Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wine Tour

Our last day in Niagara we went on a wine tour of 3 of the vineyards in the Niagara area.  The scenery once again was very breath taking.  The area used to have alot of orchards but has more recently been converted to vineyards.  Niagara is home to some of the world's top award winning wineries.  Along the way were were able to see many amazing homes.
Our first stop was at Inniskillin.
DSC_0312 We tasted 3 wines at each vineyard and I have to admit that the wine at Inniskillin was my favorite of the 3.  It was so much fun to learn why you smell the cork, swirl the wine in your glass, and take at least 3 sips before you decide if you like it or not.
DSC_0328 At each of the beginning rows of grapes, the vineyard plants a rose bush.  The pests that attach grapes also very commonly attach roses so instead of having to check each grape vine, the owner can check the rose bush and it will give a good indication of what is happening with the grapes.  They definitely have more sophisticated means of determining how the grapes are doing now a days but many if not all of the wineries still plant the rose bushes as well.
Next stop was at Pillitteri Winery.
DSC_0321 Pillitteri as the sign shows is an estate winery which means that it is family owned and operated.  This was the most detailed and extensive stop on our tour.
DSC_0323 The awards room at Pillitteri.
DSC_0334 The press room.  This is where the grapes are pressed and put into barrels.  Did you know that in order for red grapes to keep their color they must be in contact with the skin.  So green grapes are skined and pressed, and the skins are discarded, red grapes are pressed and stored with their skin to preserve the rich color.
DSC_0337 After the grapes are pressed the grape juice gets put into these huge metal barrels and kept at a specific temperature to acheive the exact taste the wine master wants.  The time the wine is kept in these vats varies from about 1 wk to 6 months.
DSC_0343 Here is Andy in the wine cellar at Pillitteri Estates.
DSC_0351 This table was a gift from the architect who designed this building.  It is the largest single slap concrete table in Canada.  The chairs hanging on the wall cost $3000.00 each and are each inscribed with a different logo that has meaning to Mr. Pillitteri.  Pillitteri holds a wine club and one a month there is a catered dinner for the members and this is where it is held.DSC_0356
DSC_0357 As I said, there are some amazing orchards in the area so we couldn't help but indulge in some of these cherries and some of the nectarines - YUMMY!!!
After Pillitteri, we made a stop in Niagara on the Lake.  This little town is absolutely gorgeous and has a ton of history tied to it.  This is where the war of 1812 began and when the Royal Family visits Ontario, they still stop here.
DSC_0362 This clock tower was a gift to the town from the Monarchy after the war.  It is right in the middle of the street in front of the court house.  In the 1800s the street was always wider in front of the court house as that is where they had the gallows.  When the town was deciding where to put the tower, they decided to put in right where the gallows used to be to be a symbol of hope for the people in the town.DSC_0419The court house.
DSC_0430 This is the dedication plaque on the side of the tower.
We went on an hour long horse and carriage ride while the guide gave us a historical tour of the town.  It was amazing.
The thing that really struck me the most was the amazing heritage and history that we have and how patriotic the people in this area are.  It was very inspiring and made me very proud to be Canadian.  It also helped me understand our heritage and where we came from better.  It was such a neat experience to think about all of the soldiers that stood right where we were fighting for our country's freedom.
DSC_0364 This is the Tricia Romance gallery.
DSC_0369 This graveyard has been here since before the war.  On some of the gravestones that are flat, there are amputation lines as they used the churces for hospitals.
 DSC_0370 The entire town is filled with these quaint houses.  Niagara on the lake is the most overpriced place to live in North America with the average house ranging in around the 1 million dollar mark.DSC_0382DSC_0385This home is a very exclusive B&B.  Thom Cruise, Kevin Costner and Tiger Woods have all occupied the entire home for vacations.
DSC_0389 The sailboats on the lake were so pretty.
DSC_0396 Look at the amazing flower beds in this yard - wowsa!

DSC_0380  The large stone building you can see across the harbor was the first place that we were attacked in 1812.  It is now home to the coast guard.
 DSC_0412 The stores in the town were so quaint!  They actually do not allow any tour buses or chain restaurants or stores in the town at all.
DSC_0413 The flowers are simply amazing in this place!
Our last stop on our tour was Reif Winery.
DSC_0434 This was definitely the prettiest winery we were at!
We had a fabulous time on this relaxed tour!
Here are some final scenes from our trip.
DSC_0447   The new casino hotel and resort.
DSC_0479  Fountains at the Casino
DSC_0492 Glass flowers on the ceiling in the lobby of our hotel.
Thanks for taking time to share the memories of our trip! Pin It

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