Organized Crime and the Foreign Affair

On a visit to the Twenty Valley, my favourite wine region of Ontario, I decided to try a new (well, new for me) winery called Organized Crime. I have to admit that I've driven past this winery a few times and have never bothered to go in. Well, that was certainly my loss and I will never make that mistake again. Lesson learned: never make a snap judgment because you could be missing out on something good. Organized Crime is a small boutique winery located what's known as the "Beamsville Bench" of the Niagara Peninsula. The tasting/shop area is small but very cozy, with a nice display of the wines and various pieces of artwork on the wall. It was just my luck that the winemaker himself happened to be there! It was fate. The wine gods wanted me to continue my adventure of fine-wine drinking. It also happens to be that he's Polish, as are the owners, of the winery. What a coincidence...that's a part of my heritage! The wines were smooth, soft and delicious. Each variety of wine was labeled with a part of the Organized Crime story. The winemaker also makes wines for another winery called Foreign Affair. He took us there for some more tastings after our visit at Organized Crime.

The name of the winery is from local history. Sometime in the 1900s, there were two Mennonite churches who were in an argument with eachother over the acquisition of a pipe organ. When the one church acquired the musical instrument, the members of the other church stole it and tossed it down an embankment. Needless to say, the organ was destroyed. The winery has a very diverse portfolio with wines made from varieties such as Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Sryah just to name a few plus two blended reds that are just fantastic. Some of the wines have interesting names such as "The Download" which is their signature red.

The consultant winemaker for Organized Crime, Andrzej Lipinski, also makes the wines at Foreign Affair. The wine labels of Foreign Affair are also like small pieces of artwork. Each label features an animal such as a moose or a polar bear. What's interesting about both winery bottle labels is that the labels are textured and feel neat when running your fingers over them. An interesting fact with the production of these wines is that they are made in the Apassimento method (grapes that air-dried after harvest). This gives the wines body and lots of flavour. Shazam!

Back in September, Andrzej was in Toronto pouring his wines at a tasting event at the Fine Wine Reserve on King Street. I think he brought almost every single wine in the Organized Crime portfolio! After spending some time with him over a couple of dinners and more than a few bottles of his wines, the passion that he has for his craft is inspiring. The way that he describes the wines and the various methods that went into their production, make me appreciate them even more. It's interesting to hear him talk about his past and the path taken to where he is today. Having stumbled into winemaking has proven to be a treat for anyone who drinks his wines! I am a huge fan.

A great article about Andrzej Lipinski:

Twenty Valley consists of the areas of Beamsville, Vineland and Jordan. There are some fantastic wineries in this area that are definitely worth visiting. The area is before Niagara-on-the-Lake and only about an hour from Toronto. For more information on the Twenty Valley: