By Hollie Grace James –
The newest business buzz in the neighborhood is all about the vino. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a casual-but-eclectic night out, Heather Davey and Welly Wine Tours is now officially taking patrons on culinary explorations around Kitchissippi.
As a fresh transplant to the Hintonburg/Wellington West area after moving to Ottawa in January, Heather is certainly thrilled with her new home. “I love the small-town vibe of the neighborhood – there are so many unique and local businesses who all support each other,” she says.
Heather was hard at work completing the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award in Wine and couldn’t help but notice all the hottest and hippest spots, including the independent coffee joints, innovative restaurants, and local shops and businesses. “I found it to be a very happy atmosphere, and something I wanted to celebrate and showcase.” What better way to do so than through a culinary tour?
With a day job as a geologist consultant, part of what drew Heather to wine in the first place is the influence that soil and climate has on the resulting product. “As a geologist I love when wine tells a story about the rocks it was grown in,” reads the caption of one of her Instagram posts about a Sicilian wine from the Etna region.
Although there are different options when obtaining a certification in wine, the WSET program, from which Heather has graduated, puts a greater focus on product knowledge and tasting skills as opposed to the Sommelier course, which is more about acting as such in a restaurant setting.
A surefire way to develop and hone a skill is through experience and Heather has taken this to heart. Having lived in four different countries (Argentina, Germany, the U.S., and Canada) and travelled to over forty, she has been privy to many different ways of life and vastly different cultures, believing whole-heartedly that “travel is the best way to educate yourself and get to know the world on an authentic level.” And, of course, this world experience has also broadened her perspective on wine. “I have a soft spot in my heart for Mosel Valley rieslings and malbecs from Mendoza,” says Heather.
Partnered with hip local restaurants such as Ward 14 Consignment Bar, The Hintonburg Public House, and Bar Laurel, Welly Wine is currently offering four tours to the public. The Pizza and Wine tour features the top three gems of Ottawa’s ‘za scene and each pie is, of course, paired with a delicious wine. The Ottawa Eclectic takes participants along Preston Street where the borders of Hintonburg, Little Italy, and Chinatown meet and promises “a truly unique fusion of flavours and cultures.” This tour includes wine with a food pairing at three stops and dessert with a cocktail/digestif at the final stop. The Welly Tapas Tour hits up three of Heather’s favourite places along Wellington West, and The Welly Contemporary Tour goes to three spots “known for their unique approach to food and wine.”
Offering easy drinking and the opportunity to learn more about wine while experiencing the style and specialties of participating restaurants, all tours are two hours and 30 minutes and range in price from $80 to $110 per person. Heather also customizes tours for bachelorette parties, birthday bashes, and retirement soirées. One thing is certain, Heather promises a great night out to experience Kitchissippi’s diverse, exciting, and trendy wine and culinary scene in a way you’ve never experienced before.
For more information about Welly Wine Tours go to wellywinetours.com.