Wine Sensory Garden Now Open at Reif Estate Winery

By / Magazine / May 5th, 2009 / Like

Reif Estate Winery’s Wine Sensory Garden allows you to contemplate the colours, aromas and flavours that are characteristically used to describe wines. The project was initiated in the fall of 2006 when Reif Estate Winery approached The School of Horticulture at Niagara Parks to design a garden that would interpret the different grape varieties typically used to produce wines in the region. The gardens are designed to complement and reflect the heritage of Reif Estate Winery’s original 1870’s Coach House.

Instructor Darren Schmahl chose to engage his graduating class to work with the winery staff in selecting plants that would not only remind visitors of the colour, flavours and aromas of the wines. Riesling is interpreted in the light white wine section with plants that feature white foliage as well as apricot, sage and honeysuckle. Full-bodied reds, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are interpreted through Chocolate Mint, Oregano, Patchouli (woody aroma), Staghorn Oak Geranium and Nasturtiums for their peppery flavours. These herbs and flowers are surrounded by plants with deep rich burgundy leaves reminding us of the colour of the wine. Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Vidal Icewine are among other varieties represented in the garden.

Design elements of the late 1800s generally incorporated a water feature, formal plantings in the centre of the garden with casual perimeter borders where herbs were mixed with flowers and vegetables. It is within this area of the gardens that the selected plantings denote various elements of the identified grape variety. Guests may stroll through wine garden enjoying a glass of their favourite Reif wine for a complete sensory experience. The garden is open May through October.

On Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. visitors can taste the following five estate bottled wines paired with five local herb inspired samples and learn about the principles of matching food and wine.

• Grapefruit Mint and Sweet Pea Soup paired with Sauvignon Blanc

• Lemon Thyme Chicken and Artichoke Pizza paired with Chardonnay

• Rosemary Cinnamon Tortierre paired with Pinot Noir

• Oregano Crostini with Roast Beef paired with Cabernet Merlot

• Pineapple Sage infused Peach upside down cake paired Vidal Icewine

For more information call 905-468-WINE (9463).

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