What a terrific chat we had about Niagara-on-the-Lake wines, simultaneously broadcast on Facebook Live and YouTube LiveStream. The YouTube version is posted above.
On Facebook, we had 274 comments and another 64 reactions/shares for a grand total of 346 engagements, plus 4,600 wine lovers have watched the video so far:
We had so much fun that we went live a second time on pairing food with Niagara-on-the-Lake wines both on Facebook and YouTube. Of course, the conversation continues on both posts, so feel free to comment there or below.
All of these wineries are currently offering free shipping within Ontario, and many also ship across Canada. Support your local wineries!
Here’s more background on the region from the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake:
Wineries in the Niagara-on-the-Lake appellation have been growing and producing world-class wines from premium vinifera varieties for more than four decades. Grape growers have a deep knowledge of what grows best in different areas and winemakers understand how to treat the grapes in the winemaking process to capture the best expression of terroir in their wines.
Niagara-on-the-Lake has been identified and recognized internationally as a distinct place for grape growing. Our wineries share a climate moderated by the Niagara Escarpment, Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. A unique set of geographical elements create a specialty crop area where tender vinifera grapes thrive.
This expanse of land is comprised of four unique sub-appellations – Niagara River, Niagara Lakeshore, Four Mile Creek, and St. David’s Bench – with distinct elements of terroir (geology, soil, elevation, temperature, precipitation) that result in wines of exceptional quality and surprising diversity. Our wineries span across these four distinct areas and produce wines that reflect the unique terroir of their vineyards.
The Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake are so fortunate to be located in the heart of wine country, home to prime agricultural lands for grape growing,” says Andrea Kaiser, Chair of Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake. “The vineyards and wines are a source of pride for winery members who are opening their cellars in celebration of our winemaking appellation.”
The Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake is a member-driven cooperative of over 20 wineries located in the Niagara-on-the-Lake appellation; a distinct grape-growing region bordered by the Niagara Escarpment, the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. We are a close-knit neighbourhood of wineries with vineyards located in a specialty crop area identified as ideal for premium wine growing. Our 100% VQA wines are produced in the heart of wine country and many are only available for tasting and purchase at our cellar doors. The aim of the cooperative is to offer wine lovers authentic wine experiences in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine Country.
For more information visit wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com.
Here’s more background on the four Niagara-on-the-Lake sub-appellations from VQA Ontario:
FOUR MILE CREEK
Expansive vineyards, abundant full sunlight, warm intense growing conditions
Four Mile Creek is the fertile plain that makes up central Niagara-on-the-Lake. It lies slightly inland from the lake and below the bench of the Niagara Escarpment providing for warm days and cool nights during the growing season. Soils are red shale with high silt and clay content, good water retention and ideal characteristics for vines. The relatively flat topography leads to abundant exposure to sunshine and warm days giving growers the opportunity to grow many varieties. Four Mile Creek is the most productive sub-appellation in the Niagara Peninsula.
Dominant influence of Lake Ontario, long consistent growing season for flavour development
Niagara Lakeshore follows the shoreline of Lake Ontario from the Welland Canal east to the Niagara River and inland for approximately 3 kilometers. The primary influence on this appellation is the proximity of the Lake and its year round moderation of temperatures. Cool lake breezes in the summer and a welcome hot water bottle effect in the winter even out the seasons. Long, very gentle slopes attract abundant sunshine and light, sandy soils allow vines to put down deep roots. The growing season is long, extending to late October, and supports the production of mature, full bodied wines, notably some later ripening varieties.
Easterly facing, gentle slopes, long growing season moderated by the Niagara River
The Niagara River appellation is a small strip of land running along the river from John Street to Dee Road and inland approximately one kilometer. Soils in the area are primarily stratified fine sands, providing natural drainage and strong encouragement for vines to develop deep root penetration. The large and fast flowing Niagara River creates convectional currents that draw cooler air into the gorge, moderating vineyard temperatures and extending the growing season. Most vineyards in this appellation are planted on east-facing slopes, which contributes to suitability of the appellation for growing tender varieties that need sun exposure throughout the day.
ST. DAVID’S BENCH
Early warming in spring, gently sloping bench, generous precipitation
St. David’s Bench lies 10 km south of the shore of Lake Ontario and several meters above the Lake Iroquois Plain. This bench, formed when glaciers carved out the Niagara Escarpment, rises from the historic shoreline of Lake Iroquois towards the base of the escarpment where a steep ridge collects the lake breezes to circulate and then eddy them back over the plains. The appellation follows the contour lines that define the escarpment from the Niagara River to Beechwood Road, with a complex topography. Vineyards in St David’s Bench are mostly located on north-facing slopes on the upper portion of the bench and along its southern boundary at the Lake Iroquois Shore Bluff.
Note: Several Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries provided samples for this Facebook tasting, others I purchased myself. The wineries provided background information on the appellations for this post, but they did not sponsor this post or the live tasting.