What could possibly be more satisfying than a nice glass of wine at the end of a rough day of work? What about multiple excellent glasses of wine from some of the best vineyards on the continent during a relaxing, week long vacation?
A vacation to Niagara Falls has emerged as an oenophile’s dream due to the hundreds of outstanding wines that come from grapes grown in the region’s superior soils. Connoisseurs from all corners of the globe flock to the area, as Niagara’s wineries continue to establish themselves as on par with new and old world vineyards alike. On your next trip, stop in at any of these six vineyards to learn more about wine culture in the Niagara region.
1. Flat Rock Cellars
This is a huge, 98-acre property with a huge tasting room that overlooks gorgeous Lake Ontario. Flat Rock has won awards for its chardonnay, riesling, and pinot noir, and the master winemakers here pride themselves on their versatility and innovation. Plus, the owners, a father-son team with the shared name Ed Madronich, bring in food trucks on the weekends, so you can fill your stomach on more than wine without interrupting your tasting.
2. Five Rows at Lowry Vineyards
This is one of the smallest and newest winemakers in the valley, but most critics agree that Five Rows produces wines that could already go head-to-head with many of their French-made counterparts. The tasting room is humble, to put it quaintly, but the service is excellent and the descriptions are on-point.
3. Ravine Vineyard
If you are traveling with a companion who isn’t much for wine — but you are — you should set your sights on Ravine. This winemaker is one of the oldest in the region, with farmland dating back to 1802, and time and time again Ravine has paved the way for other wine crafters in Niagara. However, the real gem of Ravine is its unparalleled Bistro, which serves up exquisite food pairings to go with tastes of the vineyard’s signature wines. So while you enjoy the wine, your partner can enjoy the meal.
This winery may have a funny name, but the master winemakers here are serious about their craft. In fact, Inniskillin is one of the foremost vineyards in the region devoted to Niagara’s favorite wine: icewine. With a carefully honed growing and treating process, icewine can be difficult to create, but Inniskillin has built the unknown varietal into an eagerly sought treat. If you love sampling rare or exotic flavors, you can’t miss Inniskillin’s line of icewines.
5. Peller Estates
This massive winery specializes in almost every varietal you could name, and it has become famous in the region for producing jaw-dropping vintage after jaw-dropping vintage. The restaurant on-site is internationally renowned for celebrity chef Jason Parsons’s impeccable palate, and the Reserve Boutique, a secret tasting room secluded away from the hubbub, is invitation-only due to the high demand of entry from global expert sommeliers.
6. Tawse Winery
One of the newest contenders in the Niagara area, Tawse only opened in 2005. However, the winemakers here have a reputation for producing consistently high-quality wines equal to the products coming from the winery’s long-lived neighbors. Connoisseurs note the wines’ purity and devotion to the distinct grape varietals, which is especially impressive considering the wines range from light rieslings to rich cabernets.