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Sommelier Mackenzie Putici Shares the 5 Best Niagara Wineries

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Knowledgable, friendly, and cute, let Mackenzie Putici share his passion for Canadian wine. 

Mackenzie Putici grew up in Western Canada, spent years working and traveling abroad as an ESL teacher, and finally was lured to Toronto by the diverse food and wine culture. After a few years working in fine dining, he decided to get his sommelier certification and start his own business, New World Wine Tours. He is excited to offer premium day trips to the wine regions of Niagara and Prince Edward County as well as several unique food and drink tours in the city. Luckily he can share my hobbies of food, wine, and travel as part of my work. 

What are three things you wish people knew about you?

Just because I am a sommelier, doesn’t mean I am judging your wine choices. If you like it, it is none of my business. 

I love board games and I would be pleased if someone brought one over to my apartment any night of the week.

I don’t want to talk about the weather: What I really mean is that when I meet you, I want to get to know YOU, not chat about Netflix shows and trivial topics.

What is your favorite thing to splurge on?
High tea. There is nothing better than getting together with a few close friends and catching up over an extended session of tea, gossip, gorgeous cakes, and, of course, a little Champagne. I began the tradition a few years back of attending high tea for my birthday, and it's the best gift to myself all year. 

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What are you most proud of?
I am proud to have always gone to the beat of my own drum and opted to take an unconventional approach to education and my career. I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up, but I have been loving the journey!

When traveling, what do you never leave home without?
This may sound boring, but I always take a hanging scale to weigh my luggage. This handy device has saved me from paying fees time and time again. It's essential if you shop a lot. 

My favorite wineries in Niagara that impress, but also help you avoid the tourist crowds. 

Kew Vineyards Estate Winery: Aside from hosting tastings in a gorgeous century home, this place shines for their sparkling. They grow the three classic Champagne varietals- Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier to make a range of traditional-method sparkling wines. 

Stratus Vineyards: French Wine Maker J-L Groux came to Canada to implement Bordeaux-style blending with an endless variety of grapes. Try their annual release of Stratus white and red are impeccable expressions of modern wine making. 

Hidden Bench Estate Winery: A winery looking to show off the terroir of Ontario with an Old World style. Possibly the best Pinot Noir in the region, but also making incredible Chardonnay and dry Riesling. 

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery: Ravine vineyards has a varied property able to ripen full reds, tart whites, and even botrytis-affected dessert wines. Despite the choice of wines their farm-to-table restaurant may be where you wish to spend your time. 

Tawse Winery: One of Canada’s only Biodynamic Wineries, the focus here is to listen to the land. Known locally for their Riesling they also produce fab Cabernet Franc, Pinot, and even a variety of icewines. Try the Chardonnay Icewine, you won’t find one anywhere else. 


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