Wine 101

Plan Your Getaway

When you visit our wineries we want you to feel comfortable exploring our wines and enjoy your purchases once you get home.  Confused by wine jargon?  Relax, it’s not our style.  We speak your language and we’re happy to answer your questions.  Wine is one of life’s simple pleasures. Drink what you enjoy. Period.

Here’s a few terms and tips to get you started:


Varietals

We name our wines after the grape variety, not the region in which they were produced.  The word ‘varietal’ refers to the wine made from a type of grape.


Blends

Varietal wines are often blended together because the traits of each wine complement each other.  For example, Cabernet Sauvignon blended with Merlot is known as Cab-Merlot and will have body and fullness without the intense tannins.


Icewine

Authentic Icewine is made from grapes that are left on the vine after the final harvest.  When temperatures dip to -8°C (or lower) the solidly frozen grapes are handpicked and pressed immediately to gently release a thick, rich, yellow-gold liquid, highly concentrated in natural sugars and acidity.  The yield is small, but the result is a sumptuous and perfectly sweet wine that’s a dessert in itself. 


Storing Wine

If stored correctly, wine can last months or even years.  If you’re not a serious collector you don’t need to invest in a cellaring system with all the bells and whistles.  Find a cool, dark and dry place away from vibration and direct sunlight, perhaps the basement or a closet.  Lay bottles on their sides so the corks don’t dry out.  To keep your wines tasting great, don’t keep them in a warm kitchen or leave unopened bottles in the fridge.  Opened, unfinished wines should be re-corked and placed in the refrigerator.  Generally, white wines have a life span of up to four days.  Reds, two days.


Tips for Serving Wine

Count on pouring five to six glasses of wine from a 750 ml bottle.  When you pour the wine, don’t fill the entire glass, give the wine space to breathe and it will release its aromas.  Plus, you’ll be able to comfortably swirl the glass and enjoy the bouquet.A common mistake is to serve wines and the incorrect temperatures.  Serve a red too warm or a white too cold and you may be taking away from its optimal flavour profile.  For example, serving red wines at room temperature, given the level of our thermostats, is actually too warm.  Cool down Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc for fifteen minutes in the fridge; increase this to half an hour for Gamy Noir and Pinot Noir.  White and sparkling wines need about an hour to chill, although a fuller bodied white, such as an oaked Chardonnay, may be served closer to room temperature to allow the rich flavours and aromas to come forward.  Icewines on the other hand, can be stored in the fridge an hour before serving.


Tannins

Tannins can give wine a characteristic that can be described as a of dryness or astringency in the mouthfeel.  When it comes to tannins, they are a good for the wine but not always for the drinker.  A full-bodied red wine needs time to age and mellow out, but if you want to drink it immediately, decant the wine for a couple of hours before enjoying.