When I was a kid, my idea of a perfect holiday would have involved a beach, sunshine and ice cream. Nothing else mattered. Although I still enjoy all of those things (especially the ice cream), I much rather a lovely hotel in a new city and a bit of wine tasting too.
Cue wine tasting in the lovely town of Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada.
Canada has been producing wine for over 200 years which might come as a pleasant surprise to a lot of people. The Canadian town of Niagara-on-the-Lake where the Niagara river meets Lake Ontario; is home to a close knit community of around 25 wineries yields a vast proportion of the country’s produce. The wineries nestled below the Niagara Escarpment amidst a landscape of vineyards and orchards are stunningly picturesque. Each winery tells a unique story, with its own defining characteristics, as distinctive as the winter they create. It’s no wonder that this historic town has been ranked Canada’s #1 Food & Wine Destination by TripAdvisor.
When our friend April suggested that we stop over at one of the wineries en-route to Niagara Falls; Seb and I couldn’t say no. You never turn down wine. It’s a rule that has always served me well. We stopped off at Trius Winery, a Niagara winemaking pioneer who have been crafting some of the best wines produced in the region for over 30 years. You can choose from a variety of experiences here – wine tours and tasting in the vineyard to a three course sit down meal at the wonderful restaurant inside the winery, there is something to suit every taste. You can skip all of that if you prefer and just stick to trying and buying wine at the wine shop ofcourse. We decided to be well behaved and spent the afternoon exploring the vineyards, cellars and along with all the tastings that were lined up.
Trius produce some great whites, reds and sparkling wine but what really impressed me was the Icewine. It is after all the wine that made the international wine world sit up and take notice of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The region regularly tops awards at competitions around the globe for their unique Icewine produce.
So what’s the big deal I hear you ask? It can only be made from grapes that have naturally frozen on the vine and picked when the thermometer dips to -8° C or lower. The solidly frozen grapes are handpicked and pressed immediately to gently release a single drop of thick, rich, yellow-gold liquid, highly concentrated in natural sugars and acidity. The yield is small, but the result is a uniquely sweet wine which also makes it quite expensive.
If you find yourself in the Ontario region, you need to add the wineries of the Niagara region on your list of places to visit. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Educational, picturesque and oh the wine!
1249 Niagara Stone Road