Sunday Sips – Wines of the Greenbelt

greenbeltwineWine is heavy. By the laws of physics, not more so than any other beverage, but since it’s best stored in glass bottles and since many of the world’s wine regions are far away, the environmental footprint created by shipping heavy cases of wine thousands of miles is often unappealing – and unnecessary. Especially since we have our own fantastic wine region within an area surrounding Toronto known as the Greenbelt.

The Greenbelt is a designated and protected area 1.8 million acres in southern Ontario that includes our prime agricultural land, and includes approximately 7400 farms. 90% of Ontario’s 500 grape growers are located in the Greenbelt so it makes sense that those growers, along with the LCBO and the Vintner’s Quality Alliance, would want to spread the word and let customers know that their wine is locally grown.

While Ontario Greenbelt VQA wines are available at the LCBO year round, until August 16th, customers will be able to find these local wines more easily. All Greenbelt wines will sport a bright green hangtag, identifying them as being made from 100% local grapes, and allowing customers to more easily make the choice to support local farmers and vintners.

Participating Ontario Greenbelt VQA Wineries include names like Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery, Peller Estates, Chateau des Charmes, Lakeview Cellars and more.

With Greenbelt wineries offering reds, whites and even icewines, this promotion has something for everyone. Plus it allows customers to cut down on their carbon footprint by eschewing imported products, support the local economy and maybe find a new favourite among the many great wines the Greenbelt has to offer.

Sunday Sips – Sip and Savour Ontario

sipsavourakroydicewineThere was a time when Ontario wine wasn’t especially respected, but local wine enthusiasts knew differently. Since its creation by Tony Aspler in 1995, the Ontario Wine Awards have flourished, now spreading over a full week and including a number of outstanding events such as the Sip and Savour Ontario event that took place this past Tuesday, June 17th at the Distillery District.

30 wineries from Ontario’s distinctive wine regions gathered together with their best offerings for a trade and media tasting event in the afternoon along with a public event the same evening that also included food demonstrations and pairings from local Savour Ontario chefs.


With the awards having already been announced in late April, wineries were able to display their medals and promote their award winning products to restauranteurs, media and consumers.




I didn’t make a point of sampling award winners specifically, but tried to get a good cross-section of styles and wineries under my tasting belt. Here are some favourites.

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Cheers to Winter – Celebrating the Icewine Harvest with iYellow Wine Club


It’s so very easy to become a snob in this industry. Whether it’s food, wine or beer, a little bit of experience can evolve into an awful lot of ego, and makes the atmosphere at any event having to do with food, and especially wine, more than a little intimidating for newcomers. Which is no doubt why the words “wine tour” conjure up images of high-society folks with haughty expressions and snooty attitudes sipping and slurping and generally thinking very well of themselves.

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The Royal We Goes to the Fair


It probably makes me a bad Torontonian, but after living here for 2 decades, this is the first year I’ve been to the Royal Winter Fair. I’m not sure why I’ve never bothered before, other than as a young adult it just didn’t have enough punk cachet, and as a vegetarian, it made me sad. But this year I had an excuse, so off we went on Saturday evening to check it out.

In many ways, it was not what I expected.

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