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2018 Restricted Quantities Program




Every year, our major supplier, RJS Craft Winemaking, announces the 4 wine kits that will be available in our annual Restricted Quantities limited release program.  If you are not familiar with this program, it is essentially a pre-order program.  RJS announces their choice of ultra-premium 8-week kits, we order them, and they produce only as many kits as get pre-ordered, so the number of kits is restricted to only those pre-ordered.  The deadline for ordering this year is October 20th for the kits to be released one-per-month in December (a lovely Australian Shiraz Viognier blend), in January (Chilean Carménère), in February (Spanish Tempranillo) and finishing in March (German Riesling).  Over the next few months, we will be learning about each of these wines.

We are going to start with the December Restricted Quantities wine, Shiraz Viognier, an interesting blend that originated in the northern Côte du Rhône region of France (especially in the Côte Rôtie region).  Traditionally, Viognier (pronounced vee-oh–NYAY) is the white grape variety, and Syrah (or Shiraz) is the red grape variety grown in this region, and due to the perfect sun exposure and dry climate (the terroir), these Syrah grapes ripen fully, with very high sugar content and finishing the growing season with very thick skins.  This combination, when fermented, creates a very harsh, full-bodied red wine that is almost too strong to drink.  To help “tame” the wine, vintners in the Region blend in a small amount of white wine, in this case, Viognier (5-10%), with the Syrah (90-95%) to both lower the alcohol content and to soften the tannins.  The Viognier grape adds a pleasant fruit salad aroma (guava, papaya, banana and pear) with honey and floral scents and low acidity.  Because of the small amount used in the finished blend, the action of the Viognier is very subtle.  These finished wines tend to have a perfumed violet aroma with concentrated fruit flavours, are full-bodied, with a long finish and smooth tannins. They also are spicy with peppery notes, and are usually finished in toasted smoky oak barrels with dense black currant, plum and black raspberry characteristics.   Although our juice for this release comes from Australia, the blend is the same.  Australian vineyards have been growing the same Syrah clone as planted in the Hermitage and Côte Rôtie districts of the northern Côte du Rhône Region.

This wine pairs well with bison burgers, lamb kebabs, meat pie, sharp cheddar, and pretty well any red meat or pork grilled to perfection on the BBQ.  (Hot dogs and pizza also work!)

In past years we have made three versions of this blend and have won three medals in three different years; a gold, a silver and a bronze medal in the world’s largest amateur winemaking competition, sponsored annually by WineMaker Magazine™.  If you would like more information or would like to order any of the Restricted Quantities wine kits, please call the store (519 471-5250) to place your order before October 20, 2017.   



‘Tis the Season is coming… you have enough wine???


September & October are traditionally the harvest months in the northern hemisphere.  Also traditionally, October is our busiest month, since most wine drinkers are planning to have some “extra” wine available for the upcoming Christmas and Holiday Season.  Whether party planning, planning for those “drop-in” guests, or preparing for gift-giving, crafting your own wine with custom labels makes pre-planning almost a no-brainer.  With a minimum of 1 month under the cork for white wines, and 3 months under the cork for red wines, now is a great time to get yours started.  If you require assistance with your selection, or already know what variety or style of wine you would like craft for yourself, our knowledgeable Staff are very helpful, and you can start your Festive vintage in as little as 7 minutes. We have over 90 selections of 4, 5, 6 and 8 week kits available for you to choose from.  Along with all of those choices, we also have a large selection of Fruit Wine Kits, Ice-Style Wine Kits, and Dessert Style Kits.  Some of these choices are available only for the Holidays, and are released in stores only at this time of year, like CranApple Celebration and 5 Dessert Wine (Port-Style) Kits.   These specialty kits are usually sweet, and have some very exotic flavours.  We stock de-luscious flavours such as Vanilla Fig, Raspberry Mocha, Coffee, Black Forest and Toasted Caramel. It will make a ½ batch, or 30 x 375ml bottles of deliciousness.  You may ask yourself “What am I going to do with 30 bottles of sweet wine?”  The answer is:  craft 5 great bottles for you, and then have 25 great gift bottles with customized labels for friends and family.  Our Dessert Wine flavours are NOT available from the LCBO, so you can truly craft some spectacular, unique gifts.

If you already craft your own wine, or would like to get started, we have several of our 4-Week, 5-Week and 6-Week and 8-Week Kits on Special Promotion for September and October.  All of these selections will be ready in time to share with family and friends, although why wait?  The sooner we get started, the sooner you get your cellar stocked!  If you are having trouble with the idea of 30 bottles, get together with family members, split some batches, and stock everybody’s cellars!  Ask a co-worker or two (because they already know that you are wine lover!), and they can be too!  Planning a “12 Houses of Christmas Crawl”?   Get together with neighbours (you know who you are!) and plan the perfect combination of crafted wines to serve with each course!  Anyway, crafting your own wine is fun!  Sharing your wines with friends, relatives and neighbours is easier than ever!

Custom labels can also be fun to dream up and then share with others.  With over 40 label varieties in stock at all times, the challenge is yours to think up a name or theme, and then when you come in to bottle your luscious wines, we’ll design them before your eyes on our state-of-the-art label program, et viola, 30 seconds later, your labels are done!  Simply choose a matching shrink cap, and your finished product is ready to store and share with your loved ones.  Simple.



DAY TRIPPIN to Niagara-on-the-Lake 2017


DAY TRIPPING to Niagara-on-the-Lake  2017

This year we  hosted 50 Luscious customers and friends and visited The Hare Wine Company, a newer enterprise that has just opened its beautiful Tuscan-style winery on Stone Road for a tour and tasting.  Second stop was the rustic Caroline Cellars for a tasting and lovely lunch, followed by a visit to Small Talk Winery for a wagon tour of the vineyard and wine and cider tastings.  We finish off at The Lakeview Wine Company/Diamond Estates back on Stone Road for a visit and tasting.  This unique facility is home to many Niagara wines, such as 20 Bees, East Dell, FRESH, Dan Aykroyd, Lakeview Cellars, Seasons by De Sousa, McMichael Collection and Tzafona Cellars.

A fun time was had by all and everyone is looking forward to the next Luscious adventure!




To someone who has never made wine, making craft wine at home or at a licensed facility like ours may seem like a task to leave to the professionals.  But with such a wide variety of wine kits available, it is quite simple to get started, and there are many reasons to make your own wine.  Here are just a few….

1. Making your own wine is fun.  It’s easy to get started and simple to do – just follow the step-by-step instructions that come with your kit, or simply drop into our winery.  Whether you are making wine alone or with a group of partners in crime, there is no better way to spend a relaxing, agenda-free hour.  Once you are used to making wine, you can get it started in less than 10 minutes!

2. Crafting your own wine will save you money, and you will know exactly what goes into it.  Do you like oak in your reds?  Do you hate oak?  Should your wine be sweet or dry?  When you make your own, you get to craft it in the style(s) you want.  While it is possible to pick up some pretty inexpensive bottles (~$10) of wine these days, if you compare the wine you make from a kit (from $3-$7) to a bottle of similar quality commercial wine, it turns out the craft wine is a real bargain, plus you get the satisfaction of having made something yourself – and that is priceless!

3. Making wine is convenient.  Don’t you hate it when the liquor store is out of your favourite wine, or that it is closed or even worse, so far away?  That never happens to craft winemakers.  Sound too good to be true?  We assure you, there is a craft wine kit available for almost every grape variety and every wine region in the world.  Don’t believe us?  See for yourself. 

4. Homemade wine makes great gifts.  It makes a great hostess gift, a “thanks for being a great teacher” gift, a house-warming present, a “thanks for shovelling the driveway” present….  Don’t know what to get your hard-to-shop-for father in law?  A bottle or two of craft wine will surely win him over.  Custom labels and shrink caps are available (for about 20¢ per bottle) to finish off your crafted wine, and the possibilities for these is only limited to your imagination!

5.  Crafting your own wine will amaze your friends - especially those who don’t make wine themselves.  The fact that you make your own wine sounds sophisticated and impressive, and you’ll feel proud that you picked up a new hobby, learned a new skill, and came out on the other side with something you and your friends can all enjoy together.

6. With your own craft wine, you’ll be prepared for a global crisis.  No matter what may come your way, you’ll always have bottles of wine stockpiled away in your cellar (or basement).  Just don’t be surprised when your friends and neighbours come knocking on your door the next time the power is out!

7. Most importantly, with a cellar full of craft wine, you will have an excuse to throw a party!  Everyone will be impressed that you were able to make wine that tastes so good and even better, you will get to enjoy your wine in good company.  Isn’t that the reason we drink wine in the first place?  So what are you waiting for?  Go get a kit and start that first batch now!!



Day Trippin 2017......Niagara Wine Region 




Well, it’s summer, and we’re off to the Niagara Region again on August 12, 2017 with a busload of wine enthusiasts to visit 4 wineries.  We like to visit the region at least once annually to keep up to date with what is happening in our industry on a local level.  What better way to enjoy wine tasting when the bus driver is your designated driver!  This year, we are visiting The Hare Wine Company, a newer enterprise that has just opened its beautiful Tuscan-style winery on Stone Road for a tour and tasting.  We are visiting the rustic Caroline Cellars for a tasting and lovely lunch, followed by a visit to Small Talk Winery for a wagon tour of the vineyard and wine and cider tastings.  We finish off at The Lakeview Wine Company/Diamond Estates back on Stone Road for a visit and tasting.  This unique facility is home to many Niagara wines, such as 20 Bees, East Dell, FRESH, Dan Aykroyd, Lakeview Cellars, Seasons by De Sousa, McMichael Collection and Tzafona Cellars.  Did we mention that there would be tastings?


We like to do these tours so that our customers can experience some of the challenges facing grape growers and wine makers as they describe how their year/seasons are going.  If you are not familiar with the Niagara Region as one of the most northerly successful grape producing areas in the world, it is due to the geophysical conditions that are specific to the area.  Wine making is not easy due to the huge number of variables that Mother Nature can throw at them.  The uniqueness of the Niagara Region with its many microclimates and growing conditions is always interesting.  With the (relatively) warm waters of Lake Ontario to the north, the predominately northwesterly winds, and the Niagara Escarpment to the south, the Niagara Peninsula is truly a study in these microclimates.  The convection effect caused by these conditions is what keeps the warmer air on the vines, and allows them to stay alive over our harsh winters.  It is also fun to meet the newest crop of summer helpers and guides at the wineries as they increase their portfolios and display their enthusiasm with winery-related summer jobs.  We get information first hand on how last year’s grapes and wines turned out (including the ice wine harvest), and how the growing season is going so far for this year.  Niagara College and Viticulture School is of course located in the area and summer employment for students is very competitive for them to stay in their home area and work in the field they are studying.


Not only do we sample some of the Niagara’s finest, it also allows for our customers to purchase some wines that are only available at the wineries and not at the local LCBO.  Sometimes there are “specials”, end of lines or other interesting offers that are only available locally.  We usually stop at a couple of roadside fruit stands to purchase some fresh-picked peaches, apples, plums, fresh vegetables and whatever else the Niagara grocery basket has available.  The tour takes a full day, and once we return to London, everyone is usually quite tired, but a great time was had by all.