Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 10, 2017

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Canadian wine adventures

In our fair country, it’s not enough to sip the vino. You’ve got to cycle for it, get wrapped in it or make your own

I’m a devoted sipper of Canadian wine. It’s right up there with the world’s best. However, it’s not enough for me to enjoy drinking it. I need my wine experiences to be more up close and personal. And here are just of the few ways oenophiles like me can do it.

Tunnels, trestles and tasting

Okanagan Valley, BC
One cannot live on wine tours alone. (There are, after all, 99 wineries in the Okanagan, a.k.a. Napa North.) A bit of soft adventure should also be on the menu. Through Monashee Adventure Tours (monasheeadventuretours.com) I booked a bike trip that would take me 22-kilomtres downhill along the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, perched high above the blueness of Lake Okanagan, through orchards and vineyards brimming with ripe fall fruit.

It’s amazing how much faster you can whiz down a mountain when you know that lunch awaits. Though my rear end was already sore, I was happy to sit down to an alfresco meal accompanied by Okanagan wines at Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa (naramatainn.com). Despite the fact I hadn’t been on a bike for more than two decades, I loved every minute of this excursion.

In treatment with vinotherapy

Kelowna, BC / Jordan, ON
What happens to the leftover bits—skins, pips and juice—in winemaking? They become fodder for beauty-boosting, antioxidant rich treatments, of course. Beyond Wrapture (beyondwrapture.com) spas have six locations in the Kelowna area, close by Okanagan wineries. The spa uses seeds (a.k.a. pips) from a local winery for body scrubs.

At the Spa on the Twenty (innonthetwenty.com) in Jordan, ON, the heart of Niagara wine country, grapeseed oil, red wine and leaf extracts give facials a new twist.

In nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, a Purple Feet Pedicure from 100 Fountain Spa (pillarandpost/spa.htm) turns local wine products into a foot masque and scrubs.

Tap into your inner winemaker

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON / Brigham, QC
For do-it-yourself types, the ultimate experiences put you in the role of wine creator. At Strewn (strewnwinery.com), located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, groups can take part in Winery Boot Camp. You become a “cellar rat,” getting your hands dirty working alongside experienced staff for the day. Or you can create your own wine in The Blending Challenge. Teams attempt to make the best-tasting sample blend using a variety of wines.

In Quebec, where a Wine Route (laroutedesvins.ca) runs through the picturesque Eastern Townships, the Vignoble de la Bauge (labauge.com) hosts a Harvest Package every September and October. You spend the day with the vintner learning the challenges and art of creating a new vintage. You'll participate in harvest, stomping and pressing, and learn about pitching yeast. The following spring, you can pick up your very own bottle from your day's labour.

Sabre and savour

Whistler, BC
During the Napoleonic wars, soldiers celebrated victory by using their swords to crack open a bottle of bubbly. At Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro (bearfootbistro.com), master swordsman/restaurant owner André Saint-Jacques can show you how to do it—safely—using the skills that put him into the Guinness World Records. (Saint-Jacques’ record 21 bottles in one minute was only recently broken by a South African barman.)

Vines and lines

St. Catharines, ON
Theatre and wine make good bedfellows at the Henry of Pelham Family Estate (henryofpelham.com). It hosts a July Shakespeare in the Vineyard event with performances of Twelfth Night, a light-hearted comedy that’s even more delightful when paired with a glass of your favourite vintage. Cheers to that!

Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission. The text has been modified from the original.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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