An evening at Rosewood Estates Winery

I had a beautiful day today. First, my parents surprised me by coming over and helping me clean my house in exchange for a lunch of couscous with tilapia, red bells, tomato and garlic that I prepared. I love cooking and it was my pleasure to whip something up for them. They left at about 5pm, and then I drove over to Rosewood Estates Winery in Beamsville, Ontario, where I joined the MCM students (Master of Communication Management, in which I teach) for a case study about the winery by Eugene Roman, who is also the owner. It was fascinating.

Eugene explained how he has applied the same sort of innovative thinking that led to his success at Nortel, Bell and now at Open Text. He focused on how thinking differently has always been the key for him. The winery is just stunning. Château Rosewood is beautiful – I was struck by Eugene’s comment that “I wake up every morning overlooking the Riesling vines.” These words took me back to the time that I lived in Montpellier, in the Languedoc-Roussillon in France when I was 17. I spent many happy hours both on the seaside near Palavas-les-Flots and also at a winery owned by the father of a close friend. I too remember waking up to see the clear morning Mediterranean sun spill its soft yellow light over the vines. We would sit and drink espresso, and sometimes play pétanque – that lazy version of bocci that has filled countless quiet afternoons for southern French men.

Eugene served us an extraordinary dinner of butternut squash soupe aux poires accompanied by a scrumptious venison stew with gnocchi so light that they floated in the  russet broth like little cumulus clouds. Dessert was a crème brulée with blackberries and blueberries. What a wonderful feast – just right for a brisk fall evening. Many thanks to Niagara Gourmet for catering the tasty fare. It was a nostalgic experience for me to dine on heavy, rustic, French-style wooden tables, surrounded by the oaken casks containing the vineyard’s wines.

I took home a wonderful Sémillon and two bottles of Ambrosia honey wine, which I particularly loved during our tasting. I also took home one of Rosewood’s cherry-honey wines to experiment with. I look forward to enjoying them with friends.

Honey wine over vanilla ice cream, anyone?

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A visit to the AGO

Yesterday, I went with a new friend to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, specifically to see the Edward Streichen fashion photography exhibit (In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Year 1923-1937). The photos were beautiful, stunning, really. I was particularly struck by the fact that the photos showed the models bodies in an unvarnished, unphotoshopped style. Obviously those technologies weren’t available at the time – but there was a comforting realism, or was it unrealism that moved me as I was looking at them They were stark and yet they had so much more depth than the poses that models are most often captured in now. These women had complex expressions on their faces – they were often looking off into the quarter or middle distance, and seemed to be thinking real thoughts. Sometimes, you could see that Streichen had caught the model in a moment of reverie, of private transport. Like I said, they were emotional – moving. After that we went for a yummy dinner at Jules Bistro. It was one of the best days I have had in a while. Life should be full of days of art, food and great conversation, shouldn’t it?