Di Profio Wines..a perfect summer package!

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Di Profio Wines
–  July 2015 –

It seems like summer is flying by. In some parts of our province, we are just starting to feel the heat we’ve waited for since the dreary dead of winter. For Ontario’s wineries, this is the quiet time between the bustle of tying or unearthing canes in the spring and the panic of harvest in the faJoseph DiProfioll. Not that there isn’t work to do – the vines need to be trimmed and there’s always something to look after as the grapes turn from flowers into delicious fruit.

This month features wines from a small, family-run winery located seconds from the idyllic village of Jordan Station. Di Profio Wines has one of the most interesting tales and some great summer wines for you to enjoy!

Ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections? 

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 DELICIOUS wines. Each one has been specially selected for its unique ability to pair with summer food and enjoy with friends. Don’t let the “Zinc” theme fool you – these wines are all about balanced fruit and freshness, and you’ll find that there are so many foods that work with each of them!

2013 “The Kitchen Zinc” – Fresh, crisp, and fruit-forward in style, this perfect entertaining white wine will have folks asking for more! A lovely blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal, Viognier, Muscat, and Gewurztraminer, it reminds you most of Sauv Blanc but then adds some great tropical fruit and floral hints from the additional components.

2013 Gamay Rosé – A refreshing fruit driven Rosé based on 100% Gamay that not only pairs well with many foods, but is a fine drink on its own, enjoyed cold on a sunny deck or patio.

2012 “Zinc-Tastic – This fruit dominated Cabernet-Merlot blend with mellow tannins and great acidity is the perfect companion to this summer’s BBQ dishes!

One of the hazards of our job…

One of the several bonuses of my work is that you meet fascinating people involved in the wine industry.  Often is the case that they become friends.  This is certainly the case with Carollynn & Joseph Di Profio (in photo).  Savvy Sommelier Shawn McCormick first introduced me to them and now…I stay at their B&B whenever travels take me to Niagara.  In this eZine Shawn (and I) look forward to introducing you to the winery, their wines & the cool people who pour their heart & soul into everything that they do…and they are retired!

You won’t find these Di Profio wines at the LCBO

We have done it again!  Our Savvy Sommeliers have found great wines (at great prices) that we are confident you will enjoy…every sip!  Di Profio Wines produces such small amounts that you won’t find them on the shelves in your LCBO. Call on us at anytime at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for additional bottles of your favourite Di Profio wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.

Cheers & enjoy your summer!
Debbie & Savvy Team


Di Profio Wines

Presented by Sommelier Shawn McCormick

I literally jumped at the chance to write about Di Profio wines when asked, as I have known proprietors Joe Di Profio and Carollynn Desjardins for almost four years now. My wife and I first stayed at their lovely B&B when the winery was just a set of plans, and they were temporarily making wine in a converted barn. Through the years, I have learned a lot about their incredible journey from retired school officials to farmers and winery owners.

You’re Never Too Old

Joe and Carollynn met when they both worked with school board in North Bay. They retired years ago to winters in Mexico and were loving their life of warm weather and time on their boat, the “Mia Cara”.

Di Profio WineryFate brought them back to Ontario and due to a health issue they ended up in the Niagara region. Once recovered, they decided that they wanted to stay in the area to be close to their son Fred.

They weren’t really looking to start a winery, but they had been thinking about a legacy they could leave for their children. They liked the idea of building something they could pass down to the generations.

When they saw and bought the 12 acre property that is now Di Profio Wines, the vineyard was in horrible shape, having been neglected for years. Consultants they hired at the time recommended that they just rip everything out and start over, but Joe thought that there was a lot of the vineyard worth saving. He was right.

Over the last 5 or so years they have built a new winery building, and added deck and porch areas, as well as a food service trailer. They’ve recovered what they could of the vineyard, and replanted what they couldn’t. They are now fully under vine and producing about 1500 cases of wine annually.

A B&B And a Winery?

The property (now renamed after their boat – the “Mia Cara” vineyards), included a large, fully finished house. While the vineyards had been neglected for years, the house was in great shape, if large for their needs. “What are we going to do with all this space?” asked Carollynn. She soon decided that they would open a Bed & Breakfast, despite never even having stayed in a B&B herself! Together they have created a unique guest experience where you literally are “Among the Vines”. In addition to working in the vineyards and the tasting room, Carollynn does double duty as B&B host!

A Family Affair

You may say that the Di Profio family, originally from Italy, has winemaking in their blood. Joe’s father Guiseppe Di Profio was the first Di Profio in Canada to make wine, back 60-70 years ago. Today, Di Profio uses his name on their very special appassimento style wine “Peppe’s Pride” which is only made in specific years.

The wine-making bug skipped a generation, but when Joe’s son Fred trained as a winemaker, it piqued Fred DiProfioJoe’s own interests in wine. Fred has his own winemaking company looking after a couple of different wineries, yet still finds time to tend to the winemaking duties at Di Profio. With Joe in the fields, Carollynn at the tasting bar, and Joe’s grandson Jack staying with them this summer, you’re sure to find one of the family members working in the winery or the fields if you stop in to visit.

What is it about Zinc?

Joe had visited wineries in Italy and noticed they all had zinc topped bars. In much the same way that they used to put zinc on barn roofs to stop moss or algae from growing, zinc provides an anti-microbial surface which makes for a great bar top! They sourced rolled zinc and found a local copper roofer who would work the material. Di Profio’s zinc-topped bar is now affectionately known as “The Zinc”.

What’s Next?

With capacity for about 3000 cases, they see organic growth of the winery from the current 1500 cases through repeat customers (currently around 80%). With two harsh winters under their belt, they have a few planting changes to make to ensure longevity of the vineyard, and to provide the right varieties for the wines that sell the best. As an example, some areas where Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc don’t do as well will be replaced with Vidal (used in their “Teacher’s Pet” Special Select Late Harvest wine). Joe mentions that there are some abutting vineyards that might feed future grape needs. So much for retirement!




Even with several wines to choose from, it wasn’t too hard to pick the wines for this month’s selections – after all, a white, a red, and a rosé make for the perfect package in the summer! All of the wines chosen are fantastic food pairing options and you’ll find them easy to pair. They all exhibit great fruit and acidity – two qualities that will enhance your dishes.  The best part is, they are all balanced and can be sipped on their own, making them extremely versatile.

“The Kitchen Zinc” 2013, $16.50

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine has quickly become Di Profio’s most popular wine, andDi Profio Wines Kitchen Zinc 2013 continues to sell more every year even with increasing production! This summer sipper is light and fresh on the palate. It offers a delicious nose of tropical fruit – namely gooseberry, passion fruit, kiwi, and sweet, ripe melon. Behind the tropical fruit are lighter citrus, fresh cut grass, and wet river stone notes. There is an initial hit of the sweet tropical fruit, and then a cleansing, tart lemon refreshes before the long grapefruit pith finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy with grilled swordfish, an asparagus quiche made with fresh Ontario asparagus, or a tropical salad!  See the grilled pineapple salad recipe in the following pages.

Cellaring:  Drink soon at 7-10ºC.

Gamay Rosé 2013, $15.70

Di Profio Gamay RoseSavvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Beautiful bright pink colour. Strawberry and ripe raspberry notes on the nose reminiscent of Swedish berry candies. There is the slightest hint of herbaceousness akin to fresh-cut rhubarb and notes of sweet Honeydew melon as it warmed. The palate is slightly sweet strawberry  fruit at first ,showing good weight without being sticky. This is followed with strawberry-rhubarb and red currant. There is a refreshing acidity which cleanses your palate but leaves a nice lingering finish. It is a wine that is both sweet and dry at the same time!

Suggested Food Pairings: Another versatile wine that will work with many dishes including grilled shrimp, summer salad, or most BBQ fare. Try it with our veggie pizza recipe further in!

Cellaring: Drink now. Serve between 7ºC-10ºC.

“Zinc-tastic” Cabernet Merlot 2012, $23.00

This blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot from a great growing year exemplify that Ontario can make delicious, full-bodied red wine as well as whites.2012-zinc-tastic1

 Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A deep rich ruby colour and a purple hue give hints as to the makeup of this wine. The aromas of dark and red fruit – plums, cassis, black cherry, red cherry come with light spice and mocha notes. There is the slightest smoky herbaceousness reminiscent of a tamed jalapeño pepper.  Red cherry and red currant dominate the subdued leather and earthy components on the palate. There is decent acidity and slightly grippy tannins that indicate you could hold this for a few years, or pair with some juicy protein.

Suggested Food Pairings: Pair with bison burgers, venison sausage, mushroom lasagna or rare steak. See the recipe in the following pages for Smoky Cheddar Paprika Burgers.

 Cellaring: Drinking well know, can cellar for up to 5 years. Serve at 16-18ºC.



With The Kitchen Zinc…

Grilled Pineapple & Jalapeños w Fresh Mango & Avocado salad

From Ripe Life (recipe & photo credit)
Serves 2-4
Makes 4 side salads or 2-3 large dinner salads


¼ cup fresh lime juiceRipe Life grilledpineappleandjalapeños
1 teaspoon agave syrup

½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon cilantro chopped
I pineapple cored and peeled sliced into 1 inch rounds
4 jalapeños sliced in half length ways seeded
2 mangoes peeled pitted diced
2 avocados peeled pitted sliced
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)


Make vinaigrette by whisking lime juice, agave, salt and olive oil.

Stir in cilantro.

Heat BBQ to medium high.

Lay pineapple in hot grill for several minutes to caramelize and flip over. At the same time grill jalapeños. When peppers and pineapple are slightly softened and grill marks appear remove from grill. Chop into chunks and gently toss with mango and avocado.

Dress with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve.

With Gamay Rosé …

Green Onion, Arugula, & Goat Cheese Pizza

From Shawn McCormick’s family kitchen
Serves 2-3
Also good with Wild Leeks (Ramps) or Garlic Scapes instead of Green Onion!


2 Pizza shells or flatbreads
6-8 Green onions, chopped
Handful of arugula per pizza
8 oz goat cheese, crumbled
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
Olive oil


Brush the shell or pre-cooked crust liberally with your favourite olive oil.

Wash, dry, and chop the arugula into bit sized pieces. Distribute it and the chopped green onions and red pepper across both shells.

Scatter the crumbled goat cheese and then coat with a thin layer of mozzarella (to hold it all together).

Grind some fresh black pepper over it and heat in 350ºF oven or BBQ for about 10 minutes.

Allow to rest for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if you like, and serve with Gamay Rosé.


With Zinc-tastic …

Smoky Cheddar Paprika Burgers

From Shawn McCormick’s family kitchen
Serves 4-6


1 kg lean ground beef
6-8 oz smoked cheddar
1/2 medium onion, diced finely
1 tsp hot, smoked paprika (more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp chipotle spice (optional)
1 egg
½ cup dried bread crumbs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Dice the cheese into small cubes, about ½ cm

(Optional) Sauté the onions in olive oil until clear and soft

Beat the egg and then mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Form into patties – should make 6 large patties or 8 smaller ones.

Cook as you normally would on BBQ or frying pan. Serve on your favourite bun with toppings of your choice!


Drop by & say hello to Carollynn at the Zinc Bar the next time you’re in Niagara.

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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