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Grill & Chill. It's Summer!

I’m sure by now every self-respecting Canadian has fired up their BBQ’s, Smokers, Ceramic grills and the like. What better way to enjoy a wonderful summer evening paired with a lovely glass of local libations? Niagara has wonderful beers, bubbles and wines to choose from so don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something new.

Here are some of our fave outdoor grilling wine and food pairings and some new sips that might surprise and delight!   Sip, grill and chill! Cheers! 

We love bubbles to start off any summer gathering. Bubbly isn’t just to ring in the New Year anymore. Bubbles make a great aperitif, or pair with casual burgers or grilled chicken and corn on the cob. We've enjoyed these on many occassions and highly recommend... Featherstone’s “Joy”, Henry of Pelham’s “Cuvee Catherine Rosé Brut”, and Back 10 Cellars “Smitten”.

Try a fresh  local Riesling with grilled white fish with a spicy butter sauce, fish tacos, with a mild chicken sausage, or a yummy grilled prawn or grilled Salmon salad with a fresh fruit salsa. Here are some local Rieslings you should try with your outdoor cooking… (if you haven’t already)  Cave Spring Cellars “Estate Bottled Riesling”, Redstone Winery “Limestone Vineyard South Riesling”, Back 10 Cellars “The Big Reach Riesling” and The Good Earth Riesling.

Ahhh, the heart break grape. What to pair with an enjoyable  local Pinot Noir you ask? Think earthy flavours rather than sweet and honey garlic flavours.  Break out your fave Pinot with Salmon on a cedar plank with earthy spices, grilled chicken breasts with rosemary and thyme or how about a smoked skirt steak with grilled peaches and blue cheese…yummy!  Try these great local Pinot’s …..Kacaba’s “Reserve Pinot Noir”, Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir and Back 10 Cellars “Blood, Sweat and Years”.

What charcoal happy Canadian doesn’t relish the thought of a juicy burger, or ribs with a sticky and smoky savoury BBQ sauce? (Vegetarians, hang on to your Portobellos)! These heavier grilled meats call for a nice juicy red wine.  Try Vineland Estates “Game Changer Red”, Back 10 Cellars “The Big Leap” Cab Franc or 13th Street Winery’s “Burger Blend”. 

Don’t forget to experiment with local cocktails too.  We just adore  Dillon’s Rose Gin as well as their Cherry Gin for making seriously delicious craft cocktails to stave off the heat ;-) …and who doesn’t love local beer?   So many to choose from.  We recommend having some Silversmith, Oast and Bench Brewery crafted brews on hand (on ice of course) and a few uber chic bottles of The Exchange Brewery crafted beers  for that perfect BBQ soiree. These also make perfect hostess gifts to take to the cottage or to that backyard BBQ.

We are loving some of the new local ciders in the area as well.  Give your guests something new to try….Ironwood has a killer Apple Cider that we always serve to guests visiting from out of town.  It is downright dee-lish!  They also do a seasonal summer sipper called “xxcherryy” that is a welcome surprise for someone wanting to try something a little different.  Small Talk Vineyards also makes a delicious, fresh and light hearted cider called “Shiny Apple Cider”, super refreshing on a hot day.   Tawse has also released a refreshing summer bubbly apple cider and is soon to release a cherry cider that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

 Lastly, try Puddicome’s “Sir Isaac’s Premium Pear Cider”.  Love sipping on this in later summer and having on hand for guests to try.

We are so proud to live in Niagara in an area that boasts the best wines, spirits, and ciders.  Here’s raising a glass of whatever local bevvie tickles your fancy this summer and cheers to sunny blue skies, BBQ’s and backyard soirees.  Remember drink local, and drink responsibly.


Any of the above wineries can be visited on your next custom or group  Crush Wine Tour …all you have to do is ask.


Cheers! And keep drinking Ontario Wines, bubbles, beers, spirits and ciders.


Christina and Andrew Brooks own and operate Crush on Niagara Wine Tours and live on a 10 acre vineyard in Beamsville, ON, Niagara.    1.866.408.WINE(9463)