One look at the lush, expansive hills and valleys of Niagara and you’ll know. This is wine country. In fact, the Niagara Peninsula is one of the most acclaimed grape-growing and winemaking regions in Ontario. Gently blanketing much of the Niagara countryside, the countless vineyards and wineries offer a wide array of one-of-kind, intimate experiences. Whether you’re a serious connoisseur, or a wandering grazer more interested in food and views, our portfolio of wineries is a great place to start when planning your next trip.
If you’ve never experienced a tasting room or a winery tour you’ll quickly become hooked. Each winery in Niagara has a unique atmosphere, its own winemaker and beautifully crafted wines that embody “terroir;” wine speak that simply means that the wine reflects the soils and conditions in which the grapes have been grown. This is where tasting becomes so important as you sip and savour to discover your preferences.
Many of our wineries are small, producing limited batches of wines that you may have enjoyed in a restaurant but can’t find on retail shelves. When you find your favourites, make sure to take a few bottles home.
You can realistically visit four or five wineries in a day, so you may want to plan your day around a specific region or theme.
If you don’t want to do the driving, there are companies that specialize in wine tours and packages. You’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable tour guide, which can add a great deal to the overall experience. Check out Crush on Niagara Wine Tours, Grape Escape Wine Tours, Grape & Wine Niagara Tours and Niagara Vintage Wine Tours.
The large wineries in Niagara have made a huge impact, historically speaking, by bringing Niagara’s cool-climate wines to the world stage and cleaning up with critical acclaim and top awards in international competitions. One of Niagara’s pioneers, Inniskillin Winery, broke new ground when its Icewine won a huge international award in 1991 and the world suddenly developed a keen interest in Niagara wines.
Some iconic wineries you won’t want to miss include:
Cave Spring Cellars, Vineland Estates Winery and Henry of Pelham Family Estate in Twenty Valley and St. Catharines; Chateau des Charmes, Trius Winery, Inniskillin and Peller Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. And if you’re into specialty wines, visit Organic Wineries in Niagara.
Small, independent/artisanal wineries offer visitors insight into their boutique approach to winemaking. They may be small, but they produce award-winning wines. A few to start your exploration: Twenty Valley’s Foreign Affair (Amarone style wines), Daniel Lenko, Hidden Bench, Tawse and Ravine Vineyard.
Contemporary architecture may compel you to visit certain wineries. Take a look at: Jackson-Triggs-Winery, Stratus and Southbrook in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fielding Estates and Malivoire in the Twenty Valley area.