I’ve never been one to make many new year resolutions, but for 2018 I definitely have some wine goals I want to focus on throughout the year. Read below for my 5 wine resolutions and how you can incorporate them into your own 2018 list.
1. Drink local.
Ontario grows and produces a lot of great wine! Ontarians should appreciate that we have a wide selection of quality local wine available to drink. Not only is Ontario one of the world’s largest producers of ice wine (check out the Niagara Ice Wine Festival), but our wine regions produce award winning Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A great place to start your local wine exploration is the VQA section at LCBO – a VQA labelled wine means that the Ontario Vintners Quality Alliance has approved the wine using a strict quality program; ensuring the wine is made of 100% Ontario grown grapes. Or, if you don’t want invest in a full bottle, check out a wine bar like Chez Nous that pours all Ontario VQA products. In 2018, support your local wine makers and drink Ontario!
2. Explore a type of wine you’re unfamiliar with.
I admit to being extremely unfamiliar with, and frankly intimidated by, Italian wine. But I hope to change this in 2018! A few weeks ago a friend brought over an Italian Primitivo, which I was hesitant to drink but ended up LOVING. When I looked into this type of wine, I learned that Primitivo and Zifandel are the same grape – and Zinfandel is one of my favourite varietals! This showed me that because of being “scared” of a type of wine, I’ve been missing out on some great stuff! In 2018 I encourage you to explore that wine type or region you’re unfamiliar with – there is so much wine to drink out there.
3. Take a wine class.
In 2017 I completed by WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 1 through Fine Vintage Ltd. I learned a lot in this 4-month course, especially just how much there is to know about wine! I’m really excited to be taking the WSET Level 2 course this winter through Adventure in Wine. If you don’t want to commit to a full course like WSET, there are many 1 night/day classes available in the city. In line with my #2 resolution, I’ll be taking a 1 night class on Italian wines in February. Check out classes at local wine bars like Mad Crush, or wine clubs like iYellow, or your neighbourhood LCBO. Happy wine learning in 2018!
4. Enjoy sparking wine on the regular, not just special occasions.
There is a whole world of bubbly to be discovered, but it never will if only drank on special occasions. You’d be surprised how well a glass of bubbly pairs with Sunday night on the coach and a bucket of KFC! Champagne (sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France) can be quite expensive due to the regions exclusive geography. However, you don’t have to splurge on a bottle of Champagne to enjoy sparkling wine. Cava is a great alternative to Champagne, as it’s made in the same traditional method but costs half the price! Ontario also has some great sparkling wine producers like Hinterland Wine Company, Henry of Pelham and Colio Winery. Also, I highly recommend checking out the Sparkling Winos for some great bubbly recommendations. Pop more bottles this year!
5. Visit more wineries.
In Ontario we are lucky to have many wine regions to visit. From Niagara and Prince Edward County to more up-and-coming areas like Georgian Bay and Oak Ridges Moraine. Not only is visiting wineries fun, but you get to buy wine directly from the wine maker that is typically small batch and not available at the LCBO. I’m personally really excited to visit Southbrook Vineyards, Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery and Norman Hardie. Supporting local wineries and exploring the different Ontario terriors sounds good to me for 2018!
Cheers! ~ GDW