Wine event eclipsed by mother nature           

Totality meets wine country Ontario – that could be the alternative title to this post.

I live in Toronto and I wasn’t overly excited about the idea of the eclipse. At least, not until I got an email from Cave Spring Vineyard in early March about the Solarbration they were having at their Vineyard Tasting Room.

I’m on a lot of winery mailing lists and Cave Spring’s announcement was the first to hit my inbox – and it sounded like fun: a box lunch catered by RPM Bakehouse (one of my favourite cafés in Jordan Village), a glass of wine, a pair of eclipse glasses (for viewing, not of the drinking kind) and live music. As soon as I got the announcement, I asked a friend who agreed that it sounded fun, and I booked two tickets.

The Niagara region had pre-emptively declared a state of emergency – but that was mainly to help with crowd control right at the Falls. Cave Spring’s Vineyard Tasting Room is in Beamsville and it’s up on the ridge of the escarpment, so fewer crowds than going directly into Niagara Falls.

We figured it might take a couple hours to get there, but traffic wasn’t much worse than normal. And, when we were in Beamsville a bit earlier than expected, we stopped in at another nearby winery first. They were busy for a Monday morning and it was fun to hear others talking about where they were headed to view the eclipse. One couple I knew from wine events said they were headed to Sue Ann Staff (a bit further along) and another couple behind me were talking about Cave Spring’s event. It was fun to know others would be enjoying the region – eclipse or not. (It turns out many of the main Ontario wine regions were in the path of totality and there were winery events – formal and informal – at many.)

Cave Spring’s Vineyard Tasting Room is a beautiful glass building with a nice patio. Because March weather is unpredictable, they set up dining tables inside the building. They had limited the number of people and they did a lovely job – name cards and everything! It turns out indoor dining was a good idea, as it was quite overcast and cooler than I expected.

After lunch we headed out to the patio. As I said – it was quite overcast but there were a few blue patches far off – so most of us just hoped that the blue skies might head our way in time. It took a few minutes to figure out where the sun might be (behind the clouds). I was looking more toward the horizon toward the south west. Thankfully others were looking more up, and soon I too located the elusive sun. It was so cloudy that regular sunglasses were sufficient for the first bit – when the moon shadow made the sun look like a crescent.

Every now and then we’d try the eclipse glasses and as the clouds moved, you could see a snatch of the sun and moon. I had NO idea how dark the eclipse glasses were. Unless the sun was visible through the clouds, you would swear the glasses were opaque! But, we kept watching through them – and hoping… And, low and behold, as totality occurred, the cloud cover thinned enough that we could see exactly what we came to – the bright ring of the sun glowing behind the full moon. We were a small crowd, but you couldn’t help but clap – at the sight and at the good fortune that the clouds moved just at the right time.

Because of the clouds, the day was pretty dark to begin with. I think it made it even more surprising that we noticed how much darker it got during totality. And because I had read something about looking at the horizon looking behind you, I did turn my head (toward the north) and it looked like day break. I snapped a quick photo of that (quite unfocused) – just to remember what it looked like.

Anyway – though I’ve never had anything less than a good time at an Ontario winery – this was clearly a once-in-a-lifetime highlight. Mother nature deserves the credit, but a big thank you – and well done – goes to Cave Spring Vineyard for hosting a great event!

One thought on “Wine event eclipsed by mother nature           

  1. chrystal

    What a great experience you had! It sounds lovely!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.