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, September 13, 2012

Wine Wednesday: The Real New Year

The seasons have turned again. Back to school, back to work, back to the vineyards, presses, bottling lines. January 1 may be the official start of a new calendar year, but September seems like a more fitting launch into the annual life cycle, with all its busy goings-on. It's harvest time, after all, when a summer's worth of hard work in the fields yields the provisions for a long winter (wine being an essential provision in my house, that's for sure.)

Several wineries in Prince Edward County and Niagara have already started picking grapes, owing to a premium growing season of hot days and cool nights. If you aren't busy this weekend and would like to give grape-picking a go, Norm Hardie and his crew are inviting folks to take part in their harvest this Saturday, September 15, which will include the usual mid-afternoon feast Norm's famous for. And while the roster of volunteer pickers is full at Sandbanks Winery, guests are still welcome to join them for a harvest celebration on September 15 and 22.

Some notable Ottawa-area eateries and fine dining establishments are taking part in the LCBOgoLocal Restaurant Challenge, which offers special menu items paired with VQA wines. Absinthe, Petit Bill's, Play Food & Wine, SIDEDOOR and Juniper are just a few places you can check out from September 11 - October 8.

Natalie Maclean and Wolfgang Blass will be drinking wine, sharing some stories and having a few laughs during an "unforgettable evening" over at Restaurant E18hteen on September 17 at 7 p.m.

Algonquin College's professor of beer Geoffrey Skeggs will be hosting a local craft beer tasting at Billings Estate on September 19 and again at Pinhey's Point Historic Site on September 22. Both events run from 7 - 9:30 p.m.

Hobbs & Co. Wine Merchants is hosting a portfolio tasting on October 2, from 5:30 - 8 p.m., at the French-language theatre La Nouvelle Scene (333 King Edward, conveniently located across the street from the Rideau LCBO.) Hobbs carries such brands as Alpha Zeta, Tinpot Hut and Gloria Ferrer, as well as an impressive list of Ontario and B.C. wines not available in the LCBO.

And then there's the Niagara Wine Festival (Sept 21-30); TASTE! in Prince Edward County (Sept 29); Rendez-Vous des Saveurs de Gatineau (Oct 12-14); the Prescott & Russell Wine and Food Show (Oct 20); and the ever-popular Ottawa Wine and Food Festival (Nov 7-11) ... y'know, just in case you were looking for something to do.

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