Who Wants Wine?
If you’re like me, then you want wine. You want wine, and wine tours, wine tastings, wine festivals. The Niagara Region is host to a growing and bustling wine industry. With over 100 wineries between the Falls and Grimsby, throughout Niagara-on-the-Lake and the surrounding region, there is plenty for your pallet to discover.
Not only are our wines and wineries famous, but so are some of the proprietors. Canadian golfer and Masters Tournament winner Mike Weir has a winery in the region, along with Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd and the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky. More than wine production and grape growing, a large part of the Niagara wine industry is open to tourists.
Wine has been made in Ontario for the past few hundred years, and not even Prohibition stopped it, with wineries being allowed to stay open for the export market. It wasn’t until 1975, however, that the industry really took off when Inniskillin Wines in Niagara-on-the-Lake was granted the first new winery licence in Ontario in nearly 50 years.
And when I say “took off” I mean like a rocket. The Niagara Escarpment is an ideal climate for grape growing, along with other tree and vine fruits. People from around the world come to Niagara for the wine experience. With some wineries offering boutique hotel accommodations, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the good life of delicious food and fine wines. More than a simple trip to the company store, wine tourism nowadays is a full cultural experience that can include vineyard tours, restaurants, tastings, picnics, on-site festivals, concerts, and live theatre.
Niagara is particularly suited for growing cool-climate grape varieties such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Gamay Noir, with more than 30 varieties being grown here annually. Fortunately for us (and for visiting tourists), Niagara leads the world in icewine production. According to the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Fund, the climate is perfectly-suited for every vintage grape, bringing both abundance in variety as well as yield.
For those of you who wish you could squeeze a winery tour into your vacation, you’re in luck! There are various tours, to help you find what you are looking for. From girls’ night to date night, the Niagara wine industry is full of variety, whatever your taste! You’ll find the atmosphere much more relaxing than all the excitement of Niagara Falls, so prepare to be at each property for a few hours.
Try to take in the whole experience and be open to trying something new! Why limit yourself to your tried and true list when there is so much to explore?
The Niagara Wine Route was created a few years ago to showcase all of the wineries the region has to offer. It takes you all across Niagara’s wine territory, mostly on scenic country roads so the route is good for car trips or for cyclists who are up for a little sunshine and distance.
The Skylon Tower has paired the finest wines in Niagara to each meal featured in our Ontario Wine list menu of Sparkling, White, and Niagara Reds.
Cheers! Here’s to your next Niagara Wine Experience!