August 26, 2015
Region of the Week: Niagara Peninsula
Where do you find some of the world’s best ice wines? Up North, in that small area located on the southern shores of Lake Ontario: Niagara Peninsula. The peninsula is also home to some beautiful Rieslings, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Keep scrolling to learn more about this often forgotten wine region!
Niagara Peninsula and its grapes
The Canadian region is the largest and most productive viticulture area in the country, with a fertile microclimate, perfect for its ice wine production. The main grapes used for the production of the peninsula’s ice wines are the white hybrid variety Vidal Blanc, as well as Riesling and Cabernet Franc.
While the region is famous for its lusciously sweet wines local dry wines are also produced – Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir being the three favorites.
Where to taste?
Chateau des Charmes – In 1978, a French winegrower and Master of Wine decided to come to Canada to start his own family vineyard… And the rest is history! The 270-acre vineyard is the first exclusively dedicated to vitis vinifera in Canada. The winery’s French winemaking style and educational tours made their reputation. Don’t miss their tastings, and especially the uncommon 2012 Cabernet Franc Icewine and the winery’s classic red 2010 Equuleus.
Crown Bench Estates – The internationally recognized award-winning produces some of the finest wines in the region since 1999. They are best known for their flavored ice wines, such as the Ambrosia chocolate infused ice wine. The winery will close its doors at the end of this year, so make sure to enjoy the great wines and beautiful features of the property beforehand!
When to go?
Fall and winter both are great times to explore the Niagara Peninsula region. The Niagara Wine Festival takes place in late September, and is the favorite rendez-vous of wine lovers, while the more specific Niagara Icewine Festival is celebrated for several weeks in January, featuring galas, exclusive wine tours and several tastings. It is also important to note that harvest for ice wine usually starts around December or January – which makes it a very exciting time to visit the region and its vineyards.