The F’ing Winery Tour

image001For the past eight years, residents of the Niagara Peninsula and visitors from around the world have celebrated the arrival of spring with a tasting tour of three of the area’s favorite wineries: Flat Rock Cellars, Fielding Estate Winery, and Featherstone Estate Winery. This year is no exception as the Ninth Annual F’ing Winery Tour is once again being offered the beginning of May.

Oenophiles wanting to experience this unique event have two weekends to enjoy the tour and tastings, which run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 1, 2, and 3 or May 8, 9, and 10.

To attend, all you have to do is purchase a $12 “passport” from any one of the three participating wineries, and then, enjoy two wine tastings per winery, an artisanal cheese pairing with each tasting, and experimental and one-of-a-kind offerings unavailable the rest of the year.

If you’re planning on visiting Niagara during the first two weekends of May, the F’ing Winery Tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with Niagara’s excellent and beautiful wine country. To help you anticipate the fun, here is a closer look at the three wineries behind the tour.

Flat Rock Cellars

Founded in 1999, Flat Rock Cellars is located on the Niagara Escarpment and boasts one of the most impressive tasting rooms and winery buildings in the region: a glass-enclosed hexagon that allows visitors to enjoy a spectacular view of the Niagara Peninsula and Lake Ontario. A winery with both ancient and progressive practices, Flat Rock practices low-yield viticulture where every grape is hand-picked and hand-sorted.

They use gravity flow in their winemaking, too — a process that uses no pumps or mechanisms to move the wine through its many phases, allowing the color, flavors, and tannins to develop in a gentler manner.

Fielding Estate Winery

image003Fielding Estate Winery sits on Niagara’s Beamsville Bench and enjoys the distinction of being regularly chosen as one of Canada’s top 10 wineries.

A low-yield winery, Fielding Estate practices sustainable farming, and Curtis Fielding was awarded the honor of being Grape Grower of the Year, or the “Grape King” as it’s locally known, for the 2012-2013 growing season, an honor bestowed upon an area grower whose winemaking and farming practices exemplify the best among Ontario’s grape growers.

They have produced countless award-winning wines over the years, and tastings in their Wine Lodge or on their lake-view deck are unforgettable.

Featherstone Estate Winery

Located on the Twenty Mile Bench section of the Niagara Escarpment, Featherstone Estate Winery boasts 23 acres of some of the finest land in the region. Their fertile clay soil and higher elevations produce distinct wines that taste very much of their terroir.

Their small batch wine has won numerous awards over the years, and their farming practices are environmentally sound and sustainable. One fascinating farming practice of this vineyard is their use of sheep to control leaf growth on their vines. Instead of removing leaves by hand, Featherstone’s sheep laborers eat the leaves, allowing the grapes more access to sunlight.

Get a true taste of three of Niagara’s best wineries by participating in the F’ing Wine Tour the first two weekends of May.