Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

What's New: Local Grapes, Cold Climate Success

Going "off-vine" for a few months leaves me woefully clueless on what's new in the world of wine. So it's no surprise that I've only recently heard of (relative) newcomers Stone Crop Acres and Clos du Vully.

Stone Crop Acres Winery and Vineyard is based in Morrisburg, Ontario. Owner and certified sommelier Norene Hyatt-Gervais planted her vines in 2007, laying in cold climate varieties like Marquette, Louise Swenson and Frontenac Gris. Initially, Hyatt-Gervais sold off her fruit to other buyers, but in 2016, she decided it was time to start making her own wine. (Back in the day, her dad was buying grapes for his home brew, which percolated in demi-johns in the basement ... not like what some folks do, with the whole Rubbermaid bins covered in cheesecloth ...)

The first vintages were released this year, just in time for the grand opening in July of the tasting room and retail shop. Four whites and a Nouveau-style red that sold out in a month. Stone Crop's first barrel-aged red, a Frontenac Noir/Cabernet Franc blend, will be the highlight at the winery's Christmas Cheer event, starting this Saturday, December 9.

Vignoble Clos du Vully is run by winemaker and grape grower Jan Daniel-Etter with his partner Anne Grenon. Together they tend five thousand vines of cold-hardy grapes and craft artisanal whites, reds and rosés, both sweet and dry, from their own fruit and from extra procured from growers in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In May 2016, they opened the doors of their barn-turned-tasting room and welcome guests every Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., year-round. Gift baskets, gift certificates and wine (of course!) are all available for purchase.

Need some other ideas for the holidays? Skip the malls and day-trip to some of these local gems for great wine and merrymaking:

Domaine Perrault, Navan - Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11-5, until December 24. Marilys has got to be one of my favourite rosés; the reds are big, robust and perfect for long winter nights.

Jabulani Vineyard and Winery, Richmond - The winery's annual Christmas event will be held on December 9-10 and 16-17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy mulled wine, hot chocolate and nibbles with a side of live music. All it costs is a donation (either cash or non-perishable food items) to the Richmond Food Bank.

KIN Vineyards, of Carp, Ontario, will be at the Christmas edition of the Ottawa Farmers' Market this year. Find them in the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne this weekend and next.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Wineau Abroad: Wines from Afar

A few notes on some of the selections my globe-trotting Hubby has brought back for me (us) to enjoy ...

Weingut Familie Pitnauer 2015 Bienenfresser Zweigelt Reserve (Göttlesbrunn, Austria) - "Bienenfresser" is the German name for the European bee-eater, a small, colourful, swallow-like bird, as depicted on the label. Wild nose of cloves, raspberries and a hint of green pepper. Medium-bodied with fairly high acid and tannin levels. The wild fruit carries along the palate, accompanied by smoked meat and peppercorn. The finish, while dry texture-wise, explodes with jammy fruit flavours.

Weingut Okonomierat Rebholz 2015 Riesling Troken (Pfalz, Germany) - Brilliant gold with pale green highlights. Nose and palate tangy with green apple, petrol and lime zest. High acid, bordering on effervescent. Sharp and slightly metallic on the finish, with the fruit coming up a bit short. Biz trip to Berlin, Germany, 2016.

(PS, quick lesson on how to read a German wine label : Ökonomierat = an honour awarded to a deserving agriculturalist; weingut = vineyard property; Pfalz = wine region in Germany; Rebholz = family name of proprietor.)

Cave St-Pierre 2012 Johannisberg de Chamoson (Valais, Switzerland) - Also known as sylvaner, this wine glows with a deep gold colour tinged with a lime-green edge. Redolent with talcum powder, mango, papaya and fresh honey, and a viscous, creamy texture that coats the palate. Best with food, begs for fondue/raclette.

Celliers de Meknes Chateau Roslane 2013 Premier Cru Les Coteaux de l'Atlas (El Hajeb, Morocco) - This was a fantastic find, something that would definitely be worth ordering a case of, if I can find the Canadian distributor. In the glass, a regal garnet/plum colour that is slightly brickish. Overwhelming nose of jam, cherries, cedar, rosemary and pepper, followed by a light-to-medium body and mid-range acid/tannin balance. The exotic spice mix gets some cinnamon added to it, and the tangy fruit rounds out the finish.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

It's Been Too Long

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Sometimes it hits you with a one-two sucker punch to the gut. Or a bullet to the head.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Be kind, everyone. Every person you meet is a human being, no matter where they come from, no matter what they look like on the outside.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Curse the Moon, Love the Wine

It was the Gold Rush, in small-town Osoyoos, set within spitting distance of the United States border. Smugglers, under the cover of night, bolted through the undergrowth, desperate to evade customs agents. And that moon, that cursed moon, shone full and bright.

Those who were caught swore it was all the moon's fault for foiling their well-laid plans.

They became known as moon cursers.

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