Canada’s Niagara Region has grown into a well-established wine producing region whose wines have become famous in international competitions. Along with the wine boom, the Niagara region has built up a strong tourism industry catering to wine lovers.
Visitors to Niagara region can plan itineraries that reflect their specific interests. Organized wine tours can be arranged from several hotels in Niagara Falls, many of which include several stops and a dinner at one of the region’s fine restaurants. The advantage of a pre-planned tour is that transportation is arranged (usually a bus or a smaller shuttle), so you won’t have to worry about how much wine you sample, and you won’t have to pay per-glass at the wine tasting. The tasting guide will offer you a selection of wines that have been chosen to display the winery’s best varieties and to provide a contrast of flavours. Also, guides occasionally offer special samples to guests on pre-planned tours – a limited edition vintage, or a dessert wine – which might not be advertised to individuals.
If pre-packaged tours aren’t your style, why not pick your way along the region’s Wine Route and stop in at whichever wineries appeal to you. The Wine Route winds throughout the escarpment and Niagara-on-the-Lake areas and follows scenic back roads to allow for fantastic views of over 70 wineries, from small boutique establishments, to fully organic outlets, to celebrity wineries. Enjoy lunch at On the Twenty Restaurant at the Cave Springs Cellars in the tiny village of Jordan for some local Niagara cuisine, of course paired with award winning Cave Springs wines. For this option, please note that the blood-alcohol content (BAC) that is allowable for drivers in Ontario is 0.05 and there is zero tolerance for BAC over that level. Please do not drink and drive!
Visiting the region during festival season is a special treat for wine lovers and foodies. In the spring you can catch the New Vintage Festival and get the jump on a new season of wines. But for a real treat, visit during the Niagara Icewine Festival in early fall and sample this region’s most famous dessert wine. The festival also attracts celebrity chefs and sommeliers for competitions and culinary offerings featuring icewine in creative and delicious new preparations.
If you’re interested in seeing the largest and most popular wineries in the region, check out Peller Estates, Jackson-Triggs, Henry of Pelham and Chateau des Charmes. If smaller craft wineries are more your style, check out Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards where you’ll enjoy your tasting in the barn with the wine maker; or try Flat Rock Cellars, with fantastic views and unique architecture make this one of the most beautiful, fully environmentally conscious wineries in the world.