Follow the Niagara Wine Trail, escape for a day or weekend to the vineyards below the Niagara Escarpment. Tour a winery, taste the wines, sense the country.
The back country roads under the Niagara Escarpment are alive with vineyards. The Niagara Wine Trail, marked with signs, takes you through meandering roads to wineries waiting to be discovered. Besides wine tasting and tours, food from a light lunch to full dinner are offered at some wineries. If you plan to explore the area for more than one day, deciding where to stay may be as challenging as choosing which wineries to visit. Dotted with quaint inns and bed and breakfast accommodation the Niagara Wine Trail offers a relaxing escape from city life.
The wine country trail around the Niagara Escarpment runs from Grimsby, winds under the escarpment, through Beamsville, Vineland, Jordan and into the St. Catharines area. From Toronto you may exit Queen Elizabeth Way at Fifty Road to start the trail. Head towards the escarpment and turn on Main Street into Grimsby, which is regional road 81, and runs through most of the wine route. Look for blue signs marked with white grapes, and follow the signs along the trail. There are many side roads to explore along the way, and signs to individual wineries are posted on the route. The Queen Elizabeth Way is well marked with signs to individual wineries and you may pick-up the wine trail at other exits below Grimsby. Coming from Buffalo, exit the Queen Elizabeth Way, after St. Catharines, at Seventh Street, head towards the escarpment and take regional road 77 towards Jordan, and follow the wine route signs.
Most wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail are open to the public year-round, some open fewer days in winter, when frozen grapes that make award winning ice wine hang from the vines. Self-guided tours and guided tours are offered at several of the wineries but several may be toured by appointment only. Wheelchair access is not a problem at most wineries. Each winery offers a different experience. Besides a variety of wines and wine tasting, outdoor porches offering lunch are available at many of the wineries, some offer baked goods, cheeses, seasonal fruit and picnic baskets that may be enjoyed in the vineyards.
Wineries Offering Accommodation
Staying for a night is an option at a few of the wineries along the wine trail of the Niagara Escarpment. For a pampered couples get away, Cave Spring Cellars located in the quaint village of Jordan, offers top-class accommodation at the Inn on the Twenty, across the street from where the wine tasting takes place. Cave Springs is open all year, guided tours are available everyday in summer, and weekends throughout the year. A restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in an intimate setting. Jordan House, a short walk down the village, also belonging to Cave Spring Cellars, provides rooms in a contemporary setting. Close to Grimsby, Puddicombe Estate Farms & Winery offers overnight stays at the farm on the Puddicombe Caboose that includes a continental breakfast. A place for the whole family to explore, besides self guided winery tours, there is a petting farm, train ride, play area, bakery store, cafe, fruit picking and a list of ongoing events. Vineland Estate Winery has several restored historic buildings. The winery, under the escarpment, offers a one-bedroom cottage and a three-bedroom house for group guests or families. A bottle of wine and provisions for a self catering breakfast are provided. The winery restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, offers gourmet local food in the restored farmhouse or outside on the patio. Tours and wine tasting are available year round.