For the first few days of our trip, we stayed at Ally’s parent’s house in a town called Vineland. It’s about 30 min drive from Niagara Falls and roughly an hour from Toronto. As you probably guessed, Vineland gets its name from all the vineyards in the region. Wine is a huge thing in this area, harvesting and drinking it.
There are tons of local wineries, and if you become a member, they send you a few bottles a month and give you free tastings at the estate whenever you feel like it. Luckily for us, Ally’s parents are members at a few wineries, so one of the first things we did was try out some local wine.
First stop was Cave Springs Cellars in a small town called Jordan, a 30 min walk from where we were staying. Jordan is a quaint little town, confined to two main roads with small shops either side selling bits and bobs. It’s quite pricey here though, as a lot of the items on sale are handmade in store.
We had the opportunity to try 6 different wines at Cave Spring Cellars, including their popular Dolomite Brut, Cab Franc and Pinot Noir. The hostess had a few groups to serve while we were there, so she gave us the basic rundown of each wine but not too much detail due to the busyness. The tasters should have been a few dollars each to non-members, but the cost is usually waived when you buy a bottle of their wine. The average bottle will set you back around $20. Worth visiting if you’re in the area.
Next stop on our tour was 13th Street Winery in St Catharines. The grounds were spectacular, ideal for weddings and other large events. Ally’s parents are members of this winery, so we got treated like royalty with our own private table and sommelier. We got to try 4 different wines – Cab Merlot, Pinot Gris, Gamay Noir and a Riesling. After the tasting, we explored the grounds and the gift shop, where we got the most delicious pecan tarts. Definitely recommend visiting this winery.
On my last trip to Canada in 2014, we had also been to Peller Estates winery, at Niagara-on-the-lake. The property is beautiful, it’s one of the larger wineries with a spacious tasting room and restaurant. We tried a variety of red, white and sparkling rose, as well as a selection of ice wines. We were alone in the tasting room with the host for around 45 minutes. The host was well informed and had great knowledge of the wines available. As members, this tasting was free, but would usually cost you around $79. Can’t rate this place highly enough.
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