Winery of the Month: Quai du Vin

Located in the serene farmlands of St. Thomas, Quai du Vin is a beautiful winery that is a sight to behold. At its entrance, a beautiful waterfall of red water –like it is wine– flows from the winery. The retail shop has a classic interior design with a distinct European feel. A giant window looks out to the shaded patio, vineyards, stage, and outdoor seating area.

Jamie, the winemaker, believes wine should play a supporting role in life. His philosophy remains true as visitors come to try his wine in groups, and weekends are never without weddings or musical festivals. As people try his wines and smiles, he knows he has done his job right.

Talking to Roberto at the bar is a pleasure, his knowledge and soothing voice making the tasting experience a wonderful one. The Late Harvest Riesling is a beautiful wine, sweet with honey aromas. Their Vidal is their most popular white wine, with a tropical aroma and a delicate balance between sweetness and acidity. Out of curiosity, we try the the Maple Wine, a locally-sourced maple syrup that is slowly fermented. The end result is a dessert wine with maple syrup’s natural golden colour and sweet taste is preserved without any hint of alcohol in its taste.

Now it’s time to take a tour of the vineyards and relax on the Wine Press Terrace, the sunlight peaking through the vines and leaves absolutely divine. Mona is the friendly estate cat, keeping you company while you relax under the shade. After a short petting session, you head out to explore the vineyards, taking in the beautiful scenery around before heading back to the retail shop.

Picking up a bottle of Vidal on our way out, Quai du Vin is definitely a gem in the countryside. Until next time!

Brewery of the Month: New Limburg Brewing Co.

New Limburg Brewing Co. began as a family hobby brewing project between Mischa, the head brewmaster, and Jo, his dad. Having moved from Limburg in the Netherlands to Limburg in Belgium, Mischa looks to bring Belgian style ale and European brewing culture to Norfolk County through New Limburg Brewing Co. No one ever expects an old school building when arriving at the brewery, it certainly is a unique concept that plays a role in their designs and wonderful in terms of repurposing old buildings. Entering through the main entrance, there is a nostalgic atmosphere around as it feels like you’re back in grade school. However, it quickly changes as you get to the retail shop with beer and beer-related products on display in shelves and fridges.

Next to the shop is the Tap Room, which is modeled after beer cafes in Europe. It’s a beautifully decorated cafe, following the school theme. The bulletin boards and walls are decorated with beer coasters, the blackboard is full of writing and doodles, the shelves stocked with books (both educational and fictional) and board games, and a grand piano free for all to play. Another wave of nostalgia hits you again as it brings you back to the classrooms in elementary school, when play time during school hours was encouraged.

 

At the bar, all their beers are available on tap, with Dutch bar snacks and locally made cheese available to complement the beers. Their flagship beer is the Belgian Blond, which has a citrusy, pear, and pepper flavour. It starts sweet and ends dry. With such unique character, no wonder why it’s an two time award winning beer.

After completing the Trappist beer series, Mischa looks forward to brewing more Belgian style beers. This includes oak aging, incorporating fruits such as cherries, peaches, and raspberries. With so many wineries nearby, they’re also looking to experiment with aging in wine barrels. However, even though New Limburg focuses predominantly on Belgian style beers, they do want to provide something with a North American influence, which is how the Petit Blond came to be.

New Limburg’s brewhouse is small, but the small batch process allows greater experimentation and more seasonal batches of beer. However, with their recent renovations expanding brewing capacity, we’re definitely excited for new things to come!

Wine-Inspired Craft Beer in the County

North America’s beer industry began when immigrants brought their own traditional style of brewing, but after a long period of Prohibition, Depression, and World Wars, many breweries shut down or consolidated. At the same time, North Americans grew to prefer light lagers, further decreasing the variety of beers available. By the late 50s-60s, homebrewing enthusiasts began brewing beer to bring back more flavours and traditions to American beer, as it was the only other way to experience other beer styles. To separate themselves from the view of North American beer as a mass-produced commodity with little culture, character, and tradition, craft brewers sought to distinguish themselves.

So, what makes craft beer so distinct? The answer lies within innovation, creativity, and experimentation. Just like winemaking, craft brewers interpret historic styles with unique twists using traditional and untraditional ingredients, and develop new styles with no precedent. The craft brewery members in the Ontario South Coast Wineries and Growers Association are no execption. New Limburg Brewery focuses on traditional Belgian beer styles such as blond ale, wheat beer, and Trappist styles. Their inspiration comes new and old favourite Belgian beer brands, and including North American influences in their beers. Initially, the brewery was hesitant to produce non-Belgian style beers, but when a competition for brewing a Belgian style IPA with local hops came up, the Petit Blond IPA was born. Likewise, the Black Sheep milk stout was also produced for a similar reason. Food also serves as an inspiration, be it creating a creating a beer to pair with a dish or bring certain flavours into their beer, or using local ingredients. Moving forward, New Limburg plans to age their beers in various barrels such as oak and wine to experiment how new flavours and character can be imparted to create unique beers. They will also experiment with cherries, peaches, and raspberries (which aren’t uncommon with Belgian beers) in the brewing process.

Meanwhile at The Blue Elephant, Sarah the brew master, follows a scientific approach to making beer. Once she has an idea for a recipe, she researches the style or ingredient she wants to emphasize the most, allowing her to figure out which approach she wants to take before making it. Then she calculates the math to achieve the optimal final product. By comparing the brew with her calculations, Sarah is then able to adjust the next batch as needed or repeat the process for a consistent beer each time. When it comes to what inspires her, she draws inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Ingredient use and beer styles are two main sources of inspiration. When it comes to ingredients, she looks to compliment the flavours when adding fruits, vegetables, spices, or tea to a beer. If she has an excess of a certain ingredient or want to use them before they expire, she also creates recipes around them. Aside from experimenting with the brewing process, she also enjoys making a beer true to style while using the most traditional ingredients possible.

Out in Elgin County, Railway City Brewing Co. combines the basic building blocks of beer–water, malt, hops, and yeast – with the goal of producing a pint of beer that is harmoniously balanced and highly approachable. Main sources of brewing inspiration comes from the history of St. Thomas and experimenting with flavour profiles by using fruits, herbs, and spices. Their Dead Elephant and Double Dead Elephant IPAs are both inspired by the death of Jumbo the Elephant, who died in a rail accident in St. Thomas. With the Orange Creamsicale, they were inspired by ice cream parlours and pastry chefs: whole vanilla beans play with the bready, pastry-like sweet malts, while orange zest adds a citrus twist reminiscent of a classic ice cream treat. While uncommon in day-to-day operations, the brewers at Railway City do branch away from traditional beer brewing by using the technique of blending barrels  to create their specialty barrel-aged Barrel Reserve line and Bourbon barrel-aged Stout.

As craft beer culture grown, it has grown more intertwined with wine culture. Modeled after the Sommelier Certification Program, the Cicerone Certification Program was launched in 2008 to ensure proper beer service, particularly food and beer pairing. Certified and Master Cicerones are then able to help beer lovers match their food with the perfect beer choice. Despite sharing the same blue collar stigma as large, industrial beer producers, craft beer isn’t so different from wine after all. There is so much more depth and complexity than meets the eye.

For further reading, click on the links below:
https://www.foodabletv.com/blog/2015/7/22/wine-culture-inspires-rising-craft-beer-movement
https://ithinkaboutbeer.com/2012/06/20/glassware-a-victim-of-the-beer-vs-wine-culture-clash/
https://www.brewersassociation.org/brewers-association/history/history-of-craft-brewing/

Winery of the Month: Villa Nova Estate Winery

Villa Nova Estate Winery

Amidst the quiet farmlands you stumble upon Villa Nova Estate Winery. As you pull up into the parking lot, the winery’s rustic charm stands out among the barns, scenic rolling hills, wetlands, and forest in the background.

Inside the retail shop, it has a cozy feel with matching rustic, farmhouse decor and fairy lights strung around. Rob, the winemaker, is super friendly and a pleasure to talk to as you sample the reds, whites, and ciders Villa Nova has to offer. The Vidal is a popular choice at the winery. It’s off-dry, citrusy, light, and finishes smooth and mildly sweet, causing it to be labelled “dangerous” by Rob’s parents. However, even more dangerous is their Sweet Apple dessert wine. It looks, smells, and tastes just like apple juice. The taste of alcohol is completely non-existent. Our only complaint is that the bottle is too small.

With a glass of their flagship Saucy Cider (or Sweet Apple, it’s perfect to drink even on its own) in hand, relaxing on their deck is the perfect way to unwind. The view from the desk is simply magnificent, as you look upon the natural landscape of an ancient river valley, forest, and vineyards. You might even be able to spot some deer, turkey, or fowl in the fields if lucky enough.

VIlla Nova Estate Winery are proud supporters of the arts, partnering with the Lighthouse Festival Theatre, their Saucy Cider served on opening nights of their shows. Moving forward, we can expect great things from the winery in the future such as music festivals (like the popular annual Bluegrass festival) and more.

Brewery of the Month: Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm

Driving down narrow, winding roads of La Salette you stumble upon Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm, Norfolk County’s first brewery that is also a farm and grows its own hops. Inside the brewery, it has a homey and cozy feel, with a small retail shop to the left and a sturdy bar to the right. There is a wide variety of merchandise ranging from clothing to beer related accessories to Picard’s Peanuts and house made Extreme Kettle Chips.

Touring the brewery is a fun and eye-opening experience, as we learn how local ingredients are incorporated in their beer and food. The brewhouse is overwhelming with the large liquor tanks towering throughout the room. Moving on to the chip machine, we learn about how the Extreme Kettle Chips are made. The chip making process is fascinating. Potatoes are washed, cut, and then bathed in their Dakota Pearl Potato Ale before being fried, seasoned, and packaged. It’s a hectic time when the chip bags get filled and packed into boxes just fill the room during the 5 to 6 week production time.

At the end of the brewhouse and chip production tour, it’s the perfect time to sip on a glass of Dakota Pearl Potato Ale and take a tour of the field of hops, an activity highly encouraged by the staff at Ramblin’ Road. Infused with Dakota Pearl potatoes grown on Picard’s Peanuts Farm, this beer is light and crisp with a frothy head. The earthy tones of the potato blends nicely with Ramblin’ Road’s floral and citrusy hops, delivering a satisfying finish to this cream ale. All in all, taking a leisurely stroll through the sandy soils through rows upon rows of hops while the sun peaks through the tall vines definitely ends the tour of the brewery farm nicely.

Next visit, it will be worth to head up to their aptly named restaurant, The Roost, to grab a bite to eat for lunch.

 

Winery of the Month: Rush Creek Wines

Located in Aylmer of Elgin County, Rush Creek Wines is an award winning winery quickly transforming into a new hub for the community as Ron the winemaker has great things planned for the years to come. Since he joined in 2015, the winery has won many awards for their fruit wines every year. With his recent venture into producing the winery’s first grape wine, we hope this one is an award winner as well.

When you first arrive at the winery, it can be slightly overwhelming with the huge selection of wines available. The wines range from dry to sweet, dark to vibrant colours, all with unique flavours and aromas. With such a diverse selection of wines, Rush Creek may become the first winery to have wines in all colours of the rainbow.

Their award winning Raspberry-Chocolate wine is truly special, featuring a mouthwatering chocolate and raspberry aromas and rich flavours. It’s smooth in texture and finishes nicely. Paired with dark chocolate, it’s like entering chocolate heaven. If not a chocolate fan, their Nectarine is a beautifully clear wine. It has a rich, peachy aroma, and tastes like a perfectly ripe nectarine. Semi-sweet with a nice finish, it is the perfect wine to send off the summer.

As mentioned before, Ron aims to transform the winery into a place for the community and a must-see destination for tourists. Behind the wine tasting room is another retail shop where there is something for everyone. Here, you can find Rush Creek Wines’ own coffee blend, artisanal cheese, artwork, various memorabilia, jellies and preserves, clothing, and more. Community events are also in the work such as drive-in movie nights, local musicians and artists showcasing their talent, bake sales, and more. Here at the OSCWGA are excited to see what’s to come from Rush Creek Wines.

Simcoe Farmers Market Fundraiser Dinner

Simcoe Farmers Market Dinner

On behalf of the Simcoe Farmers Market, we would like to thank everyone who came out to the Farm-to-Table dinner. The dinner was a delicious success and we had an amazing time! We would also like to thank everyone who donated to the Silent Auction. All of the items were sold and all of the participants seemed to love them!

Sponsors: Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show, Simcoe Reformer, myFM, Norfolk County.

 

 

Upcoming Updates

Hello All!
We as the association just want to let you know that within in the next few weeks our website will be under minor changes and updates so there is a possibility that some of our pages will no longer work. If there is anything that you are looking for, feel free to visit out Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oscwga/ or our twitter page: https://twitter.com/ontsouthwine. Feel free to email us or tweet us!

Thanks,
Ontario South Coast Wineries and Growers Association,

South Coast Jazz 2016 Season

 SouthCoastJazz-2016-july23

Who:

South Coast Jazz

What:

Norfolk County’s Official Jazz Festival – South Coast Jazz Main Event Headliners Announcement and reserved pre-sales for July 23.

Where:

July 23 Port Dover Arena, 809 St George St, Port Dover, NORFOLK COUNTY

July 23/24 (Also see other show lineups at participating wineries -Burning Kiln Winery 1709 Front Rd St Williams and Frisky Beaver 183 Tisdale Rd, Port Dover)

When:

July 23 Port Dover Arena DAY
11am – 12 am (11-530 all ages * minors must accompanied by an adult
July 23 Port Dover Arena EVE
6 pm- 12 am 19 + must show 2 pieces of ID
*Guests must arrive by 7 pm to guaranteed seats*
 
ALL DAY PASSES THAT INCLUDE ALL EVENTS ARE ON SALE
 

NOTE:

ADVANCED PRE-SALES ARE OPEN
*Purchase tickets before July 5 for best available reserved seating.
No reserved seating guaranteed after July 5th – it will be first come first served the day of the event. Get your tickets now as we are expect to sell out.

Lineup:

Headliner
The Galen Weston Band featuring
David Sanborn (6x Grammy winner)

Also playing:

The Shuffle Demons
June Garber
David Restivo and more