Under the stars with a bold film and bold wines

Under the stars with a bold film and bold wines

At their annual summer dining event, The Foreign Affair Winery is debuting a brand new wine

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Is there a better way to enjoy the height of summer than being the first to try a newly unbarrelled wine with a chef-prepared meal and a classic film?

The eighth edition of Foreign Affair Winery’s Pig Roast & Movie Under the Stars, taking place on Saturday, August 25, celebrates the big, bold reds the vintner is known for with an intimate meal in the winery’s barrel cellar, followed by an outdoor screening of the 1996 classic Big Night. About two Italian-American brothers caught up in a restaurant rivalry, the al fresco film night brings a taste of Italian-inspired food culture to Niagara wine country—perfectly in line with the heritage of Foreign Affair.


The relaxed and casual event, with a menu including spit-roast pork, fresh corn and baked potatoes by chef Tom Robinson of Foodies Anonymous, takes advantage of the beautiful treed landscape of the winery’s Niagara Region acreage. But the wines themselves will be the stars of the evening. Guests will be the first to taste Foreign Affair’s 2016 vintage Sangiovese, which is among the wine-pairing selections.

“It’s not only new this year, but it’s also new for us, as we’ve never done a Sangiovese before,” says Kelly Josephson, sales and marketing coordinator at the winery. “What makes us unique is our specialization in the appassimento process, so this wine is a partial appassimento. We’re always innovating, trying this technique with new varietals. With the roasted pork, it’s going to be the perfect pairing.”

Foreign Affair founders Len and Marisa Crispino were inspired by the appassimento process behind Amarone-style wines when living as expats in Italy. This passion led to the planting of the vineyard in 2000, with the inaugural vintage being in 2004. Grapes are hand picked and left to dry naturally over the course of two to four months, depending on the year and the grape.

Though the process cuts the yield in half, and adds substantial time and labour, the results can be astonishing: full flavours, full body, deep colour, big tannins. What often makes the wines appealing to collectors is how gracefully they age. Staff recently opened a bottle from the original 2004 harvest and found it had done remarkably well. “Everything is heightened, and everything is in balance,” says Josephson. Since its founding, the winery has become a leader not only in appassimento itself, but in ingeniously applying it to a range of grape varieties.

The Pig Roast event remains one of The Foreign Affair’s most fun and the most connected to the wine-producing experience. Not just because of the food and the well-chosen movies, but because it takes place as the winery gears up for the harvest.

“Because we’re always at the mercy of the weather and the wine gods, the harvest is always a very creative thing, something different every time,” says Josephson.

The eighth annual Pig Roast & Movie Under the Stars takes place Saturday, August 25, at The Foreign Affair Winery in Lincoln, Ontario. Tickets are available here for $100; $90 for members of The Foreign Affair Wine Club. The reception starts at 6:30pm, with the meal served buffet-style at 7pm. Guests should bring their own chairs for the film screening and, if needed, blankets and warm clothes. In case of rain, the film will be shown inside the winery. For guests who want to make the event the focus of a wine-country weekend, Foreign Affair has partnered with Vintage Hotels to provide an accommodation offer.