Winery Visit: Rosewood

We stopped by Rosewood Estates Winery recently to check out their new renovated look, try some wines, and learn what they do.

Rosewood is a winery, meadery, and apiary operation all rolled into one. In fact the business started with a few beehives, and has grown to 300 (!) hives that produce natural wildflower honey. But the dream of the Roman family was always to produce great wine. With the first vines planted in 2003, the winery opened in 2008 and to celebrate 10 years in business they just completed a big expansion.

Source: Rosewood Estates Winery

The Tasting Room. The tasting room has been completely redone with a fresh, modern look. This is where you can explore some of Rosewood’s offerings, including a funky Pét-Nat Rosé, fresh and floral Viognier, classic Ontario Gamay Noir – as well as three types of mead and their delicious honey.

Mead, if you’re curious (like I was) is wine made by fermenting honey instead of grapes, and adding water or wine – depending on how you want the end result to turn out. I was a fan of the honey/wine blend that I found similar to a dessert wine (with less body) rather than the more traditional honey/water mead that I found quite sweet.

Honeycomb shelves and a peek into the cellar.
Rosewood’s Wildflower Honey, Smoked Honey, Creamed Honey, and actual honeycomb – all part of the tasting experience!

The Cellar. There is a lot going on here. Rosewood ferments in both steel and barrel, and is experimenting with clay amphorae – one of the most ancient ways we know of to ferment and store wine! These vessels are unique because the clay reacts enzymatically with the wine and can pull out acids in a way steel and wood can’t. Clay is also more porous and allows some oxygen exchange while the wine is fermenting which can yield some interesting results!

Clay amphorae – these are fermenting Chardonnay!

On top of that, there’s some really cool stuff happening in cognac and bourbon barrels, including a Chardonnay / mead hybrid and, in bourbon barrels, a blend of Pinot Noir and mead resting on cherries – the idea is to create a kind of pre-mixed Manhattan-style drink and it sounds pretty incredible!!

The Grounds. Rosewood is located on a stunning piece of property with a large pond and picturesque gazebo that’s perfect for pictures. The new tasting room and patio has a view over rows of vines to Lake Ontario, and on clear days you can see right across to Toronto.

The Bees. Can’t forget these guys! Just behind the winery is a ravine that offers natural protection for the hives you can glimpse in this picture. I was fine keeping my distance during this part of the tour!!

Bottom Line. Rosewood is the perfect example of a family-owned winery making quality, low-intervention wines. Hearing about their amphorae fermentation and other experiments was a nice surprise – and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of those hybrid drinks! We will definitely be back soon!

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