The Niagara Wine Route stretches from Grimbsy to Niagara-on-the-Lake and boasts dozens of wineries, including these highlights:
GREEN DESIGN A sustainable winery, Stratus Vineyards is led by Loire Valley winemaker J-L Groux and is the first in the world to earn a LEED certification. Unlike the area’s usual château-style estates, this urbane winery is designed by Toronto interior-design team Burdifilek (also behind the city’s upscale department store Holt Renfrew), and has all the mod allure of a contemporary art gallery. Try Stratus’s famous Bordeaux-inspired reds.
ICEWINE ICON The more than 30-year-old Hillebrand Winery is the region’s indomitable pioneer: the company crafted Niagara’s very first icewine and opened the area’s initial winery resto (still among the finest reservations around). The menu puts the spotlight on the seasonal and toothsome. Views of the surrounding vineyards provide a lovely backdrop.
CHARM UNCORKED In the darling townlet of Jordan, where lampposts look like overgrown lollipops and clapboard homes are pastel coloured, Cave Springs Cellars is housed in a historic 1871 winery. Don’t leave without sampling the off-dry Riesling.
SIP & SONG One of the major attractions at Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery is the Twilight in the Vineyard series: performers take to the winery’s amphitheatre for nighttime concerts among the vines. This summer, you can expect 54-40 (June 28) and Matthew Good (August 30).
BENCHMARK BOUNTY Perhaps the area’s most postcard-ready winery, Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery is an 1885 Queen Anne Revival building perched on the Beamsville Bench of the lush Niagara Escarpment. A restored barn with high vaulted ceilings houses the retail wine shop.
HEAVENLY HAUNT The namesake of Stonechurch Vineyards is an 1853 church on the property—reportedly the oldest church in Niagara—built by United Empire Loyalists. Wander the vineyard trails on a self-guided tour before relaxing on the patio or in the gazebo, or enjoy VQA wines at the tasting bar.
For more on Niagara Falls, please see the following:
6 Ways to Take in the Falls
Bet on Fun
Blooms & Butterflies
Top Resto Trio
Theatre and More