Raise a glass
Raise a glass of locally produced wine, ice wine, single malt whisky or liqueur made from plums, saskatoon berries, ground cherries, apples or black currants to your nose and try to describe it.
Is it smoky, nutty, fruity, peaty? Does it taste sweet, sour, good or bad? Forget the fancy tasting techniques and terminology. Do you like it? If so, enjoy it!
Food travel is a great way to experience local wines, beers and other drinks that are not widely available in retail stores.
Have you ever tried saskatoon berry cider, ground cherry liqueur, rhubarb wine or late-harvest wine made from mouldy grapes, mouldy to impart a unique flavour? What is the difference between a baco noir grape and a pinot noir grape?
Explore locally crafted drinks
Have fun exploring locally crafted beverages. While certain regions of the country, such as Ontario's Niagara Region and the Okanagan Valley in B.C., are well known for their wines, wine and other drinks are also produced across the country, sometimes in surprising places.
Here's a glimpse of what you could do:
Learn the art of wine-making, admire the breathtaking view of the Bay of Fundy and enjoy apple and grape wines at Domaine de Grand Pré in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where some of the grapes grown were developed especially for the local climate.
Discover North America's only single malt whisky at Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton, N.S., and learn about milling, the kiln, storing, aging and bottling.
What do greenhouses have to do with wine? Tour Rossignol Estate Winery on Prince Edward Island, where greenhouses are used to protect the more tender vines from the harsh climate and wines are also made from strawberries, rhubarb, cranberries, raspberries and blueberries.
At Les bières de la Nouvelle France near Trois-Rivières in Quebec, taste a unique brew like the rice-and-barley-based Claire Fontaine Ale, then learn about the history of beer, its manufacture, and how the malt house makes this a unique operation.
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Cranberry wine for Thanksgiving? At Muskoka Lakes Winery, situated at one of Canada's oldest cranberry farms, take a tour of the cranberry marsh to learn about cranberry growing, then visit the winery to learn about winemaking techniques and taste some great wines.
Want to see who's behind what you're tasting? Wine enthusiasts can meet with the partners who run Thirteenth Street Winery in the Niagara region, where the focus is small-scale, handcrafted production of table and sparkling wines.
What flavours do you imagine when you hear of Holy Smoke Scotch Ale? Find out at Church-Key Brewing near Campbellford, Ont., by taking a brewery tour and tasting.
If you didn't think that wine was made in Alberta, head to Field Stone Fruit Wines near Strathmore, Alberta's first cottage winery, where the pick-your-own farm has evolved into a winery using crops such as raspberries, strawberries, cherries and saskatoon berries.
Learn how to pair apple cider with meals made from locally grown ingredients at Merridale Estate Cidery on Vancouver Island, take a cidery tour, then taste cider or another specialty such as Scrumpy, a strong, sharp drink made from crab apples fermented without sugar.
Can you imagine a winery inside a straw-bale building, in the desert? The straw-bale winery building at Orofino Vineyards has thick, straw-filled walls that maintain a constant temperature for making and aging wine in the Similkameen Valley of British Columbia.
Plan an outing
How can you find local producers? Look at local or provincial tourism websites, or consult local producer associations such as:
• Fruit Wines of Ontario
• Quebec Wine Route
• Wine Council of Ontario
• Ontario Craft Brewers
• Southwestern Ontario Vintners Association
• The Wine Islands of B.C.
• Association of B.C. Wine Growers
• B.C. Wine Country
• Wines of B.C.
Food for thought
The bottle of drink you serve your guests with supper can be doubly special if you take a trip to get it directly from the producer, especially if your guests join you on the tasting errand.
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