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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Enjoy the beauty of fall in Niagara’s Wine Country

Make your venture into the vineyards as memorable as possible

BEAMVILLE, Ont. — A small winery nestled amid the vines. The romance of a stroll through the vineyards. A sip of Ontario VQA wine on a deck with incredible views of Toronto. A quiet trek down country roads. The beautiful colours of the changing fall leaves.

A visit to wine country is a unique experience. Away from the hustle and bustle of traditional tourist hubs, a wine country vacation — or day trip, for that matter — is truly an escape to a quaint place where the people are friendly and the liquid fare is exquisite.

“A great day in wine country doesn’t just happen by accident,” says Heidi Fielding, Hospitality Manager at Fielding Estate Winery on the Beamsville Bench in the heart of Niagara’s viticulture area. “It takes a little bit of planning. Taking care of all the little details before you leave home will make you trip more enjoyable.”

Here are some of Heidi’s tips to get the most out of your wine country escape:
  • Bring a map. Wine Country Ontario publishes a Wine Route map annually, which is also available online. It’s not necessary to pick a rigid path to follow, but it will help you find the best path to follow.  Plan to visit three to five wineries a day, and call ahead to at least one of them to book a tour of their winemaking facilities.
  • Scout out local cuisine. Hopping from winery to winery and trying all those wine samples can work up an appetite. Ask winery staff for their recommendations of local eateries with unique chef-prepared menus. You will not be disappointed. 
  • Explore and taste. Every winemaker has a unique style and approach to the craft, bringing their own touch to what goes in the bottle. So wines such as Rieslings may vary between different wineries. A wine tour — and the samples of different wines available — is a great opportunity to reach beyond your comfort zone and try something new. You just may discover a new favourite or local specialty.
  • Prepare for your purchases. If you are travelling during the warm months, it would be a good idea to bring a cooler along. You could also ask for a box at your first winery visit that will allow to safely stow your purchases as you head to the next vineyard.
  • Be aware of the local calendar. Check out local festivals or events that wineries are offering and take advantage of them to add another dimension to your trip.  Also, double check winery hours to ensure they are open when you plan to be in the area.
The sheer number of wineries now open in any of the four designated viticulture areas in Ontario — Beamsville Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore — ensures a different experience each time you visit wine country. There is nothing more relaxing than a stroll through a vineyard on a crisp fall day with a glass of wine in hand and the beauty of the changing Niagara foliage all around you. 

“Every stop at an Ontario winery is a new experience,” says Fielding. “From season to season, vintage to vintage, there is always something new to sample or see.”
Follow Fielding Estate Winery on Twitter @FieldingWinery, Like it on Facebook and get more information at www.fieldingwines.com

About Fielding Estate Winery             
Fielding Estate Winery is a unique, award-winning winery with an inviting atmosphere located on Niagara’s Beamsville Bench. Fielding’s Muskoka-inspired wine lodge nestled at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment offers stunning views across the winery’s vineyard to Lake Ontario and Toronto’s skyline. This vista is the dominating feature as you sample of some of Ontario’s finest VQA wines, made from grape varieties that perform best in Niagara’s unique microclimate vineyards — Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay for whites, and Pinot Noir and Merlot for reds. Fielding was the most decorated winery at the 24th annual Cuvée Awards, taking home gold medals for its 2010 Estate Bottled Pinot Gris, 2010 Viognier and 2010 Cabernet Franc.

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