Girl on a Budget: Wines Under $10

Sometimes a girl is on a budget and needs decent wine for cheap. While it’s nice to drink expensive vintages, there are times that call lower price point wines, like a when you’re hosting a big party or saving for a trip. But a girl on a budget does not mean that good taste has to be compromised! I’ve rounded up my top three wines from the LCBO that are under $10 and don’t taste like bathwater.


1. Beso de Vino

Beso de Vino is a red blend from Spain. It’s a full bodied dry wine with a deep purple colour.  I was introduced to it by a friend several years ago and it’s been a constant go to since then for hosting, gifting and weeknight drinks. Beso de Vino is a crowd pleaser! I haven’t met someone that doesn’t enjoy this easy going wine. It’s has luscious dark fruit flavours with a hint of spice and licorice. Available at the LCBO for $9.95.

2. L’Orangeraie Rosé

If you’re in the mood for Rosé, the L’Orangeraie is a great budget friendly option. From the South of France, this wine is medium bodied and extra dry with good acidity. Notes of herb, bell pepper and floral are followed by tart cherry and citrus flavours. A classic example of a southern French Rosé, L’Orangeraie is sure to please any pink drink lover. When I was first putting together this post, L’Orangeraie was at the LCBO for under $10, but recently increased to $10.25 – still a good deal!

3. Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc

Most wine drinkers at some point have probably had the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine from South Africa is light bodied and dry  with flavours that will not offend anyone. Easy drinking and crisp, the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc has light tastes of soft citrus and grapefruit. It’s guaranteed to be enjoyed on a hot summers day! The 750ml bottle is $9.95 at the LCBO, but you can get the 1500ml bottle for only $17.95 – perfect if you’re hosting a summer party!



A Galentine’s Brunch

I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but have always loved celebrating with my girlfriends. When Leslie Knope introduced the idea of Galentine’s Day, I was definitely on board! This year I celebrated with a 3-course brunch and wine pairing. If you’re not totally sold on the Galentine’s idea, this event could be replicated for any brunch occasion with friends or family – no cheesey hearts involved!


I welcomed my Galentine’s with coffee and baked goods. We had the most delicious coffee from Velvet Sunrise, called Velvet Espresso, and I picked up fresh pastries that morning from my favourite bakery at the St. Lawrence Market, Stonemill Bakehouse. To add a little “fancy” to our brunch, I served the coffee in china teacups and the baked goods on an antique silver tray.


After our caffeine and sugar fix, we moved onto the main event. I made coconut French toast – using coconut milk and a baguette is a really nice alternative. For sides, we had market bacon, berry salad and homemade maple syrup. I served the main course with the Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut. With warm flavours of toasty brioche and structured tropical acidity, this bubbly paired nicely with the French toast and bacon. I tried this wine for the first time a few weeks ago and haven’t stopped drinking it since! You can purchase it directly from the Jackson Triggs Winery or at select Wine Racks for $29.95.


We finished off our Galentine’s brunch with sugar cookies and pink bubbly. My girlfriend made the cookies using a great recipe from Zoella – these cookies turn out better every time she makes them! I chose the Pelee Island LOLA Rose VQA 2016 to pair with the cookies, and it was a hit! The LOLA Rose is a light and fruity sparkling wine with tastes of strawberry and orange. This wine is one of my local favourites – plus, labels don’t get much prettier than this one! At $14.95, it’s also a great price-point and available at most LCBO stores.


Happy Galentine’s Day!

Cheers! – GDW

Wines for Thanksgiving

While Canadians have long past celebrated Thanksgiving this year, our American neighbours will be gathering with family for turkey dinner this week. Since a lot of our readership is American based, I’d like to share my wine recommendations for your upcoming holiday. While you had to wait until further in the year for your long weekend, our American readers can definitely get the benefit of learning what worked best for wine at my Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.

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I like to start Thanksgiving day with early afternoon appetizers and wine. Specifically, I like a giant cheese and charcuterie board filled with fall favourites like maple aged cheddar, smoked sausage and locally picked apples. And for wine, I always choose my seasonal go to – the Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling. If you can’t find this Ontario native, any other late harvest Riesling will pair just as well. In the United States, wineries from New York or Washington will typically produce late harvest Rieslings. Late harvest wines are made from grapes that are left on the vine longer so their sugar levels are higher; creating a sweeter wine. What I like about a late harvest Rieslings in particular are that the Riesling grape has a naturally higher acidity level which really balances out the sweetness. It’s the perfect wine varietal to start of your Thanksgiving celebrations – easy afternoon drinking, not too serious and pairs perfectly with a variety of appetizers!

If you can get your hands on a bottle of the Inniskillin Late Harvest Riesling, I really encourage you try it. I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I do!


For the main event I highly recommend you go with a White Burgundy. A Burgundian white will almost always be a Chardonnay. But it’s not your typical new world Chardonnay with a heavy mouth of butter and oakiness. Once you’ve tried a white Burgundy, your whole impression of Chardonnay will change. As Wine Folly puts it, “white burg is the crack cocaine of Chardonnay.” These wines vary considerably but generally have green apple and lemon citrus notes with hint of oak that provides a nice nutty or vanilla flavour. A White Burgundy will be great accompaniment to your turkey and is sure to please all your dinner guests. I chose the popular Louis Jadot Bourgogne, which you should be able to find at your local wine shop.



To finish off the night, I chose another late harvest wine – Bella Wineries Late Harvest Zinfandel. A late harvest Zinfandel is considered a dessert wine and works well with Thanksgiving favourites like pumpkin pie or apple crisp.  And an added bonus – late harvest zins are typically only found in America. The Bella Wineries vintage is now sold out, but there are several other options from California you’ll be able to find. While not your typical dessert wine or bubbly, a late harvest Zinfandel will be something different to impress your guests and add to the fall feels of Thanksgiving!


And, of course, it’s always nice to consider your non-alcohol drinking friends. This is really easy at Thanksgiving with an abundance if apple cider options available. To make it a bit more special, I’d recommend picking a sparking cider. I had a crowd pleasing bubbly from my local cidery.


Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with friends, family and good wine!


Cheers ~ GDW




Witches Who Wine Party

To kick off the Halloween season I hosted a Witches Who Wine party. This was a wine tasting event where I paired wines with Halloween candy.

All my guests festively obliged to wearing their favourite witch hat and best black outfit. Upon arrival to the party, they were greeted with a yummy sparkling apple cider cocktail (recipe coming soon to the blog). Each witch was provided a wine tasting card to score the five wines on appearance, aroma,  taste and pairing. And from here, the fun ensued!


This is how I paired the wines and candy:

    1. Grenache and Reese peanut butter cups     

2. Sauvignon Blanc and Skittles

3. Beaujolais and Nibs

4. Late Autumn Riesling and Mars

5. Zinfandel and Twix 

The winning pairing was the Zinfandel and Twix! I enjoyed all of the pairings and suggest trying a few of them out with your leftover Halloween candy. You can find the specific wines chosen for the event at the LCBO, all for under $15.00.


In addition to the candy pairings, I provided a few additional snacks for guests. I put out a small spread of cheeses, fruit, charcuterie and dips. The artichoke dip from Olympic Cheese at the St. Lawrence Market was big hit!


The Witches Who Wine party was a fun way to celebrate the Halloween season, taste some  new wines and spend time with good friends (including our witchy friend below – the GDW photographer!).


Cheers! – GDW

How to Host a Fall Picnic

Firstly – invite a group of friends who enjoy a day drink just as much as you 😉


Second step – gather the food! We got all of our goodies fresh from the St. Lawrence Market. I highly recommend visiting your city’s local farmer’s market to get the best seasonal products. Our picnic consisted of charcuterie, fruit, cranberry tarts, olives, crackers and a variety of Canadian cheeses. I especially love the pink buns!



Next, and most importantly, is to choose the wine. I picked out the VQA Pelee Island Pinot Noir Reserve from Southern Ontario. This is a medium bodied, dry wine that pairs well with a lot of foods – perfect for a daytime picnic. Plus, I love the pretty grey and white label! It’s a smooth wine with low tannins and tastes of cherry, plums and earthiness. Good value for $17.45 at the LCBO,


Lastly – pick a spot at the park, assemble the bounty and enjoy your fall picnic!


Cheers! – GDW