The Only Wine List You’ll Need This Summer

It’s a pretty big statement, but one that I stand behind – I’ve been working feverishly behind the scenes to curate a list of local wines that will compliment every activity and emotion you could possibly imagine this summer. From sitting in the sun to BBQ nights with your friends, I’ve got them all and I’m finally ready to share them with you all to help kick off your summer in the best way possible!

Here’s the thing – I genuinely love sharing wine content with you all. It’s something I enjoy learning about, it’s something that adds a beautiful compliment to my life with Julio, and ultimately it’s something that is very important to me. Not to mention that the majority of the wineries out there are small businesses that deserve our support, especially now after everything they have had to shoulder over the last few years. Yes, there are going to be wines that I may have missed in this list and I hope I get to work with them in the future, but for now, here are the summer activities and perfect pairings from Ontario that I am most inspired by this summer. I hope you enjoy the list!

The summer and BBQing go hand in hand for me – the wine that I think of right away to pair with those hearty, smoky and oh-so satisfying flavours is always from Pelee Island Winery. Their lineup of wines is refreshing, some even on the fruity side, and offer the perfect sip with and during a good grilling session. Pair LOLA Pinot Grigio VQA with BBQ Piri Piri Chicken, LOLA Blush Sparkling Rosé VQA (a personal favourite) with cedar plank salmon, and LOLA Secco Sparkling VQA just tastes better when your grilling. Don’t believe me? Give it a try and tell me I’m wrong 😎

Summer picnics are some of the most relaxing things I can think of. Sitting with friends laughing over some nibbles all afternoon without a care in the world, and with the need for a delicious and playful wine to enjoy responsibly. That’s where The Hare Wine Co. comes in for me – 2020 Hare Sparkling Rosé is one of my favourite Rosés ever (and that’s saying something) and makes me excited to get out our picnic set. Equally fruity and restrained, it’s summer in a glass. 2020 Frolic Light Vidal is the cheese wine you didn’t realize you needed in your life. I recently just bough a few extra bottles because it’s that easy drinking and enjoyable in the sunshine. I got introduced to The Hare Wine Co. on a trip to Niagara with Catherine and have loved it ever since – a serious must have for the summer.

There’s nothing like sunbathing with your favourite songs, sunglasses, sun screen and something to sip on. When I think about the warm sun on my skin I immediately think of a chilled glass of wine from Cave Spring Vineyard. In my opinion, the best Riesling maker in Ontario, I encourage you all to get some 2019 Riesling CSV and serve it ice cold alongside an afternoon safely in the sun. More in the mood for some bubbles? The 2015 CSV Blanc de Blancs is always a crowd pleaser for friends of ours and is delicious with some fresh berries or summer citrus. And of course summer is the season of Rosé so ensure to grab a bottle or two of the 2020 Rose Estate to pair perfectly with that renewed bronzed glow you’re about to enjoy.

Summer memories on the beach are some of the best we get to make all year long, especially here in Ontario! As you squish the warm sand between your toes or dive into the refreshing lake or river, there are two wines that comes to mind right away for the two kinds of beach people I know. The first is Henry of Pelham‘s Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut which everyone knows is some of the best and most consistent rosé you can get in Canada. With fruity flavours like strawberries and cherries, it’s refreshing and sips perfectly on a towel while you dry off. The second is a wine I was recently introduced to a wine that is created with low alcohol + low sugar and no compromise on flavour. With only 1g of sugar per serving and 8% ABV, choosing better is easy with Mindful Wines by Lakeview Wines. I highly encourage (in no shock to anyone) the Rosé which is beach body of any kind friendly.

We consider ourselves urban gardeners with our vegepods on our third floor patio, but if I think about summer gardening, both vegetable and floral anywhere, I always think about a crisp glass of Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery. From a glass of Ravine Rosé 2021 after a long day of the office while I tend to wedding, to one of my absolute favourite Chardonnay’s in the world Ravine Chardonnay 2019 paired with the fruits of my labour from the garden to play off those savoury greens, these are wines that will make you appreciate the quiet time you take for yourself in the garden all summer long.

If you’re like us, snacking is a crucial part to your summer plans and goals. Whether it’s at home or while hosting friends and family, salty and sweet snacks have some perfect pairings too you know! I personally love a good ready-to-drink and Shiny Apple Cider is a perfect option that will please almost any palette. Refreshing, portable and easy to clean up alongside some of your favourite potato chips? Heavenly. Feeling a bit more playful? Enjoy the luxurious delicacy of Speck Brothers Family Tree The Merry Widow Rosé paired with sour gummies or The Soldier’s Wife Sauvignon Blanc with some trail mix for a fun twist of snacks this summer.

I walk a lot – like a lot – but summer strolls with Canela and Julio are things I cherish dearly. It allows me to not only enjoy being outdoors and as Catherine would say “get my butt moving”, but it’s also the perfect inspiration for a refreshing glass of wine. I discovered Follow The White Rabbit by Rosewood Wine a few years ago and stock up with several bottles every month for the summer. It may be in my top ten favourite white wines ever and I encourage you to enjoy it post / pre walk with your pet and special someone to see what I mean.

Other notable wines that I would be remiss to not mention include Saintly Wine, Trius Wines, Alvento Winery, Marynissen Estates Winery, and Pearl Morissette — all of which have delicious options to enjoy all summer long.

This post is not intended to be seen by persons under the legal alcohol drinking age or in countries with restrictions on advertising on alcoholic beverages. Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive. 

Photos: Daniel Reyes Cocka & All Social Media accounts listed above

Daniel Reyes Cocka xo

Mobile photos were taken with my Mobile Device of choice on the Rogers network.

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