I love wine. It’s one of my guilty pleasures, complete with cheese and carbs. When my friend Sandy decided she wanted to celebrate her birthday for the second year in a row by going on a wine tour, I was completely on board. ~If sporadic social day drinking is wrong, I don’t want to be right~
The Niagara Wine Trail practically runs through my parents’ backyard. Since moving to the area in 2012 I’ve frequented the wineries quite a bit. The wine trail has a festival in July in Lewiston each year which made it even easier to indulge in one central location. I used that “research” to help Sandy pick out the must visit wineries for her birthday festivus.
Stop 1. Niagara Landing – This winery is for the sweet grapey wine drinker. At $8-15 a bottle, their price point is typical for the trail. They have a series of Rosebud wines that remind me of juice -making them very dangerous… I left this winery with a Semi-Dry Reisling.
*PRO TIP* Buy bottles at the first few wineries and then just sample at the rest. I’ve made the mistake of purchasing at winery 6 instead of 1 and my intoxicated taste buds are not picky.
Stop 2. Gust of Sun – Do the wine and chocolate tasting!! I found a citrus white chocolate paired with their Dry Diamond white wine that was amazing. I used 4 of my 5 tastings on this combination! This location also sells fun fruity wine slushies, perfect on a hot summers day (not that had one, it was a chilly 40 degrees out.. IN APRIL.. A Buff-a-fail).
Stop 3. Midnight Run – The atmosphere is cute and quaint, but in the spirit of honesty, I sat this winery out. The service was sub par and I was saving my tastings for more attentive staff and more appealing wines. Our group of 22 also dawdled a little longer than planned at the previous stops (because they’re awesome), so this visit was brief.
Stop 4. Victorianbourg – Again we were on a time crunch so we actually pulled in, and pulled away, from this winery. The bar is small and we were going to take over the whole thing.. but if you do have the time and the space I highly recommend their Pechette. I went on a tour last summer and bought a bottle that was gone within days.
Stop 5. Black Willow Winery – More wine and chocolate! And popcorn! And olive oils and balsamic! I mean yes, I go to wineries for the wine but when all else fails, it’s good to have a delicious pallet cleanser. I’ve been to this winery the most out of any of these stops and never tire of it. If you have the opportunity to sit on the back concrete patio with a glass or 3 of your favorite, while looking out on the vineyard, do it!
Stop 6. Schulze – My favorite wine here was definitely the Thirty Mile Point Niagara. If you’re feeling adventurous they have *crackling* aka carbonated wines, which is fun too.
Stop 7. Spring Lake Winery – Even on a gloomy cloudy April shower filled day, this winery was picturesque. The lake is so serene and the patio games are adorable. I’m normally a big fan of Gervurtztraminer, but not theirs. It was quite dry, an oddity for such a sweet wine trail. Their Caramel Apple Sangria and their Peach Sangria are huge hits in my book though, they have been better than any other wine I’ve sampled straight.
I haven’t sampled my way through the Lake Erie Wine Trail (aka Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail), but I want to. The Finger Lakes are also on my list. If you have any recommendations for a “grape” day involving wine, please pass them along!