I have a confession: I've never really enjoyed wine, especially red wine. Whenever it is served, to be polite, I take a sip for toasting. Last year, I shared this with @shiftperception (Dawn Brown, motivational speaker and life-long friend) who then served me the first glass of red wine I enjoyed, based on what she had recently discovered at a wine tasting.
As a result of this experience, I accepted an invitation from a supplier to its client appreciation event, held at a Peller Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the Lake.
I discovered that wine can be pleasing to the palette and uncovered many opportunities for client appreciation, local incentives and corporate events. Through wine tastings, event planning associations can also update members with the latest information about wine and how it should be served.
What Happens During Wine Tours & Tastings
Upon arrival, the group mixed, mingled and sipped cool ice wine martinis on a patio overlooking the vineyard. After a short orientation, a tour of the vineyard and wine cellar provided interesting information about the variety of grapes and how they are harvested, used and stored to create an assortment of wines.
Next, came a surprise. During a visit to the gift shop, each guest received a gift card with a mystery amount. At the gift shop's wine bar, the group sampled a variety of wines before making their selection.
After sharing what Dawn had told me (about serving red wine at cooler temperatures) with our guide, he invited me to take a sip from 2 glasses of red wine. One glass was cool and refreshing with an appealing flavor. The other was strong and biting. It was the same wine served at different temperatures. (Due to the effects of central heating and air conditioning, "room temperature" is too warm for red wine. The optimal temperature for serving red wine is roughly 61-64°F (16 - 18° C ).
Behind the Scenes at a Chef's Table Dinner
In the restaurant, we were introduced to Canadian celebrity chef Chef Jason Parsons, Peller Estates' Executive Chef. There was a twist that surprised the group. Chef Jason lead us to the kitchen for an interactive reception. As wine and hors d'oeuvres were served, he provided an overview of kitchen stations and introduced his team. Diners were welcome to visit stations during dinner.
In the private dining room, Chef Jason presented each course of his delicious gourmet tasting menu and described the wine with which it had been paired. He invited diners to discover how each wine tasted before and after sampling the cuisine.
He also encouraged diners to sip the wine selected for other courses after nibbling on the current course. I have another confession. In the past, when I have heard people talking about wine pairings, I always wondered if they were just being pretentious. I discovered that appropriate wine pairings really enhance a dining experience.
The group gave Chef Jason and his team a well deserved standing ovation.
Where to Find Interactive Wine Tastings in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wineries are excellent venues for business meetings as well as corporate, association and client appreciation events. Here are some interactive wine tastings in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
Event Venues: Peller Family Dining Room (16 guests), Private Dining Room (28 guests), Wine Garden (al Fresco Dining overlooking the vineyard for up to 50 guests), Wine Library (seating for up to 64 guests with a view of the underground barrel cellar), Founder’s Hall (business meetings or elegant dining for up to 80 guests)
Interactive Experiences: Chef's Table, Seven Course Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings, Candlelit Barrel Cellar Experience, Vineyard Stroll; Dine Amongst the Vines
Event Venues: The Studio (24 guests for private dining or business meetings), Vineyard Pavilion (private room for dining or business meetings with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the vineyard for up to 120 guests), Winemaker's Lookout (for 28 guests on patio with fireplace), Trius Red Barrel Cellar (candlelit dining for up to 32 guests at a harvest table)
Interactive Experiences: Trius Art of the Blend, Red vs White Battle, Five Course Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings, Wine Unmasked, Bubbles & Brochettes
Photo Credits: Luxury Corporate Events, Executive Oasis International, Peller Estates, Joseph Chan, Steven Chan/Articulation Group (Trius Photo)