Does wine grow in Canada? It sure does and the Niagara escarpment is the birthplace of modern winemaking in Canada. From reds to super-sweet ice wine – there is something for every pallet. For six years, I had the honor of traveling to this region with a variety of tour companies which included visits to many of the 20 + wineries that call Niagara-on-the-Lake home.
Read on (3 minutes) to learn more about the wine, the town & nearby attractions!
Why does wine grow here?
The Niagara Peninsula in Ontario is the largest wine-producing region in all of Canada. This region is a microclimate surrounded by Lake Erie & Lake Ontario is best suited for vine and fruit tree growth. The lakes’ presence produces a temperature vacuum during the growing season which traps warm air coming off the lakes from the summer heat and extends the growing much longer than other parts of the Northern US and Canada. In addition to the airflow impact, the glacial soils are made of gravel, clay, and sand which creates the perfect aquifer that has mineral-rich water that is delivered directly to the vines via groundwater.
Types of wine?
Wines produced in this region include types such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Ice Wine and a variety of fruit wines.
Tip: Give Ice Wine a try. It’s a special dessert wine produced once grapes have been frozen after the first frost.
Niagara-on-the-Lake has been voted one of the most charming towns in all of Canada and I agree that it does deserve the title. This charming town with a population of 17,500 has gorgeous architecture and city heritage dating back to 1792. Tourist flow here to see the quaint colonial-style buildings, Fort George from the War of 1812, restaurants and the nearby wineries.
Nearby Places of Interest
While the wineries and the town are destinations worth enjoy for a day or two, the surrounding region has much to offer anyone looking to enjoy other nature-made and man-forged wonders.
Coveted as one of the most powerful and beautiful waterfalls in the world, the famed Niagara Falls are not to be missed. Less than 30 minutes drive up the Niagra River, along the Niagara Gorge, and you will see the three major falls that make up this famous natural landmark. This natural, mist and rainbow – making falls is not only gorgeous but serves as a major hydropower source for both the United States and Canada. To get a closer look at the falls, consider riding to the brink of the falls, clad in a not at all fashionable poncho on Maid of the Mist or the Hornblower, another option is to Journey Behind the Falls on foot via a series of tunnels. If mist spray isn’t your thing, I encourage you to enjoy aerial views via helicopter or journey to the top of the Skylon Tower before sunset to observe 360 degrees of views from the rotating restaurant and observation deck.
Toronto: CN Tower
Less than an hour’s drive away is the thriving metropolis of Toronto. With a population of near 3 million – this city is known as the NYC of Canada. With Broadway shows, the towering 1,500′ CN Tower (visible from Niagara-on-the-Lake), Casa Loma, and a multitude of many other urban sites worth visiting if you desire for city life.
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Cynthia is a recovering Travel Director turned TV host, creator of Her Drive Podcast, and lover of all things adventure, unicorns, van life, and wellness-focused. She can be found dining wherever octopus is on the menu.