The Niagara region’s reputation for fertile land, excellent wines, and beautiful vineyards has been established for some time now. The soil, climate, and topography of the Niagara Peninsula is remarkably diverse, with microclimates ideal for producing grapes with more complex and abundant flavor than warmer climes, resulting in a wide variety of stellar wines.
Of all the viticulture areas in Canada, none plant as many grapes as Niagara, with over 32 varietals and more than 13,500 planted acres. Because of the region’s excellent terroir, soil, and reputation, new wineries consistently crop up in a quest to make a mark among the already excellent wineries in the area. The next time you plan a vacation to Niagara Falls, take a look at this handful of the more promising newcomers trying their hand at keeping up with the Joneses in the Niagara Peninsula.
PondView Estate Winery
A winery whose tradition reaches back three generations into the vineyards of Sicily, PondView Estate Winery is a new addition to the Four Mile Creek appellation. Family-owned and operated — like many of the Niagara Peninsula’s wineries — PondView excels in producing wines according to traditional practices. They’re so good at doing it that Lou Luciano — one of two in charge of operations at PondView — was given the title Grape King by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2008, an award that goes to the operator of the best vineyard in all of Ontario.
Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards
Notably started in 1984 when the co-founder of Inniskillin, Karl Kaiser, asked Howie Lowery to plant five rows of pinot noir for use in Inniskillin’s award-winning wines, what is now known as Five Rows spent the next two and a half decades as a vineyard that grew and sold high-quality grapes to other wineries. These days, 35 acres of Lowrey land are dedicated to their own craft wine endeavor, resulting in top-quality wines every bit as good as the French make. The entire winemaking operation is housed in a one-room barn that houses fermenting tanks, oak barrels, a tasting area, and cases of wine ready for purchase, giving the entire place a nostalgic feel.
An eco-focused winery, the people at Hinterbrook are committed to producing top-quality wines by utilizing the latest in technology in an environmentally sound and sustainable way. Each grape is handpicked and hand-sorted — just the beginning of a completely artisanal approach to making wine overseen by winemaker, Natalie Spytkowsky. While all the wines produced by Hinterbrook are of premium quality, their Franc Blanc, Cabernet Franc Icewine, Rose, and Riesling are especially impressive.
Two Sisters Vineyards
Started by sisters Angela Marotta and Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli, Two Sisters Vineyards is another new, premium winery committed to exceptional winemaking whose focus is on their vineyard in order to allow their one-of-a-kind terroir and the grapes it produces to remain center stage. Winemaker Adam Pearce is committed to a non-interventionist approach to winemaking so that the true character of each grape is never overshadowed by the winemaking process. One of the highlights of this vineyard and winery is its on-site Italian-inspired restaurant, Kitchen 76, where the cuisine is crafted from locally sourced ingredients.
The wines of the Niagara Peninsula continue to grow in reputation world-wide, and these four newcomers to the scene are hoping to ensure that tradition continues far into the future.