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(2018 - Spring Issue)


Starring in the 1980 cult film classic The Blues Brothers did more than elevate the celebrity status of Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd up a notch. According to one source, it also turned him into a wine lover.

“Niagara wines were constantly being brought to the film set,” explains Christi Wright, assistant retail manager at the Lakeview Wine Co. in Niagara-on-the-Lake. “After that, everywhere he travelled around the world, he would visit local wineries, talk to winemakers and sample their wines.”

Initially the actor/comedian had planned to open his own winery and put all his memorabilia on display, but then decided to invest in an existing winery instead. In 2006, he put one million dollars into Ontario’s Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits, which now includes Lakeview Cellars, EastDell Estates, 20 Bees, FRESH, the McMichael Collection Wines as well the actor’s own collection of wines.

At the Lakeview Wine Co. boutique, visitors, many of whom arrive in large tour buses, encounter a section devoted to the Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series.

“Everything in this brand is based around his particular palate. They’re all quite dry wines that are meant to be easily sipped and paired overall, be it anything thrown on a grill or pizza. They are casual wines to have with friends,” said Wright. Among the offerings are Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir and some whites such as Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

The eye-catching microphone on the wine labels harkens back to a time when the Blues Brothers (Aykroyd and pal John Belushi) were an actual performing band. Reasonable prices (a bottle typically sells for around $15.95) don’t hurt sales, nor does the celebrity connection. “I bought it before just because of the name,” admits Ingrid Kern, a visitor at the boutique. “I loved him on Saturday Night Live years ago, and his wines are quite nice.”

Fans often ask if Aykroyd ever pays a visit. “He comes out to Toronto or here at least once a year,” explains Wright. “He’ll taste all the wines, make sure they’re still what he prefers and then we work with him from there.”

A man of many talents, the 66-year-old Ottawa-born comedian is also a producer and screenwriter. And his business ventures have not been limited to wine alone. Aykroyd is behind the Crystal Head Vodka brand, and he also opened (along with Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of Hard Rock Café) the first House of Blues chain of music venues in the U.S.

Travel Planner

Lakeview Wine Co. is located at 1067 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake. A variety of tours are offered daily including a cellar floor experience ($10/person) and a structured cheese and wine pairing ($15/person). For details, visit lakeviewwineco.com.

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