Vintages

Explore these always-available Essentials Collection wines from key Ontario appellations and discover how deliciously diverse our local bounty can be.

NIAGARA PENINSULA

NIAGARA PENINSULA

This is Ontario’s over-arching wine region, and encompasses all the sub-regions highlighted on this page. Wines designated “Niagara Peninsula” can be made from grapes grown in all the different sub-regions. Sitting between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, the breezy Peninsula is known for its complex mix of soils and micro-climates that allow more than 45 grape varieties to thrive. Some of the key ones are Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The Niagara Peninsula is also world-famous for its Icewines and our Essentials Collection features several delicious examples, which can be viewed here.

Wines to try from this region:


NIAGARA ESCARPMENT & NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE

These appellations both fall within the larger Niagara Peninsula appellation. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, the Escarpment is home to hundreds of unique species of fauna and flora, including 37 species of wild orchids, and is best known for Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all of which display a characteristic minerality. Niagara-on-the-Lake is where you’ll find the world-renowned Shaw Festival, and it’s also the cultural centre for Ontario wine lovers, drawing visitors with its many culinary festivals and events. Niagara-on-the-Lake grows Chardonnay, Riesling and Vidal Blanc grapes, as well as Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wines to try from these regions:


FOUR BENCHES & A RIDGE

The Twenty Mile Bench, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Escarpment, is defined by a long growing season, a complex landscape and high elevation. The area is perfect for Ontario’s star grapes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. Beamsville Bench, which sits immediately west of Twenty Mile Bench, is a haven for those same grapes, but the wines here reflect a distinct minerality thanks to limestone in the soil. In Short Hills Bench, the most easterly of the Escarpment’s sub-appellations, Chardonnay and Riesling thrive in the warm, sunny days and cool evenings and nights, which also help create intensity in the wines. St. David’s Bench, a sub-appellation of Niagara-on-the-Lake, sits south of Lake Ontario. Marginally cooler conditions add refinement and elegance to the Pinot Noir, Gamay and Riesling crafted here. Vinemount Ridge’s vineyards sit on south- and east-facing slopes that get excellent sun exposure. Southwesterly winds bring cooler nighttime temperatures that contribute to balance and freshness to the wines. 

Wines to try from these regions: