Considering the time of you year you’d think the harvest would long be over in the Niagara region but apparently not. I know growers leave grapes to freeze for making ice wine but figured everything else would already have been picked, put through the crushers and furiously fermenting.
Last weekend Lis and I were invited to Vineland Estates to take part in the wine club members event called “Bring Your Boots”. And believe me when I say that when we woke up Saturday morning I knew we weren’t going anywhere without ours. Not knowing if the event would be cancelled we decided to chance it and headed to Niagara.
There was already about a dozen or more cars in the parking lot and everyone looked ready to tackle the elements in order to pick the Riesling grapes from the club’s vineyard. But here’s the thing – it’s not that you can’t pick grapes in the pouring rain you just can’t harvest them because the water clinging to the grapes would dilute the wine when the grapes get crushed.
So what do you do with 50 or so captive wine lovers? Let them drink wine of course! Brian Schmidt the wine maker at Vineland brought everyone into the beautiful carriage house on the estate and regaled us with funny stories, interesting information about the wine making process and led a tasting that even included something called green wine. I’m far from an expert but as far as I know there’s red, white and rosé so what in the heck is green wine?
It’s not really a varietal or a colour but the word “green” translates into “young” as opposed to a mature wine. Brian told us drinking the wine like this was a German tradition that came out of harvest time and was often served with a zwiebelkuchen (onion pie or tart). He said they’re served together because combined they create a flavour explosion in your mouth, and he wasn’t kidding. We were told to have a sip of the wine, a small bite of our tart and another sip of the wine, which really just made you want more.
The wine itself didn’t look all that appealing since it was sort of cloudy but that’s because it was still going through the fermentation process and all the sediment had not settled as of yet. Had anyone else served me this wine I would have thought they were kidding but as part of Brian’s tasting lecture that day it was delicious and added another check mark to something I’d never tried before.
So if you think it’s too late in the year to head down to Niagara it’s definitely not…check out the tasting rooms, restaurants and in the case of Vineland there’s even an amazing cheese shop on the property. Go local and enjoy the flavours offered up not far from your front door.