Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine Region

The Niagara-on-the-Lake wine region is one of the finest in the country if not the world! The local growers and wine producers have found their stride and are now producing truly world class vintages, in addition to the high quality of the wines the wineries themselves are truly destinations, take a tour of the facilities, learn about the wine making process, walk the vineyards, sample the wines and have a superb meal in one of the many winery restaurants in the region and simply enjoy a taste of old world europe right here in Ontario!

Niagara-on-the-Lake Appellations

The term “appellation” is commonly applied in wine growing regions to clearly identify the grape’s region of origin. When you’re renowned for making terroir wines – wines that fully express the grape and the vineyard – it’s important that the birthplace be noted. This is why it is taken very seriously. Wine makers in Niagara-on-the-Lake not only want you to know that their wines are made in Niagara-on-the-Lake, they want you to know exactly where in Niagara-on-the-Lake your wine was conceived.

Within the designated viticultural (grape-growing) area known as the Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake has been classified by VQA Ontario (Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario) as a distinct area. Bordered by the Niagara Escarpment, Lake Ontario and the Niagara River  wineries in the Niagara Peninsula share a climate moderated by the unique relationship between the Escarpment and Lake Ontario. Yet, across this expanse of fertile land the wineries are differentiated by geology, soils, elevation, and even variations in temperature and precipitation that create unique conditions for the production of grapes and wine.

There are four distinct growing areas, or sub-appellations, within Niagara-on-the-Lake. The official designations are:

Niagara River

The picturesque Niagara Parkway winds along this narrow band that borders the Niagara River. Vines dig deep into the well drained sandy soils and air currents from the river moderate temperatures and help protect vineyards from damaging spring or fall frosts. The reddish-hued soils also tend to warm earlier in the spring. Tender grape varieties thrive.

Niagara Lakeshore

From the Welland Canal towards the historic town of Niagara-on-the Lake lush vineyards border the shores of Lake Ontario. The land gently slopes and vineyards and orchards receive abundant sunlight. Temperatures are moderated by lake breezes, and light sandy and silt soils provide good drainage. Grapes and fruit produce full-bodied, flavourful wines.

Four Mile Creek

This is the largest of the four sub-appellations in Niagara-on-the-Lake and just so happens to be the home of By the Vines!. It lies below the Escarpment, slightly inland, and stretches into an expansive flat, fertile plain. Red shale soils contain silt and clay, retaining water well. Days are warm, with lots of sunshine, and nights are cool. Conditions are optimal for growing many premium grape varieties.

St. David’s Bench

The topography is varied in this area that was carved by glaciers to form a natural bench below the Escarpment. The region follows along the Escarpment from the Niagara River to Beechwood Road and vineyards are planted on gentle slopes to allow for good drainage in the silty clay soils. The escarpment location helps vineyards warm early in the spring and provides frost protection. Throughout the growing season vineyards located in the upper bench receive steady moisture from ground water.

To explore the wineries from each Niagara-on-the-Lake Appellation click on the title above or click here to view all