I hear it’s a sin to visit Canada and not go to a winery. Okay, you caught me, I made that up but seriously, this is a country highly known for it’s wines, especially their Icewines which is made in Canada during the coldest of winters. While in Canada, my boyfriend and I decided to check out the Konzelmann Estate Winery. How did we pick this specific winery out of the many?! Well our hotel gave us a voucher for a free wine tour and tasting so we couldn’t pass up on something that is free. This winery was located right on Lake Ontario, the only winery and vineyard to be located right on the lake itself. Konzelmann was roughly 25-30 minutes away from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada making the visit to the estate relatively quick. While driving to the estate we were amazed, I mean truly shocked by the amount of different wineries and tasting places that were available, we never saw anything like this before.
Upon arriving at Konzelmann we were astonished by the architecture of the building, so new, fresh, and cozy. We entered the winery by pushing on a massive door triple if not quadruple our size and we went into the lobby area we signed in for a 1pm tour with Candice. Candice was a friendly employee, greeting us with the biggest of smiles and telling us a breakdown of the tour. Candice began the tour by saying that today we were going to learn how to properly taste wine, something I never learned before at other wine tasting but before the tasting we would learn the history of the Konzelmann family, about grapes and the wine making process.
Candice took us outside to the vineyard where she showed us how grapes grew and explaining to us how long grapes have to be on the vines and how they take the grapes off with a machine, rarely using the by hand method to this day. Before moving onto the machinery, Candice explained to us the concept of Icewine which is a very popular and well known expensive wine in Canada. Candice explained that the reason Icewine is so expensive is because it’s very labor intensive since they can only collect the grapes off the vines after temperatures have been -8 C or colder for three consecutive days. Once the cold weather has approached for three consecutive days, the people that pick the grapes must go out with their bare hands and collect the frozen grapes. You cannot use gloves because this will cause the fuzziness of the gloves to stick to the grapes; which will ruin them. As you can imagine, this process is very cold, very intensive and uncomfortable so therefore the price has to be high because of the labor and the limit of this wine. A full bottle of Icewine was roughly $45-65 Canadian; safe to say I purchased the little tiny travel bottle for $8.99 Canadian dollars.
After we learned about different grapes, wines, and the process of fermentation our lovely guide decided to let us have a sneak peek into the wine cellar; which is a temperature controlled room and contains a variety of oak barrels with wine inside. The more time the wine spends in the barrel, the darker red the barrel becomes. The wine cellar isn’t normally on the tour, we only got to go in here because we couldn’t tour the area where they actually make the wine since it was going through the fermentation process.
How To Correctly Taste Wine:
- See it; see what the wine looks like
- Tilt glass at 45- degree angle; here you will look for the meniscus line; which is a layer of oil above your wine. If there is a meniscus line that means your wine is fresh, if there is no line and you see red spots dangling in your wine that could possibly mean the wine wasn’t correctly made or it has gone bad.
- Sniff; the way to properly sniff your wine is to put your full nose into the glass. You DO NOT want to hold the glass and just move your nose from side to side over the glass because you’ll get the smell of the room, not the wine.
- Swirl: swirl your wine in a circle for no more than 15 seconds; this will open up the aroma in the wine.
- Sniff again; sniff the wine a second time, making sure your full nose is in the glass. This time around the wine should smell a tad different since you’ve opened up the aroma.
- Taste Wash; okay I named this one taste wash because you are going to put the wine in your mouth and swish it around your mouth like it’s mouth wash. The reason you do this is because it will cleanse your mouth of any flavors you might have in there.
- Taste and breathe; in this step you are going to put wine in your mouth and suck in some air. This can be quite difficult and odd.
- Taste and judge; this is the final step, YOU ONLY JUDGE ON THIS STEP. Now that your mouth is use to the flavor you’re going to tasting.
Have you ever done a wine tour or tasting? Let me know below what you think of them!