iYellow Wine Club Harvest Wine EscapesMonday, November 11, 2013
On Saturday, I had the di-vine pleasure of participating in my first official wine tour courtesy of Toronto's own iYellow Wine Club. With my sister-in-law as my plus one, we met up with a wonderful group of wine enthusiasts and boarded a luxurious bus and were soon bound for Niagara-on-the-Lake. Our first stop was Diamond Estates for a cellar floor experience.
There we enjoyed a sample of their wines such as their Moscato, learned how carbon dioxide is emitted from the production of a single bottle of wine and how Dan Akroyd invested $1 million CDN in Diamond Estates back in 2006. Why do I feel like patting him on the back?
Later we headed into the Diamond Estates Wine Boutique for additional wine tastings and shopping before making our way to Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate.
We were greeted by sommelier and self-proclaimed 'cork dork' Graham who began our wine tasting with a little bubbly. He was very knowledgeable and provided in-depth descriptions of the process of harvesting grapes and wine-making, although his specialty lies in the consumption of wine as well as food pairings.
Once inside, we headed down into the wine cellar for an exclusive Bachelor-esque dining experience surrounded by walls of wine barrels. Our salad was dressed with an ice wine vinaigrette and the beef stew was prepared with a red wine. Both were delicious and paired with... yes, more red wine!
After our apple crumble dessert topped with delectable crème fraiche, we headed to SouthBrook Vineyards which I had first visited during the summer with Farmers Feed Cities. I was really excited to be back at this organic and biodynamic winery and ended up purchasing a bottle of 2009 Whimsy 'Renewed Vows' Cabernet Franc and a 2012 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé.
We ended our iYellow Wine Club tour at a fourth surprise location - Vineland Estates, the very place where iYellow's own Angela Aiello developed a passion for all things wine while working in their restaurant for a number of years.
Upon arriving at Vineland, everyone noticed how beautiful the grounds were, even though it was very dark that evening. This is definitely a place to visit during the day to fully appreciate its beauty. We were still happy to be able to enjoy an after-hours tasting led by Angela herself and explore their beautiful two-level shop. Between my sister-in-law and I, we purchased a couple of jars of kalamata olive and fig tapenade, chocolates, cheese and crackers. The perfect snacks for our drive home!
On the whole, I was thoroughly impressed with the attention to detail, the organization and the great enthusiasm with which the tour was executed by Angela and her crew. With plenty of on-board snacks and water, prizes and wine-related trivia , the time we spent on the road seemed to fly by. For my first time on an official wine tour, I was pleasantly surprised and would highly recommend an iYellow wine tour to family and friends.
For more photos, have a peek at my iYellow Wine Tour slideshow:
iYellow Wine Club tours range in price from $125 to $165 per person. Their Holiday Wine Jam is $60 and is a great opportunity to try 70 different wines from the world over. It will take place on November 28 from 7-10:30 pm in Toronto followed by an open bar after party. For an updated schedule of iYellow events, check out iyellowwineclub.com.
Disclosure: I received complimentary wine tour tickets to facilitate this review. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.