At The Wine Place, would-be vintners can mix and bottle their own reds or whites using varietals from around the world. Visitors can choose a vino-to-be from a selection of wine kits derived from grapes grown in such locales as South Africa, South America, California, Italy, and the mythical land of Shangri-La. Once guests have decided on a variety for their batch—including cabernet sauvignon, syrah, pinot gris, and more—friendly, knowledgeable staff members help pour nascent libations into a large jug, mix in crucial ingredients, and stir.
Markham Heritage Wines began its evolution in 1965 as Wine-Art, a company that supplied the materials for customers to ferment wine in their own homes. In 1987, it rolled out its first four-week wine kit, a compact collection of everything needed to produce wine within a single month. Eventually, technology changed and so did the business owners, so they sold Wine-Art and founded Markham Heritage Wines as an all-purpose supplier and educational venue for aspiring bottlers who just can’t bring themselves to forgo buying a rocket car in favour of buying a vineyard.
On Markham Heritage Wines’ premises, wine experts guide neophytes through the process of mixing wines from simple grape juices, flavouring them with oak chips and other additives, and bottling the newly created vintages. Each batch of wine needs to be looked after for four to six weeks, during which time the experts rack, stabilize, clear, and filter the liquid before singing it to sleep each night. Clients then return to bottle their wine using automated equipment, label the bottles, and apply decorative shrink tops.
Many visitors to The Lobster Trap Restaurant find their dinner waiting for them just inside the door. A tank of live lobsters sits by the front desk, ready for selection by head chef Sathiya, who steams or broils them for grandiose dinners served with garlic bread. His fondness for the crustaceans is evident not only in the venue's name, but in a brief glance at the menu. There, you'll find lobster bisque, lobster rolls, lobster thermidor, and Caribbean lobster tail all arranged amid other seafood delicacies. Whole lobsters are priced according to their weight, and while most measure between one and four pounds, 13-pounders are available by request for birthday parties.
Lobster-less dishes, on the other hand, range from tender New York strip steaks to oysters on the half shell. The oysters—exclusively purchased from Rodney's Oyster House—are shucked onsite. Other dishes traverse continental boundaries, such as the Alaskan king crab legs and the New Zealand rack of lamb. The dining room's décor isn't married to a particular ocean, though. Its walls boast hanging nets and mounted ship steering wheels, an homage to all of the seas and cranky ship captains that supply its meals.
Grapefully Yours employs just as many wine experts as any wine store, but its shelves are completely devoid of the elegantly labeled bottles one might expect to find. Instead, they house an array of buckets, jugs, and wine ingredients: all the accoutrement needed to make your own wine. The store's staff specializes in helping people pick exactly the kind of wine they love, and then teaching them to ferment up to 23 liters of the beverage. They create kits for wines from all over the globe, from a riesling to a pinot grigio. After a customer selects their preferred varietal or blend, the staff walks them through the entire winemaking process, step by step and day by day. Once the wine is completed, they provide bottles for their guests to fill up, label as they please, and take home to store in their wine cellar or backyard wine hole.
Yonge Street Winery offers custom-crafted artisan wines, quality crystal stemware, and stylish storing solutions for both the fervent wine enthusiast and the casual dabbler in the drinkable grape. The winery's custom winemaking experience offers guests the chance to compose their own flavourful libation over the course of about a month and a half. The process begins with customers meeting with Yonge Street Winery's consultants to choose one varietal from the extensive list of varietals imported from vineyards around the world. After the initial consultation, which lasts approximately 10 minutes, clients will turn over the red-and-white reins to the winery's grape wranglers, and they’ll bring the blend to flavourful fruition over the course of approximately a month and a half. At the end of the process, clients will return to package and take home all 23 litres of the libation (about 30 750ml bottles), leaving the winery with the smug smile seen only in victorious vintners. Included in this deal are labels, foils, tax, corks, and corkage fees. Bottles are not included in this deal; you may bring your own, or purchase some from the winery for $1.25 each.