Posts Tagged ‘Sumac Ridge Winery’

Raise a glass to celebrate Vineland’s 30 years

Posted by Shawn

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Vineland Estates Winery

– December 2014 –


Many of Ontario’s wine regions have had the first snowstorm or two, and strangely some of us are experiencing an early thaw.   It is chilly enough to say that Old Man winter is here & it won’t be long until the freezing nights have the picking teams out collecting the raisened grapes that will be used in ice wine. This is a busy time for most, so while we all enjoy the great times with food and families over the holidays, the hustle and bustle can sometimes be overwhelming. Whether you need a simple entertaining idea, or want to kick back with your feet up in front of a roaring fire, we’ve selected three wines from Vineland Estates Winery to make things a little more relaxing. We hope you enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season!

Ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections? 

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 VERY DIFFERENT wines. Each one has been specially selected for its unique ability to pair with food and toast the wintery holiday season. With an exquisite sparkling wine to kick off a party or ring in the New Year, an ‘oh-so-food-friendly’ white wine that you can pair with so many dishes, and finally, a bold red that will warm away the chills in front of a roaring fire, there really is something for every occasion in this shipment!

2013 Brut Reserve (Charmat Method) – A sparkling wine that fooled many on the Savvy team, who all believed it was a traditional method sparkling wine. Fresh, crisp, and fruit-forward in style, this perfect entertaining wine will have folks asking for more! 

2013 Pinot Blanc – A light white wine with intriguing aromas & tastes of lemon and grapefruit, and a really interesting beeswax note. The Savvy Team keep thinking of more and more recipes to create the perfect match with this wine.

2012 Elevation Cabernet – California meets Bordeaux! Big, bold, and delicious fruit meets earthy and slightly restrained palate, with solid structure to hold for several years.

OPTIONAL WINE: 2012 Reserve Chardonnay.  This wine is a delicious, fruit forward Chardonnay that reminds me of a green apple clafoutis – rich and creamy, but balanced by the crisp fruit. The balance of sweet fruit and crisp acidity demonstrate exceptional restraint given the hot vintage.  Want some of this incredible Chard?  Just call us!

You won’t find these Vineland wines at the LCBO

We have done it again!  Our Savvy Sommeliers have found wines (and great prices) that we are confident you will enjoy…every sip!  Vineland has several wines available at the LCBO, but many more that do not make it onto your local LCBO store shelves. Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Vineland wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to

Debbie & Savvy Team


Vineland Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Shawn McCormick

“Unbridled, child-like passion” is how winemaker Brian Schmidt describes his winemaking style. His reply may seem strange for someone who has been making wine at the same winery for almost 24 years, but it fits Brian to a tee. Minimalist by nature, he likes to let the grapes speak for themselves. Highly regarded by his peers, his talent for making the best out of what Mother Nature throws at them, year after year, resulted in Brian receiving ‘2014 Winemaker of the Year’ from the Ontario Wine Awards. Born into the family’s winery life at Sumac Ridge in British Columbia, Brian recalls making his first Okanagan Riesling at age 13. Following his older brother Allan (now President of Vineland Estates) to Ontario proved to be a good idea, and something the entire region has benefitted from.

A Sense of Place

BVinelandrian and I talk about a recent article by a New York state winemaker that alluded to the learning that comes with staying in one place. With his roots firmly planted at Vineland, Brian resonates with the article for its honesty. “Many have romantic notions of creating the perfect elixir” that involve experiences and skills learned from working at locations around the world. Brian sees value in understanding the different and emerging techniques that are having success globally, but explains the reality is a “long arduous season, working in imperfect conditions”.

Make the most of what you are given requires innate knowledge of what is going on in the vineyards. As Brian explains this is the real reason that you will so often see him in the vineyard (he is famous on Twitter for his ‘Twactor Tweets’ .  Follow him @benchwineguy), whether he is weeding, mowing, or trimming. His purpose is to be there and observe, day after day – “its not the same walking up and down a few rows once a week” he explains. He notes that although some of the vines have been in the ground for 35 years, you need to be nimble to catch the little clues each year. “If I haven’t made a compromise by 10 am, I’m not paying attention. Things change that fast!” he explains.

He pulls out an old quote that someone once told him to wrap up the discussion “Although vines love the rays of the sun, they love more the shadow of their master.”

Riesling, Cabernet Franc, and so much more

Brian is well-known for his passion for two grapes: Riesling and Cabernet Franc. He has travelled other cool climate regions in Europe extensively to understand what practices and knowledge can be applied to Vineland Estates. These new ideas, bundled with the deep knowledge from continually observing his vines allows Brian to figure out which improvements have a chance of working here. Vineland grows about 12 varieties themselves, and work with other growers for the other grapes they need. Of all of these, Brian has a special fondness for the Pinot Meunier (blended with Chardonnay in the sparkling in your Savvy Selections). As this varietal has not really caught on with others, it allows him to play with it more. There’s no consumers saying “Well, it doesn’t taste like so and so’s Pinot Meunier” says Brian, obviously enjoying the freedom to experiment.

“A Rising Tide Floats All Boats”

Brian SchmidtThis phase is one that Brian uses regularly, and breathes day to day. Passionate about increasing the overall quality of wines coming out of the region, Brian is quick to promote wines from his peers and believes that continually improving the quality of Ontario wine serves all of the wineries well.  He also serves as President and Chair of VQA Ontario.

But the real proof is seen in the day-to-day behaviours. Case in point, the latest piece of technology that Vineland has invested in is what Brian calls a “game changer” for the local industry. This automated optical sorter can inspect and reject bad berries and other foreign matter at lightening speed, improving the quality of the fruit going into the wines. Obviously small wineries cannot afford this type of investment, yet Brian notes that they sorted over 200 tons of wine for neighbouring wineries this year.

What’s in the future for Vineland Estates?

Brian wraps our whole discussion together when I ask about the future. Noting that some of his most enjoyable projects have involved highlighting the minute differences in the vineyard by producing wines from smaller vineyard blocks, Brian sees more of this in the future.Creating these wines of singular terroir expression with distinct singular personalities means a lot more work in the vineyard and offers the example of their Bo-Teek vineyard – that 60 acre block is now 15 different blocks, each imparting slightly different nuances into the vines. And that means more wines for you to try in the future!



With a host of wines to choose from, the team had a hard time selecting which wines to pick for this months selections. We decided on one for celebrating (the Reserve Brut), and a food friendly white and red that we could pair with hearty winter dishes.

With Ontario’s cooler climate, the wines tend towards lower alcohol levels and great acidity, making for great food pairing. Yet several recent vintages, notably 2012, saw greater heat units and more fruit ripeness earlier in the season. The red wines from these warm and dry vintages may exhibit more plush fruit flavours that can stand to be sipped alone as well as paired with big dishes. The continual variance in weather that makes wine-making so challenging also makes discovering Ontario wines so interesting!

Reserve Brut VQA 2013, $24.95

Comprised of 49% Pinot Meunier, 42% Chardonnay, and 9% Riesling, you’ll find this the perfect complement for oysters.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Fine, elegant bubbles in this almost clear sparkler invigorate and refresh your palate. There’s a light sweetness of white flower honey, green apple and light stone fruit notes at first, and then the citrus kicks in and cleanses the palate with a lemon peel finish. There’s also a hint of spice on the finish that reminded us of fresh ginger.

Suggested Food Pairings: While immediately think of sparkling wine with oysters or other shellfish, this is a very versatile wine that works with many different dishes. Open it with canapés toasting in New Year’s Eve, with simple fare such as our fish taco recipe, or even simple snacks like potato chips in front of a movie – life is good! 

Cellaring:  Drink lightly chilled around 7 to 10ºC.


Pinot Blanc VQA 2013, $16.95

As Brian himself describes it “…takes me back to a childhood memory of sitting on a sunny hill, chewing on the white stalk of a new blade of grass”.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is a really intriguing wine that changes while in your glass. At first, the nose is dominated with beeswax and honey notes, and the fruit takes a backseat. As the temperature comes up, the fruit explodes out of the glass with lemon-lime, peach, and hints of nuttiness and under-ripe pineapple.  Dry grapefruit finish begs for another sip!

Suggested Food Pairings: Another versatile wine that will work with many dishes. The Savvy Team immediately thought of roast turkey or chicken, cream soups, or fish and chips. See our recipe for bacon, corn & potato chowder on the following pages.

Cellaring: Drink now. Can serve between 5ºC to 10ºC with more opulent fruit notes emerging at the warmer end of the spectrum.

Elevation Cabernet VQA 2012, $25.00

Vineland Barrel CellarWith winemaker Brian Schmidt being well known for his Cabernet Franc, we had to give you a glimpse of the stellar red wines that Vineland also produces. This blend of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from a stellar growing year exemplify that Ontario can make great red wine as well as whites. 

Check out Vineland’s barrel cellar (photo at right, courtesy of Paul Bagley)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Fantastic growing conditions in 2012 give us a big, rich red wine that some say are like “Napa Valley meets Bordeaux”. Rich, dark brooding fruit greet the nose, with some earthy and leathery notes following. With a plush, full mouthfeel, the black cherry, cassis, and ripe plum flavours are balanced with moderate acidity and fine tannic structure.  Over time, some lifted menthol and sweet spice notes emerge, and the palate adds light mocha notes. This is a wine that evolves over the evening, and we encourage you to do that if you can!

Suggested Food Pairings: Calls for beef bourguignon, beef stroganoff, or venison stew. 

Cellaring: Drinking well know, can cellar for up to 5 years or more.



With Vineland’s Reserve Brut 2013…

Fish Tacos

From Shawn McCormick’s family kitchen
Serves 4

Served with a tartly dressed green salad, this soup is hearty and filling enough for a light supper. I like the convenience of using chicken broth, but if you have a good beef broth on hand, feel free to use it for even deeper flavor.


1 lb white fish (cod or halibut)
1 package of small tortilla (soft taco) shells
3 cups finely shaved Savoy cabbage
1 cup mayonnaise
1 TBSP lime zestJuice of 1 lime
A second lime, cut into wedges
8-12 Coriander sprigs
Slice green onions
Salt & pepper to taste


Cook the fish as you like – fried in butter, or poach it in lightly salted water. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side if frying, or simmer for about 10 minutes until the flesh is flaky if poaching. Once done, remove and beak into smaller pieces to fit in the tortilla shells. Keep warm.

Cut the Savoy cabbage across the grain so you have long thin strands of cabbage.

Mix the mayonnaise & lime zest together. Whisk in the lime juice a bit at a time. You want a thin sauce but not too watery. Add some salt and pepper to taste.

Place fish in tortilla shell (I like to lightly warm mine over a gas burner on low). Top generously with cabbage, green onion, and a few sprigs of Coriander. Drizzle generously with lime-mayonnaise sauce and a spritz of fresh lime juice from the wedge.


With Vineland’s Pinot Blanc …

Bacon, Corn & Potato chowder

From The Food Network
Serves 4 to 6


1 Tbsp butter
¼ lb of bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup chopped green pepper
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled, finely diced potato
1 ½ cups shredded carrot
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup half-and-half cream
½ tsp dried thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian Parsley


Sling the butter into a soup kettle and melt over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook till crisp. Scoop out the bacon and drain on paper towels. Save for later–don’t nibble too much.

Pour off all but 1/4 cup of fat from the pot. Toss in the onions and peppers, seasoning them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook till soft and then throw in the garlic, cooking it all for 1 minute more. Sprinkle on the flour and mix into the veggies. Dump in the broth and potatoes.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or till the potatoes are tender. Add the shredded carrots and corn. Cover and simmer everything 5 to 6 minutes longer to blend the flavors.

Stir in the half-and-half. Season with the thyme, cayenne, some more salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and the bacon bits you’ve been saving. Give it one last stir, and ladle it up piping hot.


With Elevation Cabernet …

Hungarian Paprika Beef (Goulash)

From Shawn McCormick’s family kitchen
Serves 4-6


1 kg lean stewing beef or sirloin tips, cubed
2-3 glugs of cooking oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1” chunks
2 TBSP paprika
2 TBSP hot smoked paprika
2-3 cups of beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large frying pan, brown all sides of meat in oil in small batches. You don’t want it cooked through – just browned on the outside. Remove meat from pan and place in slow cooker. Repeat until all the meat has been browned.

Add and brown the onions & garlic in the drippings, adding more oil if required. Once browned, add the onions & garlic to the slow cooker as well. Deglaze the pan with a cup of beef stock and add it to the slow cooker.

Sprinkle the beef and onion mixture with the paprika and stir in the can of tomatoes. Add more beef stock as required to cover the meat.

Cook in the slow cooker on high for an hour, then drop the temperature to low and cook for another 2 hours.

Add the chopped red bell peppers and cook for another hour on low. Taste, and add salt and pepper as required. You may also want to add more paprika if you like it spicy.

Serve over mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles, paired with Elevation Cabernet! 


Happy Holidays
& Enjoy your Savvy Selections!


FreshTAP moving into Ontario with wine-on-tap

Posted by Debbie

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Every glass of wine should taste exactly as the winemaker intended. Wine Industry Leaders Allan and Brian Schmidt in partnership with Cameron West expand wine-on-tap category.

FreshTAP bottles & steel

FreshTAP is growing fast. With its newest expansion into Toronto and the Ontario market, British Columbia-based FreshTAP Pouring Systems promises wine lovers across the province a carefully curated range of Smarter, Fresher, Friendlier local VQA wines on tap, by the glass to an ever more discerning community of restaurateurs and wine lovers.

From its 5,000 square foot facility in the Niagara Peninsula, FreshTAP Ontario kegs wines from Creekside Estate Winery, Henry of Pelham Estate Winery, Mike Weir Winery, Stoney Ridge, Reif Estate Winery, and Vineland Estates into 19.5L stainless steel kegs—the equivalent of 26 bottles or 130 five-ounce glasses.

Held under the gentle pressure of an inert gas, each wine is perfectly preserved from oxidation for up to eight months once tapped, ensuring that the last glass is as fresh as the first. FreshTAP is currently featured in Toronto at popular restaurants such as Rock Lobster, Drake 150, Montage and Walhburgers, and ONE Restaurant by Mark McEwan. FreshTAP has also installed seven, five-tap systems and a portable wine-on-tap unit at the new 5,300 seat Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.

FreshTAP set up in restaurant

Latest trend in wine

“Wine-on-tap is the hottest trend in restaurant wine service across North America right now,” says FreshTAP Ontario’s  Cameron West, who, alongside Vineland Estates Winery’s Allan and Brian Schmidt, has brought FreshTAP to Ontario. The sons of a third-generation winemaking family whose father founded B.C.’s Sumac Ridge Winery, the Schmidts have been pioneers and industry leaders in the Niagara wine region for over three decades.

“We knew of the high-quality standards developed and practiced by FreshTAP in B.C. for premium wine kegging and restaurant wine-on-tap installations,” says Allan Schmidt. “That made it easy for us to partner with them to expand the brand and to make that same premium service available to all of Ontario’s wineries.”

From the point-of-sale perspective, FreshTAP ensures the utmost quality in wine-on-tap by-the-glass, with less spoilage and waste, greater efficiency for restaurants, and a more positive environmental impact.

FreshTAP into the glass

Waste not…want not

Based on current clients and licensees, FreshTAP Ontario estimates it will keg over 100,000 liters of wine in its first year (2014-2015), thereby eliminating more than 15,000 lbs of cardboard waste and diverting some 130,000 bottles, caps and corks from Ontario’s recycling and waste streams. Since launching in British Columbia in 2011, FreshTAP has kegged over 320,000 liters of wine, eliminated 52,201lbs of cardboard waste and kept 429,052 bottles, caps and corks from entering that province.

“It’s been an exciting three years since we launched in B.C., and we couldn’t be happier partnering with such esteemed industry professionals in Ontario to elevate FreshTAP to the national level,” said FreshTAP Co-Founder Mike Macquisten. FreshTAP at hockey game“There is an incredible consumer demand and the momentum keeps building for wine-on-tap. We’re thrilled to be at the vanguard of this category in the Canadian market.”

In addition to its Ontario vendors, FreshTAP is also available at over 150 restaurants and public venues across Western Canada such as Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, Delta Hotels, and 14 of The Keg Steakhouse locations throughout British Columbia and Alberta.

For more information on FreshTAP, visit:



Business partners Mike Macquisten and Steve Thorp founded FreshTAP in February 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Wine-on-tap from stainless steel kegs provides a sustainable, environmentally friendly wine delivery system and FreshTAP enables the wine and hospitality industries access to this uniquely green category. With more than 150 wines now available via FreshTAP stainless steel kegs, this system provides hospitality locations throughout Canada with an easy solution for delivering wine-on-tap to their customers. In 2014, FreshTAP saw a new operational expansion into Ontario making the brand both the pioneer and leader in the wine-on-tap movement in Canada.


For interviews, imagery, or more information:
Kate MacDougall
Camber Communications
+1 (604) 862-5191/




Tee off for a round of golf & wine at Rockway Vineyards

Posted by Susan

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Rockway Vineyards

– September 2014 –


If your passion is golf and you love to spend the 19th hole with a fine glass of wine paired with a delicious lunch, Rockway Vineyards is the place for you. This property has a fascinating history that starts with founder Bruce Strongman’s love of golf and wine.

Enter the entrepreneur…

Bruce started making paint in his family-run paint store in Toronto, and built the business into the largest paint and wallpaper chain in Canada – Colour Your World. Bruce had time for more golf when the company was sold, and like many entrepreneurs, he followed his dream. It wasn’t just about shooting a perfect round, his dream included owning a golf course.

Take one golf enthusiast…

Rockway VineyardsYears of travelling to his golf course through vineyards along the Niagara Wine Route, which was increasing in popularity, led Bruce and his son Reid to hatch the idea of establishing a golf course associated with a vineyard and winery. The current property – originally a Concord grape vineyard – was purchased and construction of the course began in 1982, with the official opening in 1984. The father and son team were convinced that many of the 25,000 golfers coming to the Niagara region would too be interested in purchasing a bottle or two of wine.

Buy grape juice…

In 2000, they set the wheels in motion, purchasing juice from Reif Estate Winery and gaining the helpful winemaking expertise of Klaus Reif.  Right from the get go, it paid off as their first ice wine was selected as the ‘best of the best’ on the menu at Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Now that is impressive!

Planting of the vines began on a 50-acre vineyard adjacent to the winery.

And last but not least, purchase the vineyard!

wine-hero1When the vineyard across the street was for sale, Bruce purchased it to provide a total of 150 acres. The rapidly growing business became the only 18-hole championship golf course with a fully functional estate winery in Ontario. Bruce is now 92, and can still be seen out at Rockway for his weekly golf game, followed by lunch and a glass of wine in the restaurant. Reid continues to be involved in the business, as are several other family members.

We’re delighted to have this opportunity to offer to you a collection of Rockway Vineyards wines, crafted by winemaker David Stasiuk’s signature ‘minimalist touch’.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Small Lot Block 12-110 Wild Ferment Chardonnay VQA 2013 – a well-balanced wine with complex nose & flavours.  You are the first to receive this wine as it is not yet released at the winery.

‘The Outcast’ VQA 2011– a red Rhône-style blend that will intrigue you as it is Syrah blended with Riesling. Daring, peppery and flavourful

Small Lot Block 11-140 Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 – perfectly well-ripened, smooth, sauve & showcasing all that Cab Franc can be.

If you’re an avid golfer like our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins, after visiting Rockway for both the winery and the golfing – you will make this a regular stop when you visit Niagara. Be sure to make time for a round, wines tasting, lunch or dinner at the excellent restaurant, then take a stroll through the Rockway museum, that includes a selection of authentic French winemaking antiques.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team 

Rockway Vineyards

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins


Rockway Vineyards family photoAs I talked to Bryce Carruthers (far right in photo) – Rockway’s Sales Manager as well as Bruce’s nephew – he emphasized the recent transition that has taken place at Rockway. With tee off bookings at the golf course being steady and the banquet hall is regularly booked with weddings and golf tournaments, the family wanted to shift the focus to growing the winery and the creation of distinctive wines.

In 2009, the name was changed to Rockway Vineyards, and Bruce (centre with white shirt) instructed his then-wine consultant to find the best possible winemaker in the region. “If it’s not the best wine we can make, we’re not going to bottle it!”

Enter David Stasiuk . . . and the accolades keep coming. (David is middle of left group in photo)

David’s excitement at his role is palpable. A graduate of the Niagara College Winery & Viticulture program, he came to winemaking through the hospitality industry. “In the various roles I held in the restaurant industry, I met many winemakers, attended tastings and played a role in the selection and management of wines for the restaurants. I quickly realized that my passion for wine was too great to play second fiddle to opening a restaurant!”

Attracted to the practical components of the Niagara College program, he initiated his studies in 2007, soon realizing that the scope of a winemaker’s duties is broad.  At Rockway, David is a grower, a chemist, a taster, a people manager, a marketer, a media relations agent and, as he says, a life-long student.

Hands-on experience across Canada & beyond

During and after the College program, he ventured to gain hands on experience locally and around the world. At Le Clos Jordanne (in Niagara), he worked with Thomas Bachelder, learning the importance of site and terroir and how that translates into each wine. “Thomas was a great mentor. I learned so much—that passion for winegrowing is a must and plays a key part in the impression left on every wine crafted; the methods of wild yeast fermentation, barrel program design and so much more—I could go on forever”, explained David.

He wanted to experience winemaking in Canada’s other major winegrowing region, and was able to secure a position at Sumac Ridge. What better place for David to cut his teeth in the industry, than at this seminal Okanagan property, where Harry McWatters established his first vineyard by planting vines on what were the first few holes of his golf course! Through this experience, David worked with Sumac Ridge’s signature product –  sparkling wine – as well as still wines and developed an understanding of the BC wine industry.

Next, David moved on to Australia and New Zealand, staying true to his cool-climate roots, working at Moët Chandon in Australia’s Yarra Valley and with Villa Maria Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. Here, he worked with grapes varieties such as Pinot Noir and Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay – all highly relevant to the Ontario wine industry.

Europe was his next destination, yet life and his wife’s career intervened, so he headed to BC to work with Darryl Brooker at Cedar Creek, before moving back to Niagara. “Darryl’s approached to winemaking really affected how I look at things—always a focus on the highest quality with an honest hands-off approach, and the determination to go the distance to achieve the best results, no matter what”, tells David. 

5 years and counting…

David Stasiuk - taken by Savvy CompanyWhen David joined Rockway Vineyards 5 years ago, he combined his love for food and golf with his passion for wine.

He was given a clean slate and the opportunity to re-define the style of Rockway wines. Asked what he feels gives his wines their unique style, he focuses on two keys factors: the site and state-of-the-art equipment.

“We are located on the furthest eastern border of the Twenty Mile Bench sub-apellation. We are farther away from the lake than the bench wineries (winespeak: wineries along the Beamsville Bench), yet still benefit from the lake-effect wind and temperature modulation. Because of the way the escarpment wraps around our site, we tend to have funneling winds that promote good air flow through the grapevine canopies.” David continues, “we have diverse soils and are on a gradual slope that, with the winds, helps reduce the risk of settling frosts. Most of our vines were planted 10-30 years ago, so we have some mature vines and are focused on Chardonnay and Riesling, as well as Cabernet Franc and Syrah.”

With the winery onsite, there is minimal time from picking to processing and the winemaking equipment includes state-of-the-art cooling tanks and processing equipment.

Making wines he likes

When I asked about his philosophy and the type of experience he would like you to have when you taste his wines, David is poetic. “We try to preserve the flavours developed in our vineyards by being gentle with the fruit and not obscuring the taste of the vineyard by over oaking. I want people who taste our wines to have the same experience I look for in a wine”. David shares his personal impression, “I want to be intrigued at the first smell from the glass. I want to sense depth and layers of aromas. Then I want the wine to have life on the palate. I want it to be fresh and approachable but firm, with a distinct personality.”

Let me ask you…what more could YOU want!?!

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!



‘Small Lot Block 12-110’ Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 VQA, $32.00

The fruit for this wine was hand harvested, a portion of the juice placed in a warm room to start a natural inoculant, then was tasted and added back to the barrels. The wine was aged in French oak for 7 months.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Attractive notes of butter, vanilla and toasted nut mingle with aromas of ripe orchard fruit. This dry, medium-bodied wine offers a tantalizing taste experience, showing complexity & verve with sound fruit flavours, good structure and a pleasant touch of buttery toast on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Enjoy the creamy texture  & lively acidity of this wine with roast chicken, pork or grilled salmon.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years.


‘The Outcast’ 2011 VQA, $19.95

Move over Shiraz/Viognier blends, David is introducing his own creation: Syrah/Riesling. It’s common practice in Australia to add 5% Viognier to Shiraz for aromatics and minerality. David in turn, is adding 5% Riesling to this northern Rhône-style Syrah for the subtle acidity and residual sugar it brings to the texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Dry, medium bodied, this unique blend has a firm structure and fresh texture, with a peppery nose, spicy floral notes and lovely red & black fruit.The spicy peppery notes mingle with a hint of earthiness and juicy ripe fruit, while a subtle note of coffee bean (resulting from the Syrah juice that spent 18 months in oak) lingers on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:Lamb is a classic pairing or enjoy with other roast meat are a perfect match.

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 2-3 years.


‘Small Lot Block 11-140’ Cabernet Franc 2011 VQA $24.95

The fruit for this wine benefited from ideal ripening conditions – warm days and cool nights heading into harvest, assuring depth of flavor and smooth tannins. Fermented with a native Bordeaux yeast, then aged 18 months in French barrels.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Here’s a well-ripened Cabernet Franc offering a fine nose of spicy chocolate, lavender, dried herbs, ripe berry and plum. Dry, medium-full bodied, it has great presence on the palate, a fresh yet rich texture, well-defined structure and flavourful fruit flavours. Attractive peppery notes & a hint of mocha persist on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with Beef Bourguignon, Coq au Vin or leg of lamb.

Cellaring:  Ready now, it will cellar 3-5 years.



With Rockway Wild Ferment Chardonnay…

Salmon with Lemon Quinoa & Corn Salsa

From Radius Café, Hamilton Ontario
Serves 4


2 cups dried quinoa
2 lemons
6 Tbsp olive oil
½ C chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cobs corn
½ red pepper, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
4 portions fresh Atlantic salmon


In 2 litres of boiling water, cook quinoa until tender, 8-10 minutes. Strain in a colander & transfer to large bowl. While it’s still hot, add zest & juice of 2 lemons & 2 Tbsp olive oil. Stir & let cool in refrigerator. Once cool, add 2 Tbsp parsley & set aside.

Husk corn & grill on high, rotating cobs until nicely charred on the outside. Stand corn upright on cutting board & run knife along cob to remove kernels. (alternatively, do the same process by boiling corn)

Transfer kernels to bowl. Add red pepper, shallot, remaining olive oil, white wine vinegar & remaining parsley. Season this corn salsa with half the salt & pepper & set aside.

Season salmon with remaining salt & pepper & brush lightly with oil. On hot grill, cook salmon for about 6 minutes per side or until moist & flakey.

Make a bed of quinoa on each plate. Lay grilled salmon on it & top with corn salsa. 

With Rockway ‘The Outcast’

Leg of Lamb with Syrah Marinade

Adapted from Cooking with BC Wine Cookbook, T & C-L Townsin
Serves 6


1 leg of lamb
1 cup Syrah
2 tsp minced horseradish
2 cup ketchup
2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp shallots, minced
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped


David Stasiuk in cellar - taken by Savvy CompanyCombine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container. Trim excess fat from lamb and marinate overnight for best results. There should be extra marinade to be saved for later.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove lamb from marinade and sear on all sides in pan over medium high heat.

Transfer lamb to ovenproof dish, cover and roast for 45 minutes for rare or 1 hour for well done. Or grill on barbeque. Serve with baby roast potatoes and seasonal fall vegetables.



What a treat! David gave us a barrel tasting of his 2012 red wines of Syrah & Cabernet Franc. Not ready just yet, but they will be worth the wait!


With Rockway Cabernet Franc…

Grilled Hanger Steak with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa

From The Flavour Principle Cookbook, L. Waverman, B. Crosariol
Serves 6

Ingredients for Steak

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbp chopped garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp honey
¼ cup olive oil
one 2 lb. hanger steak
salt & freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for Salsa

3 ears corn, shucked
3 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 red pepper, cut in quarters
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
¾ cup chopped red onion

Ingredients for Dressing

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp coriander seeds
¾ tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


Method for Steak

Combine mustard, vinegar, thyme, garlic, chili powder & honey in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Pour marinade over steak & marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Remove steak from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat grill to high. Season steak with salt & pepper & grill for 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare (depending on thickness) or until desired degree of doneness.

Remove from grill & let rest for 5 minutes. Slice against grain & serve with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa.

Method for Salsa 

Preheat grill to high. Brush corn, tomatoes & red pepper with oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Grill corn for about 3 minutes per side or until kernels are golden. Also grill tomatoes until skin is shriveled and flesh is soft, about 2 minutes per side. Peel charred skin from tomatoes & discard; then grill peppers for about 4 minutes per side or until skin is blackened. Set aside & cool. Peel skin from pepper & discard. Dice pepper & transfer to medium bowl.

Slice corn from cobs & add to pepper with red onion.

Place tomatoes in food processor with oil, lemon juice, coriander seeds & paprika. Process until smooth. Stir in cilantro. Toss vegetables with dressing.


Enjoy your Savvy Selections!