Special Features

Roots from Niagara stretching all the way to Germany

By Vic Harradine

Featherstone Estate Winery has 23 acres, fully planted, on the prestigious VQA Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation. The husband and wife team of David Johnson and Louise Engel purchased their vineyard in 1999, building their winery over succeeding years selling off less and less of their crop. They now crush and bottle all the fruit under their own Featherstone label.

Read more: Roots from Niagara stretching all the way to Germany

Story of a hand-made wine

By Vic Harradine

I read on the ‘Stellenrust – JJ Hand Made’ website that they hand-picked grapes for this wine, but was curious as to how the various other procedures in winemaking—almost always accomplished by pumps and machinery—were carried out. It was also interesting to read how they have empowered their black African workers by partnering with them on 100 acres of the 400 acre property. Here’s the email response from the wine maker just minutes before I sent off this newsletter to the webmaster for publishing. If you’re not familiar with how most commercial wine is made, and much of it is made very well, this is indeed unique and worth knowing, especially if you plan to pick up a bottle or two; I know I am—it’s a great wine and about as ‘hand made’ as you’re likely to get in a commercial wine. Besides, wine tastes better accompanied by a compelling story about it!

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Care for a winemaker and raconteur with that glass of wine?

by Vic Harradine

You’ve tasted his wines, probably more than once, and you’ll certainly recognize the ‘Hardys’ name. It’s one of Australia’s, and the wine world’s most recognizable brands. Bill Hardy—great, great grandson of founder Thomas Hardy—visited Ontario recently. Winecurrent was there to taste wine and to share the reviews and Bill’s incredible wine-related family stories with you. Not stories really, they’re chronicles, but more on that later.

Read more: Care for a winemaker and raconteur with that glass of wine?

Caring for Yourself and Others

On May 1, 2009, Ontario introduced new sanctions to help prevent drinking and driving and increase road and waterway safety. Drivers who register a blood alcohol concentration from 0.05 to 0.08 (known as the warn range) will lose their driver’s licence at roadside or on the water for three, seven or 30 days.

Summer brings added responsibility concerning alcohol consumption—driving to and from the cottage, outdoor barbies and get-togethers as well as outings in and on the water.

The LCBO encourages planning ahead and utilizing moderate and safe practices concerning alcohol providing three excellent links to valuable information for hosts and guests:

For the host - responsible hosting tips

For hosts, guests and friends - ways to help prevent drinking and driving

For Parents - tips for parents to make certain that the morning after Prom night is as pleasurable as the event.

Winecurrent subscribers get hot over alcohol!

by Vic Harradine

Winecurrent has been approached by concerned and knowledgeable subscribers about including the level of alcohol in each wine review. Some were concerned about the obvious effect of an alcoholic beverage with 11% alcohol by volume, not an unusually low alcohol level a few years back even for a red, compared with the 16% plus behemoths we see today. Others were concerned about the effect on the taste and enjoyment of the wine. Some find high alcohol wines ‘hot’ to the taste—a result of an unbalanced level of alcohol.

Read more: Winecurrent subscribers get hot over alcohol!

Na zdorovia! Winecurrent gets into the spirit.

by Vic Harradine

Man/Woman does not live by wine alone. Two brands of the number one selling spirit in North America—vodka—are reviewed for you along with some history and background.

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Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget

by Vic Harradine

You don't need to break the bank to enjoy a bottle of bubbly! Sparkling wines are made all over world, not just in the Champagne region of France. Some sparkling wines are made exactly the same way as Champagne, using exactly the same grape varieties. Others use, with great results, grapes and technique they wouldn't dream of using in France. Here are 7 sparkling wines from around the world, most under $14, with some tips on how to open, serve, and save them.

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Mountain Road Ice Wine Vertical

by Vic Harradine

Winecurrent tackled the often-asked question, “How long will ice wine age?” We were aided immensely by Mountain Road Winery owner, Steve Koscis, who supplied six vintages of his 375 mL VQA Niagara Peninsula Vidal ice wine, spanning 1999 to 2004. Much appreciated, Steve!

Read more: Mountain Road Ice Wine Vertical

Ravine Vineyard

by Zoltan Szabo

Ravine Vineyard is the newest Peter Gamble project. Gamble, a former winemaker at Hillebrand and lead consultant in the creation of Stratus Vineyards, is one of the most respected Canadian winemaking personalities. Truly an icon, he was the founding director of Canada's Vintners Quality Alliance and also the person behind Nova Scotia's Benjamin Bridge Winery and their highly anticipated sparkling and aromatic white wines.

Read more: Ravine Vineyard

Niagara Winery Feature, Part 3

by Vic Harradine winecurrent.com

Winecurrent visited a number of premium Niagara wineries, tasting through barrel samples, '07 whites and '06 reds in bottle. Be on the cutting edge with winery profiles and timely reviews in this third installment.

Read more: Niagara Winery Feature, Part 3