Thanks for all the recs for my weekend in Vineland/the 20 valley. Here's the summary....
We had a great time - stayed at Black Walnut Manor, which I highly recommend along with many around here. Carole and Mike were kind, gracious, but laid-back and approachable, and the accommodations and food were lovely.
We did a package which included a meal at the nearby Vineland Estates Winery - what a lovely spot! The room was dripping with ambiance, but never loud, our table was appropriately secluded but had a nice view of the room and (barring the dark night and clouds) the vineyards, and the service was professional, personal and efficient, especially the expert wine pairings. Definitely a notch above On the 20, IMHO. My partner started with potato gnocchi in a chorizo sausage sauce - stunning! I had greens with an apple-bacon dressing, which was so so so good with my Semi-Dry Vineland Estates Riesling. My main was monkfish, wrapped in prosciutto, wrapped in prawn, which was too fishy for my taste, but would probably please a fish-lover. The boy had a beef tenderloin, deceptively large and perfectly cooked to order. Cumbrae of course. We finished with a trio of cheesecakes for him - pistachio, almond, and butter pecan, so little and lovely, and a "chewy tart" for me - a toasted-marshmallow butter tart sort of creation with chocolate pieces and almonds inside - stunning. But perhaps the best part of the evening was the beautiful diamond ring my partner presented me when he proposed just before dessert!
Our Sunday in the valley included stops at Tawse (didn't try anything, they only had chards which i HATE), Creekside (in search of an Ontarian shiraz that holds up, which I found), Vineland Estate (to pick up the Pinot the SO loved the night before), Malivoire (pricey Gewurtz was very good, we bought a nice spicy Gamay), Thirty Bench (lovely riesling and big heady red blend came home with us), Hidden Bench (no tasting here, too rich for our blood) and Fielding Estate (such an incredible tasting experience - great service, great wines, especially the riesling which we purchases, the fireside red - baco - which we also purchased, and the meritage, which we hope some day to be able to afford!) The best part about all the winreies was that they were quiet, no crowds or tourists like in summer, so we got to really talk with the winemakers, which is what it's all about!
so thanks for the recs once again!