With its rolling vineyards and stunning landscapes, Niagara, Ont., is a world-class wine destination – the unique terroir and cool climate provide the ideal setting for 100-plus wineries, including an array of award winners – which is reason enough to visit. But that’s not all there is to Niagara – you’ll also find countless hidden-gem eateries, distilleries and more to unwind at or gather at with friends and family. Here, we’ve highlighted just a few must-visit spots in the region to get your planning started, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
Trius winemaker Craig McDonald knows that good wine takes time. Trius’ reds are smooth and refined (the Bordeaux-inspired Trius Red was the first-ever Canadian vintage to be crowned Best Red Wine in the World more than 27 years ago), its whites are rich and distinct and the delightful traditional-method sparklers are aged in Canada’s oldest underground sparkling cellar. The winery also leads one-of-a-kind tours that highlight its farm-to-table menu—whipped up by chef Frank Dodd—robust art collection, bubble tub and other scenic displays.
1249 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake
There’s a reason Jackson-Triggs is one of the most recognized and lauded wineries in Canada. Founded in 1993, the 4.7-hectare property has won award after award, particularly for its bestselling Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling varietals. Plan to check out the on-site amphitheatre, which regularly hosts unforgettable concerts—past acts include The Tragically Hip and Broken Social Scene—under the stars. Make a true date night of it by booking a dinner in the cellar before showtime.
Château des Charmes
Niagara wouldn’t be Niagara without wineries like Château des Charmes. Fifth-generation French wine grower Paul Bosc—who believes the best way to make wine is to grow your own grapes—founded the winery in 1978 and eventually became the first winemaker in Canada to operate a commercial vineyard that is also accessible to visitors. It has a rich history that you can taste in every single one of its 40-plus vintages. To visit Château des Charmes is a true master class in winemaking.
1025 York Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake
(905) 262-4219 chateaudescharmes.com
Southbrook Organic Vineyards
Stretching across 60 hectares of land—including 24 hectares of sprawling vines—Southbrook is Canada’s first biodynamic winery, specializing in organic, sustainable and holistic winemaking. Grapes are hand-selected for Southbrook’s small-batch, barrel-aged wines, and nothing goes to waste; Chardonnays, for example, are harvested and pressed without de-stemming until after they’re aged, when stems and skins get composted. This eco-friendly philosophy extends to a stunning sunlit pavilion that boasts a tasting room, wine shop and statement-making 200-metre-long landscape wall. It’s wine you can feel good about.
581 Niagara Stone Rd., RR4, Niagara-on-the-Lake
(905) 641-2548 southbrook.com
Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery
The farm land that Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery sits on has been in the Lowrey family since 1867, so you can imagine how personal it is for proprietors Blair and Norma Jane Harber (née Lowrey). Home to one of Canada’s most architecturally significant ancestral houses, the estate—including its organic vineyards, kitchen garden, animals (say hi to Lenny the Pygmy goat!) and farm-to-table restaurant—oozes rustic charm. You’ll never want to leave—and we wouldn’t blame you.
1366 York Rd., St. Davids
(905) 262-8463 ravinevineyard.com
Two Sisters Vineyards
It was 2007 when sisters Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli and Angela Marotta planted their first vineyard, firmly rooting themselves among the best wineries Niagara has to offer. Today, their award-winning vineyard covers 53 hectares and includes varietals like Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Riesling. The majestic estate is inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture—a nod to the duo’s heritage, which is also reflected in the on-site restaurant, Kitchen 76, a must-visit for classic Italian comfort food that tastes just like Nonna’s.
240 John St. E., Niagara-on-the-Lake
(905) 468-0592 twosistersvineyards.com
The Good Earth Food & Wine Co.
The best way to experience Niagara’s beautiful bounty of food? Make it yourself. The Good Earth Food & Wine Co. is part-vineyard and part-farm, and it holds intimate, interactive chef-led cooking classes that use regional ingredients and, naturally, include Good Earth wine pairings.
4556 Lincoln Ave., Beamsville
(905) 563-6333 goodearthfoodandwine.com
Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers
There’s more to Niagara than wine. Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers relishes simplicity, allowing its high-quality, locally sourced ingredients to shine in its handcrafted products, which include gin, rye whisky and canned cocktails.
4833 Tufford Rd., Beamsville
(905) 563-3030 dillons.ca
The Pie Plate
The Pie Plate’s Ruth Anne Schriefer learned traditional German-Mennonite recipes from her grandmother, and it’s a passion she eventually combined with her love of Niagara fruit from her family hobby farm. Whether it’s tangy raspberry scones or savoury tomato tarts, you’ve never had pastries like these.
1607 Four Mile Creek Rd., Virgil
(905) 468-9743 thepieplate.com
Chefs Rick Casipe and Olivia Simpson met while working in a Toronto kitchen in 2016, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, the partners spend their time curating jovial and thoughtful (how else to describe Big Mac-inspired steak tartare?) Ricky + Olivia restaurant pop-ups that celebrate Niagara.