed suit, establishing their winery in the Malagash Peninsula. The Grape Growers’ […]

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