Last week, the White Oaks team went on a field trip to the new Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery, and in honour of their official grand opening this weekend, we wanted to share our incredible experience with you!
The property features two separate buildings, dedicated to whiskey and wine, respectively. We walked into the Distillery, which featured a retail shop that screamed “man cave” in the best way possible. It was filled with whiskeys, rocks glasses and tumblers, and homages to Gretzky’s hockey past. Through the centre was a large, wooden bar surrounded by clusters of people doing whiskey tastings.
In the distillery, the whiskey brewing process was explained to us, as we all stared in awe at the towering copper stills. We were led up the stairs to a room that overlooks the tasting bar and retail space. There were long high-top tables that opened up to reveal three rocks glasses that are used for educational whiskey tastings.
We were then welcomed into the winery, where we stood in what felt like a grand Family Room. There were plush red couches and pictures showcasing Gretzky’s young beginning. We toured the basement barrel cellar, where all of the wines are aged. As we walked along the hallway to the wine tasting area, we were literally taking a walk down memory lane, with pictures of Gretzky’s childhood, teen years, and adult career hanging on the walls. The wine tasting room was full of plush red chairs and tables for sit down tastings, as well as a tasting bar.
Outside, the property has a beautiful patio where you can sit and admire a fountain. The fountain, however, is more versatile than that. It’s a full sized rink, that will be frozen in the winter, to allow guests to skate and enjoy the great outdoors.
Our group was brought upstairs, where we were introduced to Zac Kvas, a mixologist at Gretzky’s. The bar was filled with stations for each team member that featured the ingredients we would need to make a variety of cocktails.
The first, was called a ‘Whiskey Grotto Smash’ which featured their Red Cask Whiskey, lemon, mint, and a honey-lavender simple syrup. Then we watched as they put a crystal decanter of whiskey in a glass case and actually smoked it right in front of us. We all got a shot of this smoked whiskey, which we chased with a maple roasted marshmallow. For ‘dessert’ we had a delicious chocolate-y, minty, whiskey drink that tasted like a little bit of heaven… or an After Eight that was made with a Vidal whiskey.
After our cocktail making class, we relaxed with charcuterie and good conversation. We had an incredible time viewing the property and learning about the whiskey and wine making processes.
Overall, Gretzky’s is a wonderful property, with fantastic products. They have a great patio, to allow people to enjoy the outdoors, and we can’t wait to take a trip back when the fountain is frozen and we can strap on our skates!
Can’t wait to check it out? Click here to view the schedule for their Grand Opening this weekend!