Victoria Day Wines


Klaire McCallum


In honour of Queen Victoria’s 199th birthday, we thought we’d suggest a few of her favourite sips for any long weekend soirees you might participate in. After a little research it became quite clear that Queen Victoria was made of much stronger stuff than most of us and as a result, recommending some of her favoured recipes ranges from somewhat questionable to entirely illegal.

A staunch opposer of prohibition, Queen Victoria was known to enjoy a very stiff drink. A dram of Scotch topped with red wine, anyone?  While this booze-heavy dinner concoction sounds impressive, it is down right mellow compared to her drink of choice: the infamous “Vin Mariani”, aka Coca-Cola’s regal ancestor.

Queen Victoria was known to love Vin Mariani. With Bordeaux wine as the base, it sounds fit enough for a Queen, however the addition of Peruvian Coca Leaves really puts the intensity with which those Victorians could imbibe into context. This coca wine was marketed as a curative that aided mental and physical vitality. While we don’t recommend you give this particular health drink a go, Queen Victoria was very much sold on the wine and cocaine cocktail. Here are some less aggressive options you should give a try this Victoria Day long weekend.  

Companion Wine Co. Riesling - Monterey, California - $15.75

Often the inaugural camping excursion of the year, May long weekend draws thousands to our mountains to experience life’s simpler pleasures. There isn’t much that can compare to campfire cooking or pulling an ice cold drink from the cooler. The convenience of a can is certainly appealing when you’re roughing it, but that doesn’t mean you should feel limited to beer and pop. Canned wine, specifically from Companion Wine Co., is a awesome option. Its laid back packaging cracks open to reveal a zesty, zippy, thirst-quenching Riesling made by Ryan Stirm of Stirm Wine Co.  Stirm is committed to demonstrating how suitable the California climate is to making delicious Riesling. With sustainably grown grapes this riesling is not only delicious, but is produced according to natural winemaking philosophies.

Bonus: lower environmental impact, no pesky corks, and you’re paying for delicious, crushable wine rather than packaging.

Alloy Everyday Rosé - Central Coast, California - $16

In keeping with the theme of the canned wine and its everyday applications, let’s talk about the perfect picnic wine. Portability is key when it comes to picnics. So why not grab a can of the Alloy Everyday Rosé.  Picnic tidy up will be a breeze and you’ll be totally charmed by this delicious wine. It’s vibrant pink, pleasantly tart, and the perfect pairing for a summery sandwich. A unique mix of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc, this spring sipper is chock full of sweet strawberry, tangy tropical fruit, and pretty floral flavours. At ¾ of the standard bottle, these cans are perfect for sharing. Alloy is an offshoot of Field Recordings, who are known for unique and flavoursome wines coming out of California. So plan a picnic, grab some Alloy Everyday Rosé, and enjoy.

Domaine Houchart Côtes de Provence - Provence, France - $21

If you’re heading to a cabin or cottage this long weekend, you might want to consider grabbing a bottle (or two) of Domaine Houchart rosé. Pale salmon pink with flavours of wild red berries and citrus fruit, this classic Provençal rosé screams spring and almost demands to be enjoyed outdoors. Idyllic and easy drinking, this pairs perfectly with a fresh summer salad or is great on its own. Domaine Houchart has been in the Houchart family for 5 generations. They have classically South of France history including Cezanne, Roman ruins, and Napoleon. We truly think you should drink this delightful country wine while you create some family history of your own out at the cottage.

Terre del Barolo Verduno Pelaverga - Piemonte, Italy - $21.50

If you are having a BBQ this Victoria Day long weekend, do yourself a favour and give this Pelaverga a go. It pairs so nicely with anything grilled, from turkey burgers to portobello mushrooms. This wine is so good. Its a unique varietal from Piemonte you can rarely find anywhere else. It is fresh, well structured, and savoury. It’s red, but delicious with a slight chill. And best of all, it’s cheap! The Terre del Barolo Verduno Pelaverga comes from a cooperative of 300 small farms who grow high quality grapes.   They are strongly committed to ensuring the lesser known grapes of Piemonte are still produced, especially with Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto in such high demand. It is pale ruby red in the glass and has enticing notes of wild lavender and black pepper, made lively with a pop of bright, tart cherry. Fire up the barbeque, get grilling, and sip on some of this!