Lamplighters, Lincoln, Winemaking: Oakville Sommelier

Tawse Winery
Lamplighters, Lincoln, Winemaking: Oakville Sommelier
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Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides is an accredited Sommelier certified by both the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). Passionate about great wine, food, and travel experiences, Cynthia is owner of Niagara Vino providing tutored wine tasting and tour services in the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Ontario, Canada. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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“Vices, Vines & Vinifera,” the title of the 10th annual Lamplighter Tour sponsored by The Rotary Club of Lincoln, just took place exploring the history of winemaking in Niagara. You may be thinking, what in the world is a Lamplighter Tour? This is an experience through several plays based on historic information taking place in various Lincoln locations watching actors who have been cast to bring these stories to life. Say what? That’s what I thought until I became part of the production this year cast as a Lamplighter “tour guide” which was great fun for me.

With three nights and one afternoon of plays this year, five Lamplighters lead audiences by bus through five venues each day, including two historic homes and two local wineries. Hundreds of people gained insight into how our modern winemaking industry has evolved over the years. Currently in Ontario there are 17,000 acres of vineyards with 180 wineries producing 71% of all the wine made in Canada. Did you know that 40 of those wineries are located in Lincoln?

Vineland Estates Winery

Vineland Estates Winery
Photo credit: © C. Silversides

We travelled by bus to each venue of the tour, the first being the Culp Farm, bought by the Culp family five generations ago in 1831. This play is set in the year 1926, a time of mobsters, rum-runners, cops, and the Coast Guard! It seems there could possibly be bottles of vintage wine on the bottom of Lake Ontario today. Next we entered the beautiful barrel room of Vineland Estates Winery witnessing what it might have been like to purchase wine at the LCBO and family life in the area circa 1959.

Then we found ourselves at the Rittermere House, built in the 1850s. We watched a drama set in 1975 about how challenging it was for grape growers to make a living when they had the challenges of weather, working with chemicals and heavy machinery, the changing tastes of consumers, and buyers who often reduced or cancelled contracts for the purchase of grapes at harvest time.

Tawse Winery

Tawse Winery
Photo credit: © C. Silversides

The last play was about the opening of the new Winemakers Museum in the year 2020. Tawse was the venue, a winery whose first vintage was created in 2001, and which has been named Canada’s Winery of the Year three years running, 2010, 2011, and 2012. For this celebration we enjoyed their sparkling wine, Spark, a refreshing and versatile wine which can be enjoyed both on its own and with most foods. Finally we found ourselves back where we began at the Vineland Missionary Church, dedicated in 1881, the site of Miss Nettie’s Tearoom for tea, coffee, hot cider, tea sandwiches and delicious desserts.

So there you have it: Lamplighters, Lincoln, Winemaking

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