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10 Award-Winning Wineries

FÊTE FOR THE AGES This year marks the 25th anniversary of winemaking at Reif Estate Winery. To mark the occasion, the winery is opening a new 3,000-square-foot wine boutique, complete with a First Growth Tasting Bar, wine library and a Sensory Garden—a lush aroma-driven spot designed to invigorate the nose and taste buds. Help Reif celebrate by tasting its 2007 Cuvée-winning Cabernet Merlot 2002—a Cuvée is to Ontario wines what an Oscar is to Hollywood.

AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE Paul Bosc, patriarch of Château des Charmes Winery, can boast as many awards as his winning vintages, including the Order of Canada (1995 and 2005) and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2003). And in 2005, the winery’s founder was the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Vintners Association Award of Distinction. Experience what merited all the attention with a visit to the winery or by tasting its 2004 Late Harvest Reisling—awarded a gold medal at the 2006 Canadian Wine Awards.

SWANK CELLAR Tasting tours are only an introduction for visitors to Cave Spring Cellars. Pick up the winery’s 2006 Canadian Wine Awards gold-medal-winning 2004 Riesling Ice Wine or to sample before buying a few bottles, book a table at Ontario’s first winery restaurant, the renowned, On the Twenty, for which Cave Springs develops exclusive vintages.

MEETING OF THE MINDS Wine connoisseurs have a meeting ground at Stoney Ridge Estate Winery‘s Cellar Club, the first winery club of its kind in Ontario. One-year membership includes two-dozen bottles of wine, complimentary tours, and tastings at the winery for up to 10 guests. Members can impress friends with a sample of the winery’s 2004 Reserve Merlot (bronze-medal winner at the 2006 Canadian Wine Awards.)

WINE-OVATION On June 1, see Hillebrand Estate Winery‘s $3-million renovation, which boasts breathtaking views of the new Vineyard Pavilion and the entirely re-done Hillebrand Estates Winery Restaurant. Dine alfresco at the two-storey Wine Pavilion or sample wines like Hillebrand’s 2006 icewine, a silver medal winner at the Canadian Wine Awards.

A TOUR FOR EVERY TASTE Inniskillin offers an abundance of choice when it comes to exploring the picturesque grounds. Enjoy the winery with a free self-guided or group tour. Sample wines on pre-arranged tours, including Inniskillin’s silver-medal-winning icewine (Canadian Wine Awards, 2006).

ROOM WITH A VIEW Visitors take one look at Vineland Estates Winery‘s fantasy-like landscape before immediately booking their next function at the winery’s Carriage House, a historic building with incomparable views. It’s the perfect backdrop for special occasions or to sample Vineland’s 2007 Cuvée-winning 2005 Cabernet Franc or 2005 Vidal Icewine.

WINE AND DINE The chemistry between food and wine is celebrated with decadence at Peller Estates Winery‘s restaurant. A sommelier hosts the evening, enlightening guests as they indulge in a six-course meal served in the barrel cellar, complemented by award-winning wines like the 2006 bronze-medal-winning Chardonnay, as chosen by the Canadian Wine Awards.

FAMILY AFFAIR After winning gold for his icewine in Niagara’s amateur winemaking competition in 1988, Pillitteri Estates Winery‘s Gary Pillitteri couldn’t ignore his desire to open a winery. Almost 15 years after uncorking the first bottle, this family business has become one of the largest estate producers of icewine in the world. Enjoy the family’s Merlot Family Reserve 2002, one of this year’s Cuvée Gold Award winners.

BACK TO SCHOOL Not only does Strewn Winery produce award-winning bottles like its Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Terrior, which won gold at this year’s All Canadian Wine Awards, it takes pleasure in marrying its winery excellence with culinary exploits. Indulge your taste buds in a weekend class, seminar or cooking vacation at the Wine Country Cooking School at Strewn, the only such school in Canada.

Actor and musician Dan Aykroyd is building his own winery in the Niagara region. To learn more about it, see Aykroyd’s New Field.

For more about the Niagara region, see Niagara’s Deluge of Delights.

—Jaclyn Greenberg

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