The prevalence of wine in our everyday lives has surged in recent years. Once predominantly a European import, we now welcome bottles from across the globe with an eagerness to sample the next trend in our savouring choices.

Of course, Canada is a big producer of some of our very favourite tipples. We welcome imports from across the country, each offering flavours representative of the provinces climate, soil and weather conditions.

One look at the lush, expansive hills and valleys of Niagara and you’ll know – this is wine country! In fact, the Niagara Peninsula is one of the most acclaimed grape-growing and winemaking regions in Ontario. Gently blanketing much of the Niagara countryside, the countless vineyards and wineries offer a wide array of one-of-kind, intimate experiences. Whether you’re a serious connoisseur, or a wandering grazer more interested in the culture and views, there is a vineyard ready to welcome you to their tasting rooms.

If you’ve never experienced a tasting room or a winery tour you’ll quickly become hooked. Each winery has a unique atmosphere, its own winemaker and beautifully crafted wines that embody “terroir;” wine speak that simply means that the wine reflects the soils and conditions in which the grapes have been grown. This is where tasting becomes so important as you sip and savour to discover your preferences. Many of the wineries are small, producing limited batches of wines that are hard to find anywhere other than the winery itself. Small, artisanal wineries offer visitors insight into their boutique approach to winemaking. They may be small, but they produce award-winning wines. A few to start your exploration would be Twenty Valley’s Foreign Affair (Amarone style wines), Daniel Lenko, Hidden Bench, Tawse and Ravine Vineyard.

The large wineries in Niagara have made a huge impact, historically speaking, by bringing Niagara’s cool-climate wines to the world stage and cleaning up with critical acclaim and top awards in international competitions. One of Niagara’s pioneers, Inniskillin Winery, broke new ground when its Icewine won a huge international award in 1991 and the world suddenly developed a keen interest in Niagara wines. There are some other iconic wineries you won’t want to miss, which include: Cave Spring Cellars, Vineland Estates Winery and Henry of Pelham Family Estate (these are in Twenty Valley and St. Catharines) plus Chateau des Charmes, Trius Winery, Inniskillin and Peller Estates Winery (these are in Niagara-on-the-Lake).

This is one tour where you don’t want to be the designated driver! Take one of the many guided wine tours, accompanied by a knowledgable somalier, so you can all completely enjoy the day. Click here for details on our wine tours.