April Showers, Bring Spring Weddings!

April Showers, Bring Spring Weddings!

Are you planning your wedding or attending one soon? Perhaps you simply love all things bridal, including wine and cake. If so, you have come to the right place! We’ll explore everything wedding related – from planning to delicious food and wine pairings.

If you’re newly engaged, you may feel overwhelmed about where to start the planning. The best place to begin is by enjoying your engagement, whether that means throwing a party or simply spending quality time with your fiancé. Let the idea of marriage sink in and celebrate with a glass of bubbly (or two, or three or even four)! Now after its finally sunk in, lets start the planning process.

Wedding planning may sound daunting, but here are some helpful tips to get you started. First, consider the season and year for your wedding. You shouldn’t choose a firm date right away, as venue availability may affect your decision. Second, think about your rough guest count, whether it’s under 50, 50-100, 100-150, 150-200, or more. Next, consider the type of venue you want, is it rustic barn, traditional ballroom, a beautiful winery – ambiance and food are key. You should go out to see these venues in person, feel the vibe as this is what your guests will feel.  Consider if your ceremony will be onsite or offsite, and factor in the distance between the ceremony and reception for your guests. You should also think of accommodations for your guests, are there taxi/uber service in the area, does the venue allow guests to park overnight.

Once you’ve chosen your venue, much of the planning will fall into place. Your venue will have a maximum capacity, which will determine your guest list. The venue will also have certain inclusions and exclusions, so create a list of what’s included and what you need to source on your own. Ask your venue for a preferred vendors list to give you a starting point.

When looking at your special day, lay out the series of events.

Set up – Find out what your venue includes (tables, chairs, setup, etc.), what your caterer includes (linens, table setting), think of what you need to bring in. Think about filling the table, charger plates, name cards, floral, candles, centerpieces, etc.  Floor plan, ask your venue for a sample floor plan, this will give you something to work off.

Ceremony – Officiant, location, arbour, chairs, signing table, ceremony music, floral, bouquet and boutonniere are important factors.

Cocktail Hour – Consider the location and time. Also think about if you would like to offer your guests an open bar or cash bar. A light canape or stationed antipasto is a good idea to hold your guests over until dinner is served.

Food for thought: will you have a receiving line, gift table, money box, seating chart, and/or a champagne wall?

Dinner – The dinner service should take about 2 hours, allow time for entrances, speeches, first dances. Will you opt for plated or buffet service?

Bar – A lot of venues allow a signature drink option, this is a fun way to incorporate your favourites with a fun twist. Pay attention to what is included in the packaging and what is not allowed. For example, you will find that no tequila and a no shot policy is very common.

Reception – If tables are required to be removed from your floor plan to make space for the dance, it’s a good idea to place a heads up note on these tables as to not shock your guests. Be aware of when your décor must be removed, it is typically the night of the event.

Late night stations are super fun and important, after a long day and night of drinking and celebrating – we always get hungry… Popular late-night stations consist of poutine, sliders, pizza, cupcakes, sweets station. Incorporate your favourite drunk food, make it customized to you and your partner!

For a unique touch, consider having a cupcake stand instead of a traditional wedding cake, or even a cupcake bar for a late-night snack. Enhance the experience for your guests by pairing cupcakes with wine. A general rule of thumb, if you pair your dessert with a wine as sweet or sweeter than your dessert you will not go wrong – think a chocolate cake with Gamay Noir, or a slice of fruit pie with Vidal Blanc. To take your cupcake pairing up a notch, match spiced cakes with barrel aged reds; light chiffon cakes with wines that have tropical notes, such as Riesling; an oaked Chardonnay with a vanilla buttercream to bring out the richness of the cream.

It might seem like a lot but try to enjoy the planning, maybe you will learn something new along the way, make it fun. Most importantly, don’t let the small things stress or upset you. Enjoy your special day filled with love and be present as memories that you will cherish for a lifetime are waiting to be made.  

DID YOU KNOW: Pair a strong red wine with your main course, whether it’s a good cut of meat or roasted portobello mushroom. Try a Cabernet Baco with seared steak/portobello steak or roasted root vegetables. If your main course includes fish or poultry, pair it with a dry, light, easy drinking wine such as Pinot Grigio. A Pinot Grigio is likely to pair with your starter as well. 

Pizza Pie & Glasses of Wine

Pizza Pie & Glasses of Wine

Spring is here and we are super excited to feel the warm air and sunshine, probably just as excited as the vines are to feel it! Patio season is so close we can smell it, we can also smell pizza! That’s right, we are happy to announce our pizza truck is officially open. We will be baking delicious pizzas every weekend this summer, but for now we will be open select Saturdays – check out our website, follow us on Instagram and/or Facebook for dates.

We can promise you that pizza pairs best with wine! Looking for some recommendations? Check out the below.

Introducing pizza number one, wood fired oven margherita pizza – 00 dough opened and layered with our in-house made tomato sauce, topped with fresh mozzarella, and cooked to perfection using our dried grapevine branches! Once the pie leaves the fire, we top it with fresh picked basil and a drizzle of EVOO.

Pair your margherita with the 2020 Ephemere Pinot Grigio, this wine has a pale lemon color and on the palate, a light flavour intensity. Showcasing characteristics of stone and citrus fruits, the minerality brings out the fresh ingredients and tanginess of the tomato sauce. Pick up a za and serve your Pinot Grigio chilled at home or enjoy a glass on our patio.

If you’re looking for a wine with a bit more body, you won’t be disappointed with our newest addition on the shelf, the 2021 Reserve Chardonnay! The chardonnay is 30% oaked which allows the freshness of the wine to come through and not be overpowered by the oak. This wine is pale amber in appearance and has wonderful flavour intensity of baked apple and pear on the palate, with a clean citrus fruit finish. Tertiary flavour aromas of vanilla come through from the Armenian oak, this is a complex wine. The 2021 Reserve Chardonnay compliments the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella and brings all the flavours into a perfect harmony. This pairing is all about mouthfeel and textures!

Meet pizza number two. Wood fired oven calabrese pizza – 00 dough opened and layered with our in-house made tomato sauce, topped with pizza mozzarella and spicy salami.

The 2021 Ephemere Baco Gamay pairs beautifully with both the margherita and calabrese pizza, so much so we call it our pizza wine! This wine is deep ruby in appearance and has the most delicious aromas of ripe red berries – best served lightly chilled with a slice of za.

Take it up a notch and pair the calabrese with the 2016 Reserve Merlot, oaked in Bulgarian oak! This wine won a GOLD medal in the All Canadian Wine Competition, our Winemaker plays favourite to this as a red. Most known for the ripe tannins and velvety mouth feel, the 2016 Reserve Merlot sits at 14.5% alcohol. Pairing higher alcohol wines with foods that have spice will enhance the flavour profile of both the wine and food.

DID YOU KNOW? Food will change the flavour of the wine. However, the wine will not change the flavour of the food, but only enhance or highlight certain notes (if it is the right pairing). At home try this: take a sip of your favourite wine and pick out what you smell, taste, and feel in your mouth. Next take a bite of something earthy (like a mushroom), sip the wine and see how the flavour changed… Repeat this with something salty (like a pretzel), citrus fruit (lemon juice), and lastly something sweet! Notice how each time you sipped the wine you pick up different tasting notes, maybe less or more fruitiness, less or more drying, less or more of burn in the back of your throat or a tingle on your tongue.  


We love engaging with our fellow wine lovers, we would be thrilled to hear from you what blogs you would like to see on our website. Find us on social media platforms and send us a message!

Beyond Champagne

Beyond Champagne

A Wine Connoisseurs guide to the perfect New Year’s Eve celebration!

We tend to raise a glass or two of bubbly in celebration of new beginnings. With Champagne and Prosecco being some of the most popular choices for the New Year’s evening, some people choose to drink it all night long, while others enjoy it as an aperitif at midnight. Champagne and Prosecco will no doubt hold the spotlight, but we want to share with you some more options when it comes time to toast the start of a new year. This will guide you through a variety of festive wines for your guests to enjoy throughout the night. Some will be conventional and others, unexpected.

Whether you’re hosting or attending a dinner party, we have some ideas for you! As guests start arriving, the night typically starts off with some delicious hors d’oeuvres or canapés. For those also planning a lighter dinner, white wine could be the right way to go. You’ll want to serve something that is lighter-bodied and easy to drink, such as Pinot Grigio. Known for its fresh aromas of pear, citrus fruits, and melons, it perfectly complements the saltiness and fat in the canapés.

As appetizers start coming out, we recommend introducing wine with more complexity. Oysters and Shrimp cocktails are classic go-to for many on New Year’s Eve. Our top choice would be a crisp wine with higher acidity, like a Sauvignon Blanc. With beautiful citrus aromas and grassy undertones, it will pair perfectly with the creaminess of the oysters or any shellfish appetizer. This mouth-watering combination will be sure to excite any palate.

Shrimp cocktails are fresh and have a slight hint of sweetness. This pairs best with a white wine that encourages the same hint of sweetness. An off-dry Riesling would be a great choice, it’s crisp effervescence will cut through the creamy, tangy shrimp cocktail sauce.

As the night continues, we recommend bringing out something bold and memorable to have with dinner. With rich flavours, there’s no better companion than a robust Cabernet Sauvignon or even our own Mélange Red. A classic savoury steak, lamb or even a delicious roast would pair well with a fuller-bodied red wine that has smooth tannins and will balance out the richness of any tender meat.

Lastly, we arrive at the end of the evening with dessert because every New Year’s Eve should end on a sweet note! We don’t recommend pairing sweet wine with sweet foods, as it can become overbearing on your pallet. However, Sauternes has a balance of sweet honey and butterscotch with the zest of ginger. Beautifully balances with a berry cheesecake or lemon meringue. The sweet and tart flavours pair well with Sauternes’ honeyed vibrancy.

While Port is a recognizable name in fortified dessert wines, it is also a popular choice with its richer and notably sweet profile. A dark chocolate mousse dessert with a fruity component will pair better with a fruity LBV (Late Bottle Vintage), exploring hints of raspberry, blackberries, and cinnamon. If you love your chocolate paired with spices and nuts, you should consider a Tawny Port, barrel-aged with oxidative nut and caramel flavours.

For variety, we wanted to recommend an additional dessert wine known for its intense flavours, rich consistency, and unsurpassed smoothness. It’s great with desserts or as a digestif. Icewine’s rich texture stands up to creamy desserts such as crème brulée, or a tiramisu.

For some extra excitement when the clock strikes, try pouring icewine straight on top of your ice cream!

Cheers to the new year and to finding the perfect pairing for your festive season!


Don’t be afraid to spice things up, Mulled Wine included

Don’t be afraid to spice things up, Mulled Wine included

It is that time of year again! The weather is becoming increasingly colder and more often we find ourselves craving a bold glass of red wine to keep us toasty. Thankfully, the team at Holland Marsh Wineries is excited to help. We have decided to bring back a family favorite to enjoy by our vineyard or on our tasting patio! Now serving our Mulled wine in our wine shop, I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening with friends. Unable to make it out to the winery? Check below for our delicious recipe that you can try at home!


What is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine or the word “Mull” refers to the process in which this delicious drink is made; by heating up wine with a variety of spices and sugars! Our special trick is to keep the temperature warm but not at a boil, anything above 60⁰ C will cause the alcohol content to burn off.

This year, we have decided on a Cinnamon Orange Cranberry blend mixed with our sweet Gamay Noir that is sure to excite your senses. Mulled wine can be compared to some of our delicious vintages, particularly our Cabernet Baco (Spice, leather, and plum notes)  or  Reserve Merlot 2016 (Vanilla, black pepper, and baked fig). However, this seasonal drink is unique. The added sugars from the fruit blended with a variety of spices, supports a more robust red wine experience!

Fun Fact – The sweetness of wine is not greatly affected when heated, rather most palates detect sourness and astringency to be more pronounced over sweetness. Therefore, many mulled wine recipes focus heavily on a powerful spice to bring a relaxing balance back.


Where did mulled wine come from?

Dating back to the Ancient Greeks it’s said that the father of medicine, Hippocrates; used old wine mixed with spices and sweetened with honey as a medicinal tonic to heal the body. During the 2nd century, the consumption of mulled wine spread to Europe where the Romans used it to fight against the bitterly cold winters. Today it’s a well-known holiday beverage that’s sure to bring a smile to your face!

Fun Fact #2 – The oldest mulled wine recipe was found in a recipe collection from Dresden, Germany in 1834

Want to try and make your own Mulled Wine?

Follow this recipe!

  •  Prep Time:  5 Minutes               Yields: 7- 8  Servings
  • Cook Time: 20 Minuets              Total Time: 25 Minuets


1 (750 ml) Bottle of  Gamay Noir

4 Cup of Cranberry Juice

1 Orange Sliced

2-4 Cinnamon Sticks

1 Cup of Cranberries

2 Tbls of locally made Honey


  1. Combine ingredients. Add wine, orange slices, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of honey to a large saucepan.  Stir briefly to combine.
  2. Simmer. Cook the mulled wine in a crockpot on medium or on the stovetop on low- medium with a thermometer.  Heat until it just barely reaches a simmer (Avoid letting it bubble — you don’t want to boil off the alcohol, not above 60 degrees C)  Reduce heat, cover, and let the wine simmer for up to 3 hours.
  3. Serve. Serve warm in a festive tumbler.


Pairings that work to perfection: Exotic Fruits and Wine

Pairings that work to perfection: Exotic Fruits and Wine

Some combinations of wine and fruits have become indisputable classics. For example, Rosé and strawberry are not only romantic but also satisfying from the gastronomic point of view. It is no surprise that wine and fruit complement each other but in actuality: Wine and Fruit either emphasize and enhance each other or, on the contrary, are combined according to the principle of “opposites attract”. Some citrus fruits do not match the taste of exquisite dry wine, while sweet fruits make dessert varieties too cloying. After all, not every drink can cope with the excessive sweetness, acidity, or the specific taste of certain fruits. In other words, fresh fruits and berries are great as a dessert, but for wine, especially dry wine, it is better to look for an alternative. There are some simple rules, you can follow, to be able to create wine and fruit pairings that work to perfection, and we are here to help!

It is particularly important to pay attention to the color of the fruit when pairing it with wine. Relatively speaking, lighter (yellow and green) fruits favor white wines more, while dark (red and purple) fruits complement reds. It is not a coincidence that when we talk about our white wines, we often talk about the aromas of apples, pears, and citrus fruits, and in red wines, we get berries, plums, and fig notes. The only exception is oak-aged tannins – it is best to save them for a more substantial dinner – BBQ or red meat. Now, let’s talk some fruits:


Pineapple is the fruit of a perennial herb native to South America. Portuguese sailors, having reached the shores of what is now Brazil for the first time and having tasted pineapple, called it “the most delicious fruit on earth.” The Spaniards, because of the outward resemblance, called it “bump” (piña), later this word migrated into many languages, including English. Hence the famous ” Piña Colada “, a cocktail based on rum, pineapple juice, and coconut milk was created.

There are many types of pineapple, but they are all high in acids. Fruit that is not ripe may even cause irritation so only sweet wines can compensate for such acidity. Our 2019 Ephemere Vidal Blanc will perfectly cope with this and enrich the tropical taste of the fruit with nuances of orange peel and honeydew.


The fruit of a plant named genus Musa, the banana is, strictly speaking, a berry. Bananas are typically eaten fresh, and as plantains that require heat treatment. In some countries, bananas are an important part of the local diet. For example, a citizen of Burundi eats an average of 190 kg of bananas a year. Even though some Latin American countries hold the title of “Banana” Republics, the world leaders in fruit cultivation are India and China. Bananas are used in many classic American desserts, such as banana split and banana cream pie.

Combining bananas with wine is not difficult, there is no bitterness or acidity in them. The average banana contains about 16 grams of sugar, so wines must be picked from the dessert category. Our 2019 Reserve Riesling will complement the simplistic and iconic taste of the fruit with notes of sweet melon, peach, and honey-apricot.


There are suggestions that the fig tree is one of the first plants domesticated by man. It is mentioned in many sacred texts, that it was with the leaves of the fig tree that Adam and Eve used to cover themselves. Figs are incredibly tasty, but they do not tolerate transportation well, so they are usually found in the form of dried fruits, preserves and jams. Fresh figs go perfectly with our 2019 Ephemere Baco Gamay and our 2019 Ephemere Gamay Noir. These wines are best served slightly chilled for a more fruity and silky steam.


Kiwi is originally from China, however, it gained worldwide fame thanks to the New Zealanders. In the middle of the 20th century, the fruit entered the country under the name “Chinese Gooseberry”. New Zealand breeders have worked on the size of the fruit and sugar content and brought out the fruit we know. The new name was not immediately thought of, but the similarities between the local kiwi bird and the green fruit did not go unnoticed. This is how the name kiwi appeared, which officially took root on the market only in the 1990s. Drier wines combine perfectly with the sweet and sour taste of kiwi. Our 2018 Select Fleur Des Marais will not only complement the Kiwi taste, but will additionally give you very unique and tropical notes on top of it!


Despite the name, coconut is not a nut, but a stone fruit, just like a cherry or a peach. Originally from South Asia, however, thanks to the Portuguese sailors, it has spread throughout the world. There is a story about it coming to America long before the era of the great geographical discoveries, which some scientists interpret as evidence of contacts between the Indigenous inhabitants of the two continents before the arrival of Europeans. Others say that the coconut is waterproof and could easily float across the Pacific Ocean on its own. The fruit also owes its name to the Portuguese. The three dark spots on the surface of the fruit reminded them of demonic eyes and mouth, so they gave it the name “coco”. That was the name of the monster that scares children, comparable to the “boogeyman”. Oily coconut pulp requires wines with a similar structure. Our 2018 Ephemere Pinot Grigio Vidal is not only perfectly structured to complement the Coconut, but also will give you a very pleasant and clean aftertaste on the finish!


When Europeans speak of mango, people from Asian countries ask: “What kind of mango?”, because there are more than 300 varieties of this fruit. It is common in Southeast Asia and is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Chutney is made from unripe sour mango in India, while sweet ones are typically used for desserts and drinks. Ripe mangoes are high in sugars and low in acids. Our 2019 Select Sauvignon Blanc, with its aromas of lemon, green apple and grapefruit will add the much-needed acidity to your mango and will leave your palate wanting more!  

Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a fruit, or rather a berry, of a passionflower plant. It is called the “fruit of passion”, which is why many believe that passion fruit has aphrodisiac properties. Passion fruit is common in countries with tropical climates and is used both fresh and in desserts, drinks, jams, and hot dishes.

Passion fruit has a sweet and sour taste at the same time, but acidity often dominates, so it is worth playing either on similarity or in contrast. Our 2019 Select Sauvignon Blanc will exude passionfruit aromas, so the combination will turn out to be similar, however, in this case, the acidity multiplier may not be pleasing to everyone’s taste. Of the sweet wines, the most successful pairing will be our 2019 Ephemere Vidal Blanc and our 2019 Ephemere Gamay Noir.

The suggested recommendations can also be used for desserts with matching fruits. However, keep in mind that when combined with sweet dishes, the wine should always be sweeter than the dish, otherwise the taste may be overcome by that of the dessert.

To learn more about Wine and Dessert combinations, happily check out our Perfect Dessert Pairing blog!


Cheers from us at Holland Marsh Wineries!

Tips and Tricks for Hosting the Perfect Wine Tasting at Home

Tips and Tricks for Hosting the Perfect Wine Tasting at Home

We are thrilled to announce that our Tasting Patio is officially open! While we are excited to welcome you back to enjoy your favourite Holland Marsh wines with us at the winery, we wanted to put together a few insider tasting suggestions for those who prefer to continue tasting from home for the time being. Keep reading below for expert tasting tips, straight from the Winemaker, that will help you get the most out of your wine tasting (at home).

Pick a ThemeWhen deciding which wines to add to your tasting lineup, consider choosing a theme. Think regional, grape varietal, or vintage year—just to name a few. We recommend tasting between 4 and 6 different wines, within your chosen theme, to truly make your tasting an experience. Also, be sure to taste your driest (least amount of residual sugar), and lowest-tannin wines first as this makes the most sense for your palette.

Choose the Right Glass – If you have tasted with us or other wineries before, you most likely enjoyed your tastings from a standard tasting glass. These glasses are specifically designed to optimize the aromas and flavour notes of all wines (even sparkling). While you cannot go wrong with a tasting glass, we recommend investing in some varietal-specific glassware to take your tasting to the next level. Varietal-specific glasses are excellent tasting tools, particularly for novice tasters, as they will accentuate and optimize key attributes that are unique to each wine, even to the untrained palette.

Highlight Subtleties with Pairings One of the easiest ways to elevate your at-home tasting experience is to incorporate food pairings. When choosing your menu, it is important to consider the balance of each pairing. Meaning, that both food and wine should always compliment one another in body, acidity, and sugar content.  Likewise, neither should ever overpower the other. While these are fantastic basic guidelines to follow, when it comes down to it, every palette is different. It is important to stay loyal to your own tastes, and if that means breaking the rules a bit, then go for it!

Keep it SimpleTake the guesswork out of the equation and consider ordering a tasting box or virtual tasting package from a local winery. Many vineyards are getting creative these days—us included—at finding ways to keep the wine flowing for our loyal at-home tasters. Check out our online store for more information on our Mystery Tasting Box, complete with wines, tastings notes, and pairing suggestions. Elevate your experience by adding a cheese or charcuterie box to your order. We also highly suggest making your at-home wine tastings a weekly tradition by choosing a different winery to taste each week!

Lastly, remember that tasting is a journey. Slow down, take your time, listen to your palette, savour every sip, and (of course) enjoy!