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If someone said you could experience paradise for practically nothing, would you? Imagine being surrounded by acres of greenery and breathtaking scenery. Now add a glass of wine to the imagery and picture yourself savouring that aromatic glass which tickles all the right notes of your palette. Can you fathom it? Well, dearly beloved Culture readers, we’re about to give you some insights into Canada’s hidden treasures and hand over the roadmap to a little piece of paradise.

Residents in Ontario have the great fortune of experiencing the life of luxury without spending a fortune. Best known as one of the great wonders of the world, Niagara Falls has also been titled Canada’s largest (and award-winning) wine region. Its location, alongside the Niagara escarpment and Lake Ontario, has a perfect micro-climate for growing and nourishing grapes, resulting in some of the world’s greatest wines. Niagara wineries are practically a hop, skip and jump away and only a mere hour and a half drive from Canada’s largest city, Toronto.

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” – Galileo Galilei

VinelandWinery – Photos by Lisa Goulet

DID YOU KNOW?

Although traditionally, (grape) wines have not been a big part of Vietnamese culture, as cultivating grapes for wine requires colder climates (obviously not an environmental trait of Vietnam), it is emerging into the Vietnamese market. With the new laxing of Vietnamese government regulations over the past few years, wines such as Bordeauxs have surfaced all over Vietnam from North to South, and can be found in Vietnam at many of the mid to high-end restaurants.

If wine is not your drink of choice, don’t be discouraged. There are many other activities to enjoy at the local wineries including outdoor concerts and movie viewings. There’s even yoga at the Vineyard for fitness enthusiasts. The exquisite picturesque backdrop of the vineyards provides wonderful scenery for sightseeing. As revealed by a (now) wine-enthusiast Mary Haight: “I was drawn into the wineries because I love nature and it was the scenery that drew me in. The wine was secondary. But now I love them both equally,” she explains with an amicable laugh. Even those who aren’t wine enthusiasts will be easily converted.

With 83 wineries in the Niagara Peninsula, it can be overwhelming to those interested in embarking upon this journey, which is why Culture Magazin, with the help of Mary Haight, wine club member and enthusiast, have narrowed down the list providing you with three unique and enchanting wineries for you to discover.

VINELAND ESTATES

3620 Moyer Road, Vineland
VinelandWinery – Photos by Lisa Goulet

This captivating vineyard, renowned for their Riesling and Chardonnay, sits on the slopes of the Niagara escarpment with a view of Lake Ontario. It has been recognized as “Ontario’s most picturesque winery”. Their historical winery buildings, cottages and world-class restaurants bestow a sense of serenity, and you can escape back in time to the 1880’s when the buildings were built. The Vineland Estates transcends rustic beauty and exhibits a humble and timeless elegance. What stands out the most (besides their breath-taking venue)? Vineland Estates provides exceptional customer service and ensures that all visitors feel welcomed.

JACKSON TRIGGS

2145 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-lake
JacksonTriggs_Winery
JacksonTriggs_Winery

Situated on 11.5 acres of land, Jackson Triggs is a well-known winery in the region. In 2013, Jackson Triggs was awarded two gold medals by the Ontario Wine Awards for their Delaine Vineyard Cabernet-Merlot 2010 and their Proprietors’ Reserve Vidal Icewine 2008. The most unique feature of this stunning winery is the various activities that are held on-site, including their concert series showcasing talented and well-known artists like Chantal Kreviazuk and Sam Roberts Band. Another great event at this venue is their Niagara Wednesday Movie Night After Dark where visitors can savour a glass of wine while enjoying award winning films such as Shawshank Redemption and Slumdog Millionaire for a whopping $10. Wine, movies and music? Who can say no to that?

PENINSULA RIDGE

5600 King Street West, Beamsville
PeninsulaRidge - Photos by Lisa Goulet
PeninsulaRidge – Photos by Lisa Goulet

The Peninsula Ridge Winery offers a fantastic view and landscape on the Niagara escarpment. On a clear day, you can see the Toronto skyline off in the distance. Their restaurant, located in a charming historic house, was built in 1885 and restored in 2000. It is a great place to relax with friends and family over local foods that are freshly prepared and paired with a selection of wines. The restaurant was recently declared as an historic site under the Ontario Heritage Act for its historical and architectural significance and sits on their impressive 80 acres of land. This winery is a definite must-see venue.