Dande: Alberta’s original settlers’ wine

Dande won top honey wine in 2014 Alberta Beverage Awards and judges selection in 2016

Many of us had a family member who made Dandelion wine.  It was the settler’s wine in a grape-less province and speaks to the resourcefulness of those who built this country.  But make no mistake, it was not an inferior product, our ancestors valued quality and good taste.  Dandelion wine is exquisite and unique in taste.  It is a medium-dry wine, best served chilled.  It smells of pastures full of wildflowers, the fresh morning dew, and the delicate texture of its golden flower petals.  It arrives on your tongue, fresh like the awakening foothills, warms you up like the sunshine and leaves you with an earthy sensation of embrace.  It is mysterious, grounding and lingers in the mouth with a taste for more. It is the ultimate white wine adventure.  So seducing and mysterious that even beer drinkers become fans.

Here is what Tara Petersen, I.S.G. Sommelier says about it:

Visual: Light, refreshing.  The color of golden straw. Good balance between alcohol and juice.

On the nose: Delicate, the smell of a summerfield, wildflowers, the smell of honey, the smell of sunshine and a tiny bit of vanilla.

On the tongue: Well balanced.  Very well structured with a good length of honey and berries.  Fantastic length.  Good acidity, dry, good balance of fruit, very drinkable, very food friendly.


A food lab in Edmonton has analyzed Dande for its minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. The antioxidant results were so off the scale the lab retested to make sure their results were correct. Red wine is known for its antioxidants and a 5 ounce glass contains on average 320 mg of polyphenol antioxidants. Dande contains 41,100 mg of polyphenol antioxidants in a 5 ounce glass, or the equivalent of 120 glasses of red wine.

Food pairings:

Dande pairs particularly well with white meats (chicken/turkey), seafood, anything smokey (like Parmesan ham, bacon, smoked ribs or smoked cheese), anything with a tomato in (the acidity of tomatoes pairs beautifully with Dande), seafood (especially white fish and shrimp), earthy tones like mushrooms, root vegetables, mustard or olives and many Asian foods like curry or dishes with peanut sauces.  At Spirit Hills we actually pour Dande into our homemade curry and then pair the wine with the meal.

Some dinner ideas: chicken with tomatoes and olives, pasta with tomato sauce and shrimp, smoked ribs, cod baked in butter, curry, goat cheese filled japapenos wrapped in bacon or Parmesan ham.  All pair beautifully with Dande.

Spirit Hills Wine Cocktails

Danderita: the cowboy’s Margarita – served over ice!

– 2 parts Dande

– 1 part Sprite

– 1/2 part Tequila

– 1/4 part lime juice