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It’s a flashback to more summery days over here on the blog today! Truth is, the landscape has been sooo awfully grey these past few weeks that if I were to take images for this post now it just might be the most dull post ever. So let’s just bask in the green of the summer for a bit, yes?
If you have been following here for a while you will know how much I love visiting the local wineries in Niagara. Wine touring is a fun way to try different wines, spend a day appreciating the local landscape, and learn something new. It gives you insight into a whole other industry that you don’t get to experience with many other crafts.
The wineries of Niagara Peninsula are a great draw for visitors to the area – there are two main areas (called appellations in wine speak ;)) – The Niagara Escarpment and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the more popular destination for visitors to the area but just about 30 minutes away and closer to Toronto are the wineries of the Niagara Escarpment. The Niagara Escarpment wineries are located primarily in Grimsby, Beamsville, Vineland, and Jordan. This area is closer to where Dan and I live so these are the wineries that we frequent most often and we love so many here.
There are 24 wineries located in the Niagara Escarpment and I find this area to have a bit more of a relaxed, quiet and laid back feel compared to the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake (I’ll be sharing my N-O-T-L faves soon!). That’s not to say they are lesser known though – Vineland Estates, Tawse, Redstone, and Meglomaniac are just a few of the bigger ones in this area but today I want to mention some of my favourite lesser known wineries in the area. Honestly though, there are many more excellent wineries than what I am sharing here. I hope to share about more places that I enjoy in the future and if you are in the area don’t be afraid to pop into any of the wineries you pass – you will have fun no matter what!
Leaning Post is a great winery to visit on your way into or out of wine country as it is located the closest to the city (Hamilton/Toronto) of all the wineries. It is in the town of Winona (located between Stoney Creek and Grimsby) right on highway 8 and can easily be missed if you aren’t looking for it. It doesn’t offer the wide open vineyard landscape that many wineries in the area do but as far as wine goes they make some of our absolute favourites and the staff is friendly, easy going, and very knowledgeable. Dan and I always have an amazing experience here. They are willing to take the time to talk about each of the wines on their menu and are always up to teach you something new and give you something interesting to try. Their Pinot Noir is what turned me into a red wine appreciator and is in my top 3 favourite Niagara wines. Dan and I are sure to grab a bottle each time we drive past!
Domaine Queylus is also a bit off of the beaten wine path but well worth a visit. Whereas many wineries in the area will produce a vast portfolio of different types of wine, Queylus focuses on 4 varietals that they feel do best in the microclimate of their vineyards – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Each wine I have had from them is excellent and interesting. Visiting this winery is always a nice experience – the tasting room is usually quite quiet and the staff is happy to share knowledge and wine with you!
Flat Rock is a really fun place to visit. Their beautiful winery is perched into the side of a hill and the tasting room has a wrap around porch with really beautiful views of the area. They also have a neat roof top patio with picnic benches where you can buy a glass or take your tastings outside. This is a super casual and non-pretentious winery to visit and try delicious wines. My favourite wines to try here are there many Rieslings and Pinot Noirs. Flat Rock is at the front of environmental wine practices as well and are happy to teach you about the ways they use technology for low impact viticulture. Delicious wines and a fun, relaxed environment – there will definitely be something for everyone in your group here.
I have only visited Creekside once, but I loved all the wines I tried so it is on my ‘to visit again soon’ list. The thing that I really enjoyed about the wines that I tasted here were that they were so typical (in the very best way!) of what you know each wine varietal to smell and taste like – great if you are just getting into wine and trying to figure out what you do and don’t like. They also have an experimental series of wines (where they try different types of fermentation) which are fun to try for any wine nerds in the group. If you visit in the summer their big back deck is open with a chef BBQing delicious meals and they have live entertainment every Friday – it’s just an overall really nice environment here!
Malivoire is located right on King St in Beamsville in a super interestingly cool building that inside features their beautiful gravity flow tanks. Their big goal is to create wines with minimal environmental impact and the measures they take are really interesting. Malivoire has become well known for their Ladybug Rose and Guilty Men wines at the LCBO but they have so much more than that that you can try when you visit the winery. I find the people working there really friendly and knowledgeable and they are happy to spend time with you while you try the wines – it’s a very easy going environment but you can tell that they are serious about making really great wine and trying new environmental approaches. They have some lovely Gamays which are one of my favourite red wines!
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