Drowning our Sorrows in Niagara

My wine sampleAlthough not a journey overseas, as is usually the case on this blog, Dave and I did a bit of travelling this weekend. And so, I decided to write a little bit about it. We, and a group of friends, went to Niagara on the Lake this weekend to enjoy some wine and quality time together in celebration of our thirtieth birthdays, which many of us are celebrating this year (or already have!).

It’s been a long time since I have been to NOTL. In fact, the last time I don’t think I was old enough to drink (what a waste!). It was fun to rediscover the town now that I am more than old enough to imbibe! Dave, myself and friend Kim drove to Belleville on Thurs night, to shorten the drive to NOTL on Fri. After getting a fairly early start on Fri morning, we stopped in St. Catherine’s for groceries and arrived in Niagara in time for some lunch. We stayed at McPhillips House, a rental property with four bedrooms and beds for 10. Shoshanah and Thomas were already there, so after dropping off all our stuff and calling the property manager to come fix the lock (turns out the batteries of the keypad lock had died), we were off to a small tea shop to sit on the patio in the lovely weather, to enjoy an Irish beer and a bap and decide what to do with the rest of the afternoon.

Grape vinesWe decided to visit some wineries. Dave nominated himself DD (thanks!) and we were off for a few hours of tasting and buying before the end of the day. We visited Strewn, Sunnybrook Farm, FrogPond, 20Bees and Stratus. In two and a half hours! I think we did well. Most of us bought a couple of bottles at each winery. Then it was back to the house to meet up with Melissa and Steve and relax for a while before starting dinner. We BBQ’d dinner and a few others arrived in time for some delicious chicken and veggies.

Sampling at RavineSaturday about half of us had booked a Crush wine tour, while the others were going to spend some time at the spa and go shopping for the day. Our driver was very friendly and since we were seven, we had the van to ourselves. We started off at Chateau des Charmes, where we had a tour of the winery, followed by some tastings. Then it was off to Ravine Estate, a fairly new winery. We had a bit of a tour of the original home that is in the process of being rebuilt and told all about their grand plans. We ate lunch there, which was delicious. After lunch, we headed to Coyote Run, where we were again given a bit of a tour and some more wine to taste. The final stop of the day was at Caroline Cellars, where we tasted some more wine, and also a few late harvest and ice wines paired with chocolates. Yuuuummmm.

Group shot finalWe were dropped off back at the house after a full day of eating and drinking to relax before heading out to Epicurean for dinner with all 14 of us. Although we had made a reservation well in advance, it took 30 min to get seated, which was rather annoying. We were treated to a free glass of champagne, however, and dinner was really good. I had lamb and the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever eaten, as well as more delicious wine! We headed back to the house, where a few group photos were taken and eventually we all headed to bed after relaxing in the very large living room.

Sunday we made a big breakfast, packed up and headed out. Dave and I stopped at Lailey, another winery, on the way out of town. We headed to Hamilton where we had lunch with my friends Heather and Jay, and then hopped back in the car for the long drive home. All in all it was a great weekend, and one that I would love to repeat (especially the wine and friends part!) some time soon!

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Posted in ontario | travel | wine Submitted by Meg on Mon, 2009-05-11 19:52

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