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8:55 PM

2008 - Wine Opener

The Best Articles on Wine Opener

Hello From Toronto (3) - Exploring Niagara Wine Country

Two days ago I took our European visitors on a little driving tour of the Niagara Peninsula, specifically to explore some of the 50 something wineries. My brother is a chef and very interested in exploring the authentic tastes and flavours of Canada. So far my visitors have been very impressed with the quality of the Canadian vegetables, meats, spices, and even the various types of beers that they have tried from different microbreweries.

We got going around 9:30 am to avoid the brunt of rush hour traffic and made our way west on the QEW highway on another day of perfect weather. We drove through the industrial outskirts of Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton, where they were particularly fascinated by the huge industrial complexes of Ontario's steel industry. Just about 20 minutes south of Hamilton we turned off the highway onto local Highway Number 8, Ontario's wine route, which follows the outline of the NIagara Escarpment.

Our first stop on our wine tour was Peninsula Ridge Estates, a very impressive winery built around a Victorian farmhouse with several modern buildings that have been added to faciliate a wine tasting facility and gift shop. The wine testing area is housed in a beautiful barn-like structure with lots of wood and high ceilings, and all the wines and gifts are presented in a very attractive way. My European wine conoisseurs tasted 4 varieties of white wine and admitted that they were duly impressed. They commented that some of the wines had a more distinct flavour than what they are used to back home and indicated their surprise at the quality of wines from Ontario. Of course my brother also examined the menu of the dining room and confirmed that the establishment was indeed an upscale gourmet restaurant, featuring finely crafted cuisine.

We had a beautiful day with absolutely no humidity, so we had a clear view of downtown Toronto's skyscrapers from the Peninsula Estates winery. After a little photo tour of the premises we made our way to the next stop: Eastdell Estates, winery located high on top of the escarpment with a perfect lookout point. The restaurant, called the "Bench Bistro" offers simple, yet innovative dishes that pay homage to the area's bountiful harvests and local producers. Reasonably priced, two can dine, with a bottle of wine, for about $80 (CDN).

Our next stop was a relatively new winery called Angel's Gate Estates, with a beautiful main building that included a wine boutique as well as an indoor and outdoor dining area overlooking Lake Ontario. We did not taste any wines here, but definitely enjoyed the view. Again, the facilities and surroundings hosting the wine tasting were impressive.

Then we headed further south to Vineland Estates Winery situated on the slopes of the Niagara Escarpment with Lake Ontario in the distance. This winery has sometimes been referred to as "Ontario's Most Picturesque Winery" and we certainly enjoyed the location. It is another winery that features a restaurant as well as a wine boutique, located in an 1877 historic barn. The boutique features wines, fine glassware and local preserves, and my European travellers embarked on their second tasting of the day, this time enjoying both red and white varieties. The winery offered various types of crackers and cheese, combined with grape jellies, providing a little snack to a group of hungry pilgrims on Ontario's wine trail. We also noted that the staff in the various wineries was extremely welcoming and friendly, an impression that got reinforced throughout the day.

Our lunch stop was at Rockway Glen Golf Course and Estate Winery, a rather unusual combination offering delights for golfing and wine enthusiasts. We had a reasonably priced lunch of gourmet sandwiches on the patio, and appropriately strenghtened continued on our way along the wine route towards our next destination: Niagara Falls.

After arriving in one of the most popular destinations in Ontario, not to be missed for any traveller to Toronto, we parked our car on the main parking lot, at $18.00 a little overpriced, although it offered unlimited parking until midnight. As we approached the falls from the south, my guests were astounded at the width of the river and the quantities of water that were about to drop down the steep precipice. We stopped for a while at a spot right where the water starts to hurl down the rocks. The amount and force of the water is awe-inspiring, and the thundering sound of the falling water provides an appropriate backdrop to this natural wonder.

The waterfall produced the most amazing complete rainbow inside the gorge that I have ever seen, offering many scenic vistas of the Niagara River set against the appropriately named Rainbow Bridge which connects Ontario with New York State.Several Maid of the Mist sightseeing boats holding curious visitors dressed in blue plastic capes were floating dangerously close to the bottom of the waterfall, providing a great photo opportunity.

Naturally, after taking in all these sights we had to take in a refreshment and we rested a bit on a restaurant patio overlooking the falls. After our brief respite we drove along the scenic Niagara Parkway towards Niagara-on-the-Lake, stopping several times at various lookout points, such as the Aero Car tram crossing the gorge, and the immense power plants located on both sides of the river, generating clean hydro-electric energy.

The bucolic countryside along the Niagara River features a large number of wineries and orchards and the road is lined with fruit stands, featuring fresh Ontario produce. Finally, we parked our car next to a beautiful park, right where the Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario. By this time, the Niagara River has turned from an angry and wild river with churning waters and rapids into a mild-mannered waterway, ready to merge with the waters of one of the Great Lakes.

We had a little stroll around this charming Victorian village, admiring the beautifully kept houses and gardens, and since it was getting late we headed back into the car to continue our drive back to Toronto. The last leg of our trip was a drive through St. Catharines' beautiful little lakeside village, Port Dalhousie, which on this day featured a younger crowd than Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Filled with a multitude of impressions of this gorgeous day, we arrived back in Toronto, sharing our various impressions. My European visitors, who had never been to North America, were truly impressed with the Niagara Region and I was glad I was able to give them a little taste of Ontario's wine country.

About the Author: Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions (http://www.travelandtransitions.com). Find unconventional travel information, cross-cultural experiences, interviews with travellers and other inspiring people. Submit your own travel stories & win an exciting Amazon River cruise! "Life is a Journey - Explore New Horizons?

Short Review on Wine Opener

Hello From Toronto (3) - Exploring Niagara Wine Country

Two days ago I took our European visitors on a little driving tour of the Niagara Peninsula, specifically to explore some of the 50 something wineries...

Click Here to Read More About Wine ...

Wine Opener Items For Viewing

The FTD Pretty Petals Arrangement - Deluxe

The Pretty Petals arrangement is a garden party of white lilies, peach roses, peach snap dragons, white snapdragons and more. This beautiful arrangement arrives in a planter and brings your best wishes. C17-3575D

Price: 85.99 USD

Headlines on Wine Opener

The miracle machine that turns cheap plonk into vintage wine

Fri, 03 Oct 2008 03:22:38 -0700
A device that claims to turn cheap supermarket plonk into vintage wine and banish hangovers is set to hit the high street.Inventors say a bottle of any bargain booze can be transformed in just 30 minutes, using space-age ultrasound technology.The £350 gadget - which looks like an ordinary ice bucket .

Ultrasound machine turns cheap plonk into fine wine ..

Wed, 01 Oct 2008 06:30:24 -0700
.. in 30 minutes. Inventor Casey Jones says the £350 gadget uses ultrasound technology to recreate the effects of decades of ageing by colliding alcohol molecules inside the bottle.

Cheap Wine Box Kingpin Flaunts Sustainable Tradeshow Booth

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 08:08:59 -0700
You know Tetra Pak boxes-- those cubes of cheap wine made of multiple layers of foil, and paper, right? Though they're technically recyclable, it's not exactly easy or economical do do it. But did you know Tetra Pak is committed to sustainability? Check out this video where they flaunt the sustainability of their tradeshow booth. Hilarity ensues

Cheap Wine

Wed, 24 Sep 2008 19:43:09 -0700
Toast Head Cabernet 2006 review. Find and buy Cabernet.

Horrible Election Draws Near: Will Philly Heroes Save Me?

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 10:08:22 -0700
By Nate Shockey/No one has ever saved my life, at least no one I know of. It might not be too much of a stretch to say that my wife saved me from throwing away my early 20s and watching sports 18 hours a day. I have also realized that Two-Buck Chuck (the really cheap wine at Trader Joe’s) rescued us during my first year out of college...

Top Five Hobo Wines

Wed, 03 Sep 2008 09:39:16 -0700
The greatest cheap ass wines of all time.

Beer by the Bottle, Wine by the Jug

Tue, 02 Sep 2008 02:59:45 -0700
It's cheap to eat and drink in the Algarve, but it may even be cheaper than you think

Storing Wine
Fine Wines


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8:43 PM

December - Port Wine

A Port Wine Artilce for Your Viewing

Planning Your Wedding Reception With a Wine Tasting Party

Wine can be an important part of your wedding and picking which wine to serve, along with picking the caterer and deciding on a cake, one of the decisions you'll have to make along the way that involves taste. But this is one decision you can use to bring friends together and have a little relaxing fun during the planning stages.

Most caterers will have a wine list available that includes one or two "house wines," which are usually the lowest priced, and several more expensive labels for you to choose from. You'll most likely choose both a red and white so everyone at the reception is accommodated. In certain states, California for example, restaurants allow you to bring in your own wine. While this seems like it might be a great way to go, they can charge what is known as a corkage fee, which can be as high as $30 or even more per bottle. Unless you want a very rare and expensive wine, it's usually better to go with something off the list.

Sometimes the decision comes down to money and sometimes it comes down to taste. But in either case, this is one taste test you can have fun with. When my wife and I got married we invited some friends over, bought a bottle of each of the wines offered at the reception location and had a wine tasting party.

Between my junior and senior years of college I worked in a wine shop where we had a bottle available for tasting every Saturday afternoon. The owner and I got along very well and he gave me my first lessons in wine tasting. I've been a student ever since.

While drinking wine might be a part of your everyday life, you probably don't spend much time actually tasting it in comparison to other wines. Most people are intimidated when it comes to tasting or even selecting wine, but the first thing I learned was that no matter what anyone tells you, if you don't like a particular wine then you just don't like it. As far as selecting goes, in this case the wine has been pre-selected for us by the catering manager. We're just going to narrow down the list.

For our party we made a small chart with each bottle on it and three columns. The columns were for Appearance, Smell and Taste. We asked each of our guests to score each wine with a number from 1 to 10. We also left a little space for impressions to be noted.

Before we get started though, the first thing, obviously, is to drink in moderation and make sure that everyone at your wine tasting makes it home safely so they can party at your wedding. Never drink and drive. In fact wine tasting doesn't really even require drinking at all. Most professional tasters will spit the wine out after tasting it. It makes a lot of sense when you might taste dozens of wines in one day. (If you've seen the film Sideways, there's a scene where the character played by Paul Giamatti is so desperate for a drink that he actually drinks from one of the buckets used for this.)

The first thing you'll notice when you open a bottle and pour a glass is the color, or appearance of the wine. Red wine can vary greatly from a deep purple to rich brown while white wine can vary from a light brown to a yellowish green. While color won't necessarily tell you if a wine is good or bad, a richer fuller red could indicate a richer, fuller taste while brown might actually mean the wine has gone bad. A richer colored white wine usually indicates one that's sweeter while a clearer wine might be drier and crisper.

Next comes smell, or as wine aficionados call it, the bouquet. The bouquet of a wine can add an enormous amount to the overall experience of drinking it. At least half of what we eat and drink is experienced through smell. If you've ever had a bad cold with a stuffed up nose, you know that food can taste like nothing. But the bouquet of a good wine can be amazing if you really pay attention to it. Swirl it in your glass a little to release it and let it breath. Take a deep whiff and let it linger. You may start to notice smells you never noticed before. It might be musty or it might be sharp, it might smell like a forest or it might smell like a garden. You never know and finding out and challenging yourself to recognize different traits in the bouquet is one of the things wine lovers love about wine.

Now it's time to taste the wine. This isn't a time to gulp or chug but a time to sip and let the wine linger on your tongue. In fact, let it roll around on your tongue. You experience taste differently through different parts of your tongue. If you really concentrate on it you can taste amazing things. Some wines will be drier than others (a function of how much sugar is in the wine,) leaving less of an aftertaste while some will be richer. Some will taste like oak, some like fruit, some might even taste like flowers. Again that discovery of taste is one of the things wine lovers love. It also fun at this point to discuss with your friends what you taste in a particular glass. You'll be surprised at what people will taste and it might even surprise you a little that once they tell you, you'll suddenly taste it as well. You may also want to try tasting the same wine again after the bottle has been open for a little while. Wine, especially red wine, breaths after being opened. In other words, it reacts with the air and the taste can change, in some cases drastically, after even a few minutes. Decanting a wine often speeds up this process, but may not be practical for a tasting party.

It's also important to have a small tray of crackers or bread or glasses of water available for your tasters to help cleanse their pallets between tastes, especially if you're switching between red and white. It's also a good idea to rinse out the glasses between bottles.

In the end, we tallied up the scores, read all the comments and ultimately picked the wine we liked best. Of course it just happened to be that the wine we liked most coincided with what our friends liked but don't feel pressured. Enjoying wine is all about what you like and tasting wine is all about discovering what you like. We had a great meal afterwards and our friends felt honored that we let them help pick the wine for our wedding. As it turned out, we were so busy and having so much fun during our reception that neither of us really even remembers having a glass.

About the Author

RJ Thomas is a wine aficionado and collector. He is also the owner of two wedding businesses, Cherish Video, a Los Angeles, California based wedding videography company and My Unique Wedding Favors a website devoted to selling affordable and unique wedding favors (including wine wedding favors.)

A synopsis on Port Wine.

Planning Your Wedding Reception With a Wine Tasting Party

Wine can be an important part of your wedding and picking which wine to serve, along with picking the caterer and deciding on a cake, one of the decis...

Click Here to Read More About Wine ...

Featured Port Wine Items

The FTD Pretty Petals Arrangement - Standard

The Pretty Petals arrangement is a garden party of white lilies, peach roses, peach snap dragons, white snapdragons and more. This beautiful arrangement arrives in a planter and brings your best wishes. C17-3575S

Price: 75.99 USD

News about Port Wine

New John Sayles Movie "Honeydripper," Opening December 28, Focuses on Blues of the Deep South

Sat, 27 Oct 2007 00:00:01 -0700
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) October 27, 2007 -- "Honeydripper," the new film written, directed and edited by John Sayles and produced by Maggie Renzi, takes us back to the genesis of rock...

The Wine Industry Uncorked!

Fri, 21 Sep 2007 14:50:27 -0700
By the process of osmosis, you’re not instantly an expert because you live in Northern California when it comes to distinguishing the good, bad and the ugly when it comes to wines. Most can’t even tell the difference between a bottle of “Two Buck Chuck”(Charles Shaw Wine Sold at Trader Joes) and “KJ” (Kendall Jackson).

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Mon, 17 Sep 2007 16:09:01 -0700
Broken Social Scene was formed in 1999 by fellow K.C. Accidental band mates Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. In 2001 the duo added Evan Cranley of Stars, Drew’s former band mate Charles Spearin of Do Make Say Think, as well as James Shaw and Emily Haines of Metric, and released their debut album Feel Good Lost. By the time their second album.....

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