by John McCulloch

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The Citroën Autoclub Canada closed out its official outdoor season with an outstanding day spent roaming around the Niagara Peninsula. The event started at the home of Chris Deja and John McCulloch in Oakville, where members enjoyed coffee, cookies and home made muffins.

Around eleven o’clock, we left Oakville for Vineland via the Lakeshore Road. This route takes you west past the large homes built by executives at Stelco and Dofasco during the twenties and thirties. Though heavily treed, the road affords short glimpses of the lake at Bronte Harbour, Sioux Lookout and finally at Spencer Smith Park in Burlington. At Aldershot we turned on to the QEW, crossed the Burlington Bay Skyway and drove to Fifty Road. Here we turned off the highway and followed Highway 8 south through Grimsby, Beamsville and Vineland.

We had a slightly rushed picnic lunch on the grounds of the park at Ball’s Falls. Had we had some more time we could have seen the actual falls which, while smaller than normal after this hot, dry summer, is nonetheless a spectacular sight. Worth a return visit.

After lunch, members had an informative tour of the nearby Vineland Estates. Our guide dealt mainly with the process of turning grapes into wine by leading us past the crushers, fermenting tanks and holding vats. He showed us the barrels where some of the wine is enhanced on French and American oak. The tour ended with a tasting of both white and red wines from the estate.

The second tour took place at the neighbouring farm of Michael Kacaba owner of Kacaba Vineyards. The contrast between Kacaba and Vineland was quite striking. Rather than looking at the vinification process, Mr Kacaba lead us out to the fields where we had a chance to inspect the vines at close range. He described the growing resentment between farmers and residents living in adjacent subdivisions. The amount of arable land in Ontario, he told us, is rapidly being developed into faceless suburbs. He went on to explain the costs which he faces when producing a single bottle of wine and why he does not sell through the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).

Following the tours, the remaining club members visited the winery and antique stores of nearby Jordan. When all the wine and antiques were inspected, we drove to Hamilton where we had a delicious vegetarian meal at the Himalya Restaurant. Thanks to Victor and Maria for finding this jewel!

As with last year’s Fall Tour, we had near perfect weather – cool, sunny and light winds. This tour had the greatest number of participants including Peter and Maria Muffels, George and Marijke , Fred and Monique, Greg and Darlene Lamb, Andy and Eileen Lamb, Angela Fusco (and Bisou), Lorne Vineberg, Peter and Irena, Elizabeth Dyke and Takash, Krystina Lagowski and Prakash Raja (Raj), Victor and Maria, Steve Loria and John and Chris. Our thanks go to Chris Deja and John McCulloch for organizing the tour and to Morris Wernick for assisting in the planning of the trip. See you next fall!

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