Posts Tagged ‘Ontario wine’

Yeah! It’s Rose wine season

Posted by Debbie

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

I love this time of the year.  When wineries start getting excited about releasing their Rosé wine, it is always a sure sign that summer is around the corner!

Made with the grapes harvested last fall, Rosé wine is a perfect drink to enjoy after a winter of heavy red wines.  Rosés quench your thirst, they are low-ish in alcohol (usually 11-12%) and pair with many spring & summertime foods – especially brunch, lunch, picnic or backyard BBQ fare.

Unlike other styles of wine, Rosés can be made with any kind of red grapes – a single variety or a blend of several. There are even a few made from a blend of red & white grapes! Winemakers have the liberty to use anything from the vineyard to craft a Rosé wine like an artist creating a masterpiece.

Sometimes it can be hard to know whether you’ll love a Rosé when picking a bottle based on grape variety, price, pink colour or creative labelling. But half the fun with Rosés is discovering new favourites every year – and our Sommeliers are here to help with taste tips about the latest releases.


Savvy Sommelier Tips for Rosé…

> Rule of thumb: drink by Christmas the year that you bought the wine.

> Typically Rosé wines come in a clear bottle so you can enjoy the colour before opening the bottle…it will make you thirsty!

> Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins before serving….as the Rosé wine warms up, notice how the aromas & taste change.

> Rosés are not all sweet – trust us! (Pink Zinfandel from California or those called ‘blush’ are often sweeter)

> Price points are usually $15 – $30

> Real men drink Rosé wines!


How is Rosé wine made?

It’s all in the skins!  The majority of grapes used in winemaking have a white flesh, so when crushed, the juice is white. The skins of red grape varieties – such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Syrah, Cabernet Franc etc. – contain a red pigment.

After the grapes have been crushed and the juice is collected, the winemaker keeps the grape skins sitting with the juice for a few hours – or a couple of days – in order to achieve the colour that they want for the wine. This is the same process for red wines, except that for reds, the grape skins are left in the juice much longer – typically for several weeks. Removing the grape skins earlier when making Rosé results in a lighter coloured – and lighter tasting – wine.

Once the grape skins are removed, the juice is allowed to ferment into alcohol in a stainless steel tank.  I have yet to come across a Rosé wine that has been barrel aged. Making Rosé wine takes just a few months, whereas red wine can take a few years from harvest to bottling.


Where to start? Our Sommeliers have got you covered!

Our team of Savvy Sommeliers has done the ‘guess work’. We’ve been sampling the latest Rosé wines made across Ontario & each month during the summer, we will put together an assortment of the most refreshing Rosé wines for you.

Beginning in May, we will curate 6 pack assortments of Rosé wines as part of our Savvy Care Package offerings. Several of these Rosés have just been released & you’ll be the first to enjoy them! These bottles are not available at the LCBO…they’ll come straight from the winemakers to you.

You can order a one-off, or you can subscribe to auto-magically receive REALLY good Rosés delivered to your doorstep each month.

And…don’t forget to treat your Mom to a special Bouquet of Rosés for Mother’s Day too!


Meet the winemakers…online! 

We will be hosting a Clink & Drink Pink Party on Wednesday May 12th. Order a ‘Bouquet of Rosés’ Care Package and we will include an exclusive invitation to join the Savvy Team & the 6 featured winemakers on Zoom. You’ll learn about how each beautiful bottle was made.



The Best WHEY to Discover Canadian Artisan Cheese!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Cheese is the ultimate comfort food and Canadian cheesemakers are making some of the best in the world!

From buttery, melt-in-your-mouth soft cheese to hard & crumbly aged cheddars (and everything in between), there are always new cheese-y creations–but not all of them make it onto the grocery or specialty cheese shops. Signing up for a subscription to our Savvy Cool Curds club means you’ll always have some of the REALLY good stuff in your fridge for yourself–or to gift to a fellow cheese lover. Subscribers receive a parcel of Savvy Cool Curds with 4 rounds or wedges (approx 200g each) directly from the featured cheesemaker of the month–each cheese will be different & will showcase the talents of the cheesemaker. Plus, each monthly parcel also includes a Canadian-made gourmet goodie to complement your cheese-honey, preserves, specialty crackers…all kinds of surprises. Choose a subscription that delivers new cheese to you every month or opt for the ‘every other month’ subscription.

Sign up for a Savvy Cool Curds club on our website at  !!


Ontario Craft Cider at its Finest

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Did you know Ontario growers produce over 15 different varieties of apples across the province?


A lot of that fruit goes towards making some award-winning craft ciders in a wide spectrum of interesting flavours. Savvy In-Cider Picks is the only monthly club curating delicious assortments of Ontario craft ciders and getting them into the hands (and fridges!) of cider fans.

Every month, we showcase one cidery with a surprise pack of their signature flavours in varying sizes of bottles & cans. This variety pack will introduce you to all new innovative tastes that craft cider makers create by infusing other fruits, spices & even hops.

We always make sure that the ciders we feature are not available at the LCBO or in grocery stores making being a subscriber the perfect way to discover new cideries across the province–especially when road trips aren’t happening very often these days. Order a subscription as a gift for the craft cider lover in your world, and we’ll guarantee that there’ll be lots of ‘cheers’ this winter.

All the Savvy In-Cider Picks Club details can be found on our website at

These will be the ‘apple of your eye’ for In-Cider Picks subscribers this winter…

February 2021–Farmgate Cider (Ottawa Valley)

March 2021 – Old Tun (Niagara)


A Gift Guaranteed to Make Them Smile

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Let’s face it. The last few months have been a strange & stressful time for everyone.

We’ve all had those moments when we needed an extra hand and were thankful for it. For those people who have been ‘essential’ in your world since day one of the pandemic, and of course, those friends & family members you haven’t been able to see for months, we’ve created a Truly Terrific Thank YOU Gift.

Just like the people you’re ordering the gift for, each Thank You package is one-of-a-kind. Each parcel includes all of the REALLY good stuff–a bottle of Ontario wine, a chunk of Canadian artisan cheese & a gourmet goodie plus 2 Savvy wine glasses. Of course, we’ll write a personalized thank you message in a card for you too. Guarantees to brighten anyone’s day& make them feel really appreciated when the gift arrives at their doorstep or office. All of this for just $47 (plus $3 delivery with a smile in Ottawa) We can deliver beyond Ottawa too.

Consider ordering one for your neighbor who loaned you a bag of milk, your kids’ teachers & coaches, your accountant who got your taxes done on time, your trusty mechanic, any healthcare worker you relied on… even the person who went above &beyond! This thoughtful parcel can also be sent to your employees as a way to keep team morale high while everyone is working from their spare bedroom. We all know that saying Thank You goes a long way. Count on us to make it easy to give a REALLY good gift to those who have helped you.


Meet the Makers from across Canada

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

So long as this pandemic lasts, we’ll be opening our virtual doors!

There’s no need to bundle up and brave the cold to attend Savvy Events this year. Instead, we’ll be hunkering down and welcoming you into our own homes through events like our Meet the Makers Virtual Tastings. Every month, we invite you to join us online to meet winemakers, cidermakers & cheesemakers from across Canada to chat about their latest creations, which are featured in our ongoing Savvy Care Packages & ‘of-the-month’ clubs. We’ll send you the bottles in advance so that you can sample the bottles during the Tasting. You’ll get the interesting backstory on their business, this year’s harvest and a special insight from the people who know it best…you might even meet their pets while online!(This happened already!)The makers enjoy ‘meeting’ you online too.

“Tonight was so much fun, Debbie. Thanks for including my wines in the Savvy Virtual Wine Tasting Series. What an awesome and engaging group. I can’t wait to welcome you all in person the next time you’re in the Okanagan.”


-Jeff Hundertmark-head winemaker at Mt Boucherie & Rust Wines in BC!


Be sure to check out the up-to-date list of dates & featured makers on our SavvyEvents follow us on Facebook &Instagram for up-to-the-minute news about additional online events. Here’s an Idea! Contact us to organize your own personal Virtual Tasting with friends &family…or clients & staff!


Raising a glass to YOU!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Since starting Savvy Company 16 years ago – we were known as The Savvy Grapes back then – the Canadian wine industry has exploded.  I have wine maps on the walls of my office proudly marking 5 wineries in Prince Edward County & about 40 in Niagara. Nova Scotia wines were ‘experimental’ and the first British Columbia wine region tour guide was a thin booklet of less than 30 pages…never mind wineries in and around Ottawa – they weren’t even imagined.   

Look at us now!


Approaching 800 wineries nationally with over 170 Ontario alone, the rapidly growing wine industry offers a significant contribution to our economy. I was inspired to begin my business while reading an article highlighting Donald Ziraldo, the co-founder of Inniskillin Winery & one of the pioneers of the Canadian wine industry. He was quoted as saying “What we need is more Canadians drinking Canadian wines.” I am proud that this has been the guiding principle of my business since day one.  And since then we have expanded to include Canadian craft ciders & artisan cheese too. We proudly and continuously wave the Canadian flag.

One advantage of the pandemic has been that people like you are discovering the importance of buying local and being impressed with the quality of the bevvies & goodies we have been delivering to your front door. Since the beginning of the lockdown, I have been uncorking bottles of Canadian wines that were in my stash dating back to my first wine tours in BC, NS, Ontario, Quebec…even PEI. Some bottles were 20+ years old.  These wines have impressed me with their longevity and quality.  Thank you for trusting  us to guide you on your discovery of Canadian wines, craft ciders and artisan cheeses. Ordering gifts, stocking up for the holidays or subscribing to our of-the-month clubs is truly the ultimate way to support local. We all benefit in countless ways. 

All of us in the Savvy Team are eager to send you the hidden gems that we discover.  Why not introduce your friends and family to Canadian wines this holiday season with a gift from us? Leave it to us to deliver the REALLY good stuff! 


Enjoy your holidays & here’s to all that is in store in 2021!  

– Debbie 


Put Riesling in Your Stocking

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 15th, 2021

by David Loan (a.k.a Savvy Santa) Sommelier and former kitchen owner of Ottawa’s ZenKitchen restaurant


Ontario produces a single-varietal white wine that is among the best of its kind in the world. Unfortunately, it’s a variety that many people are unwilling to try. That’s a shame, because it’s wonderful on its own, fantastic with well-paired foods, and a stellar example of the kind of top-notch product that our Canadian cool-climate viticulture can offer. I’m talking, of course, about Riesling. Many of us remember Riesling as that sweet-ish white that we tried as teenagers, possibly poured from a black tower-shaped bottle. We’re all too sophisticated to drink that today, right? If you think so, the holidays-Christmas, New Year’s, even Valentine’s Day-are a wonderful opportunity to give Ontario Riesling a fresh taste. It’s true that there’s possibly a hint of honey in many Rieslings, but that sweetness is there to balance the sharp citrusy notes from the high acidity in the wine. A good Ontario Riesling is rarely sweet, though. It’s fruity and tangy with a distinctive whiff of ripeness sometimes described as “petrol”. The Ontario examples often bring a muscular minerality to the glass, too. Best of all, Riesling goes so well with many traditional holiday foods. Serve it with canapés, or hard cheeses, or with this lovely olive-fig tapenade and crackers (recipe below). You’ll want to make Riesling an annual holiday tradition. You’ll find fantastic examples of Riesling from Tawse in the Niagara Escarpment, Southbrook Vineyard in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region, and from Huff Estates in Prince Edward County.


From our kitchen to yours!


French Fig Olive Tapenade

From David’s Kitchen – Makes 1 ½ cups


5 cups of pitted brined & cured olives, canned or from a jar

1 large clove of garlic

8 dried black figs, stemmed

1 tablespoon of capers, drained

1 small bunch of mint, stemmed (about 3 large tablespoons)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Method 1 : Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and pulse to form a chunky purée.

Method 2: Add the olive oil and pulse until it forms a smooth mass. It is best to make this tapenade at least one day before you intend to serve it which allows the flavours to meld and develop.

Additions & Variations: The texture of this tapenade is totally up to you! You can even chop it by hand for a chunkier version if you prefer. Other herbs can be substituted for the mint, like fresh rosemary or thyme. And if you want it sweeter, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.



Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Q: Now that the 2020 grape harvest is over and winemaking is underway, what are your favourite & least favourite parts of the winemaking process?


We ask two Savvy fans – this time both are Ontario winemakers – the same question. It’s interesting to see the similarities – or differences – that are revealed!


Andrea Kaiser

Winemaker at Drea Wines


 I love being able to share my father’s story through my wines. (Andrea’s father was Karl Kaiser, co-founder of Inniskillin Wines.) He was such an understated person who didn’t seek recognition for his significant and notable achievements in the wine world. I pay tribute to his legacy by using the skills and knowledge he passed down to me to make my Sauvignon Blanc & Rosé.

But after all of the winemaking work is completed, I’m always nervous when someone tastes one of my wines for the first time.  I hold my breath in anticipation of their reaction. I want everyone to love my wine, much like a chef who has cooked a great meal.


Brian Hamilton

Winemaker at KIN Vineyards


Once the grapes, or ‘grape must’ begins to ferment, I get a sense of the purity and depth of dimension that the wine I am creating will have. The aromas, mouthfeel and flavour all begin to reveal themselves and help to inform my wine making decisions over the coming months before bottling. It is like being at the birth of new wine!

But perhaps the most challenging part of the winemaking process can be filtration.  Because wine chemistry is extremely complex, a wine which appears clear to the eye can still contain enough suspended matter to make filtration difficult. So for those wines that do require some degree of filtration, you may have a very long and frustrating  cellar schedule.


Fan Mail!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

We LOVE to hear from our Savvy Fans!


“I needed a speedy thank you gift for a client & contacted Debbie. She jumped into action to get it organized, packaged and ready for delivery in less than 18 hours. She is a true professional who takes pride in her selection of wines and delivering absolutely top notch customer service. Thank you Debbie for all your years of help, support and friendship – CHEERS.”

– Tom Burrow, mortgage broker and long-time Savvy client  


“Just got my package!! I can’t wait to try all these new (to me) wines! I have enjoyed the last two care packages so very much. What a surprise Ontario wines have been! Thanks again!”

-Linda in Ottawa


“My wine arrived today and I appreciated the delivery company contacting me to arrange a time. This was all very efficient-and now we have some good tastings ahead. You are doing a super job-much appreciated.”

-Pam in Ottawa (long time Savvy Wicked Wines club subscriber)


Getting the Full Package

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Our Courier Partners

Supporting local businesses has always been important to us, and we thought it would be fun to share our courier partners’ backstories so that you know more about the delivery folks next time they arrive at your doorstep. Gopher It Deliveries (Ottawa-based) and Phyxiat (multiple locations) are both small family-run businesses founded by husband & wife teams…and, coincidentally, both the wives are the Big Cheeses.

Tell us about your team? Who are the Gophers and the Phyxies?

Kim Roussel (co-owner of Phyxiat): We look for people who are go-getters, who are personable, who are trainable – we are equal opportunity, and we have all ages in the warehouse and on the road. My daughter works on the dock & does deliveries too – she’s six feet, and can lift with the best of them! It’s hard to find the kind of people who are willing to go above and beyond, but we have drivers who will volunteer to work on a Saturday to make sure everyone gets their packages. They really understand how important quick and careful deliveries are in building the kind of trust that lasts. With every Savvy package, they are part of the Savvy Team too.

Jenn Hayward (co-owner of Gopher It): You might not expect it, but we have several standup comedians who work for us. Our business is all about customer service, so in addition to having a good attitude, we look for people who problem solve and are honest and transparent, because the trust starts with our drivers. Our Gophers take care so that each package is delivered not just in the state it was sent, but with the intent that it was given. And people are always excited when we’re delivering parcels from Savvy Company! We develop relationships with the people we deliver for, because we’re all working so hard to grow our businesses together.

What are some of your holiday traditions? Will they be changing this year?

Kim: Usually my daughter comes up for Christmas. On Christmas Eve my granddaughter and I will watch the Grinch together – she loves the Grinch – and we’ll make the stuffing for the bird. We have a new baby grandson in the family this year, and I’m not sure what our plans will be. We’re hoping we’ll be able to see them.

Jenn: Before Gopher It, my family would enjoy a fondue on Christmas. Now, we work until 9 pm on Christmas Eve, then we’ll have Chinese takeout or pizza, and put our feet up. This year, my mom has moved from Saskatchewan to live with us. She doesn’t even like turkey, but she’ll do the full feast with all of the trimmings, and my kids will help her in the kitchen. As for Valentine’s Day…February 1st to 14th, we are non-stop bringing love around town.
Even before the pandemic began and turned the business world upside down, Savvy Company was proud to work with these top-notch local businesses to ensure fast & dependable delivery of the REALLY good stuff to your front door.