Five Unforgettable Wineries on the Niagara Escarpment
Oenophiles visiting Toronto are in for a treat. Wine enthusiasts can trim at least 20 minutes off their trip without having to drive all the way to Niagara-on-the-Lake, by visiting the internationally respected wineries on the Niagara Escarpment Bench. Spend a weekend experiencing the flavours and scents of the numerous French- and German-inspired vine growers amidst this incredible Canadian terroir.
The following award-winning VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) winemakers are worth taking the time to visit.
3550 King St., Vineland, ON; kacaba.com
Kacaba Vineyards was established in the 1990s and rests on 25 acres of undulating land where it produces approximately 10,000 cases annually. The vineyard’s unique topography and position near the escarpment enables Kacaba to hang its grapes a little longer, extending the season. The winery is particularly known for its Bordeaux red wine grapes, with approximately one-third of the vineyard consisting of Syrah. C’est Magnifique!
3955 Cherry Ave., Vineland, ON; tawsewinery.ca
Tawse Winery first opened its doors at their Cherry Avenue property in 2001. Despite being a younger winery on the limestone-rich escarpment, the family-owned grape grower has already established a fine reputation for its craft, winning Canada’s Winery of the Year multiple times. Guests can tour Tawse’s barrel-laden cellar, consisting exclusively French oak barrels. “French oak tends to be more subtle than American, delivering flavours such as vanilla, baking spice, caramel and butterscotch,” says John-Daniel Steele, Tawse’s Retail Supervisor.
Vineland Estates Winery
3620 Moyer Rd., Vineland, ON; vineland.com
When making plans to visit Vineland Estates Winery, be sure to arrive with a voracious appetite. On-site is a world-renown Four Diamond restaurant, simply called The Restaurant. Massive glass windows and a patio offer a breathtaking view of the vineyard’s scenic landscape as you enjoy the perfect pairing of wine with your meal. Vineland Estates is best known for its Elevation brand Riesling and Cabernet Franc, although its selection is extensive.
3930 Cherry Ave., Vineland, ON; megalomaniacwine.com
Welcome to the highest point on the Niagara Escarpment between Milton and Niagara Falls, the perfect vantage point for viewing Toronto, Niagara Falls and the neighbouring vineyards. The 96-acre winery, which opened in 2009, is known for its trademark faceless suit logo and whimsical wine names, poking fun at those who take the winemaking business too seriously. The winery’s two dozen varieties are aged exclusively in French oak barrels, which you’re sure to enjoy sampling during your visit.
3836 Main St., Jordan, ON; cavespring.ca
Combine wine tasting with boutique shopping and fine dining when visiting quaint, rural Jordan Village. Here you’ll find Cave Spring, the easternmost winery included in this roundup. The company was among the first to plant European vines in the region in the ‘70s, including Riesling and Chardonnay. Of course, that has long since been expanded to include red and other white varieties.
Nestled beneath the wine shop’s elegant storefront is Cave Spring’s subterranean cellars, where wine ages in a variety of French, American and Hungarian oak barrels.
Hours of operation
If you’re planning to visit this incredible wine region, please note the hours of operation of the wineries you wish to visit. Some of the smaller businesses are only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Spend a night or two at one of several local B&Bs, so that you can really relax and enjoy these beautiful wineries.