Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Lakeshore wineries are rich with tradition – and great wine! Here are a few not to miss on your next trip.
Konzelmann Estate Winery
Winemaking has long been a part of Herbert Konzelmann’s family. A successful winemaker in Germany in the 1890's, Herbert’s great-grandfather Friedrich Konzelmann started a family tradition that would eventually send Herbert - the fourth generation of Konzelmanns to run winery operations in Germany - across the ocean for more land to grow vines. Herbert arrived in Canada in the 1980's to set up his family business in Niagara-on-the-Lake. He purchased 40 acres of peaches on a picturesque lakefront property on Lakeshore Road and soon replaced them with grapes. In 1997 he purchased a second vineyard just 10 minutes inland from the Lake on East/West Line. Today, Konzelmann is the only lakefront winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Its unique microclimate allows for a slightly earlier harvest and warmer temperatures due to the effects of the lake, as heat stored during the summer is released during the cooler months. Konzelmann is known for many different wines, but the two most recognized and awarded are their Gewurztraminer and Pinot Blanc.
The 10-acre property at Strewn has roots in the community that go back 80 years when it was home to the Niagara Canning Company. In 1997, with the cannery long closed, vineyards were planted, the original buildings were extensively rebuilt and Strewn opened. Their focus has always been on producing premium wines that reflect the terroir, displaying both varietal nuances and vintage variation. In addition to a wine making area and underground barrel cellar, the hospitality centre includes tasting rooms, a wine boutique, on-site restaurant and a hands-on recreational cooking school. It is a unique destination that showcases the best in Niagara wine and cuisine. This year the Heritage Tasting Room opened for pre-booked, seated tastings and special Library Wine events. The room pays homage to the property’s roots with framed prints from the days of the Niagara Canning Company.
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
It was a shared and unrelenting passion for wine that brought colleagues and friends Don Triggs and Allan Jackson together to form Jackson-Triggs. Nestled by the escarpment, Jackson-Triggs’ vineyards take advantage of winds off the lake that double back and provide a warming effect in the winter and a cool, drying effect in the summer; this helps protect the vines in winter and encourages fruit health and maturity throughout summer. Vineyard pruning is done numerous times throughout the season, which allows for maximum sun exposure to ripen the grapes. Knowing that from great viticulture comes great wine, the viticulture team strives to respect the fruit and maintain the quality already established in the vineyard; state of the art winemaking follows to get the beauty of those vines into the bottle. A wine to watch is the sparkling Merlot, made in the traditional method and aged on lees for 24 months, giving it complexity and depth – a wine that is not only unique to the winery but to Niagara as well!
Anjana Viswanatha [Sommelier CAPS, CMS] is the founder and principal of Wednesday Night Wine (www.wednesdaynightwine.ca), a wine instructor at George Brown College and is the Marketing Manager for Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake (www.winieriesofniagaraonthelake.com, @niagarawine on Twitter and Instagram, @wineriesofniagaraonthelake on Facebook). Get in touch with Anjana: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram @wednesdaynightwine.