LENS, Wineries, Family: Oakville Sommelier

Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery
LENS, Wineries, Family: Oakville Sommelier
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About the Author

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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Lake Erie North Shore (LENS) is one of the oldest grape growing regions in Canada dating back to the 1800s. In 1868 Thaddeus Smith built the first winery in Ontario, Vin Villa, on Pelee Island.

Vin Villa Winery ruins

Vin Villa Winery ruins
Photo credit: © C. Silversides

The winery was destroyed by a fire in 1963 and today the ruins remain on the north shore of Pelee Island which is now part of the LENS wine appellation of Ontario. There are currently 18 LENS wineries.

During the Oakville Wine Enthusiasts Club (OWEC) October monthly wine tasting, Steve Mitchell introduced Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. Located in Essex County, this family owned and operated winery was the dream of his parents Hannah and Gord. Opened in 2006, it is now run by their children including Mitchell, his brother, and sister Tanya – their winemaker.

Sprucewood Shores at OWEC

Sprucewood Shores at OWEC
Photo credit: © C. Silversides

Sprucewood Shores has a beachfront view along with a 25 year old vineyard located on the Lake Erie shoreline. Mitchell explained to the OWEC that Essex County is known as Ontario’s best farmland. With a diversity of soil types, a diversity of flavours is gained from their terroir. He also said the county is totally flat, giving them great breezes with westerly winds, and 100% of the heat units because nothing is in the way. This is good for their growing season which begins early and ends late, giving them the opportunity to fully ripen grapes for big red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon.

As the warmest wine region in all of Canada, you can find good quality red wine, many of which are great values. One of my favourite Sprucewood Shores wines is their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, retail price: $14.15. The winery describes it as: “Flavours of vanilla and oak compliment this mature and sophisticated wine. The smooth and creamy texture with a light tannin structure create a soft and peppery finish with blackberry undertones.”

Speaking of wine, this is what’s been happening in Oakville. What’s coming up in Toronto is the awesome Gourmet Food & Wine Expo (GFWE) featuring over 300 exhibitors with wine, beer, spirits, and eats from November 14-17. If you are heading towards Niagara, Taste the Season is in full swing on weekends in November complete with wine and food pairings at 27 Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) wineries.

So there you have it: LENS, Wineries, Family

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