Not far from the thundering Falls, a scenic stretch of countryside between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment has just the right climate and soil for vinifera grapes to thrive. These grapes produce an array of wines ranging from classic pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and Riesling to more uncommon styles.
Visitors can get to know the Niagara wine region by exploring its distinctive, charming wineries. Opt for a guided tour or chart your own course. Need a little guidance? Here’s our recommended route for one memorable day tasting your way through Niagara Falls wineries. Please call each individual winery for specific hours of operation, tasting opportunities and policies.
Start at A Gust of Sun in Ransomville for a taste of five wines paired with local chocolates specially made for the vineyard. In warm weather, stay for a stroll around the 17-acre grounds and find a spot for a picnic lunch before setting out for your next winery.
Opened in 1998, the family-run Niagara Landing Wine Cellars was the area’s very first winery. Sample six of Niagara Landing’s 31 varietals, ranging from dry to sweet, including the award-winning vidal blanc ice wine or the unique and spicy hot pepper-infused wine.
A little farther down the road, the warm staff at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards will welcome you into the tasting room, where you can sip a dry red or try a Riesling or chardonnay. Throughout the year, book a tour online, which includes an educational vineyard walk, barrel samples, and a flight of wine.
Make a palate-cleansing pit stop at Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream. The small shop specializes in oddball-yet-delicious flavors like Couch Potato (vanilla ice cream, swirls of caramel and peanut butter, and chocolate-covered potato chips from local chocolatier Platter’s) and Sponge Candy (chock-full of the region’s signature sweet), all made in small batches using locally sourced ingredients. Or, for a quick shot of espresso made with beans roasted in small batches, stop by Steamworks Coffee, also near the many wineries.
Intrepid tasters (and those who make use of the spill bucket) should head north toward Lake Ontario to Chateau Niagara Winery, owned by a friendly and knowledgeable husband and wife team. Try the Bulls Blood, a dry red made in the Hungarian tradition.
Continue north to Black Willow Winery, situated near the banks of Lake Ontario, for a wine and chocolate pairing, or sample from their award-winning lineup of mead. While you’re there, shop a variety of premium extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
Just a short drive west, also on Lake Ontario, finish your self-guided tour at Victorianbourg Wine Estate. Find a seat on the serene patio overlooking the vineyard and savor a classic dry white or rosé, or go for one of their chocolate-infused wines. Offered seasonally, you can also arrange for a private wine tasting in the property’s lush rose garden, with 30 varieties of roses in bloom. The picturesque setting makes for a lovely end to a memorable day of wine tasting on the Niagara Wine Trail, USA.
Don’t forget to pick up a few bottles along the way to open back home and relive the day all over again!