If you live in the Big Smoke, you probably have a general idea of where to head for the right wine experience — just follow the crowds. With many tasters in the know flocking to SIP Winebar or the Midfield Wine Bar & Tavern, the best spots in Toronto often feature long queues that snake around the block, and it can cost you a solid chunk of your paycheque just to taste a high-quality vintage.
Real wine connoisseurs in the know are tossing aside the cramped and overpriced wine bar experience and hosting their own tastings at home. It’s easier than ever these days to find amazing vintages that are affordable — especially if you shop with online wine retailers who offer convenience options like free home delivery as well as express pick up locations. Vintages that score in the 90s can still be found for under 20 dollars a bottle, and with so many top-notch grapes and brands to choose from, throwing a wine tasting at home is a snap.
With the right online wine retailer, the buying experience can be customized to your precise tastes. A retailer like Wineonline.ca for example, offers an incredibly helpful wine personality test that factors your tastes, palette, and other identifiers to help you choose the exact grape and vintage that would suit you. Right now, they are offering an impressive selection of wines that are perfect for summertime drinking.
The Central Coast chardonnay by Ryder Estate is a great way to start off a tasting at home with friends. This 2015 vintage is a light and focused wine with elegant aromas of vanilla, yellow delicious apple, and orange blossom. Ripe flavors of Asian pear and white peach follow through with vanilla and citrus end notes and a bright hint of creamy, honeyed oak. This wine won the Best of Class gold medal at the California State Fair Wine Competition 2017, and considering this 95-point wine is available for only $19.95 a bottle, it’s hard to think of a better bottle.
If you’re looking to host a more budget-conscious wine tasting, or you simply want a bottle to give as a gift that will impress without breaking the bank, you might enjoy a light, summer Pinot Grigio. Wine snobs may look down upon Pinot Grigio, if you connect with the right online retailer, there are extremely good, and even excellent Pinot Grigiosto be had. Fontamara’s 2015 Pinot Grigio, for example, is perfect for a pretension-free wine tasting event, or for those special affairs that go long into the night. This wine has impressive balance and depth considering it costs less than $13 a bottle! Fontamara’s Pinot Grigio has been a long-time favourite of savvy wine shoppers, and is leaps and bounds ahead of vintages that cost twice as much.
Feel like taking your tasting on the road and heading to the cottage? WineOnline offers convenient pick-up options if you’re in a hurry to scurry out of the city.Order a bottle (or a Mix-A-Six-Pack) and have it shipped at no extra cost to any Penguin Pick Up location where you can pick it up on your way to your Muskoka weekend!
Whether you’re hosting a tasting in the 6, or heading out of Toronto for a cottage retreat, remember that award-winning wine that fits in your budget is available for home delivery or convenient pick up. This summer, when you think wine, think WineOnline — your key to exclusive wine opportunities without the hassle or the long queue.
Michael Sanduso lives in Toronto, Canada. He is a freelance writer and editor, tech geek, and stay at home father.