For those of us living in Toronto we’re just a couple hours drive away from several different Ontario wine regions, but it can be difficult to make the trip as much as we’d like (every weekend would be nice!). But there’s now no reason to go further than 1000 Bay Street to taste some of Ontario’s best wines. You’re probably familiar with The Wine Shop; there are over 100 locations throughout Ontario carrying wines from Peller Estates, Trius Winery, Thirty Bench Wine Makers and Wayne Gretzky Estates. What you’re probably not familiar with is The Wine Shop on Bay! It’s the first location in a new concept for The Wine Shop stores – along with a trendy new look The Wine Shop on Bay offers a fabulous tasting bar and so many fun wine experiences. And if you’re in the market for a saber, this can even be picked up at The Wine Shop on Bay!
On my visit to The Wine Shop on Bay, I did a rosé tasting at the tasting bar. I was led through a flight of three different Ontario rosés by on of the store’s very knowledgeable staff. Without the drive to Niagara, I felt that I got to know each of the wineries and sample some of their great wines. I even tasted what is now my favourite Ontario rosé – the Thirty Bench Small Lot Rosé. If you have not tried this rosé than that is excuse enough to head over to The Wine Shop on Bay where it is sold exclusively, outside of the winery.
Like my rosé tasting, you can customize any type of wine experience that you like. The helpful staff are happy to organize the perfect tasting for you to celebrate a birthday, bachelorette or just a Sunday afternoon! There are also standing experiences that you can book like the Big Cheese Theory and Vino & Cocoa. The Wine Shop on Bay is starting to host fun events too! The first is Wine 101 with Thirty Bench winemaker, Emma Garner covering some of Niagara’s most popular rosés. For more information about booking an experience or attending an event, contact email@example.com or visit their Instagram.
If you haven’t been to The Wine Shop on Bay yet, it’s definitely worth the short trip to 1000 Bay Street. This new concept store for The Wine Shop is really great and changing how Torontonians can experience Ontario wines without leaving the city. And if anything, you must try the Thirty Bench Small Lot Rosé!
The Hare Wine Co. is a beautiful new winery to Niagara on the Lake, opening it’s reclaimed barn doors in 2016. Located on the mature and bountiful lands of Niagara , the estate winery vineyard was named after the hare for it’s symbolism of fertility and good fortune. When guests enter estate, the Hare Wine Co. wants you to experience a shift in time to the founding days of the region. I definitely got this feeling as a sipped my VQA wine in the tasting room built from rustic and repurposed wood, metal and brick materials. Plus, gotta love all the bunny imagery!
The Wine Hare Co. has four series of wines, all with pretty rabbit labels perfect to pick up at the winery for spring get-togethers! We tried wines from the Jack Rabbit, Crown Land and Frontier Collection. We also used our Winemakers Selections Tasting Pass to sample the late harvest vidal and icewine. The winemaker has really told the story of the vintage and crafted some uniquely Niagara wine. We left with two bottles from the Jack Rabbit series to enjoy this Easter.
The tasting room is open daily and no appointment is necessary to visit the tasting bar. The Hare Wine Co. offers a flight of 3 wines for $5, and the fee is waived with the purchase of a bottle. In addition to the daily tastings, there always seems to be a fun upcoming event! My mom and I will be back on April 28th for the Etsy Spring Market. Local shopping and wine sounds like the perfect day to me!
This is the first post in a new series, “Wine Your way Through”, and I’m starting with what has to be the cutest winery in Niagara, Kew Vineyards Estate Winery. I visited the winery with my family last month and had a wonderful afternoon sipping bubbly in their pretty tasting room. Kew Vineyards encourages guests to soak in, waste time and enjoy their experience on the estate and with their wines – I definitely felt this warm hospitality when I found myself several hours later finished a cheese board and second tasting flight!
Located in the Beamsville Bench on a 160 year-old estate, Kew Vineyards has some of Niagara’s first Riesling vines, brought over from Germany by Mr. Hermann Weis in 1975. Since then, Kew Vineyards has been passionate about growing uniquely Niagara terroir wines, allowing the cool climate vineyard tell it’s story. Today, they are well known for their sparkling wines, producing several different types.
On my visit the Kew Vineyards, I started with the bubbly flight for $10 and tried the 2013 Blanc de Noirs, 2013 Tradition and the 2010 Rosalie. We also ordered the cheese board and finished with a tasting flight of the reds. The Blanc de Noirs, Organic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay bread dipper from Wildly Delicious came home with us. This was all enjoyed in the prettiest tasting room with pleasant and helpful hosts. Kew Vineyards was also very accommodating, allowing us to bring our little Frenchie girl!
I can’t wait to go back this summer and enjoy the beautiful outdoor space!