Niagara on the Lake is all grown up…

With over 30 wineries situated in Niagara on the Lake it is easy to see why this has been a destination for wine lovers. Niagara on the Lake has so much to offer and it is only going to get better in 2013. Toronto was named one of the top travel destinations in the world in 2013. I think Niagara on the Lake will be one of the hottest travel destinations in Ontario this year. Toronto should expect an influx of people throughout the year due to the recent face lift. With Niagara Falls a tourist must-see, I can only hope people take the time to give wine country a chance.

 

Niagara on the Lake has come into its own as I was able to discover recently. I was invited to explore the region with Ayngelina. As a winter destination, it really surprised me with how much there was to do. 

 

Inniskillin

 Niagara on the Lake’s Development

In its infancy Niagara on the Lake was growing grapes from all Canadian vines and was producing mainly grape juice. Then in 1975, Karl Kaiser and Donald Ziraldo created Inniskillin Winery and were granted the first winery license in Ontario. Without these two innovators, wine country could have been called Welch’s grape juice county, cooking wine country, or boxed wine region. (Not that I have never drank wine out of a box, or some wines that belong in reductions.)  Karl and Donald then saw the regions potential for growing vines and started grafting and importing vines from Europe. The first decent wines in the region were being produced but would take some growing up before they hit the main stage.

 

Niagara had a long awkward adolescence as it started coming into its own. It took a while for Niagara on the Lake wineries to start producing some decent wines. Wines were being produced but it was taking some time to perfect the grapes and winemaking techniques. The wines being produced were not being well received globally and were not the award-winning wines this region is producing today. It was not really known as a great wine region yet and was still getting bullied from the big regions like Nappa or European wines. That was all about to change as Niagara started to find its voice and perfect its image.

 

Niagara on the Lake is finally all grown up and is rapidly becoming a heavy weight in the wine scene. The wines coming out of this region are only getting better and better every year. This region is currently producing some of the best ice wine in the world and is starting to gain some limelight on its table wines.

 

Wine Barrels

Niagara-on-the-Lake is changing face

In the past few years a lot of the restaurants have been revamped and you can expect some amazing meals from this region. I had the absolute best food and wine pairing experience at Zees Grill created by renowned chef Jason Dobbie. I am going to write a whole post on this called “the best meal I have ever eaten”, so stay tuned.

 

There is also some great accommodation in the area with hotels and bed and breakfasts for every type of traveller. I was fortunate enough to stay at the Niagara’s Finest Inns – Shaw Club Hotel, and couldn’t have been happier. With a modern feel and only minutes away from some amazing wineries, I know exactly where I am staying every time I go back.


 Craft beer? In Niagara Region? Yes, it’s happening!!!

Niagara is not only for wine lovers anymore. With what is now an amazing food scene and the emergence of craft breweries. Yes, you did read that right, Niagara on the Lake has a craft beer scene. Now that I have your attention…

 

With craft beer in the mix, Niagara on the Lake can’t get any better. The Niagara region now has three craft breweries, Oast House, Silversmith Brewing, and Niagara College Teaching Brewery. All three are producing some unbelievable craft beers, and this region will soon be for craft beer lovers too. Niagara on the Lake is going to be one of the most traveled to destinations in Ontario. I would suggest making the hour drive from the city and checking it out as soon as possible.

 

 

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