As of 2014, there are 88 wineries in the general Niagara Region. There's a reason why Niagara is such a popular wine making region. Continue reading for more information on why wineries flock to the region, as well as the top wineries in the area.
The unique climate of the Niagara Region lends itself to elite winemaking. Southern Ontario is on the same latitude as southern France, although Ontario can have harsh winters and humid summers – which can make grape-growing challenging at times. But for experienced vintners in the Niagara region – an area which benefits from a unique and moderate micro-climate and mineral-rich soils – a successful vintage can be a world-class effort.
Niagara’s wine country offers a variety of tasting experiences for travellers, and locals looking for a weekend away from town. Some of the more established and renowned vineyards and plantations are to the north, around Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Inniskillin Estate has produced wines for 35 years at a variety of locations. They offer several different tours around their estates, based on the season, with both public and private winery experiences. Their range is centred on their variety of ice wines and dessert blends.
Jackson-Triggs also has several locations, and as an entity is Canada’s most awarded winery. The Niagara varietals cover the whole gamut of reds and whites for almost every taste imaginable, with some ice wines and sparkling to round out the selection. Jackson-Triggs estates also focus on entertainment, with the Niagara location providing gourmet picnics and summer concerts on top of their standard wine tours and tastings.
Also in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Peller Estates has a longer history, its winemaking license extending back to 1969. Their whites and ice wines are regular award winners and the estate was recently certified as the Best Canadian Winery of the Year at London's International Wine & Spirit Competition. The picturesque estate runs dining experiences through its restaurant – which has been awarded the highest Zagat ranking available (‘Exceptional’).
Exploring the Niagara region further reveals dozens more wineries and estates well worth anyone’s time. Niagara-on-the-Lake is an epicentre and one of the original sites for grape-growing, but it’s only a small portion of what’s available in the stretch of land between Lakes Ontario and Erie. Take a drive in any direction and a world-class winery is likely to be just down the road.
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