Exploring Great Destinations in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
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Niagara Wine Country

Niagara truly is Canada’s premiere wine producing region. The Region is known for its fine Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir and Baco Noir, as well as icewine, which is steadily gaining in popularity right around the world.

When the original United Empire Loyalists came to Niagara in the late 1700’s fruit trees were soon introduced to the family farms. However, grapes were not grown at this time and the fruit trees usually consisted of apples and pears.

By the turn of the 20th century vineyards were springing up all around the area. With the construction of The Vineland Research Station in Vineland in 1906 the tender fruit industry “blossomed”, turning the Niagara Peninsula into Canada’s top fruit producer.

The VQA or Vintner's Quality Alliance is a regulatory association set up to monitor the quality and the origin of the wines produced in Canada. This regulatory body is similar to systems found in Italy, France and Germany. By categorizing the regions into appellations and sub-appellations the VQA is able to provide specific information about the grapes grown throughout Canada.

The most significant regulations state that wines must be 100 per cent grown in their designated viticultural area and have minimum sugar values set for specified grape varieties.

The Niagara Peninsula appellation consists of two main wine growing regional appellations, the Niagara Escarpment, and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Nested in the Niagara Escarpment appellation contains sub-appellations such as the Beamsville Bench, the Shorthills Bench and the Twenty Mile Bench. With the Niagara-on-the-Lake Appellation are the Four Mile Creek, Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara River and the St. Davids Bench.

"Bench" is used to describe the physical geography of the area. The bench is the lower slope of the Niagara Escarpment. Higher up the bench and the weather is less determined by the sheltering effects of the escarpment and the warming effects of Lake Ontario.

Niagara Peninsula - Appellation

Creek Shores - Sub Appellation

Lincoln Lakeshore - Sub Appellation

Vinemount Ridge - Sub Appellation

Niagara Escarpment - Regional Appellation
• Beamsville Bench - Sub Appellation
• Short Hills Bench - Sub Appellation
• Twenty Mile Bench - Sub Appellation

Niagara-on-the-Lake - Regional Appellation
• Four Mile Creek - Sub Appellation
• Niagara Lakeshore - Sub Appellation
• Niagara River - Sub Appellation
• St. Davids Bench - Sub Appellation