Exploring Niagara wine country is a great summer activity with many great restaurants, boutiques and quaint roadside stands, let alone the wine. Most of Niagara’s big producers can be found in LCBO or Vintages stores in Ontario however there are a few special vineyards you won’t be able to find on you store shelves. These wineries prove its worth making the trip and exploring this beautiful region in person.
7. Rancourt Winery
Rancourt is a boutique winery which lies on a 25-acre vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake and pride themselves on crafting small quantities of high quality wine. The family run operation uses 100% hand-harvested grapes grown right on their own cottage property. With an extensive selection including award-winning Chardonnay, Riesling, Rose, Silver medal Cabernet Franc and double gold medal Meritage, there’s something to please every palette.
Official Website: Rancourt Winery
6. Domaine Queylus
Domaine Queylus is a new comer to the Niagara wine scene and although their St. Anns location may be a little off the typical wine route, it’s worth the trip. This winery crafts small batches of premium Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Merlot which show the skill and finesse of winemaker Thomas Bachelder. Since this operation is still new and growing, it’s recommended to call the winery ahead of your visit to confirm availability, or you can call or email if you’re interested in having bottles shipped.
Official Website: Domaine Queylus
5. Cornerstone Estate
Cornerstone Estate is a family owned and operated vineyard in the fast growing Beamsville section of Niagara wine country. This winery is truly an ultimate experience for the oenophile with an extensive offering of reds, whites, fruit wine, Icewine and even a port style wine all created by 2012 Winemaker of the Year Andrezej Lipinski. If you can’t make it out to the vineyard yourself, Cornerstone offers an online store so your bottles can be shipped right to your door.
Official Website: Cornerstone Estate
4. Marynissan Estates
Located at the base of the Escarpment in Niagara-on-the-Lake is Marynissan Estates boutique winery. Planted in 1978, its home to the oldest commercial planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in Canada. With multi-award winning winemaker Gordon Robert overseeing operations since 2013, it will be exciting to see what comes out of this vineyard in the future. With no online store, the only way to savor these flavors is to visit them in person and take some bottles home.
Official Website: Marynissan Estates
3. Mountain Road Wine Company
The focus at Mountain Road Wine Company is on sustainable agriculture and thoughtful aging processes. Their mindful farming practices include erosion prevention, minimal use of herbicide and the rare use of insecticides. They pride themselves on having a traditional focus creating superior wines crafted from 30 year old vines. Among their wide selection of reds, whites and Icewine, their standout offering is multi-award winning Chardonnays. If you can’t get out to the winery store the company does offer online purchases with checkout using PayPal.
Official Website: Mountain Road Wine Company
2. Between the Lines
Pull up to this Niagara-on-the-Lake gem and you’re immediately greeted by the rustic charm of the Big Red Barn. Inside is where everything happens…cellar, tasting room and clubhouse all in one, this vineyard is anything but pretentious. Manager Greg Wertsch and Winemaker Yannick Wertsch are committed to crafting the best of 100% Niagara grown wines. Their line-up includes Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Merlot for the reds, and Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Vidal for the whites, plus a signature Reserve line. The only way to buy Between the Lines wines are direct, either visit the winery tasting room or you can order from their online store.
Official Website: Between the Lines
1. Reimer Vineyards Winery
Reimer Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake produces certified organic wines since first opening their doors in the summer of 2010. The winery strives for sustainability which means doing as much labor as possible by hand, including planting, picking, crushing, bottling and even corking. They also use biodiesel in their tractors to reduce their carbon footprint and when spraying is required, everything used is organic. The result of these efforts are exceptional quality grapes used to produce award-winning organic wines. Reimer’s sells its bottles at their vineyard store, at select farmer’s markets around the area, and also online with shipping in Canada as well as overseas.
Official Website: Reimer Vineyards