Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Day Trippin' - Niagara Wine Region Week 2

June 2020 - Niagara Region ON

Welland ON

Our road trip this week was to the Niagara wine region. We didn't expect them to be open, we just wanted to check them out and get some photos.
This was the first of several visits we plan this summer.
We also plan to buy bottles as we visit a winery as most of these are not sold to the LCBO.

Highlighted the wineries we saw.

Most were open for pre-ordered curbside pickup. No tastings allowed at the moment, they hope this change towards the end of June.

Most of these wineries state that their grapes are from the Twenty Mile Bench Wine Region. What does this even mean? It was new to us.

Twenty Mile Bench is a Canadian Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) designated appellation within the Niagara Peninsula wine region, on the middle section of the Niagara Escarpment landform that runs through the area. The cool climate and limestone soils in the area have made an excellent terroir for the Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties. Both red and white wines are usually fruity and rich.

The appellation stretches along the Escarpment from just west of the appropriately-named township of Vineland to Fifteen Mile Creek in the east, a distance of around 6 miles (10km). The Escarpment is a ridge of land that runs through the Great Lakes region for a distance of around 650 miles (1050km). It makes up the southern boundary of the appellation and provides shelter from cold south-westerly winds.

Twenty Mile Bench is in fact a double bench, made up of two flat strips of land that step from the Niagara Escarpment down towards Lake Ontario. It is separated from the lake by the Lincoln Lakeshore and Creek Shores VQAs. Here, north-facing vineyards enjoy the benefits of the area's constant air circulation. During the ripening period in early fall, warm air rising off the lake (which stores heat during the summer) is replaced by cold air from the land. This creates an offshore breeze that sees the warm air circulated back onto the vineyards. As a result, Twenty Mile Bench has a long, slow growing season with relatively even, moderate temperatures from bud-burst to harvest.

Enough detail!!

Let's start our tour. Appropriate street sign.

Puddicombe wasn't open, they only open Wed-Sun.
Murray Puddicombe has been growing Vinifera grapes - Gamay Noir and Chardonnay - since 1962, other Vinifera since 1968, and Riesling, Pinot Noir and French Colombard since 1975.

There is a farm market and country store.

We'll come back for one of these tours and tastings.

Train & Tasting

Hop aboard our Agricultural train “Little Pudd”and enjoy a scenic 30 minute ride around our 100 acre estate. After your ride you will be escorted back to the wine shop for a relaxing tasting of 2 award winning wines and 1 award winning cider.

5oz Wine Train

Sit back and relax with a glass of wine or cider, while you travel through our scenic orchards of tender fruit trees and rows of picturesque vineyards throughout the estates 100 acre. Your tour guide will walk you out to the vineyard and talk about the aspects that are involved in the growing, harvesting and selling of all the products on the estate.

Train, Tasting & Dessert

Guest will board our Agricultural train “Little Pudd” and enjoy a relaxing tour throughout the estate 100 acres of beautiful vineyards and orchards. After your delightful ride, guest will be escorted back to the winery for a private tasting of 2 award winning wines and 1 award winning cider, followed by a tasty seasonal home baked dessert, with tea and coffee.

The name Leaning Post represents the essence of our project. Just as grapes can’t grow on their own, they need the support of posts and wires.

 Leaning Post began as a virtual winery and is so proud to now have the quaint tasting room at 1491 Hwy 8 on their home property in Winona, Ontario.

Ilya and Nadia are the brains and passion behind Leaning Post Wines. It started with a dream to take unique, interesting single vineyard blocks in Niagara and turn them into distinctive, terroir driven wines.

We were given some samples outside with proper distancing.

Looking for lunch. Grimsby on the Lake, a new development of townhouses and condos by the lake. Average mid-point $500K.

Now the offices of the Chamber of Commerce, the building has been redone as the Old Fire Hall.

Thirty Bench - not open.

Bald - private


Angels Gate - curbside only

Choose three wines (1 oz pours) from the bar list for $5.00.
Single samples available for $2.00.
Tasting fee waived with the purchase of $50 in wine.

Hidden Bench - curbside only

We are very fortunate to be located in the heart of the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation, which is home to many of the best wines produced in Ontario. As both grape growers and wine makers, we believe that the limestone rich, clay based, glacial till soils of our three estate vineyards, all situated on the Beamsville Bench itself, permit us to produce complex and mineral driven wines. Our old-world style wines are age worthy and have a definitive sense of place and time.

Founded in 2003 by Harald Thiel and family, Hidden Bench’s varietal focus is Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. In addition we also produce limited quantities of our white meritage, Nuit Blanche, and our red meritage, Terroir Cache and a traditional method sparkling wine, Natur. Our 3 estate vineyards permit a current total production of approximately 120,000 bottles. Due to strong ongoing demand and a limited supply, most of our wines are on limited allocations.

Fielding Estate Winery is nestled on Niagara's Beamsville Bench.
The Fieldings searched the Niagara Region for the perfect location and came across the cozy Beamsville location with the rolling hills and the awe-inspiring view of Lake Ontario.

London Born.

Our family was born in London, England. And it’s time we brought a little bit of Britain just beyond the Beamsville Bench. That’s why Aure Wines is proud to become the London Born Wine Co.

This was open to walk-ins. No tastings allowed, plexiglass in place as he explained his wines. A very pleasant experience in a lovely building.

One of my favourite names.
Organized Crime definitely a website you have to check out.

We are a small boutique winery located on the renowned Beamsville Bench of the Niagara Peninsula. Our little parcel of south-facing land hangs over the hillside edges of the Bench, and provides an ideal environment for cool climate winegrowing.

Sometime in the early-to-mid 1900s, there were two quarreling Mennonite congregations who disagreed about the acquisition of a pipe organ.

Believing the organ to be evil, the more conservative congregation broke in, stole the organ, put it on a buggy, threw it down the embankment … and (violá!) there was silent night. Many decades later … The Organized Crime Winery was born.

Redstone Winery® is the latest venture by Moray Tawse and his award-winning winemaking team. Named for its red clay soil and large stones, the 38-acre Lincoln Lakeshore property was purchased in 2009 and is home to a newly opened hospitality centre and a locally-inspired restaurant.

Martin Malivoire never planned to have a winery.

His idea was to grow grapes and live on a vineyard in Niagara. Maybe make a little wine...just to understand how to do it and do it well.

Yet for more than 20 years now, his winery on the Beamsville Bench has become a base for innovation, creativity and sustainability – with an aim to produce wines that are uniquely and proudly Canadian.

As a director of motion picture special effects, Martin’s pre-winery career encompassed everything from television’s “Wayne and Shuster Comedy Hour” to such Hollywood big-screen attractions as “Resident Evil”, “A Christmas Story” and “Hairspray”. After thirty years, Martin decided the time for a change had come.

Situated on the lower slopes of the Niagara Escarpment, Tawse is a family-owned organic winery, voted Canada’s Winery of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2016. Founder Moray Tawse purchased 6 acres on the Cherry Avenue property in 2001. In 2005 he opened his state-of-the-art winery, complete with a six-level, gravity-flow design, geo-thermal system and a wetland bio-filter. The inspiration for his first Niagara property came from his love of Burgundian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Megalomaniac’s bold branding tactics are at the forefront of the winery’s success. What was originally thought to bring scorn upon the winery has managed to accomplish quite the opposite. The bottles feature a series of faceless executives wearing the iconic bowler hat accompanied by a unique title generally associated with the Megalomaniac brand. The name itself comes from a brief story that can be found on the back of each bottle.

“What’s in the name? I originally wanted to christen these wines in my name, John Howard, …and then my good friends accused me of being yet another “[profanity withheld] megalomaniac”. Regrettably, the name stuck.

This is a lovely looking estate. There is a restaurant, currently only doing takeout.
They also offer bed and breakfast in two accommodation options. However, I saw the cottage and was not impressed at $250 a night.

Featherstone Estate Winery consists of 23 acres of rolling hills, vineyards, gorgeous gardens, a winery, small tasting room and a cosy veranda where, starting this year from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday to Sunday and holiday Mondays, guests can order up delicious thin crust pizzas baked in a wood-fired pizza oven that Johnson crafted from scratch.

Johnson makes the wine, and Engel, his wife, is the marketing/retail guru behind the wines. And aside from farm workers to help with pruning and picking of the grapes, retail staff and the famous black sheep which arrive June 28 to trim the bottom of the vines during growing season, it’s pretty much a self-sufficient operation.Featherstone also offers falconry and a sheep farm.

A Bed and Breakfast

Converted into a home.

AirBnB "Burma Park" is surrounded by renowned wineries, including Vineland Estates Winery, Ridgepoint Wines, Tawse Winery and Megalomanic Winery.


  1., you sure have been out seeing the sights!!!

  2. Buildings are great at Featherstone

  3. It must have been nice to get out and take a trip. So many wineries, yet as far as I know, we never see Canadian wines here. Local wines for local people. It can be hard to buy Australian wine for a reasonable price at times from our liquour outlets.

    1. Same problem here, Andrew. If the local winery opts to sell to the LCBO, Liquor Board of Ontario, they must adhere to their stringent rules. So most don't. If they are sold at the LCBO they are too expensive for us.
      The winery area reminded us of the Barossa Valley!!

  4. Hmmm, glad you had "green"! ;-)
    Love the inside with all the plants hanging from the ceiling. Must be a heaven for wine-lovers there (I only need wine to cook ;-)...).
    Great you had such a fun day OUT!


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