Give a locally-made gift

Wednesday, December 14 2011

This post relates to Magnetic Hill Winery and B&B

Think Maritime-made this year when doing your holiday shopping.

Janet Everett wishes she had a video of the shocked expressions on her customers’ faces after they’ve tasted Magnetic Hill Winery’s Illusions and then discovered what the Gold Medal wine is actually made from. Although most patrons assume it’s a dry, medium-bodied grape wine, it’s actually a crisp white wine made from locally grown rhubarb.

“I usually don’t tell people what it’s made of until after they’ve tasted it,” laughs Janet, co-owner of the winery with her husband Jeff. “It’s excellent paired with any type of seafood.”
Illusions, packed with a Christmas-y cranberry wine and cleverly wrapped in the legs of a pair of Santa pants, is one of hundreds of gift ideas made right here in New Brunswick. From award-winning wines and chocolates to handmade jewelry and even fleece sheets, there are plenty of local and unique products for Santa and his helpers to choose from.

Other than Illusions, the Magnetic Hill Winery offers 12 more varieties priced between $7.50 and $14.99, taxes included; six of these recently won awards at the annual Atlantic Canadian Wine Competition.

“Everything we make our wines from is grown within an hour of Moncton, either by us or other farmers and it’s all fermented right here on site,” says Janet.

One of the wines she recommends as a Christmas gift is their Chocolate River Spice Fruit or as many customers refer to it “Christmas in a bottle” because of its pear and apple spice combination. It received the Dessert Wine of the Year award and a Gold Medal at this year’s Atlantic Canadian Wine Competition.

The popular wine is part of their Chocolate River series of dessert wines, which are similar to an after dinner liquor and excellent paired with chocolate. In fact, they often gift package the Chocolate River wines with chocolate shooter cups creating what they call “a party in a bag.”

“You pour your wine in this chocolate shooter cup, sip on your wine, have some refills and when your wine is gone, you get to eat your cup,” Janet says.

However, their most popular wine over the holidays is cranberry.
“You know how cranberry sauce ties together that chicken/turkey meal? Well, cranberry wine is incredible at Christmas and the colour of cranberry on your table is just so beautiful. Last year, it won a Silver Medal at the Atlantic Canadian Wine Competition, but this year we didn’t have a bottle to enter, however it turned out really well again.”

It’s also Janet’s top choice at Christmas and will be served with her family’s turkey dinner.
“The idea with cranberry is you still have all the health benefits of a red wine,” she says. “We even call it The Mystique because of the mystery around all the health benefits. It’s not only high in antioxidants, but it helps with our urinary tract, reduces memory loss…and the list goes on and on.”
Other than the Santa pants wrapping, wines and other related products of the customers’ choice can be packaged in winedeer baskets shaped like reindeers, which can hold gifts ranging from $30 to $100.

They can also package wines in a special heritage wine box made from wood dating back to 1867 from the original old farmhouse they restored into what’s now the winery. “Since this house is as old as Canada we took all the plaster laths out, cut them to length and made them into unique wine boxes. We package singles and double and decorate them with ribbons and bows for Christmas so they look really nifty.”

You can also purchase a $25 gift certificate for a summer picnic, which includes wine, crackers and Armadale cheese from Sussex, on the winery’s licensed patio, which has a panoramic view of Metro Moncton.

The winery also offers a full line of locally produced and bottled maple products, from syrups to maple cream including one of Janet’s decadent specialties – leaf shaped maple creams hand dipped in chocolate.

In their gift boutique, they also carry local artisan products such as wine glass-shaped stained glass sun catchers, hand painted wine glasses by local crafter Maureen Williams and wooden signs with comic sayings such as ‘drink wine, live longer, remember less’ and ‘Friends are like wine. They get better with age’ as well as jams, jellies and vinegars from Tansy Lane Herb Farm in Hillsborough.
All of these products are available daily from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Magnetic Hill Winery located at 860 Front Mountain Rd. and a limited selection of products are available on Saturday mornings at the Moncton and Dieppe Farmer’s Markets.


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