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.
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.
The interior of Anna William Wine Making looks a little like a vintage kitchen and a little like a science laboratory. That's because the operation is a little of both. Inside the lemon yellow room, walls are lined with shelves bursting with fermentation buckets, giant spoons, and all the necessary equipment guests need to make their own wine. In just four-to-six weeks, guests can produce enough wine to fill 30 bottles or a small jacuzzi, and staff are well versed in many styles of wine, from cabernet sauvignon, to Chilean malbecs.
Call to confirm winery hours and to set an appointment for bottling the finished wine. New wine bottles are always available or customer can bring in their own bottles at time of bottling their personal wines for home consumption.
The waterfront Harbour Estates Winery encompasses hiking trails meandering across rolling acres of specialty-grape plantings that become VQA wines, including the winery's award-winning icewines. On the Secrets of Icewine tour, guides greet guests in the winery's vineyard and walk through the rows, pointing out frosty grapes and their holiday wish lists dangling on the vines. Guests can pluck and taste the ice-bound fruits while guides discuss the grapes’ unique path to wine actualization. Tours spotlight the harvesting process before participants learn about the specialized press for creating icewine and grape-ink newspapers and sample its unfermented juice.