DREAMSCAPES Fall/Winter 2017
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MASTERS IN WINE
 
(2016 - Winter/Spring Issue)

Writer: DIANE SLAWYCH



For Mike Weir, the idea of opening a winery took root at a pivotal moment in his career.

It was 2003 and he’d just won the Masters Tournament—the first Canadian (and first left-handed golfer) to do so. As the winner, he was invited to host the Masters dinner, which involved selecting the menu and wines that would be served. 

New Beginnings

“At that moment he realized he wanted to open a winery,” explains Grayson Riordon, retail and on-site sales manager, Mike Weir Winery. Not long after that dinner, for which Weir chose to feature a Canadian-centric menu and wines, the Sarnia-born sports icon secured a 16-hectare property on the site of the former EastDell Estates in Ontario’s Niagara Region. His goal was to produce ultra premium VQA wines in the region where his family has deep roots.

Located on the Beamsville Bench, which has become synonymous with Riesling, the vineyard is small, occupying only seven hectares, most of it devoted to grape growing for the premium-tier wines. The largest planted variety is Riesling, followed by Chardonnay (the Un-oaked Chardonnay won a Gold Medal at the 2015 Canadian Wine Championships), Cab Franc and Merlot.

“Where we sit on the Niagara Escarpment there’s incredible limestone and mineral content throughout the soil and Riesling is a very terroir-expressive variety so it exudes a lot of those characteristics—a fruity, brighter, fresher, aromatic profile,” explains Riordon.

In June 2014, the Mike Weir Winery Retail & Hospitality Centre opened its doors allowing visitors to sample wines at the modern tasting bar, sit on the patio in the summer or, on cooler days, enjoy the views overlooking the vineyard beyond the centre’s glass walls. While the LCBO carries many Mike Weir wines, including Cabernet Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, the limited-edition wines can only be sampled and purchased at the winery.

A good time to visit is during Brunch on the Bench every Sunday when one of the food-truck partners’ locally inspired cuisine priced from $7 to $15 and wines by the glass starting at $5 are served.

Memorabilia

Weir now has a home in Utah, with vineyards on his front lawn, though memorabilia from his golf career remains here—on display in a small gallery on the second floor. The collection includes trophies, famous irons he used in his historic 2003 season, personalized golf bags, and the menu from that Masters dinner on April 6, 2004.

“I’d say at least 50 per cent of the people who are into Mike Weir wines are into them not just because they’re great wines but because Mike’s a Canadian icon,” maintains Riordon. And Weir, it seems, is pleased to use his celebrity for a good cause. Proceeds from wine sales go directly to the Mike Weir Charitable Foundation to help children’s charities across Canada. Raise a glass!

Travel Planner

The Mike Weir Winery is located at 4041 Locust Lane, Beamsville, Ontario, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit mikeweirwine.com for information or call 1-888-934-7444 or 905-563-1919. Brunch on the Bench is served every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 
 
 
 
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