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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Looking Ahead Through a Glass Half-Full

The year kicked off just right, with Lighthall Vineyards 2013 Progression in hand. We made it to midnight (albeit barely), toasted 2015 and went to bed. Yup, my wild New Year's Eve celebrations put Times Square to shame, don't they? What two kids will do to you.

I saved up the energy for a week-long family trip in Punta Cana, where I learned that those same two kids are not at all interested in long, relaxing days on the beach. Good thing the resort had a water park ... conveniently equipped with its own bar. Winning for everyone.

Now back home in the deep cold of another Ice Age, I've been keeping my eye on the horizon for vinous (and hoppy) happenings around town.

Gatineau's winter edition of Festibiere is this coming weekend, January 30-31, at the Canadian Museum of History. Microbrasserie Le Castor and Beau's will be pouring, along with other notable brewers on an ever-growing list of attendees. On February 13-14, the Winter Brewfest will be held at the sparkly new, revamped wonder of Lansdowne Park, in the Horticulture Building (aka Cow Castle) and feature many of the Valley's best breweries.

Speaking of beer, one of Hubby's Christmas presents was a Savvy Company Hip Hops beer-of-the-month club subscription. Beer delivered to your door? Yes please. First up was Beyond the Pale; we've already blown through two mini-growlers of Breaking Bitter and Rye Guy. No Darkness in the shipment (bummer) but the Belle Hop Porter looks good.

I'm going to break with tradition this year and actually *celebrate* Valentine's Day (although I think I might have just jinxed it by writing that): 3 Steps to Survival: Wine, Cheese and Chocolate ... at the Diefenbunker. Ottawa's Cold War throwback, this nuke-proof structure, first buried underground at the height of the paranoia, has become a one-of-a-kind museum. And we get to drink wine, eat cheese, and gorge ourselves on chocolate in there. Another genius idea brought to you by the fine folks at Savvy.

Spring will come early at the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival on March 28-29; no word yet on location. Last year's was at the EY Centre, which seemed to dwarf the small array of food trucks and booths in attendance, but the selections were good.

For something different, head to Ottawa City Hall on March 8 for Taste the Commonwealth, hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society. The $30, all-inclusive walk-around tasting will showcase wines and food from some of the 53 member states of this international organization.

And we mustn't forget the California Wine Fair, a perennial favourite among us wineaux, on April 10.

The highlight of 2015 for me looks to be the next Wine Bloggers Conference, this time being held in the Finger Lakes region of New York, in August. (Just wait, we'll convince them to come to Ontario eventually.) Memories from #WBC13 Penticton still seem so fresh in my mind; I'm jonesing for another wine-filled jaunt around someplace beautiful in the company of wild party animals ... er, fellow writers. With it so close to home, I'm also hoping to convince some other blogger-type friends of mine to come join the fun.

Judging by the snow outside, summer's still a long way off. But we'll get there. Pour yourself another glass in the meantime.

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