Winery of the Month: Bonnieheath Estate Lavender & Winery

Nestled among the picturesque farmlands of Waterford, Bonnieheath Estate is a scenic rural retreat with the sophistication of an estate winery. Upon entering, you are greeted by their friendly dog Lucy, and immersed in the soothing scent of lavender. Wandering through the winery, an assortment of wines and ciders are displayed with locally made products such as jewelry and soap featured throughout. Despite being a tiny room, the lavender boutique’s stark contrast to the rustic feeling of the winery is an experience in itself. From floor to ceiling, lavender products are beautifully arranged on their shelves and tables showcasing bath and body products, culinary products, candles, essential oils, and many more hidden gems. Time almost seems to slow down as one carefully examine each product and breathe in the smell of lavender in the air.

Stepping out of the lavender boutique, you return to reality completely refreshed. The bar is staffed with friendly and knowledgeable employees, making the wine tasting an even more delightful experience. Their Lavender Gris is a unique dessert wine. It has a wonderful lavender aroma, with a delicious honey flavour. With a fuller body compared to their Lavender Ice wine, the Lavender Gris feels like a warm hug, presenting a full body experience when tasting the wine.

In stark contrast to their wines, Folkin’ Hard ciders have a refreshing kick that complements the chuckle that comes with the punny name. Using apples grown in their own orchard, four ciders are created. In the Face is an off-dry, refreshingly light cider, with a kick that is true to name. Cherry Pickin is a semi-sweet apple and cherry cider that is pink in colour. Aside from these two mainline ciders, both seasonal ciders are truly unique, featuring tart and sweet flavours with hints of maple and lavender respectively. Available from March to May is their Sweet Lips strawberry maple cider. For blueberry and lavender season, True Blue blueberry lavender cider that was launched on Canada Day 2017.

With a glass of wine in hand, it’s time to take a leisurely stroll through expansive lavender fields, vineyards, and orchards. Bonnieheath is also a part of Norfolk County’s ALUS program. As a part of this program, native prairie grasses and wildflowers are planted to promote wildlife biodiversity and maintain a wetland on their property. When you talk with Anita, one of the owners of Bonnieheath, she highly recommended visitors to take a walking tour of the property. After exploring the farm, a bowl of delicious lime, lavender, and blueberry sherbet while watching the sunset on their deck is the perfect way to end such an eventful day at the winery.

There is always something to do at Bonnieheath, look forward to their annual LavenderFest and many events throughout the year!

Winery of the Month: Inasphere Wines

St. Williams’ Front Road has become a booming region for winemakers, which is currently home to three wineries. Located at the Bosgoed Family Farm, Inasphere Wines opened its doors in 2015. It is perfectly situated on the top of a hill, overlooking the many acres of the farm, vineyards, and reclaimed Long Point marshlands that gives Inasphere its unique charm.

When you first arrive, you are welcomed by an adorable vegetable stand stocked with farm fresh produce sits at the end of the driveway and barking of the friendly family dog. The retail shop is small yet welcoming, featuring a small, but growing selection of wine. Chatting Ryan and Shantel Bosgoed, you can tell how the farm and the winery are their pride and joy.

Not quite a rose, or a white wine. The Grey Area, is made with a blend of white and red pinot noir grapes. When bottled initially, the wine is white, but as it ages it gains a beautiful red colour. Like a sunset in a bottle, it is the perfect wine to sip on while watching the sun set over the farm in the patio or reclined in the adirondack chairs. It has a sweet aroma with hints of honey and a smooth finish. This wine has been extremely well received, selling out in about a month after its first release. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy this beautiful wine again!

The colourful barn, surrounding greenery, and vast fields are a sight to behold. Norfolk County’s small town, rural charm can be felt throughout from their friendly and down to earth staff to the vegetable stand at the end of their driveway. Described wonderfully as a hidden gem by customers and visitors, Inasphere Wines is certainly worth another visit.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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