Romance is in the air at Bonitas Winery. Together since Bonitas opened in 2008, Lawrence Hopper and Diane Esslinger made it official earlier this year – and Diane wears the engagement ring as glittering proof!

The news ushers in a new and exciting year for Bonitas Winery, where award-winning wine, locally-inspired global cuisine and intriguing art by daughter Teira Hopper are showcased in contemporary, Mediterranean-style surroundings. When Bonitas Bistro opens in early spring, Chef Colin Rayner will serve up lunch and dinner for hungry diners in the 2nd floor dining room and the two, large, sun-drenched patios, with Bonitas wines.

After a lengthy approval process, the lakeside winery now has a six-slip boat dock, providing direct access for winery guests, a unique feature which complements the on-site helipad. Here is a sampling of Bonitas wines on offer this spring:

2011 Gewürztraminer (tank sample) $21.00

Letting grapes hang until the end of October ensures good brix for this lovely Gewürz. Clean, crisp and dry, it exhibits flavours of rose petal, white peach, lychee, ginger root and white pepper.

2011 ‘Eye Candy’ Viognier (tank sample) $24.00

A cornucopia of fruit and spice, Eye Candy struts a creamy texture and nuances of pineapple, peach, orange peel, mineral, anise, honey and almond.

2011 Pinot Gris (tank sample) $20.00

This Crowd-pleaser makes for pure pleasure on the patio. Intensely fresh and fruity, it reveals essences of pear, kiwi, melon, green apple and mineral balanced by a hint of softness.

2009 ‘Limited Artist’ Series Merlot $40.00

Following in the footsteps of the 2008 Merlot, a Double Gold Medal winner, the smooth, seamless 2009 delivers nuances of black cherry, ripe berry cocoa, vanilla and smoky oak backed by silky tannins.

2009 ‘Limited Artist Series’ Pinot Noir $35.00

Aged in French oak, this elegant Pinot Noir shows off its pedigree with flavours suggesting plum, black cherry, beetroot, earth and vanilla, and silky smooth tannins.

~ Michael Botner