“I’m having fruit salad for dinner. Well, it’s mostly grapes. Okay, all grapes. Fermented Grapes… I’m having wine for dinner”
I’ve never really considered myself to be a wine connoisseur – I was always the black sheep of the group ordering vodka seven’s whilst all of my classy, more culturally developed, friends sipped on fabulous varieties of merlot or cab sauv (Side Note: I had to Google both “merlot” & “cab sauv” to make sure I got the spelling right… baby steps guys). Praise all of the Wine Gods from above that I was eventually able to develop an affinity for all things fermented grapes, because I now understand how truly exquisite a fine glass of wine can be at the end of a long day. Well I am more than happy to report that whatever small understanding of wine I had before has increased exponentially after attending a “Food & Wine Lab” experience at Stratus Winery in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Snaps all ’round.
Every year my friends & I head to Niagara-On-The-Lake in September for wine tastings, tours of the vineyards, quality friendship bonding time & most importantly, an excuse to post an obscene amount of ridiculously cute photos on both Snapchat & Instagram (only half joking).
This year, we wanted to do something a little different (& more cost effective) so we booked an hour long food & wine workshop at Stratus Wineries. The concept was to experience how different elements in both our foods & wine can help to elevate or alter taste. Let me tell you… I was actually BLOWN away!!!! To be completely honest here, I never really believed people when they would seemingly ramble on & on & ON about how certain wines would elevate or enhance the quality of one’s meal (major eye roll), but I have GOT to say that after attending this class I have absolutely, positively been converted into “one of those” people. Sorry to those that are still non-believers!
How gorgeous is this?! The food & wine lab is situated so that it overlooks their stunning vineyard with these gorgeous floor to ceiling windows! It felt super luxurious!
Each guest receives a flute of four different wines & a variety of tasting elements (lemon, apples, soft cheese, apples, salt, pepper & chocolate). We would taste a variety of different foods with each wine to observe how they reacted with one another!
For example, I learned that I most definitely do NOT like acidic wines from cold climates! This is because when I sipped on a more acidic wine after first licking a lemon, I loooooooved the taste of that wine – the acidity in the lemon neutralizes the acidity of the wine so what you’re left with is a delicious warm, fruity flavour -HOWEVER, some of my friends actually preferred the taste of that same wine after eating an apple (enhances the acidity). It was wild.
Cost per person: $25.00 – SO worth it! Great experience, beautiful scenery & educational to boot! PS. Stick around for a little while after & enjoy wine tastings on their outdoor patio!
Stratus Winery – Natural Sustainability
Besides the whole tasting of the wine situation, what I loved most about Stratus Winery is the way in which they manage their vineyard! Utilizing sustainable & environmentally friendly farming practices, Stratus doesn’t spray any of their grapes with pesticides or fungacides… all au naturel baby! Stratus also uses low yield viticulture – which after a little bit of research via Stratus, I now know means they limit the amount of clusters per vine which ensures that the grapes receive the maximum amount of nourishment from the nutrient-dense soil (more nourishment = more flavour = better tasting wine… yes please!!!!!).
Furthermore, their commitment to the health of our environment & bodies is also mirrored in the actual structure & landscaping of the Stratus Winery itself. The winery is built using mostly recycled materials, any flowers planted are native to Niagara in order to avoid having to use harsh chemical sprays & their parking lot is even paved with stone that reduces light-reflected heat! Go Stratus!
All in all… This was a GREAT, cost-effective and educational day down in good ol’ Niagara-On-The-Lake!
Will you be heading to Stratus anytime soon?!