Graze the Bench

 

Grazing

‘Graze the Bench’ is a passport event taking place one early June weekend and this year it will do so for the 6th, straight year. Unlike other passport festivities, ‘Graze the Bench’ is unique in the sense that 8 neighboring wineries go out of their way and setup their wineries to create a laid back setting, filled with mellow live music, where patrons can peacefully enjoy their wines paired with freshly prepared food. Ticket grants an entry to the VIP area at each winery, a crystal Zweisel glass, and drink and food tickets – one each. For $7, additional food and wine can be purchased for further enjoyment. The 7 wineries again partaking (alphabetically) in the event are Angel’s Gate Winery, Fielding Estates Winery, Hidden Bench Winery, Organized Crime Winery, Peninsula Ridge Winery, Rosewood Estate Winery, Thirty Bench Winemakers; and this year, Mike Weir Winery finally opened its doors to visitors and joined the excitement for the first time.

 

The Vineyard Trail

One of the great features of this spring celebration is the proximity of the wineries to each other, so that patrons can park their cars and walk from winery to winery using a vineyard trail specifically constructed for this event. The vineyard trail was created in cooperation with Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation earlier in 2013 and links most of the wineries to each other and with the Bruce Trail. The exception is Peninsula Ridge Winery which made a path towards Rosewood Estate Winery and is planning to eventually link it with the vineyard trail. So not only can one taste great wine, eat tasty, fresh food and listen to live music, one can enjoy the beautiful winding vineyard countryside and forested Niagara Escarpment – World’s Biosphere Reserve.
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Last year, I set out on mission to not only to join in the festivities, but to document the ‘Graze the Bench’ event with photographs and videos. Accomplished at the time, below is assembly of videos and best pictures (in order of attendance). With one video missing and Mike Weir’s winery now participating, I am looking forward to adding those for the 2014 writeup. Enjoy, as surely you will be swept to do so when you attend.
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Back to top | Thirty Bench | Rosewood | Angels Gate | Organized Crime | Hidden Bench |
Fielding | Peninsula Ridge | Mike Weir | Essence Videos | References | Comments

 

~ ~ Thirty Bench Winemakers ~ ~
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This year, the winery will feature[1]:
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Sip: 2013 Thirty Bench Riesling & 2012 Thirty Bench Red
Savour: Tide & Vine featuring:
Surf and Turf Burger’ette – Hormone free Ontario Beef Burger topped with a grilled Wild Gulf White Shrimp and smoked jalapeno aioli
Seared Bay of Fundy Scallops atop a miso dressed strawberry salad
Tide & Vine Oyster Bar.

Groove: Scotty Shennan & the Hot Stone
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Last year’s festivities are documented here in video and picture slide show – enjoy this year’s events.

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Michael Valaitis – a former retail supervisor and an estate sommelier at the Thirty Bench Winemakers describes the essence of Graze the Bench and which wines are featured by the winery.


Click image to evoke gallery & navigate through pictures using arrow keys.

 

 

~ ~ Rosewood Estate Winery ~ ~
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This year, the winery will feature[1]:
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Sip: 2013 Trois Femmes Rosé & 2012 Select Pinot Noir.
Savour: Chef Patrick Engel featuring:
Summer veg gazpacho with Cold Water shrimp & crab salad
Cuban Pork Sandwich with Rosewood honey glazed onions.

Groove: TiannaH & Jazz with a Twist.
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Last year’s festivities are documented here in video and picture slide show – enjoy this year’s events.

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Krystina Roman, winery owner and its biggest promoter, nicely describes Graze the Bench event and its essence.


Click image to evoke gallery & navigate through pictures using arrow keys.

 

 

~ ~ Angel’s Gate Winery ~ ~
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This year, the winery will feature[1]:
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Sip: Pinot Gris & Mountainview Pinot Noir.
Savour: Smokin’ Buddha featuring:
Sobo Pocket: Tofu pocket with wasabi mayo, sushi rice, smoked salmon & sprouts
Bermese Beef Pocket: Spicy beef and scented rice with green onion and shallots.

Groove: The Peninsula Jazz Trio.
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Last year’s festivities are documented here in video and picture slide show – enjoy this year’s events.

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Michael Boland, who happened to be volunteering at the winery, knowledgeably discusses aspects of Beamsville Bench, the Vineyard trail and the event itself.


Click image to evoke gallery & navigate through pictures using arrow keys.

 

 

~ ~ Organized Crime Winery ~ ~
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This year, the winery will feature[1]:
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Sip: 2012 Organized Crime Winery Break-in Pinot Noir & 2013 Pinot Gris.
Savour: Gastronomo Vagabondo featuring:
Crispy pork taco, smoked pineapple, smoked tomato aioli, fresh herbs
Salmon ceviche, Zhoug, avocado, sunflower oil.

Groove: Groove: Los Caballeros del Son.
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Last year’s festivities are documented here in video and picture slide show – enjoy this year’s events.

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Ross Wise, Organized Crime’s new winemaker, describes the winery and his half a year history with it.


Click image to evoke gallery & navigate through pictures using arrow keys.

 

 

~ ~ Hidden Bench Winery ~ ~
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This year, the winery will feature[1]:
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Sip: 2013 Estate Riesling & 2013 HB Rose.
Savour: Splendido Restaurant featuring:
Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich with Avocado, Coriander and Pickles.

Groove: Soul Jam.
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Last year’s festivities are documented here in video and picture slide show – enjoy this year’s events.

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Meg McGrath nicely describes the history of Graze the Bench and what it features.


Click image to evoke gallery & navigate through pictures using arrow keys.

 

 

~ ~ Fielding Estates Winery ~ ~
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This year, the winery will feature[1]:
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Sip: 2013 Sauvignon Blanc & 2012 Cabernet Franc.
Savour: August Restaurant featuring:
Shaved Bench Smoked Beef Brisket served warm on House-Made Sourdough Bread, topped with Arugula, Wild Leek Horseradish and Fresh Montasio Cheese.

Groove: JR Thornton Band.
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Last year’s festivities are documented here in video and picture slide show – enjoy this year’s events.

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Heidi Fielding – Winery proprietor discusses the event, the winery and their wines.


Click image to evoke gallery & navigate through pictures using arrow keys.

 

 

~ ~ Peninsula Ridge Winery ~ ~
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This year, the winery will feature[1]:
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Sip: 2013 Wismer Sauvignon Blanc & 2012 AJ Lepp Reserve Merlot.
Savour: The Restaurant at Peninsula Ridge featuring:
Chef Pierre’s homemade Corn bread with White shrimp and Ratafia bisque sauce, Frisée and double smoked bacon salad.
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Groove: Broken Cadence.
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Last year’s festivities are documented here in video and picture slide show – enjoy this year’s events.
Unfortunately the videos done with proprietor Norman Beal and around the winery were lost! Please enjoy the pictures.
Click image to evoke gallery & navigate through pictures using arrow keys.

 

 

~ ~ Mike Weir Winery ~ ~
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This year, the winery will feature[1]:
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Sip: 2012 Sauvignon Blanc & 2012 Cabernet Merlot.
Savour: Wellington Court Restaurant
Cold pressed canola and wild leek arancini with fennel, olive and octopus salad.

Groove: Sandy VIne & the Midnights.
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As this winery was not opened to public in 2013, there are no pictures as of yet.

 

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Other Videos describing the essence of Graze the Bench

V-Thirty Bench Winemakers

V-Rosewood Estate Winery vid1

V-Rosewood Estate Winery vid2


V-Angels Gate Winery

V-Organized Crime Winery

V-Fielding Estates Winery

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Back to top | Thirty Bench | Rosewood | Angels Gate | Organized Crime | Hidden Bench |
Fielding | Peninsula Ridge | Mike Weir | Essence Videos | References | Comments

 

 

Special Thanks to Michael Valaitis and Dorian Anderson for the invitation to the 2013 event,
as well as everyone who were brave enough to let themselves to be captured on video

 

 

For other EVENTS in the wine country or in Toronto, please link here.

 

 

References:

1. The featured wine, food and band listings are directly copied from Graze the Bench website http://www.grazethebench.com/.

 

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