Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Dec 15, 2010 11:39 AM

Canadian Wine Content Only Please

For those who truly appreciate the terroirs of Niagara, I'd like to probe fellow oenophiles on top wineries ... my SO and I have been to many, many, many, but want to make sure we're not missing some real gems ... and wine is an art, different people appreciate different aspects of wine, I'm not looking for total "accord" on which ones are the best. Some of our favs include:

Five Rows
13th Street
Hidden Bench
Foreign Affair

We've also enjoyed a few of the virtual wineries, e.g. Nyarai Cellars. Gems that may not be on the Wine Route map would be appreciated ...

(and yes, I know there are other great Canadian wine regions, but not for a day's outing from where we are)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I certainly enjoyed my trip to Thirty Bench.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dinwiddie

      Yes, they have some very respectable wines and the experience is a bit more intimate than with their sister wineries, Hillebrand and Peller, largely because their brand was defined long before they were taken over ...

    2. Skip Gretzky's, that's my only tip.

      12 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Sorry Coco, but IMHO none warrant a visit.

          I won't mention the taste since some may like it, but I can't get over the shameless amount of imported wine added to our wine (leaving our farmer's berry crop to rot on the vine), AND the ridiculous prices.

          Save your money and fly to Napa / Sonoma, Italy, France, Chile, Argentina, ...

          1. re: PoppiYYZ

            The OP clearly asked about local wines. I'm sure only a few low end operations such as Magnotta blend in foreign juice.

            1. re: PoppiYYZ

              "but I can't get over the shameless amount of imported wine added to our wine"

              Sorry PoppiYYZ... but I'm going to have to call you on this.

              All of the wineries mentioned above produce VQA wines, which, last time I checked, allow for the addition of exactly 0% foreign fruit.

              So, while the wines of Niagara may not be to your personal taste, it's probably best to get your facts correct before making such sweeping, and utterly uninformed, statements?

              Oh... and I'd add Stratus, Malivoire, and Southbrook to that list!

              1. re: Non Doctor

                Yep. What he said.

                And I'd also throw Lailey onto the list to visit.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  Understood, and I respect that some may favour supporting local wine makers.

                  There are total of 140 licensed wineries and 108 make VQA. MOST also make the previously mentioned "blends" along with their VQA. Allowing "blending" (up to 70%) just seems deceptive (at best). Ask grape producers what they think.

                  There still remains the price issue (again without commenting on the taste).

                  1. re: PoppiYYZ

                    Hey PoppiYYZ ... I follow many of your threads and respect much of your taste ... but this thread was intended for people who appreciate the terroirs of Niagara ...

                    1. re: CocoTO

                      Apologies Coco. I'm very disappointed with the wine making regulations and many of the practices, but I understand that not all local winemakers should be lumped together. Sorry for the diversion of your thread.

                    2. re: PoppiYYZ

                      Huh? Where does your information come from. I'd be very surprised if anywhere near "most" of the wineries in Ontario were making blends with imported juice.

                    3. re: TorontoJo

                      Second the recommendation for Lailey. Very small, very personal and personable. Hubby and I had a very informative tour there that was just for the two of us. How they do it there, apparently. No such thing as a huge group being taken through by someone who was hired for the summer and has memorized their lines.

                  2. re: PoppiYYZ

                    Like I said ... wine is like art - to each his own ... we avoid the wines where they use imported grapes and we love going to Napa/Sonoma/Italy/France etc for wine as well

                    1. re: CocoTO

                      Yes... it is very easy to avoid aforementioned international blends... simply buy VQA!

                  1. re: sloweater

                    agreed! And closson chase, which is based in PEC but has some outstanding single vineyard chardonnays from niagara.

                    1. re: sloweater

                      Stratus crafts brilliant wines and has an architectural gem of a winery. However, I find their tasting room staff and presentation so pretentious that I can't stand going there anymore.

                      Just my 0.02.

                    2. Shhh...don't go telling everybody about Five Rows, or soon there will be none for us!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bogie

                        psst - thought long and hard about "outing" them but in the end, really want them to do well ;-)

                      2. Also, I would add Organized Crime to your list.

                        Tawse constantly amazes me, every single wine of theirs that I've ever tasted has been excellent.

                        I love Creekside, not only for their Undercurrents program but also for great value everyday wines like their shiraz, sauvignon blanc and Butler's Grant riesling.

                        1 Reply