30 Days of Local Wine

Next on the list for the 30 Days of Local Wine is Black Bear Farms & Estate Winery‘s Gooseberry Wine. When owner William looks at this wine bottle with the bear coming out of the bush, he says it sometimes looks like he sat on a gooseberry patch and found out they have a good inch long thorn on them! Needless to say it gives him a good chuckle.

“It’s not easy getting those berries”, says Black Bear owner, William.

The gooseberry wine is made from red gooseberries grown right on the Black Bear Farm and has a unique flavour, just like the fruit, which can sometimes have a sour skin and a sweet centre.

“As kids we would suck the centres of the fruit and throw out the skins” adds William’s business partner and sister, Michelle. “As adults we now enjoy the whole fruit and especially the wine.”

You can complement your meal with this wine and especially the red meats and pasta dishes you are serving. Be creative.

When Chef Scott Edmunds of Centro paired a recipe with this wine, he mentioned he had just served a Beef Carpaccio as a special that day that was inspired by this wine. This is a very simple recipe that celebrates good, local beef . It may be used as wonderful starter for a dinner party or as an elegant hors d’oeuvres:

Beef Carpaccio with a Balsamic Gooseberry Wine Reduction


  • 1 Pound Beef, tenderloin or flank steak
  • 8 Ounces Baby Arugula, large stems removed (mixed greens also works)
  • 4 Ounces Parmesan

Heat up a small skillet with a tablespoon of oil. Briefly sear the beef on all sides. You want the outside of the beef to brown, but the inside should remain very rare.

Place the beef on a plate and put in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will make it easier to slice. Slice the chilled beef as thin as possible against the grain.

On chilled plates, place a small handful of arugula in the center. Top the arugula with slices of beef.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave some Parmesan over the beef.
Drizzle a teaspoon or so of Balsamic Gooseberry Wine Reduction over the whole thing and serve.

Balsamic Gooseberry Wine Reduction


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. Gooseberry wine
  • ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. butter


  1. Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the shallot and cook until soft and translucent but not brown, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the wine, vinegar, honey, and thyme to the pan. Whisk to combine.
  4. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-high and boil mixture slowly until reduced by half, 15-20 minutes.
  6. Pour reduced mixture through a fine strainer into a small bowl, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
  7. Return the strained liquid to the sauce pan and warm over low heat.
  8. Whisk in butter until melted and fully combined.
  9. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe for Success
You can substitute a sprig or two of rosemary for the thyme in this recipe or even use a combination of the two. The herbs add an additional level of earthy flavour to the wine but if you’d like, you can also leave them out if you don’t have them on hand. For this application fresh herbs are best, it’s better to skip them than use dried herbs.

You can make the sauce 30 minutes ahead of time. Leave it off the heat and gently re-warm it over low heat when ready to serve. The sauce may separate some but a quick whisk will recombine it.

Chef Scott strains the herbs and shallots from the sauce to create a smoother sauce. You can absolutely skip the straining step and the sauce will have some texture from the shallots and thyme, giving it a more rustic feel. If you choose not to strain the sauce, be sure to fish out any woody stems from the thyme; the leaves will fall off during the reduction. If you use rosemary instead of or in addition to the thyme and don’t plan to strain the sauce, strip them from the stems first and give them a rough chop before adding to the sauce so you don’t end up with full-size rosemary leaves in the sauce.

Chefs Notes

Finish this dish with a drizzle of olive oil,or even better, truffle oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt.