As summer winds down, Quebec’s wine season is in full swing. There’s something beautifully alluring about vineyards with its perfectly manicured rows of grape plants set in the rustic countryside backdrop. And with autumn on its way, the changing colour of foliage adds an element of brilliance and romance. So whisk your sweetheart or grab some friends for a day of wine tasting just outside of Montreal. But if you can’t make it out of the city, don’t fret. There’s some fantastic wine tasting courses, workshops and events you can easily take in the city.
The Brome-Missisquoi wine region in the Eastern Townships is home to 21 vineyards to explore along a 140 km wine route, stretching from Farnham to Knowlton down to Pigeon Hill and Sutton. And many of them also produce cider as well. Here are some of the vineyards that await you.
Located in Frelighsburg on Mount Pinacle is owned by the creator of the world’s first ice cider, Christian Barthomeuf, and his partner, Louise Dupuis. Barthomeuf created ice cider in 1990 with his first vineyard Le Domaine des Côtes d’Ardoise. Clos Saragnat is certified organic and they offer a one hour tour which includes tasting of 3 products for only $10.
This was the first vineyard in Dunham, opened in 1980, offers wine tastings, catering and a tent for special events like weddings and reunions, has a cafe on-site and currently has a sculpture exhibition going on until October 20th.
Located in Dunham produces a large variety of wine and ciders, many of them award-winning. They offer very inexpensive tastings and tours from $4-$9 per person, and a cider and cheese tasting package for only $14 for 2 people.
Val Caudalies in Dunham also offers apple and grape picking, picnic grounds and hiking trails on top of their wine tastings.
Also in Dunham, L'Orpailleur Vineyard offers guided tours ranging from $10 to $20 and offers tasting packages with other establishments from $20- $22. They also have their own restaurant, Tire-Bouchon open until October 13th and a rental hall so they can accommodate weddings and corporate events.
Situated in Brigham, this vineyard has a set admission price that includes touring the vineyards, tastings and access to their petting zoo.
Located in Sutton, Vignoble Domaine Bresee not only produces wine but raise cattle free from antibiotics and growth hormones for consumption. They also have a secluded chalet to rent by a private lake to accommodate 6-8 people.
This vineyard in Dunham provides group tours of a minimum of 4 people for only $7 per person, offer gastronomic picnic baskets full of yummy things to eat and drink (reservation needed) and there’s a reception hall and terrace for booking events and meetings.
This terraced vineyard in Sutton has an extensive medieval underground wine cellar and impressive tasting halls reminiscent of European wineries, and a charming little Romanesque chapel perfect for a wedding. The estate is quite private and only group tours with a minimum of 8 people are available for $20-$30 per person.
Photo cred - istock
If the great outdoors is not your thing, there are plenty of opportunities to taste some vino and increase your wine knowledge.
The SAQ has 12 courses and workshops in French that range from 1 to 5 lessons each in topics such as tasting wines of specific countries, food and wine pairings, and becoming a beer connoisseur.
Ateliers et Saveurs offers 1 lesson courses on wine tasting and making cocktails.
They have anything from one lesson tastings in specific wine types such as New Zealand pinot noir and California Chardonnay, to 2-5 day courses and 1 day workshops.
4. Vin and Wine
Vin and Wine has various workshops, training and events.
In Vino Veritas offers WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) courses year round.
If you’re really serious and want to be a sommelier, ITHQ may be your calling.