Just a quick jaunt from Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a delightful area of the province boasting some of the best wine made in not only Ontario, but Canada. This region Niagara region spans for miles and miles along the QEW, so depending on how long you have in the area, and your mode of transportation, I suggest mapping out the wineries you’ll be visiting in advance. We decided to have an ambitious day exploring the area by rental bikes from Zoom Leisure so it was important to pick spots that were only around 5-10 km apart. To help you plan your next trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, here are four great wineries to visit.
1. Between the Lines Winery
You’ll notice as you read through my suggestions that I prefer smaller, more boutique vineyards. While the larger ones have their value, I find it is the smaller ones that give you the chance to meet the winemakers and explore the vines. For awhile now, Between the Lines Winery has been one of my favourite spots in the Niagara because they have a delightful range of wines, without the pretension of the larger wineries. Their lineup of craft wines are full bodies and flavourful made with a unique crop of homegrown grapes. They have also launched a fun sparkling wine in a can which is the perfect option to bring with you to celebrations and parties.
2. Ravine Vineyard
Our next stop was Ravine Vineyard, only 5km down the road in St. Davids. Located on 34-acres of the Lowery family farm, the land has been passed down through generations over the last hundred years. However it was only recently that the farm was converted into a vineyard serving some of the best rose and other wines in the area. Their onsite restaurant offers a unique farm-to-table experience with tables just steps away from the vines that is a self-standing as they bakes their own bread onsite, raises pigs and grows their own organic vegetables. Visitors can also pick up some local, fresh goods from their onsite general store or drop by their historic farmhouse for a guided tasting of their wines and ciders.
3. Riverview Cellars
Peddling 9km through the vineyard and along the scenic Niagara Parkway, we reached our third stop of the day. Having a longstanding family history in the Niagara region, the Pillitteri family has worked on farmland in the escapement. And after years of dedication, Riverview Cellars was born out of that passion and fervor for wine. Today, the 22-acress has a dense concentration of vines used to make some of richest blends of the region from Pinto to Gewurztraminer and Merlot to Cabernet Franc. However it is their Icewine that stands out made from Vidal that attracts guests year-round to taste this blend. While the vineyard has a longstanding family history, a great deal of the creativity and excellence in the wine can be attributed to their budding winemaker, Alyssa Bator.
4. Reif Estate
Last but never least, we finished off our day exploring the German inspired Reif Estate Winery. Brining century old winemaking styles from Neustadt, Germany to the banks of the Niagara River, Reif blends the old world style of traditional vinification with a modern flair. For a unique experience, drop by their Sensory Wine Bar for a tasting of wine and food pairings. We had the pleasure of trying the wine and cheese tasting that served four of their wines with cheese locally sourced in Ontario and Quebec. Reif is also known for being one of the pioneers in the region of Icewine. First produced in Germany, their icewine has won a number of awards for the deliciously sweet dessert wine.