You can feel it in the soil. The dolomitic limestone of the Niagara Escarpment and the gravel silts of the Ontario Lakeshore. That, combined with a cool climate and a 200-day growing season, make Niagara Falls USA perfect for growing vinifera grapes. This unique, moderate micro-climate is similar to the Alsace region in France suitable for production of wines such as Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Vidal Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc all which thrive in the wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail, USA.
Following the trail by car (or with a variety of tour and charter companies to choose from), visitors can learn the ancient art of wine making, taste the offerings of the vintners and meet the families that have helped Niagara turn water into wine. There are now 22 wineries in a region that just a decade ago was home to only a few. Several wineries across the Niagara Wine Trail have won national and international awards at prestigious competition events including New York International Wine Competition (NYIWC) and Tasters Guild International Wine Competition.
Every winter in Niagara Falls USA a handful of wine makers pay closer attention to the weather forecast than the rest of us, waiting for the coldest night of the year to arrive. They, along with a few other hardy individuals, venture out before dawn and harvest grapes that will be used to make Ice Wine. Ice Wine is a type of dessert wine that must be produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape to be pressed, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. With Ice Wines, the freezing happens before the fermentation not afterwards. Unlike the grapes from which other dessert wines are made. Ice Wine production is limited to the minority of the world’s wine-growing regions where cold temperatures are expected to be reached with some regularity.
Each of the wineries located on the trail offer something unique and different for visitors. From beautiful lakeside vistas to quaint tasting rooms located on family farms there is no shortage of opportunities that allow visitors to “uncork a natural wonder."
The Niagara Wine Trail also hosts many special events throughout the year including the Taste of the Trail in April, the Niagara Wine Festival in July and the Harvest Festival in September.
For more information on the Niagara Wine Trail USA visit niagarawinetrail.org.