Dedicated to the art of libation creation, Haus Of Vine’s staff forges vinous quaffs via winemaking performed on the premises, and outfits patrons with equipment and supplies needed to concoct their own batches of beer and wine. Sage oenophiles keep shelves stocked with upwards of 130 different wines imported from across the globe, helping shoppers select bottles and answering questions about pairings and bouquets. Haus Of Vine’s staffers also help bolster at-home brewing arsenals with essential winemaking equipment such as wine tannin, liquid oak extract, and laces for grape-stomping shoes.
Vintage One puts the power of winemaking into the hands of Toronto's toasters. With this offer, clients will have the opportunity to guide an Argentinean Malbec or Chilean Chardonnay into flavourful fruition. The process begins with a tour of Vintage One's 10,000-square-foot facility, followed by a one-on-one consultation with a Vintage One winemaker. From there, Vintage One clients can use a monthly production calendar to be as hands-on as they like throughout the entire two-month winemaking process, including fermentation, filtration, and stabilization, or they can just let the wine take its own course while they spend the interim traversing the globe on a falcon-guided vision quest. Once the wine is ready, Vintage One customers will choose a bottle and cork (an additional fee of about $1.25 a bottle, for a total of around $15) and may even opt to custom design a label (also for an additional fee) for the concoction, perhaps building off the imagery of their fire-breathing-eagle neck tattoos.
When Colio Estate Winery opened in 1980, they were the first winery in the area to seek a license since prohibition was lifted. This is surprising, since these vineyards lie on the same latitude as famed wine regions in northern California and Tuscany, Italy, which indicates that the regions could have similar growing climates. The area also boasts lush, fertile soil and a growing season longer than most of Canada, making it a favorable place to ripen grapes.
Today, Colio Estate Winery produces more than 400,000 cases of wine per year, including big red wines and refreshing whites. Knowing collaboration is key in the winemaking process, winemaker Lawrence Buhler and vineyard manager Kevin Donohue work in tandem to produce high quality wines in varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Guests at the winery can learn about their process on tours, wander the vineyard, or recline in the outdoor pavilion to enjoy glasses of wine in the open air.
Garnering the title of Best Wine Bar in Toronto from Now magazine, Fat Cat Wine Bar upholds its reputation with artful small plates and a carefully curated selection of wines. The bottle vault includes harvests from Europe, Australia, and America, all approved by wine-enthusiast owner Mathew Sutherland.
Outside on the sun-dappled patio, pots simmer with cheese fondue, beckoning slices of bread to succumb to a dripping, melty fate. Platters of escargot showcase accents of roasted mushrooms, leek, and speck, while the Fat Cat sausage is joined by a warm truffled potato salad. For dessert, apple cobbler arrives crowned with whipped cream, and Grand Marnier strawberries underscore the richness of a dense chocolate brownie. Fat Cat Wine Bar upholds modest elegance with wooden tables, a granite-top bar, and restroom signs recovered from the original court of Versailles.
Housed in the majestic shell of a former 19th-century billiards manufacturing plant, The Academy of Spherical Arts now serves up a varied menu of international fare. Start supper with an order of the light asparagus salad ($11), topped with toasted walnuts and goat cheese and drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette, before exacting revenge on the swamp ghosts haunting your dreams with an order of Cajun penne pasta ($23), bedecked with grilled chicken, crawfish, chorizo sausage, and peppers. Other elegant and eclectic entrees at the eatery include house-made duck ravioli ($20), a macadamia-crusted rainbow trout ($23) served on a potato-spinach-mayonnaise salad and cloaked in a coconut curry sauce, and a rack of lamb ($38) with a candied-garlic crust. Ante meridiem appetites can be appeased with weekend brunch, while early afternoon Argonauts of sustenance seas can land on lunch.