Shrugging Doctor Wine Tasting In Winnipeg

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Tasting room with vintage sofas and tables at Shrugging Doctor Beverage Company
A visit to the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada tasting room of Shrugging Doctor Beverage Company, maker of wine, ciders, mead, and sangria

The province of Manitoba in the centre of Canada is definitely not a wine region, but one company is making wine along with other beverages. Shrugging Doctor Beverage Company makes ciders, meads, several berry wines, sangria, vodka sodas, and grape wines. The grape wines include a Cabernet made with Niagara-area grapes and a couple of wines made with Manitoba grapes. Yes, you read that correctly. More on the Manitoba grapes later.

Shrugging Doctor opened its doors in 2017. In 2023, it moved to a new location in the St. James neighbourhood of Winnipeg. I visited the tasting room at that location.

The Doctor’s Lounge

Manitoba’s first wine and cider tasting room, aka the “Doctor’s Lounge,” is an L-shaped room wrapped around an L-shaped bar. It contains bar seating, a section with vintage sofas, and a number of tables and chairs in a high-ceilinged room with a bit of an industrial feel.

L-shaped bar
Tables in a fairly plain wine tasting room with window into brewing area

A window in the back wall offers a look into the brewing facility.

The tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday from 4pm to 10 pm. It may be worthwhile checking before visiting to ensure it hasn’t been booked for a private event. You may also want to bring a sweater. We found the room to be on the chilly side.

The Beverages

You can get Shrugging Doctor wines, meads, sangria, and ciders by the glass in the tasting room. They also serve tasting flights featuring 3 or 5 smaller glasses of your choice.

Two wine flights, one with 5 glasses and one behind it with 3

I had the following in my tasting flight of 5:

Red Sangria: According to the tasting notes on the website, this has “tastes of cranberries, apples, and oranges with hints of lemon and ginger.” I found it too sweet for my liking, but my friend liked it enough to buy a bottle to take home. Note that Shrugging Doctor also makes a white sangria.

Cabernet: This mid-bodied dry red wine is made with grapes from Canada’s Niagara region. I liked it.

Raspberry Chocolate Wine: To make this wine, Shrugging Doctor further ages their classic raspberry wine in real cocoa. It has a smooth taste with a chocolate undertone. A bit on the sweet side, it would make a nice dessert wine.

Blueberry Wine: This had a rich, smooth taste. I was surprised at how much I liked this wine. It reminded me a little of port, but without the heavy taste fortification can give port. It was sweet, but not too sweet.  This is a nice after dinner or before dinner wine.

Manitoba Grape White Wine: This was a dry, crisp wine. I got a hint of apple when I first tasted it, but not so much in later sips. I liked it, but it may not be for those who do not like dry wines. I think the wine, served chilled, would be lovely for a hot summer afternoon on the patio.

Now we get to more about Manitoba grapes. Shrugging Doctor has a vineyard in Manitoba’s Pembina Valley that was originally planted in the late 2000s. According to the website, Manitoba’s growing season is long and warm enough to support grape production, but the winters can kill vines sometimes even before harvest. The hearty grapes in the vineyard are known as “cold climate grapes” which are different than the “cool climate grapes” of Ontario and British Columbia. The grapes make quite dry wines because the growing season isn’t long enough to grow super sweet grapes. The website says to “expect floral notes with a lot of acidity.”

At this point, Shrugging Doctor makes two wines with Manitoba grapes: the white wine I tasted and a rosé. I opted not to try the rosé because I’d heard less favourable reviews about it. I may still try it at some point to decide for myself.

I am not a cider drinker and did not include a cider in my flight. My friend sampled the classic apple cider and said it was good. Shrugging Doctor makes a variety of flavoured ciders and a number of other fruit wines. At the tasting room they are also providing craft cocktails using their products. We didn’t sample any of those. Neither did we sample any of their meads.

A number of Shrugging Doctor beverages can be found in Manitoba Liquor Marts.

The Food

A number of snacks are available at the tasting room, as well as a couple of flatbreads and paninis and a charcuterie board.

I had the cheese and crackers (which features Bothwell cheese) and the Classic Panini. Note that the picture of the cheese and crackers above was taken after we’d already eaten some of it. The panini was good, not the best I’ve ever had, but good enough to order again.

I would return to the Shrugging Doctor Beverage Company tasting room to sample a few of the other drinks I did not try or to enjoy a single glass of a preferred wine and a snack while visiting with a friend.

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Visit to Shrugging Doctor Beverage Company Tasting Room in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Shrugging Doctor makes fruit wines, meads, ciders, and grape wines, including some from Manitoba grapes

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    1. Ken, the raspberry chocolate was actually all right. I thought I wouldn’t care for the fruit wines, but the ones I tried were pretty good – not a sickly sweet as I think I was expecting.