When Wines Declare War…

nfhblog3While it’s rarely expressly stated, wine making is as much about competition as it is about the value, preservation, and expansion of viticulture. Why else would so many wineries vie for titles, awards, and other proofs of prowess if part of the thrill of making wine wasn’t about doing it better than anyone else?

Niagara has long enjoyed a stellar reputation as a region that produces some of the world’s finest wines. It’s also well-known as a region whose wineries and vineyards enjoy a conviviality and camaraderie that is second-to-none. That being said, however, it would be far from the truth to declare that competition had no place in winemaking on the Niagara Peninsula.

One perfect case in point is slated to take place on Friday, June 3rd, at Vineland Estates Winery. Called “The Battle of the Wineries,” it’s a showdown of the most delicious kind — a multi-course meal with pairings from two friendly rival wineries. It’s a winner-takes-all competition where bragging rights are prize, and dinner attendees are the judges. Here’s a little bit more about the event should you be vacationing in Niagara over the first weekend of June.

The Chef

Chef Justin Downes is the Executive Chef at the Restaurant at Vineland Estates Winery. Originally from the Niagara region, he is wholly committed to the excellent farms around him, and his menus always reflect the season’s local bounty. For the Battle of the Wineries, he and his team are preparing a five-course meal that will include some of the finest Niagara produce, fish, fruits, meats, and cheeses. An evening with a Chef Downes menu is almost guaranteed to provide an unforgettable immersion in the best of Niagara food.

The Wineries

nfhblog4Vineland Estates Winery is the winery that will be enjoying a “home court advantage” for the dinner and dual pairing. Not only will their chef be the one doing the cooking, but the event will also take place on their grounds. Vineland Estates offers a VQA wine experience that’s one of the best in the region. For over 30 years, the winery has been making excellent wine. The tours they offer are second-to-none, and just being on their property — a former Mennonite homestead with buildings that were built as far back as the 1840s — can feel like a hallowed experience.

Located in Jordan, Creekside Estate Winery will be the “traveling team,” but they are just as storied and committed to top-notch winemaking as is Vineland. In addition to great tours, delicious wines, and a strong competitive spirit, their grounds boast one of the largest and oldest underground barrel cellars on the Peninsula. Committed to the environment, Creekside also encourages cyclists to stop by for a tour and a taste. Should a cyclist purchase more wine than she can carry, Creekside will ship purchases that include six or more bottles to any address in Ontario for free.

It’s highly recommended that you reserve your tickets early for this friendly meal and wine pairing battle. Tickets are $80 for the five-course meal, and an additional $55 for the pairings from both wineries — $135 for the whole experience.

So come to Niagara where the wines declare war, and the wine drinker is always the winner.


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