It’s Time to Celebrate your Girlfriends!

Throughout the year we all attend lots of birthday parties, baby showers and wedding celebrations. These are all worthy celebratory events, but there are also lots of other reasons to pop a bottle of bubbly with your girlfriends. Like the job promotion, friendaversary or new condo – these occasions are often overlooked but just as important! I say, let’s take more time to celebrate all the special moments with our friends! And, of course, no celebration is complete without wine.

Lakeview Wine

The Fresh Wines by Lakeview Wine Co. are perfectly suited for celebrating with your girlfriends. Their wide range of wines are easy drinking, flavourful and available at great price points. Need some inspiration for celebration? I’ve got lots for you! I have no problem thinking of reasons to open a bottle of wine and toast to my friends.

New Job

Fresh Opportunities and the Career Change

Most of us work hard at our jobs and promotions are well deserved reason to celebrate. But what about the career change? My friend, Ashley, recently quit her job to explore what she’s passionate about. While she hasn’t quite decided what the career change will be, she has given herself the space and opportunity to discover what she’s passionate about doing. This is an amazingly brave decision to make and deserves celebrating! The Fresh Opportunities Riesling Gewurztraminer could not be more perfectly suited. Light and flavourful, this wine has wonderful tropical flavours of lychee, melon and peach. It went down easy and kept flowing as we discussed all of Ashley’s exciting new opportunities. Cheers to quitting your job! 

Fresh Perspectives

Fresh Perspectives and the Friendaversary

While we always celebrate anniversaries with our significant other, people do not often recognize their friend anniversaries! I believe that friends help to shape our outlooks, opinions and perspectives on life. Next month, my friend Stephanie and I will be celebrating our 5 year friendaversary! We met when she first moved to Toronto from Ireland…and her drink of choice was a Malibu cocktail (how we became friends, I have no idea!?). But, you can bet that after five years of friendship I’ve changed Stephanie’s perspective on drinking and we will be celebrating with a nice bottle of red wine! The Fresh Perspectives Red wine is just the perfect bottle to open and enjoy together. Cheers to great friendships!

Fresh Ideas

Fresh Ideas and the New Pet

I’m not sure if it’s just my group of friends, but I know a lot more people adopting pets than having babies! Either way, a new addition to the family is very exciting and I can’t think of a better reason to celebrate. When we adopted our French Bulldog, Cosette, my friends had the most amazing idea to throw me a puppy shower! Trust me, way more fun than a baby shower! They even gifted me a puppy pad cake (diaper cakes are a thing at human baby showers). Bubbly should definitely be popped to celebrate a new fur baby and the Fresh Ideas Sparkling is a great choice! Light bubbles of green apple, lemon and lime make for the perfect toast to the new addition! Cheers to your new fur baby!

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Fresh Possibilities and the Big Adventure

Dream of taking that big trip or moving to another country? Lots of people dream of their big adventure, but taking time off work for extended travel or uprooting to explore life in a new place can be very scary! My new friend, Sara, just moved from Halifax to Toronto. She had a career, family and house in Halifax but made the big decision to move to another city. As one of Sara’s Toronto friends, I am more than happy to celebrate her move here and new found friendships! The Fresh Possibilities Sparkling Rosé is the best option for toasting your friend’s adventure. Big sparkling bubbles of cherry, strawberry and pomegranate accompany a toast to new possibilities perfectly! Cheers to your adventure!

Fresh Beginnings

Fresh Beginnings and the New Home

Most of us in Toronto have begun to think beyond the traditional meaning of new “home”. As the price for housing in Toronto continues to skyrocket, a lot of people are calling their rentals their homes. My girlfriend, Melanie, searched long and hard for a new condo and when she found the perfect place to rent she made it her new home. Fancy dishes were bought, curtains hung and walls painted! No better way to celebrate a new home than with the Fresh Beginnings Moscato wine. This flavourful and exciting wine pairs perfectly with spicy take-out after a long day of helping your friend move in! Cheers to your new home!

Wine Celebration

As you can see, there are many reasons to open a bottle of wine and celebrate with your girlfriends! While many people may overlook these occasions, I think they are special moments that deserve a toast. So head out to the LCBO, pick up some Fresh Wines and start the celebrations!

Cheers!~GDW

Food & Wine: Summer Sausage with Rosé

This is one of my favourite recipes to make in the summer. There’s an abundance of fresh local vegetables available during the summer and this dish can use them all! The ingredient list here includes the vegies that I had that night, but so many others can be added or substituted in.

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The heart of this dish is Italian sausage which pairs lovely with rosé. In particular, a medium bodied rosé works really well. Think those darker pink rosés that have some  weight and complexity to them. Some examples are the Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosé, Cave Spring Rosé, or Malivoire Ladybug Rosé. I chose all Ontario wine to keep this fresh summer dinner all local. 

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Ingredients

4 sausages

4 radishes 

4 kale leaves

2 carrots 

1 zucchini

1 yellow onion 

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup parsley

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried basil 

olive oil

Instructions

Heat a large pan with olive oil and cook sausages half way through. Cut sausages into inch pieces and set aside. Chop all vegetables and add to the pan with the dried herbs and more olive oil. When cooked half way, add back in the sausage and cook for another 5 minutes (or until meat and vegies are at your preference). Dish onto plates, pour the rosé and enjoy!

Cheers!~GDW

Girl on a Budget: Rosé Under $11

Summer time is amazing, but let’s be honest, it can get expensive! While I’d love to be sipping on Whispering Angel all season, sometimes a girl has to be on a budget. But if you’re a girl on a budget like me, that doesn’t  mean that you should have to miss out on rosé’ing all day this summer! I’ve listed for you my top 5 favourite rosés at the LCBO for under $11.00. And while not all wine under $11.00 is good, these rosés are tried (many times), tested and true! My top 5 rosés under $11.00  will keep a girl on a budget AND rosé’ing all day!

Astica Malbec Rosé  $8.90

The Astica Malbec Rosé is only $8.90 at the LCBO! From Argentina this pretty pale pink rosé is light bodied and dry. It has a lot of citrus and tart berry flavours that will appeal to those wine drinkers that like a very crisp and refreshing rosé. It’s certainly perfect for a hot summer day!

JP Azeitão Shiraz Rosé  9.25

If you follow me on Instagram, you know the JP Azeitao has been my go-to rosé this summer! And it’s not just me…as soon as the LCBO restocks it is quickly gone! The JP Azeitao is another pale pink rosé that’s light bodied and dry. What I love about this wine, is that the soft berry and floral flavours are balanced beautifully with a great acidic structure and crisp finish.

L’Orangeraie Rosé  $9.30

The L’Orangeraie Rosé is regular $10.80 at the LCBO, but is on sale right now for $9.30. So stock up! From the South of France, this wine is light bodied and extra dry. 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.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé $10.05

I’ve talked about the Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé before, because I really do enjoy it and think it’s great value! This Chilean wine is a medium-bodied dry style that’s bursting with bright flavours of strawberries, raspberries and cherries. It’s a great wine to pair with food. Enjoy this wine al fresco with sausage, grilled chicken or salmon.

Banrock Station Pink Moscato Rosé  $10.95 

If you like your rosé on the sweeter side, than the Banrock Station Moscato is for you! I typically enjoy a dry rosé, but this wine has a great acidity and some delicate bubbles that help to balance out the sweetness. Plus, it is the prettiest pale pink colour! For $10.95 at the LCBO the Banrock Station Moscato is perfect for a girl on a budget.

Cheers!~GDW

How to Get Your Dad to Drink Pink

Fathers day is coming up and that means backyard barbeques in the warm June sun. Your Dad will probably grab his go-to bottle of red to wash back that barbeque. This is to be expected, as most people think red wine pairs best with barbequed food like burgers. And Dad isn’t wrong, red wine does work great but Rosé can also bring out the best in your burger! With the right type of Rosé it can actually be a delicious pairing and something different to switch up the typical Father’s Day barbeque. But how to get your Dad to drink pink?

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The 13th Street Burger Blend Rosé is how to get your dad to drink pink! It’s a great pick for those who don’t think they like Rosé and an excellent gateway into the world of pink wine. The 13th Street Burger Blend Rosé is made from 100% VQA grapes –  33% Pinot Noir, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc. It was specifically produced to complement a burger and the combination does just that. The delicious blend of red grapes creates a medium-bodied crisp Rosé with flavours of ripe red berries, spice and a juicy finish. The 13th Street Burger Blend Rosé  is not your light pretty french Rosé, but a big juicy blend designed to stand up to your favourite barbequed burger. This is how to get your Dad to drink pink!

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While The 13th Street Burger Blend Rosé was designed to pair well with a variety of different burger combinations, I think it pairs exceptionally well with a blue cheese burger. The juicy red berry flavours and crisp spiciness work great to cut through the strong flavours of beef and blue cheese. If your Dad is still on the fence about drinking pink, this combination should sell him! The deliciousness of this food and wine combo cannot be denied!

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Now that the question of how to get your Dad to drink pink has been solved, how do you get the Burger Blend Rosé? You can pick up this wine at The 13th Street Winery in Niagara or order it from their online store. It’s an excellent value wine at only $14.95 a bottle. If you head over to my Instagram page, a lucky follower also has the chance to WIN two bottles of the Burger Blend wines!

Cheers!~GDW

Girl on a Budget: Wine Magnums Under $20

The Victoria day long weekend marks the beginning of summer in Canada. And summer in Canada means weekend cottage trips, camping adventures and lots of barbeque parties. All of these events go best with great wine and friends. But if you’re a girl on a budget, the wine can add up! I find that when I’m packing wine for a weekend trip or stocking up for a summer party, wine magnums are the best value. Wine magnums are 1.5L bottles, which is equal to two regular wine bottles. If you can find a magnum for under $20, then you will have plenty budget left to pick up that cute swim suit for the cottage! But are wine magnums under $20 any good? They are not going to be the BEST wine that you’ve ever had, but I’ve listed below my top picks.

  1. Aveleda Vinho Verde  $19.60 – This wine is listed at #1 because it is definitely my #1 pick for wine magnums under $20! A light Portuguese white with zesty spritziness, it’s perfect for sipping by the pool. Plus, with a lower alcohol level, 9.5%, you can sip all day without the worry of a hangover!
  2. Barefoot Pinot Grigio $19.95 – The Barefoot Pinot Grigio is another light a crisp white, but with more an off-dry style (dry but with a slight sweetness). On a hot day on the dock, I enjoy this wine over a large tumbler of ice.
  3. Bodacious Smooth Red $18.75 – A mix of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Bodacious red is full bodied and smooth. It is definitely a crowd pleasing wine, so a great choice when hosting a backyard barbeque. It’s on sale until May 27th for $16.75, so now would be a good time to stock up!
  4. Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier $18.95 – The Cono Sur Viognier is bursting with aromatic flavours of tropical fruits and rounded out with great acidity. I just discovered this wine last month and was very happy to see it came in a magnum. Enjoy this wine with an extended al fresco Sunday lunch.
  5. Mateus Rosé $17.40 – This rosé is on the sweeter side, so I find that it works best mixed with sparkling water and ice to make a rosé spritzer. There’s nothing better than a rosé spritzer at the beach on a hot summer day!
  6. Folonari Soave $16.95 – The Folonari Soave has been one of my go-to magnums for years! It’s light, crisp and dry style makes it perfect for pairing with picnic pot locks in the park. Be careful though, this wine goes down like water!
  7. Jackson Triggs Shiraz $18.95 – When you’re having guests over for a charcoal grilled steak dinner, the Jackson Triggs Shiraz is a great choice. It’s a full bodied and easy drinking red wine that pairs well with friends and warm summer grill nights.
  8. Peller Estates Rosé $16.95 – This rosé is also on the sweeter side, but that makes it perfect to make frosé, sangria, rosé pops and spritzers. When you’re heading out of the city for a girls cottage weekend, pack a couple of these bottles to rosé all day!
  9. Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc $18.75 –  I always have a magnum bottle of the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge during the summer. It’s light and crisp with nice grapefruit, herb and citrus flavours. I find it works great as an après-work drink on the balcony.

If you’re a girl on a budget, wine magnums under $20 are your best choice to wine all summer! Weekend cottage trips, backyard parties and long beach days require wine at good value. While wine magnums aren’t always the BEST wine, my top 9 picks are all good choices that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

Cheers! ~ GDW

Sparkling Margarita

I love Mexican food, but don’t really like the tequila based drinks that come along with it! So, I’ve put a wine twist on the popular margarita drink. With no tequila involved, I’ll be drinking this sparkling margarita all summer long! Read below for instructions on how to make the super simple sparkling margarita.

Sparkling Margarita

Ingredients

Sparkling wine (I used semi-sweet bubbles from Yellow Tail)

Lime juice

Agava

Sugar

Salt

Margarita Ingredients.jpg

Instructions

Combine sugar and salt on a plate and rim your glass. Fill the glass with sparkling wine, add the juice from 1/4 of a lime and 1/2 teaspoon of agave. Enjoy!

Margarita

Cheers!~GDW

No Cook Wine & App Night

I love to host friends and family, but I don’t always love to cook. When I’m in a no-cook kind of mood, apps are the easiest option. Pair with some really nice wine and no one will be upset you didn’t make a 3 course dinner! I have a few go-to apps that are easy, simple and use all store bought items. When I’m serving no-cook apps, I like to include one stand out item, and I can’t wait to share my favourite with you!

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And, as with all hosting, it’s all about the presentation! Even if you’re using all store bought items, make sure to take them out of the packing and serve them on nice dishes. I have quite the collection of serving ware, as I find this to be one of the most important things about hosting. It doesn’t have to be expensive – I pick up a lot of my pieces from Homesense at really reasonable prices.

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So what are my 3 favourite no-cook apps? A charcuterie/cheese board, crudités platter and mussel stuffed olives. Read below for how I put these apps together, the ingredients and how to display.

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If my charcuterie/cheese board is part of several apps, I like to keep it small with high quality items. I typically include 5 items: a cheese, meat, nut, pickled vegetable and a cracker. For this wine and app night I chose my current favourite cheese, L’etivaz. This is a Swiss cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk, similar to a comté. I bought it at the St. Lawrence Market, but you could find it at any specialty cheese shop. The meat I used is a fig and port wine dry sausage by the Irresistibles Artisan brand from Metro – trust me, it’s so good! To keep the nut interesting I picked up the crowd pleasing macadamia, and a jar of pickled mushrooms. To finish off my board, I added pre-made sea salt and rosemary crostini’s from Stonemill Bakery.

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Crudités is just a fancy French way of saying vegie and dip platter, but it sounds so much better right?! For the crudités, stay away from pre-cut basic vegetables and choose some more interesting items. For this platter I used snap peas, endive, mini cucumbers and heirloom carrots. Same goes for the dip – try something different than the typical ranch, like a artichoke asiago sauce. I buy this artichoke asiago dip up from the St. Lawrence Market, but you can find similar at the grocery store.  Just make sure to take it out of the plastic container and put it into a nice serving bowl – will look homemade!

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And last, the pièce de résistance! My favourite, and easiest, no-cook app is mussel stuffed olives. I had these at a market in Madrid several years ago and have not stopped making them since! This app only requires three items – large green olives, mussels and toothpicks. Slice the olive, stuff with mussel and secure with a toothpick. Done! Super simple and easy to make, but they stand out as a unique and different app.

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A wine and app night is not complete with a great bottle of wine. When I’m doing apps, I’m not too picky about the wine pairing as it’s difficult when you have a lot of different foods and flavours. I instead pick a wine that I love and want to share with my guests. For this night I chose the Frog’s Leap Zinfandel, which I  bought on a trip to Napa last year. I was excited to share the bottle, and found memories of the winery, with our fellow wine loving guests. Plus, it’s great that the Frog’s Leap Zinfandel is now available at the LCBO.

With this no-cook wine and app night you will spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your guests company!

Cheers!~GDW