Jhoan and I went to Kingsville, bikes in tow, my Mom in the front seat, and Jhoan’s sister and brother-in-law following nearby. We were heading out to a Windsor Eats event in the county, where several wineries are located. You see, this area in Ontario is on the same latitude as the major wine producers in California and Europe. I think the one major difference is the fact that we get winter temperatures, making the ice-wine an incredible success in this area.
The windsoreats.com crew are motivated to promote the locally run/produced/staffed/grown food in the region. This bike tour was their baby, and in all honesty, I was skeptical.
A quick rundown of the day’s events.
Beginning at Aleksander Winery, we had some white wine as the Mayor of Kingsville mingled with the crowd, taking pictures under the large willow tree located in the back of the property. Loads of bikes were leaning, layin, or standing, waiting to embark on the 25km bike ride which would bring us to two other wineries before returning for dinner.
Upon arrival, I recognized a local musician, and all-around great guy, Mark Muzzin. He, with his wife (Isabella?) do a heap of work at the winery on a regular basis, feeding tours and giving tours, while tending to winery matters also. He gave me a sneak peek of what we’d be eating when we returned. I was speechless. Locally fed/grown veal with pasta (all sauce made from tomatoes and spices in the area), original seed Peaches and Cream corn on the cob, and a melange mix of salad from local greens. Everything on the menu was from less than 10 kilometers of the winery! Awesome!
As we mingled, Chico the bike tour guide was racing around the parking area to test EVERY BIKE to make sure the tire pressures were up to snuff. He filled loads of tires, including mine. What a supremely great idea and gesture to make sure everyone had the easiest ride possible.
We hit the open road, riding the furthest leg of the ride to Pelee Island Winery. When we arrived, we shopped a little bit, ad then began our tasting/tour of the entire workings of the winery. We must’ve tasted at least 6 wines (1 ounce pours are the norm) while moving from production room to room learning about how they make wine, why wine has numbers associated with it, and what the labelling means when you buy VQA wine.
It was interesting, informative, comfortable, and enjoyable all around.
We moved from Pelee Island Winery, a SLIGHT bit tipsy, to the last stop on the trip before returning. Mastronardi Estate Winery had been blessed by the weather gods, because we were able to get a vineyard tour, seeing the grapes, learning about how they are capable of raising the temperature in the vineyards when a cold snap hits (fascinating and almost unbelievable). We tasted four wines, I believe, and they had a rosee that was maybe the best thing I tasted on the entire tour! Beautiful.
When we returned, tired, hungry, and proud of our investment/purchases, we sat down to the meal which was absolutely everything you would imagine it to be. We ate outdoors, under a large white tent, tasting MORE wine (two reds and two whites) and recounting the nearly perfect day of family, love, exercise, libation, healthful local eats, and new friends. Pina and Adriano of Windsor Eats were untouchable in the vein of hosting an event so well-intentioned with people and companies who were SO WELL PREPARED! It went without a hitch.
My mother kept up with the crowd of cyclists, some racing for some reason, and she was riding a one-speed cruiser bike! I can’t say I would have been as capable without gears. I was lucky enough to coast through the ride with Jhoan most of the time, although I tried to stay behind with my Mom on the last two legs of the ride to create a bit of a draft for her. I don’t think I helped one bit, but I wanted to try.
Now to the finish. Yes I had to leave a tad early to rush to work in Windsor (30 minutes away), but this immaculate event was not a one time thing. They have another in September! It’s located at some other wineries in the area (Viewpointe for sure).
The kicker…the entire thing…the meal, the ride, the tours, the tastings cost each participant only $20. TWENTY BUCKS?! That’s practically FREE for what we got! I cannot say enough about this brilliant event, as it may be the best local outing I’ve ever been on in the region. Period. It was that good.
All that said, there is some video that I shot while on the tour…and you are welcome to watch some. It was windy, so the sound cuts out a bit at times, but you can still learn from what I taped.
And on the tail end of this high, I am off to spend a weekend on Pelee Island! I’m going with Dan and Jenna, and Tristan and Hilary. I will laugh so hard this weekend, I may get sick on myself.
Enjoy the videos.