Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes


 Merlot Grapes


 One of many tree carvings on the Harbour property.


 Jordan Harbour


Our Time at Harbour Estates Winery

There isn’t a better way to spend a Sunday than by taking a trip to the Niagara Peninsula for food and wine exploration, and such was our Sunday, as we decided to take a trip to visit the Mowat’s, at Harbour Estates Winery.

With great weather on our side, the winery grounds were prime for exploration, adoration and picture taking, and all of which we did plenty of.  We started our visit at the winery, as any would expect, with a trip to the tasting counter. You see, we had done our research ahead of time and were well aware that we were walking into a winery that had accomplished many firsts. Ken Mowat, the son of winery owners Darlene and Fraser Mowat, held the title as the youngest ‘head winemaker’ in Canada, at the age of 23, and his first vintage garnered him 12 awards, world-wide.  So, knowing all of this, wouldn’t you head straight to the tastings too, and leave the niceties of exploring the grounds to later? Nonetheless, we were greeted with tastings of Harbour Estates, 2011 Pinot Gris, 2010 Riesling, 2010 Merlot and a Cabernet Frank/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, which is thoughtfully entitled ‘Harbour Midnight’. They were all great choices that were soft, smooth and well rounded enough to work for any visiting palate. I suspect if we had gotten into their limited editions and premier vintages, we would have started to find more defining and distinctive qualities, really dividing palates and experiences amongst a group.

After our tasting, we then took a self-guided tour, through the winery grounds, where we got to see Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes growing handsomely.  The Harbour Estates grounds were not only filled with vines that I could have taken pictures of for days (30 acres worth), it was also naturally picturesque, as it shoulders the Jordan Harbour.

As we made our way through one part of vineyard, we then decided to sit for a picnic lunch, and most fittingly, a glass of wine, provided to us by the folks at Harbour Estates. Once full from lunch, we dared a walk, in inappropriate shoes, down the hillside path to take a closer look at Jordan Harbour, and it was just gorgeous.  We did spend a better portion of an hour taking pictures by the water, until we remembered we still had one more wine left to taste, and it was sitting and waiting for us, back at the tasting counter.  We quickly marched, hiked, trekked (all of the above!) up the hill and made our way back to the main room, where we tried the Harbour Estates, 2008 Cabernet Sauvingon Ice Wine.   Though it was a 10 on sugar content, the acidity did a marvellous job in adding texture to the ice wine, thus tempering the sugar and making it all the more palatable for me.

I believe the group left with each towing one bottle in hand, a very full stomach, amazing pictures, and a fantastic experience. The Mowat family, those of them that we did get to meet, especially Cassie, were gracious hosts who were not only kind, but also extremely knowledgable and passionate about their craft.  Ironically, the Harbour Estates Winery is having their 12th anniversary party, in just a weeks time from this posts publication, and I think I may just find myself shouldering Jordan Harbour, once more, as I visit the Mowat’s, for what is sure to be an amazing celebration.  Happy (early) Anniversary Harbour Estates!