Is there a better way to combat the winter blues than a nice hot cup of coco and a wonderful fireplace? As a matter of fact there is, change that coco to wine and that fireplace to a Niagara vineyard and now we have something wonderful. My partner and I make our way down to wine country at least once a year. This year we did a Christmas eve wine stay-cation. You can find great deals for various vineyards on Groupon and Wag Jag. Driving to our first vineyard it was a winter wonderland, the pines were covered with fluffy snow, the fields looked as if they hadn’t been touched by anyone in days and the temperature was mild. It was a beautiful day, one that I hope will inspire any reader to beat their winter blues with some bubbly.
The first winery on our list was Sue-Anne Staff. Look out for the giant red S at the start of the driveway or you might miss the house that doubles as the estate. You will know you are in the right place when you see the red tractor in front of the house, it is adorable. Making our way into the tasting room, we were greeted by a beautiful Burmese Mountain dog named Brix. Now, Brix is very friendly so don’t be worried by his size, he loves belly rubs and has a thing for the ladies. But don’t let Brix steal the show, the wine is also amazing here! We really enjoyed their Fancy Farm Girl wines; they taste like summer, rustic and fresh.
I am a white wine and summer lover, so this played into all of my senses. What I really enjoyed about Sue Anne Staff was the warm feeling she has created in her estate, the tasting rooms are actually rooms in her home. We were seated in her kitchen, around the island drinking wine while she prepared her Christmas dinner. What a beautiful place to spend the holidays.
Driving up to the big rustic barn covered in light, fluffy snow Calamus winery fits into the country-like scenery surrounding the area. I have been to many Niagara estates which are usually luxurious, large, mansion-type buildings but Calamus stands directly opposite this perception.
When you walk into the tasting room, it is incredibly decorated with wooden beams, stonewalls and a giant bar in the middle of it all. Make sure to try the ‘crackle’ a white wine and champagne fusion that will steal the show at any special occasion. The Calamus winery story is one full of First-Nations history and the archer logo the estate boasts represents the arrow head artifacts found on the property. This was easily my favourite stop in our tour and one that I will be recommending to anyone travelling the area.
Don’t let the tiny purple building dissuade you, Di Profio wines are delicious, fruity and one of a kind. We were greeted by a young lady, who advised us that this is a family run estate and she is their only staff member.
This was my favourite part of our visit, she was a very intelligent, personable and funny person. We spent way too much of her working time bothering her with tonnes of questions, which she answered like a boss. If you stop by this winery make sure to sip on their rose, a beverage which they claim to make one of the best of and I do have to agree.
Have you ever walked into a building and been swept away by beauty as well as an overwhelming feeling of comfort? That is Creekside Estate. It is a beautiful midsized estate which is nestled into the side of the Niagara wine country. When you enter the building you will notice many tables throughout the main room, this is because during the months of May to October you can lunch at Creekside and I think I may have to go back in the warmer months.
If their food is as amazing as their wine and service, I will be more than happy to spend my hard earned cash on another wonderful day of Creekside. Take a minute to speak with their staff, they are warm, friendly and seem to love to chat. We spent over forty minutes sipping and speaking about everything with the lovely gentleman behind the bar. I know that heading to wine country means indulging on mainly wine but try the Creekside cider, made from multiple types of apples this was a new try with no regrets.
At about 5pm we decided we were wined out and drove to our last stop; Redstone Winery. This was a pretty disappointing experience and I regret ending our lovely day with such a fizzle. The wine was all very flat and seemed as if they had been left out for days and the staff were disengaged. We quickly drank our wine and decided that we probably will never make our way back to this estate. It is a very beautiful building and others in the tasting room seemed to be enjoying themselves, so take this review with a grain of salt.
I don’t love travelling during the winter but Canada is mostly cold and getting out of the house when there is snow on the ground can sometimes be a challenge. Visiting Niagara wine country is a great way to get out and about without the risk of freezing during these colder months in Canada. What I hope to continue to enjoy about the winery experience is that these estates pretty much sum up everything lovely about Canada: friendly conversations with strangers and great food paired with a unique blend of Niagara’s finest. Cheers to that!