Last Updated on 2021-10-24 by Linda
This summer we took to wondering close to home. With borders closed we set off to discover Craft Breweries and Wineries in our area and what a pleasant surprise. Who knew that close to Ottawa there were so many great places to discover. Well truth be told I knew there were amazing Craft Nreweries but I did not know there was wine aplenty as well. Today I am starting off with Vankleek Hill Vineyard aand our summer visit.
Vankleek Hill Vineyard
The Vankleek Hill Vineyard & Tasting Cellar offers tastings with a casual, fun approach wine. With a spacious, outdoor areas offering a blend of shade and open spaces to lounge, one cannot help but feel relaxed . The owners encourage every visitor to sit and relax, basically make yourself at home while overlooking the estate vines.
Nestled just outside the town, this stunning vineyard is not obvious to the area. But one just needs to seek out the Raven Silo and you will recognize you have found rfuge from the everyday.
Sadly I had no idea this place existed until this summer. How this ecaped my attention, i am perplexed but I wont forget it moving forward. Quaint location with amaxing hosts and tasty wine, what could be better. Well cahrcuterie’s, homemade snacks and live music of course. A winery who’s aim is to create an environment of sharing and relaxing while sipping their selection of wines.
The story of the the New “Hill”
The new owners (Scott and Teresa) of Vankleek Hill Vineyard say their three-year search for a farm to start an organic market garden got slightly sidetracked. The couple followed a Popsilos sign to Vankleek Hill Vineyard. Immediately smitten with the land and the concepy, they pivoted to become self taught vineyard owners. Learning the craft while reclaiming the vines.
The existing vines are cold-climate varieties, mainly Frontenac noir, Frontenac gris and a Russian red-grape Severny, but Lambert wants to add Marquette, Swanson White and Petite Perle.
We spent several hours in their company sampling wines and hearing their story. I was fascinated that they could take this little vineyard that previous had a cow as a logo and turn it into a vineyard to rival those we find in the County and Niagara.
The Whites of Vankleek Hill
The wines from Vankleek Hill Vineyard will surprise you, as I mentioned they currently are growing cold-climate varieties, mainly Frontenac noir, Frontenac gris and a Russian red-grape Severny, But…. the owners also have grapes growing in Niagara so Pinot Noir, Chardonnays and Rieslings are also on the menu.
- Project 20 Riesling– An unheard of Pink Riesling. This wine is light at playful, semi sweet and a popular one! Extend your summer by sampling the wine and helping out a great cause!, 15% of all sales are going towards Breat Cancer causes for the month of October
- Project 17 Riesling Bright aromas of starfruit, Gala apples, and peaches with a hint of ginger. Light and fruity on the palate with a mild sweetness and juicy acidity.
- Project 15 Sauvignon Blanc Zesty notes of grapefruit and lime zest with a hint of lily blossom. Smooth and zesty palate with notes of grapefruit and lemongrass with a little richness on the finish
- Project 11 Chardonnay– Full bodied, rich in texture, creamy, buttery tastes of hazelnut, honey and a hint of citrus. Pairs well with salmon, turkey, fish, creamy pastas
- Project 8 Frontenac Blanc-Citrusy aromas, crisp and clean to the palate with expressions of peach and apricot
- Project 13 White Blend-Aromas and flavors of nectarine, citrus, and tropical fruit. Refreshing with a touch of sweetness and a crisp, clean finish.
The Reds of Vankleek
The reds of Vankleek Vineyard are on par with the county. And the selection was a pleasant surprise.
- PROJECT 16 Cabarnet Sauvignon– Deep aromas of black cherries, raspberries, sweet tobacco, mint, and cedar mulch. Medium-full bodied with silky tannin
- Project 14 Cabarnet Franc– Bright and expressive on the nose with cranberries, cherries, cinnamon, and toast aromas with a floral undertone.
- Project 12 Merlot- Aromas and flavors of dark fruits – raspberry, plum, vanilla and spices are present, med to full bodied with tannins
- Project 10 Pinot Noir-Luscious red berries, delicate floral notes on the palate of raspberry, cherry with a lively acidity followed by sweet toasty oak and light smoky characters
- Project 9 Cabarnet/Merlot-Distinctive herbal notes, dark berries, light – medium bodied, low residual sugar. Pairs well with red meats, BBQ
- Project 19 Reserve- I haveent sampled this one yet ( actually I do believe we were given a sneak taste during the visit but i want to reserve comments today. It was tasty with so much promie.
Plus Rose’s and a few fun fruit wines if that is more your style. Personally I am not a fruit wine gal, so I am going to leave that for the experts.
Our Tasting experience
The beauty of a mid week visit is not a lot of visitors competing with your attention. We stopped in on a Thursday in August and were pretty mush on our own for a few hours. A planned quick tasting turned into an afternoon of great conversation and wine.
Ironically we planned to stop in for a tasting on the patio and never made it outside (except for pictures). The owner allowed us to experience our tasting in the tasting room. And what a stunning room it is. Somewhat of a contrast to many vineyards who have created the “cellar experience” this feels more like Angel Gate Winery. Bright and airy and very modern.
While at Vankleek Hill Vineyard we went with a tasting package of five and between the four of us experienced all they had to offer.
There is so much potential and they have some truly fun plans. I am personally anxiously awaiting the Yurt. My dream of living on a vineyard may be experienced at least for one or two nights. I have always wanted to wander through the vines and be able to pick up a single bottle(or two) to take home as i saunter along. No traffic, no driving just a simple walk to experinece and savour the moment
Food, Tea and Apothecary
The vineyard has their own Bee hives and offer a variety of products they have made. Plus they have worked with many local vendors and “craft” related businesses to make this experience more than just wine.
Honey, Jams and spices are available. Plus hand crafted soaps, wine accessories and gourmet popcorn just to name a few.
Plus you have to try the hand blended teas, each with a unique twist.
The Raven Silo
Popsilos is artwork on silos.
Standing at the entrance of the vineyard, this imposing piece of local art. A large painted raven, part of the Popsilo Route, watches over the vineyard.
Find out more about the silo and route: http://www.popsilos.ca/en/
Wines, Dogs, Cats and even Chickens
I cannot let the our experience pass by without mentioning the animals. There is something so wonderful about the wine and craft beer industry regading their love of our friends. You may notice a few chickens and cats wondering around and if you are really lucky you can meet the pups Otis and Obie.
The Vineyard is located at 3725 Dandy Road (County Road 12), Vankleek Hill, ON K0B 1R0
HOURS OF OPERATIONS