Wine and Dine in Ontario and B.C. (March 8, 2002)
Winery Restaurants Excite the Palate
Double the pleasure of a Niagara winery tour by turning it into
a total gastronomic experience. Two new wineries opened restaurants
during the summer of 2001, bringing the total of winery restaurants
in Niagara to eight.
Starting at the western end of the peninsula, and less than 30
minutes out of Mississauga, is the restaurant at Peninsula Ridge
Winery, in Beamsville. Housed in a lovingly restored Victorian home,
the intimate dining rooms overlook a scenic panorama and, in the
summer, a tiny porch offers a secluded table for two.
5600 King St. W., Beamsville L0R 1B0
The winemaker is Jean-Pierre Colas, who used to make Chablis
in Burgundy and is well versed in the Chardonnay grape as a result.
Just a few minutes away, at EastDell Winery, you can forget about
the city altogether. In this bucolic setting, the Bench Bistro occupies
a glassed-in porch with the vines stretching out just beyond the
windows. The Bistro kitchen offers fine affordable fare at both
lunch and dinner, with casual brunches on Sundays.
4041 Locust Lane, Beamsville L0R 1B2
Look for the Sauvignon Blanc here.
Back on the QEW, the road leads past Kittling Ridge, the only Ontario
winery to have a distiller's license. The Kittling Ridge Inn rises
above the traffic to offer lakeside accommodation, two restaurants
and a rooftop lounge that overlooks the lake.
4 Windward Dr., Grimsby L3M 4E9
905-309-7171 or 1-877-446-5746
Kittling Ridge makes a range of budget-priced wines as well as
interesting spirits like their Inferno – vodka infused with
a long red pepper.
Continuing eastward to Vineland, Vineland Estates Winery Restaurant
offers a spectacular view of vineyards and Lake Ontario. In summer,
an open deck allows for al fresco dining and the wine list offers
some of Vineland's rare older vintages.
R.R. #1, 3620 Moyer Rd. Vineland L0R 2C0
Winemaker Brian Schmidt is a Riesling specialist who also makes
fine Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer.
A few minutes away, on Main Street in Jordan, is Cave Spring Cellars,
with its luxury country inn and elegant restaurant. Inn on the Twenty
boasts individually decorated rooms all with amenities chosen for
maximum comfort. On the Twenty Restaurant's winning cuisine attracts
many regular patrons from Toronto. Driving time to Jordan is about
an hour from downtown.
3836 Main Street, Jordan L0R 1S0
One of the most consistent Ontario wineries, with specialties
including the estate-grown CSV Chardonnay and CSV Riesling.
The next stop is just beyond St. Catharines. Taking the QEW, exit
at Highway 55/Niagara Stone Road and head north towards the lake.
Hillebrand Winery offers one of the best introductory winery tours
in the area and the Vineyard Café provides another fine Niagara
dining experience. This is one of three winery dining establishments
close enough to the Shaw Festival to make an evening of it.
1249 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake L0S 1J0
905-468-7123 or 1-800-582-8412
J-L Groulx's French background is evident in the style of his
Trius Red (Bordeaux-like) and single vineyard Chardonnays (very
Around the corner stretching between East and West Line and John
Street is Hillebrand's sister winery, Peller Estates. Peller Estates
Winery Restaurant with its fresh classic design and huge picture
windows overlooks neat rows of vines. In the summer with the French
doors opened, it is like dining right in the vineyard itself.
290 John St., Niagara-on-the-Lake L0S 1J0
905-468-4678 or 1-888-673-5537
Peller Estate's new Founder's Limited Edition series, beginning
with the 1998 vintage, signals a serious commitment to fine table
wine from the company that brought you Baby Duck.
Niagara-on-the-Lake's best value winery restaurant is on Lakeshore
Road as you head back to St. Catharines. Terroir la Cachette operates
as an independent entity, although closely tied to Strewn Winery.
Charming and unpretentious, la Cachette offers a sophisticated Provençal-style
menu for a broad range of tastes.
1339 Lakeshore Rd. Niagara-on-the-Lake L0S 1J0
Strewn's proprietor, Joe Will, is a talented red wine maker,
as evidenced by his Bordeaux-style red wine, Strewn Three, and his
Advance booking is highly recommended for all these restaurants
as well as for accommodation.
Where to eat in wine country
Scratch a winery restaurant in British Columbia and you will likely
find a great view to go along with exciting regional foods and wines.
In fact, wine and food services are now offered at wineries in all
three of the main wine regions: Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley,
and the Okanagan Valley.
On Vancouver Island near Duncan, Vigneti Zanatta opened one of
the province's first winery restaurants in a heritage home. Diners
at Vinoteca Restaurant can choose a table in the homey dining room
or on an old-fashioned veranda that looks out onto lawns, flower
gardens and vineyards. The food is regional, imaginative, and a
great complement to their wines that include Glenora Fantasia méthode
classique. Vinoteca is open Wednesday through Sunday except for
closing in January and February.
5039 Marshall Rd., Duncan
Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery at Langley in the Fraser Valley
celebrated its 10th anniversary with the opening of the atmosphere-filled
"Bacchus Bistro," which features tapestried walls and
"healthy and delicious" foods created by European-trained
Chef Fred Edrissi. The Bistro is open from Thursday to Sunday most
of the year.
1064 - 216th St., Langley
Try their Bacchus, Gewurztraminer and Madeleine Angevine, all
aromatic varieties with spicy, exotic note.
In the Okanagan, Summerhill Estate Winery in Kelowna has the only
year-round winery restaurant. The Veranda Restaurant, Tapas and
Wine Bar features very classy, economically priced regional food
creations for both luncheon and dinner. The surroundings are outstanding,
including an indoor-outdoor pond (divided by a ceiling high glass
wall) stocked with Choi or oriental carp, a waterfall, and dining
areas that look out over a sweeping view of Kelowna and Okanagan
Lake through ceiling-high glass doors. In warm weather, the doors
fold away and a large deck dotted with umbrella tables also welcomes
4870 Chute Lake Road, Kelowna
Summerhill makes some of the best sparkling wines in Canada.
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery in Summerland has always associated itself
with great food, and their Cellar Door Bistro offers impressive
wine-matched regional cuisine by Chef Neil Schroeter. This is a
full restaurant that is open all year except from January to April.
17403 Highway 97, Summerland
Particularly strong on Sauvignon Blanc, Meritage white as well
Among the seasonal winery restaurants is Quails' Gate Estate Winery's
Old Vines Patio, almost an Oriental pavilion at the edge of the
vineyards, which features the cuisine of one of the leading Kelowna
restaurateurs, Chef Grant de Montreuil.
3303 Boucherie Road, Kelowna
Pinot Noir is the wine to choose here.
North of Kelowna, overlooking the north arm of Okanagan Lake, is
Gray Monk Estate Winery, which features a great menu at the Grapevine
Patio Grill on their huge covered deck with another sweeping view.
1055 Camp Road, Okanagan Centre
Strong on aromatic varieties such as Gewurztraminer and Siegerrebe.
Hillside Cellars near Penticton showcases the cuisine of Chef Peter
Young on the Trellis Patio and in the Barrel Room Bistro.
1350 Naramata Road, Penticton
Go for their Semillon and Late Harvest Vidal.
(All three of the above restaurants are in operation from the
start of dependable spring weather (late April–early May?)
through until about Thanksgiving.)
Lighter wine-matched menus are offered on landscaped patios in
the summer season at Lake Breeze Vineyards (Sammet Road, Naramata,
250-496-5659 – try Pinot Blanc, Gewuztraminer) and Red
Rooster Winery (910 Debeck Road, Naramata, 250-496-4041 – try
Late Harvest Chardonnay), and regional cheese, bread and deli
foods are available, again on patios with remarkably distracting
views, at Tinhorn Creek Estate Winery (32830 Tinhorn Creek Road,
Oliver, 250-498-3743 – try Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Gewurztraminer)
and Hester Creek Estate Winery (No. 8 Road, Oliver, 250-494-4435
– Blanc de Noirs sparkling, Grand Reserve Pinot Blanc).
Watch for some exciting new wine and food opportunities at CedarCreek
Estate Winery (5445 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna, 250-764-8866 –
try Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris) and Mission
Hill Family Estate (1730 Mission Hill Road, Kelowna, 250-768-5125
– the range of Grand Reserve wines, some of the best in
the Okanagan) and at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery (Black Sage
Road, Oliver, 250-498-0620 – strong on reds, especially
Cabernet Franc and Merlot).