Food Trucks and Wine Country Heaven

Vines and Pie

Sunny fall day –  check.

Group of enthusiastic friends –  check.

Road trip to Twenty Valley – check.

Food Trucks and Wine Country – double-check!!

It has been a yearly tradition  to take a jaunt  out to Ontario wine country in the fall. The leaves on the trees are shedding

their summer green, the air is crisp and the vines are dripping with a  promise of delicious wines to fill our glasses. This year’s trip however

came with an extra bonus in the form of a plethora of food trucks set up at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Jordan. The event, coordinated in celebration

of harvest time, was called – Food Trucks Eat: Twenty Valley and it combined the best of  food trucks, a group of feature wineries and a live jazz  band.

What a glorious way to spend an autumn afternoon.

Fall 2009 009

Our day started with a visit to Malivoire where we sampled a variety of wines including their; Old Vine Foch, a Musqué Spritz

(an interesting, effervescent white)  and then, we were fortunate to taste a superb Gewürztraminer Icewine. The tasting room was very cosy with

a  large chalk board at the entrance for guest comments and drawings, shelves filled with Malivoire wines sporting their signature “ladybug” on the labels and a stunning

iron chandelier in the form of twiggy, willow like branches.


Parked outside the entrance to Malivoire was a mobile cheesemonger aptly  called The Cheesy Guys.  What a treat to be able to

sample and purchase creative, local artisanal cheese –  Mango, Carmelized Onion, or Chocolate cheese anyone? Decadent goodness and well worth a taste.

Next stop – food truck heaven!

We arrived at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery around noon , just when things started to get roll’in and we were pleasantly greeted at the entrance.  Admission was free to the event but if your wanted

to buy wine to go with your food choices, then you could purchase a tasting glass for $3.00 –  which you did get to keep.

Food Trucks

As we walked around, we soon realized that it wasn’t going to be easy to choose what we’d be having for lunch.

Toasted ravioli, no problem –  the Rome’n Chariot had that covered.  Lobster Rolls , octopus or shrimp tacos –  Buster’s Sea Cove offered that.

Oysters and more lobster rolls – Tide and Vine was worth a visit or how about savory and sweet pies at Itty Bitty Pie? Now, if you were in the mood for gourmet grilled cheese –

guess what – the griddle was hot at Gorilla Cheese. Where else could you get  the Gorilla Sarducci – Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Red Onions, Fresh Basil, Balsamic Glaze on Multigrain?

Buster's Sea Cove

After dividing and conquering, we all congregated at a comfortable table in the covered barn area where the jazz band was setting up.

It was interesting to see what everyone in the group had chosen.  The variety of food was incredible and it all came out of those glorious food trucks!

There were grilled cheese sandwiches, fish and chips, gourmet squash soup, cumin scented carrot salad, jicima salad and of course, I couldn’t resist those fresh oysters and  shrimp tacos.

For wine, I decided to try a tasty Riesling from 13th Street Winery – a perfect pairing.

Oysters and Shrimp Tacos

As we all sat together and talked and laughed and appreciated how lucky we were to live so close to wine country, the band played an

appropriate version of “Heaven, I’m in Heaven….” I couldn’t help but think that it was a perfect moment.

Heavenly Jazz Band

When our food truck lunches were devoured and  our wine glasses empty and  the band  left for a break;

we headed back out to the valley for our last stop of the day – Daniel Lenko Estate Winery.

This is a very unassuming winery located off King St. in Beamsville –  blink and you’ll miss it.

But don’t let appearances fool you, the winery is owned by Daniel Lenko, a third generation grape grower that produces award-winning wines.

We’ve visited this winery many times over the years and have been more than pleased with their selection.

The tasting room is in the family kitchen of a small house on the side of the road.

It’s rustic, quaint, dated and this time under some renovation but again,

the wine speaks for itself. We asked Daniel what the term Meritage meant as we sampled one of his reds.

He told us not to pronounce it like a french word, it isn’t one – he then explained that the term was coined in California

and represented a “bordeaux” style wine, however we are not able to call it that here.

I suppose  it’s similar to not being able to call sparkling wine “champagne” because we are not in that region.

Regardless, Ontario wine country can hold its own and can

be proud of its many unique wineries and wine makers and then add to that those outstanding food trucks and you’ve got the perfect fall road trip!

I wonder what’s in store for us next time?

Daniel Lenko

© 2013 Ann Ivy Male

A Taste of Wine…

Crisp,racy,buttery,fruity,peppery,like petrol,grassy and oh so sweet. There are many ways to describe a wine and to each palate there is a different analogy. I like the scene in the movie  Sideways when Maya thoughtfully describes her glass of Pinot – wondering what the day was like when the grapes were picked , was the sun shining, whose hands touched that particular cluster of grapes that were then  crushed and left to ferment, in aged wood barrels, in dark,damp cellars. The experience of tasting a wine appeals to your senses –  Sight, lifting the glass up to the light, taking in the slight variations in colour from one red or white to the next. Smell, closing your eyes and inhaling the aromas that fully infuse the glass and then your nose. Touch, holding the stem of the glass, twirling the wine inside, letting the thin, cool glass rest on your lips as you sip. Taste, taking that first sip, swirling or perhaps, slurping and gargling the wine in your mouth so every part of your palate is awakened. Hearing – the descriptions of each individual sharing that same bottle of wine.

Wine tasting is an appealing way to get outside on a beautiful Fall day, to explore the character of the different vineyards, to meet the winemakers who work so hard and are truly passionate about their craft and to learn about the different grapes and wine-making techniques – this however, in my opinion, is not an activity to take too seriously though, it’s about being with good friends, sharing a laugh and taking the time to savour life’s simple pleasures….like……the aroma of a chilled Riesling reminding one of a soggy, canvas shoe that had been left to dry in the sun after a long day of picking grapes in a muddy, earthy field of dirt and clay.

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An autumn afternoon in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada :

Our tour started at SouthBrook Winery – Contemporary building, great lines, graphic plantings, gorgeous table for tasting with beautiful views. Poetic vintages – lovely poetry by Canadian writers on their bottles.

Five Rows Winery – Started with 5 rows of vines, rustic barn, warm, comfortable, picturesque, great aroma, built with pride and love. Very cozy table, chunks of Parmesan and earthy crackers, full reds and dessert in a glass Ice-wines. Lovely mother who described her son’s wines flawlessly.

Between the Lines – Simple, knowledgeable, passionate  young winemaker and educator. Truffles that burst in your mouth filled with Cabernet Franc Ice-wine.

After all the wine-tasting, we stopped at the Stone Road Grille for a bite to eat.The restaurant is very nondescript  from the outside and is easy to pass over but trust me – you want to dine here ! As you enter and pass through the dark curtained entrance-way, look up to find the flying turkey. The restaurant’s atmosphere is quite eclectic: gold-framed mirrors and whimsical artwork hang on the deep,cherry red and grey walls. Booths are covered in funky dotted fabric and invite you to relax and take in the vibe. Among the items we chose to sample was a velvety parsnip soup, mussels and frites (they were served in terracotta flower pots), steak/frites, creamy mushroom risotto and heavenly,warm chocolate mousse cake with salted caramel ice-cream,topped with sponge toffee – I would go back for dessert alone!

Check out the website for details.

© 2011 Ann Ivy Male