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Wine and Dine in Ontario and B.C. (March 8, 2002)

Eating Niagara
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
905-563-0900
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
905-563-9463
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
905-562-7088
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
905-562-3581
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 Burgundian).

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
905-468-1229
Strewn's proprietor, Joe Will, is a talented red wine maker, as evidenced by his Bordeaux-style red wine, Strewn Three, and his Cabernet Franc.

Advance booking is highly recommended for all these restaurants as well as for accommodation.

British Columbia
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
250-709-2279

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
604-530-1736
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 visitors.
4870 Chute Lake Road, Kelowna
250-764-8000
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
250-494-0451
Particularly strong on Sauvignon Blanc, Meritage white as well as Merlot.

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
1-800-420-9463
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
250-766-3168
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
250-493-6274
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).

 

 

 

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