May 13, 2015

Boutique Wineries › Fancy Farm Girl › Ontario Craft Wineries › Sue-Ann Staff › VQA › Wines to Watch ›

Roots On The Twenty, May 27 & 28, Balls Falls Conservation Area

Roots On The Twenty -- a little hipster, a smidge country, all about nature and a whole lot of fun! This ain't your parents' bush party!

Join us for a weekend of food, drink, entertainment and activities that celebrate the Twenty Valley. Free admission. Tickets for alcoholic beverage samples from local wineries, brewers and distillers are $5 each or get a commemorative glass and five sample tickets for $25. Click here to purchase sample tickets ahead of time and avoid line-ups at the event!




Stylin' Spring Supper on the Ranch, June 8, Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery

Women of Niagara invite you to join us on the farm this June for a fabulous evening of food and wine in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Go Girls! (a young woman's group mentoring program).Chat, laugh and dine outdoors under our marquee tent while raising money for this important program!

Start your evening with a delightful seasonal wine cocktail and hors' d'oeuvres before taking your seat for dinner. The evening's menu includes:



Arugula Salad
with red wine braised pear, candied walnuts & Caprano creamy goat cheese,
drizzled with Fancy Farm Girl wine dressing
2016 Fancy Farm Girl Foxy Pink
House Cured Smoked Kassler Pork Chop
with apple & pearl onion chutney, celeriac & apple slaw, and sautéed green asparagus with black garlic.
2015 Riesling Loved By Lu or 2015 Baco Noir
Trio Dessert
Berry Charlotte with lemon curd
Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse Cake with hazelnut & almond pralines, & coffee chantilly
Cheesecake with biscotti crumb
All topped with Tigchelaar Farms berry coulis
2012 Vidal Icewine

Advance tickets are $100 
Purchase through eventbrite or through

Proceeds to support Big Brothers Big Sisters Go Girls! Group Mentoring program.


WINspirational Women: A Conversation with Deborah Rosati
Thursday, June 15, 7 pm, Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery

Join us for an intimate, informal and interactive evening with Deborah Rosati (Corporate Director & Co-Founder, Women Get On Board) under the marquee at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery. Enjoy refreshments and dessert while hearing how Deborah achieved her goals, and learn how to build the leader in you.

Advance tickets are only $30 (+taxes & fees), available through eventbrite. Click here to buy!


















Wine & Spirit Fest, Sugar Beach, Toronto, June 16 & 17

Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery will be kickin' it beachside this June at the Wine & Spirit Fest! Taking the farm to the city for two days of sampling and chatting at Sugar Beach sounds like a good idea to us! For more information (tickets, map, general details) click here



Car Show & Shine, Sunday July 30


Boutique Wineries in Niagara That are Worth the Drive


Small-batch wineries are just that: they produce limited quantities of their wines since they have smaller vineyards, lower grape yields and more compact production facilities. Niagara’s larger operations can send out 50,000 cases or more each year; boutique wineries, like the ones described below, may produce fewer than 10,000 cases—which means that if you taste a vintage you like, you’d better pick up a bottle (or several) before they run out!


1 Rancourt Winery is a Niagara gem. The 25-acre cottage winery prides itself on growing all of the grapes for its VQA Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Riesling under the expert guidance of winemaker Eric Pearson. 1829 Concession 4, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-905-468-2882;

Wineries in Niagara Sue-Anne Staff

Winemaker Sue-Anne Staff’s eponymous operation is among the top small-batch wineries in Niagara

2 Viticulture is in Sue-Anne Staff’s blood: she comes from five generations of grape growers but is the first winemaker in her family, and since 2009 has helmed her own Sue-Anne Staff Estate Winery. Seventy per cent of the vines on Staff’s property are dedicated to Riesling; her offerings include interesting Viognier-Riesling and Riesling-Cabernet Franc blends. A second label, Fancy Farm Girl, debuted earlier this year as an affordable, approachable and fun alternative to Staff’s more premium offerings. 3210 Staff Ave., Jordan, 1-905-562-1719;

3 For the last four decades, the Neufeld family has been cultivating grapes on the land that is now Palantine Hills Estate Winery. It’s actually historic soil: battles were fought here during the War of 1812, and unearthed militia artifacts have been preserved for visitors to see. 911 Lakeshore Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-905-646-9617;

4 Two brothers, Greg and Yannick Wertsch, are the brains behind Between the Lines Family Estate Winery, so named because it’s located between Lines 5 and 6 on Four Mile Creek Road. Try their signature Lemberger—made from a lesser-known Austrian grape—or their bestselling Vidal. 991 Four Mile Creek Rd., Niagara on-the-Lake, 1-905-262-0289;

Wineries in Niagara Back 10 Cellars

The stylish tasting room at Back 10 Cellars

5 For Andrew and Christina Brooks, Back 10 Cellars has been a true labour of love. The couple’s journey towards owning their own winery began in 2002 when they bought their 10-acre farm and began growing grapes for Featherstone Estate Winery. Their very first production under their own label was their 2012 Big Reach Riesling, which won gold at the 2013 All Canadian Wine Championships, alongside limited vintages of Start from Scratch Chardonnay and Blood Sweat & Years Pinot Noir. 4101 King St., Beamsville, 1-905-562-3365;

6 Although terroir is an oft-discussed topic among vintners and oenophiles, it’s particularly notable at Coyote’s Run. Two different types of clay soil result in distinctly different wines: the Red Paw Vineyard’s red Trafalgar clay loam helps to produce fruity and aromatic wines, while the Black Paw Vineyard, with its more common dark Toledo clay loam, generates earthy and structured blends. 485 Concession 5 Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-905-682-8310;

7 Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery is not only a vineyard, it’s also a restaurant and a specialty grocery store. The farm here has been part of Norma Jean Harber’s family since 1867. Now she and her husband Blair, alongside winemaker Martin Werner, produce premium small-batch organic Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots. At the restaurant, the farm-to-table ethos is quite literal: pigs are raised in a nearby pen while fresh vegetables are brought in from the grounds’ garden. And at the Canning House, visitors can pick up preserves, jams, pickles, sauces and freshly baked artisan breads. 1366 York Rd., St. Davids, 1-905-262-8463;

—Linda Luong