Wineries: Vancouver Island, Canada: Unusual Wines, Tough Growing Conditions

Jay and I were excited about visiting the wineries on Vancouver Island this fall because when we'd last gone there two years ago, we'd had some surprisingly good wines, most of which are very difficult to find outside of the area. The wineries on the Island are mainly small-production, family-run places where the owner or another family member is also likely to be pouring your wine, so they're good places to ask questions about the growing and production process.

Restaurants: Kirin: Delicious dim sum in Vancouver’s “new” Chinatown

We decided to try the Richmond branch of the Vancouver mini-chain Kirin, a large restaurant filled with Chinese families on the second floor of a nondescript mall (as most good Chinese restaurants seem to be!). Though Kirin didn't offer the dim sum wheeled around on carts that we love, we were impressed with the huge menu featuring some unusual choices. (And we ended up totally over-ordering.)

Wine We Drink: Thirty Bench – 2007 Beamsville Bench Red

We lazily made our way towards the quaint Niagara-on-the-Lake stopping to take in a taste of the local grape in an area just south of the lake and west of the St. Catharines referred to as the Niagara Escarpment. This area has shale and limestone cliffs from the glacial movements that provide good drainage for the rain and melting snow and allows the roots of the vines to grow deep. Over 40 wineries have cropped up over the years further establishing the Niagara Peninsula as a strong appellation and the jewel in the VQA crown.