An Internet travel guide for Ontario is not complete without at least one visit to a winery.
Because I am not an expert on wine I tried to learn more about this relatively new but successful product of our province first. For that reason I purchased wine from Ontario in liqueur stores without knowing what I did and tried it at home.
I learned very fast that this was not the right thing to do. Certain wines I liked others not at all.
I collected information published by the "Wine Council of Ontario (WCO)" and decided not to duplicate the work already done by them in a own German web site. I would run in copyright problems - even with my German travel guide and I wanted to express my personal experience as an unprofessional wine drinker. Either I like a wine or I don't like it!
So I contacted some wineries and asked questions but I never received any helpful answers. So I put this project on the back burner and purchased only wine which I knew in our local liqueur store and was happy. The wine came mostly from South Africa, Australia or Chile and it was red wine.
One day, when I had lunch in an excellent Thai restaurant I saw an eye catching advertising from the Pillitteri Estate Winery on my table. Waiting for my food I read it and loved it. It was naturally dedicated to wine but also to kisses. I found very fast an error in it. When quoting the reformer Martin Luther the wrong time was shown - about two hundred years after his death.
I wrote to the winery, received a nice response and for that reason I visited it.
In the show room
I introduced myself to a nice lady and she gave me brief personalized tour and was also allowed to take pictures.
I learned that the Pillitteri Estate Winery was years ago a fruit market. I was very pleased about the fact that fruits, honey, maple syrup and other local products are still offered here. I could browse through the place without stress, read the labels and purchased 2 bottles of balsamic vinegar for my wife.
Despite the fact that I am a diabetic I bought myself two chocolates flavored with Icewine. I ate them on the nice covered patio before they melted in the heat. I think I could consume a pound of them.
Confect made with ice wine
I liked the down to earth atmosphere very much. If you get tired from walking you can sit on a nice clean table on the verandah, protected by the sun or rain. Nobody said any thing when I consumed my two Icewine-chocolates there and took pictures. You must not even drink wine there. If saw people drinking ice cold pop which is also sold.
I want to come back with Elizabeth, my wife and eventually with more company from Germany.
I relaxed here!
Elizabeth's hobby is making jam. Many fruits she is using come from our garden in downtown Welland. Certainly she will get inspired by all the jams, jellies and spreads which she will find at Pillitteri Estate Winery. Many things are made by local people.
Saucy Sangria Jelly
An oak barrel from France
The street sign
Pillitteri Estate Winery
I parked very close to this entrance.
A large visitors group arrived at the same time as I did. I did not join them, instead i was looking for somebody who helped me and found the nice lady. Fortunately, her walking was also not the best so we had more time to talk because we both were slow.
Naturally, I asked forst my "nasty" questions after admitting that I am not a professional wine drinker or a wine expert at all. She realized that I came from Germany before I told her about my little knowledge of wine. That I loved wine from Franconia, the Mosel and the Rhine area and never had any problems with it unless I drunk too much. This was quiet different with wine from Baden-Wurttemberg - I loved it also, but became sick after only one glass. I told her that according to my understanding the soil where the grapes grows is important for the quality and how your body likes it. She confirmed that.
I proceeded now telling her that I read in papers that local grape growers experience serious problems because wineries are not any longer purchasing what they produce and that I had already made some bad experience with wine from Ontario. For that reason I recommended several times to visit a winery and try their products before buying wine.
Gary Pillitteri the founder of winery is of Italian origin and realized with it his lifetime dream. The winery started more as a hobby but became soon well known for the Icewine. Today the winery is still family operated and operated and it is one of the major producers of different varieties of the Icewine.
This wine is produces in the old fashioned way - no freezers are used! Please be aware that this time consuming process, the little juice which can be extracted from the naturally frozen grapes and the risk with the weather make this wine expensive. For that reason also a small fee is charged when you want to sample Icewine.
Please visit the official web site from the Pillitteri Estate Winery to learn more about the different wines and the international awards which they got. The Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) system which was established few years ago should help the consumers to select quality products. Check the Internet for detailed information. The philosophy of Pillitteri Estate Winery commits the company to these standards.
A group of visitors has just arrived
I did not do any wine tasting during my first visit. It would take me some time and extensive tasting to find the right product. I did not have a designated driver with me and had to do some other work after. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell the nice lady, that on my wine tasting in Europe I always eat something when doing it. That gave me always more strength to survive. Naturally, the offered food should suit the offered wine! My purchases increased with time I spend for tasting.
Lately I did some beer tasting in a restaurant in Guelph - that was fun too, but naturally, I had to pay for it.
Baci is Italian and means kiss. The pictures makes this clear.
The faces and the lips of these long necked ladies were displayed on the card which attracted me to this winery when I had a lunch in the Thai restaurant.
A Sicilian cart, called a carretto is displayed - it is used on the logo from the Pillitteri Estate Winery.
This winery do not have a restaurants. Many others do, but I loved this more casual concept very much.
I never was pushed to buy some things, everybody was very friendly and I got all my questions answered.
In the wine cellar
I loved it in the wine cellar. It was a hot day and temperature and humidity were controlled which is obviously necessary for the aging of good wine.
A very long table would certainly be very good prerequisite in Europe for celebrating a special event or just having party for fun. But I would not like to sit on the stainless steel chairs which decorate the wall.
I am looking forward to come back with a designated driver to my personal wine tasting.