18 Oct

Craig’s 5 Favourite Niagara Wineries!

Posted by Craig
winery-CW-FI

We have all been to a winery or two in Ontario. Here are my Niagara picks for the most interesting and fun and of quality imbibing. Some may be a little pricey…but what the heck…you can’t take it with you eh!

By the way, they are in no particular order because they are all good. However, if I had a gun to my head I would say Stratus is my favourite.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Here we go…My Faves!


 

Stratus

From the oversized, yet not intimidating doors, this winery offers high end yet well worth it wines. Even the tastings are served in oversized glasses. It ain’t cheap but well worth it.

Guided by Ingenuity and Gravity

At Stratus, one of the few pump-free wineries in the world, wine is transported in tanks and barrels or moved through gravity flow, but it is never pumped. 

The Mesquite Tasting Room overlooking the vineyard and next to the above-ground wine cellar

 


PELLER ESTATES

A Class act! And steeped in history. Peller is actually the parent company of the Winexpert brand of wine juices that we have been using since 2005. I’m a little biased on this one.

New Year's Eve Dinner & After Party

YESTERDAY

The History of Peller Estates
by John Peller, Grandson to Founder Andrew Peller

It all began in 1927, when my grandfather, Andrew Peller, first arrived in Canada from Hungary. Having owned a series of successful businesses, he came here to finally pursue his dream. He envisioned a day when Canadians, like Europeans, would come to appreciate premium-quality wines and enjoy sharing them with family and friends.

After exhaustive research, he decided to plant his first vineyards in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and, soon afterward, to open a modest winery in that province as well. As the seeds of his dream were firmly taking root out West, he began looking eastward. Many years and countless setbacks later, he and my father, Joe (who was by then very much involved in the family business), finally made a breakthrough. An offer to purchase a winery and winemaking license in Ontario was accepted in the spring of 1969.


Konzelmann Estate Winery

konzelmann

 

 

Konzelmann is Niagara’s only lakefront winery, located on the shores of Lake Ontario. The Winery began in the small German town of Uhlbach, near the turn of the 19th century. A restauranteur named Friederich Konzelmann left the culinary trade to pursue the craft of winemaking. Bolstered from previous success in producing house wines for his restaurants, Friederich officially released his first vintage to the public in 1893. He would eventually produce 200,000 litres of excellent wine per year from an array of Germany’s celebrated aromatic varietals.

By 1980 Friedrich’s great grandson Herbert was 43, had a well established business and a growing family.

The winery was expanding and the demand for his product was increasing more quickly than the land could sustain. Contracts with growers were becoming increasingly costly and the price of buying additional land was high. A recreational trip through the wilderness of British Columbia seeded a profound love of the land and rumours of fledgling wine operations in Ontario and the Okanagan perked Herbert’s imagination. Subsequent visits produced evidence that Canada’s wine potential had been drastically underestimated by most of the world

Konzelmann is Niagara’s only lakefront winery, located on the shores of Lake Ontario. The Winery began in the small German town of Uhlbach, near the turn of the 19th century. A restauranteur named Friederich Konzelmann left the culinary trade to pursue the craft of winemaking. Bolstered by previous success in producing house wines for his restaurants, Friederich officially released his first vintage to the public in 1893. He would eventually produce 200,000 litres of excellent wine per year from an array of Germany’s celebrated aromatic varietals. By 1980 Friedrich’s great-grandson Herbert was 43, had a well-established business and a growing family.

The winery was expanding and the demand for his product was increasing more quickly than the land could sustain. Contracts with growers were becoming increasingly costly and the price of buying additional land was high. A recreational trip through the wilderness of British Columbia seeded a profound love of the land and rumours of fledgling wine operations in Ontario and the Okanagan perked Herbert’s imagination. Subsequent visits produced evidence that Canada’s wine potential had been drastically underestimated by most of the world

My father got me in the wine business circa 1993. And I always remember how fondly and respectfully he spoke of Mr. Konzelmann and whom he met several times. I have been there several times since and their informative and unpretentious style is very welcomed for anyone wanting to see the oldest licensed winery in Ontario.


Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate

jackson trigg

I have a bit of a soft spot for this winery since I have done the tastings, I have had the good fortune of having lunch on the stage for a special and private meal with our franchisees. Yet I remember the meeting we had as wine, not in the barrel room… absolutely fantastic. Wine, food, and service were impeccable! And surrounded by barrels that would make a person of royalty envious. What an experience – I highly recommend it. And I know it may exceed your budget but I will say do the “private tour”. Again, well worth the money. And another memory…while I think of it, try the Viognier. The manager was right…exceptional.

Many do not know the significance of Donald Triggs. The founder, along with Mr. Ziraldo of the VQA (which did give much credibility to the Canadian wine industry.) For it was the first time someone actually made a statement and said…

Canadian wineries can produce “world-class wines”.


Trius Winery

(at Hillebrand)

One of the best meal and wine pairings I have ever had was at Hillebrand…now known as Trius.

Just 3 couples, open air European style architecture and exquisite service. Not a cheap night but well worth it. One of the best meals and wine pairings I have ever had. Although it’s been a while since my return I definitely recall that evening at the winery one of my most memorable winery dinners. In my opinion, still one of the BEST wine and food places on the map of wine and culinary delight.

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