If you find yourself in need of a wine delivery to Toronto or other parts of Ontario, look no further than this list of the best wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
We’re spoiled for choice in Ontario with fine wines, craft beers, and specialty spirits, all brewed and crafted right here in our province.
Depending on the occasion or time of year, it’s nice to be able to pull out that special bottle of local Ontario wine to enjoy either on your own or shared with people close to you.
Wineries in Ontario root themselves in three principle regions. To the southeast lies the region of Prince Edward County. To the southwest sits Ontario’s Lake Erie North Shore region.
Nestled between the two sits the Niagara peninsula, and this romantic region is where we’ll be focused on today.
The Special Wineries Of Niagara-on-the-Lake
Within the Niagara wine peninsula sits the charming little region of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyards make for a special trip. You’ll find they’re very different from their touristy neighbour of Niagara Falls.
A good problem to have in this area is trying to decide which are the best wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. With more than 20 wineries in the region, if you’re visiting for the day or even the weekend, that’s an overwhelming amount to cover.
In order to help you narrow down your choice for the best wineries to visit in Niagara-on-the-Lake, we’ve put together a list of the top 10, so you can limit your options and make the most of your time spent there.
Choosing the Best Wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake for Your Visit
The list of the best wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake is written in alphabetical order. Any other order wouldn’t quite be fair when it comes to choosing wineries!
With such a variety of the top wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this is more of a choose-your-own-adventure jumping-off point.
Here are some things you should consider when deciding which Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries are right for you:
Sizes and Types of the Wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake has some of Ontario’s largest estate wineries, dating back several decades to the earlier days of Ontario winemaking. They offer huge vineyards, large tasting rooms and giant dining and entertaining spaces.
These large wineries are often where the large tourist groups come to experience the wines in Niagara, especially on the weekends.
Niagara-on-the-Lake also has smaller, family-run wineries. They’re located on smaller plots of land, offering more intimate settings.
Wineries come in all shapes and sizes, so when you’re visiting some of the best wineries in Niagara, these are important notes to consider.
Some of the wineries in this region are more relaxed and laidback, whereas others have more “Instagrammable” and experiential opportunities on site to enjoy.
I’d recommend blending in a mix of different types of Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries into your tour.
Types of Wines in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake boasts a wide variety of types of wine. You can find everything from Chardonnay and Riesling to Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.
If you’re interested in more of a regional specialty, the famed ice wines are native to the Niagara region. This is something that sets apart the wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake when compared to other parts of Ontario.
Ice wine gets its name from the way the wine is produced. The wine grapes are harvested later in the growing season and have been naturally frozen overnight on the vine. Ice wines are a typical dessert wine that both local and international travellers come from all over to experience in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Author’s Note: Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, all wineries on this list are closed for tours and tastings at this time. However, if you’re looking for wine delivery to Toronto or wine delivery in Ontario at large, all of these wineries are currently participating in free delivery to bring their vineyards to you.
The Best Wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake
1. Between the Lines Winery
Beginning this list of best wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake is Between The Lines Winery. Between the Lines prides itself on being a “family estate winery”.
Owned and operated by the Wertsch brothers, Greg and Yannick, the brothers came to Ontario from Germany at a young age. They were accustomed to the family winemaking business before beginning their own winery. They’ve now been open for seven years.
These Niagara-on-the-Lake winemakers are inventive and always looking towards the next best thing in winemaking. Their Outset wine, for example, is Canada’s first sparkling wine in a can–perfect for sipping in the summer.
In their Red Barn Collection, they also have a variety of icewines, tasty whites and barrel-aged (yet mildly fruity) reds. They also have an impressive Reserves Collection if you’re looking for something extra special.
On a visit to Between the Lines winery, you’ll have the chance to explore their rustic-modern barn. This serves as their tasting room and event space. They have many events ongoing throughout the year, including anything from cheese pairings to yoga, to keep you intrigued.
Between the Lines is currently offering 20% off plus free shipping. This is for wine delivery to Toronto and across Ontario when you order 12 bottles or more. Use the code BTLSTRONG at checkout.
2. Big Head Wines
Newer in operation than some of the wineries on this list, Big Head Wines was started by longtime winemaker Andrzej Lipinski. He began the project after making wine for several award-winning Ontario wineries, such as Burning Kiln Winery in Norfolk County and Organized Crime in Niagara.
What began as an online business opened up to a proper wine and tasting cellar at Hunter Farms in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where the tasting takes place today.
Lipinski’s wine is a nod to the winemaking process started in Norfolk County, in Ontario’s Lake Eerie North Shore region. He uses old tobacco kilns (from the rich tobacco-farming history of Norfolk) to dry out the grapes prior to pressing them.
The result of this process makes for a wonderful arrangement of wines. They place particular emphasis on their full-bodied reds, but offer some impressive sparkling wines, chardonnays and other whites as well.
A visit to the Hunter Farms tasting room will greet you with the feeling of a small and true winery making great wines. This isn’t to be missed when planning your visit to top wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Big Head Wines is offering free shipping on all orders of 6 bottles or more for both wine delivery to Toronto and wine delivery in Ontario. For more local customers, they’re also offering safe curb side pickup during their regular business hours, or free contactless deliveries on orders of 6 bottles or more within the Golden Horseshoe.
3. Palatine Hills Estate Winery
Sitting on a property of the Neufeld family for over forty years, Palatine Hills prides themselves on still being family owned and operated. The Neufeld family began as grape growers in the Niagara region, and then expanded to wine production later on in their running of the farm.
With everything from Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Francs, along with Icewine and Sparkling Wine, the Neufeld family has curated quite the selection of wines for you to sample and enjoy on their property.
Visiting their wine tasting space, you’ll be greeted by the industrial-rustic and comfortable atmosphere of their tasting room, with a large garage door opening out onto their scenic patio overlooking the vineyards.
Palatine Hills is offering free shipping for both wine delivery to Toronto and wine delivery in Ontario on all orders over $99 during the COVID19 pandemic. They’ve also put together several unique mix packs, including a “Express Variety Pack”, featuring an assortment of wines and antipasto treats.
4. Pillitteri Estates Winery
Pillitteri Estates has a family history of grape growers and winemakers hailing from Sicily, who made their home in Niagara in the late 1940s. The Pillitteri family grew fruits and produce for many years in Niagara-on-the-Lake, before opening their winery in 1993.
Consisting of 5 vineyards, Pillitteri offers an array of different wines to choose from, including from several of their signature vintage wines from the many different excellent growing seasons they’ve had.
They’ve won over 800 awards in Canadian and international competitions, and they offer many different types of reds, whites, sparkling and ice wines.
Pillitteri is also a sustainable winery and has recently become the Official Wine Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team.
A visit to this esteemed winery will embrace you in their rustic-chique feel at their winery and tasting rooms, and tasting cellars. Seeing as this winery is larger than some on the list, you’ll be met with several options upon arrival.
In response to the current mandates regarding COVID19, Pilliterri Estates is offering complimentary shipping on all wine orders from their online store. No minimum purchase or promo code is necessary. Make sure you check for the sales they’re having at a discounted rate on packs of wine.
5. Small Talk Vineyards
This special winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake sits on 27 acres of land and produces 11 varieties of grapes. Small Talk may be a charming little winery, but it makes up for its smaller size in its big taste and personality.
The Small Talk Vineyards property has been in the Hunse family since the 1950s, when they farmed fruit and poultry. Over the years, they planted grapes to grow wine. They officially opened under their current name in 2009.
This unique winery offers everything from their Chardonnay, hailing from 30 year old grape vines, to their new venture since 2014, which is their Shiny Apple Cider. They even offer a Pinot Noir cider, so you’re sure to find something tasty and special when you visit.
Visiting the tasting room here, you’ll be met with cute, vibrant colours left and right. It’s the perfect spot for an ideal Instagram photo op. They have a patio outside near the vineyard, as well as their tasting room inside.
Small Talk Vineyards & Shiny Apple Cider is offering free shipping on wine delivery to Toronto and across Ontario when you spend a minimum of $75 on an online order from their store during the COVID19 pandemic.
6. Southbrook Vineyards
With a long history of farming in their family, the Redelmeiers began Southbrook Vineyards because of their passion for gourmet foods and wines in 1991. Since then, they’ve expanded their production and won several awards for their wines along the way, which is why they’re on this list of the best Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyards.
From whites, reds, rosés, to dessert wines, they literally have it all at this large winery, and in abundance. They even have an award-winning orange wine, which is a very unique white for the Niagara-on-the-Lake wine region.
You will be met with modern, clean and bright rooms on a visit to the expansive Southbrook winery for a tasting. Their tasting room looks out to the surrounding vineyards for you to enjoy as you sip.
As a response to the current pandemic, Southbrook Vineyards is offering free, direct to your door wine delivery to Toronto, Niagara, Hamilton, Oakville, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo, Stratford, London, Port Hope, Peterborough, Barrie & Ottawa. Put “Purple Glove Delivery” under Special Instructions during checkout. They also have options for curbside pickup for their more local customers.
7. Stratus Vineyards
Another one of the top wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake is located just outside of the historic centre. Stratus Vineyards is a modern and innovative winery. They operate using gravity-flow with their wines and are one of the few “pump-free” wineries in the world. Witnessing this up-to-date practice makes the experience that much more exciting for their patrons.
Their head winemaker, J-L (Jean-Laurent) Groux is from the Loire Valley of France. He came to Stratus after expanding his training in both Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Specializing in white, red, and icewine using their gravity-flow techniques specific to the winery, Stratus produces an impressive range of wines. From their “top tier” wines for a special event, or their more affordable “second-tier” wines for a weeknight (under the labels Wildass, Tollgate and Kabang), there is a range of delicious wine to choose from here.
A visit to Stratus Vineyards is not to be missed. Their large, two-floor facilities (essential to the gravity-flow method) includes several modern and sleek public and private tasting rooms. They also have an outdoor patio to enjoy while you sip.
During the COVID19 closing of their location and tasting rooms, Stratus is offering free shipping on wine delivery to Toronto and across Ontario. Just use the code FREESHIP2020 at checkout.
8. The Hare Wine Co.
Another one of the best wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake is The Hare Wine Co. Named for both an apt symbol for the winery and the last name of owner John Hare, they specialize in producing 100% VQA small-batch wines.
Their wines are split up into four quadrants. These include their Jack Rabbit Series, which is “fresh and fruit-forward” and their Crown Land Series, which is a homage to the founding farmers on their land. They also have their Frontier Collection, known for being “complex and ageable” and their Noble Collection, revered as their “most premium wines”.
You’ll be greeted by rustic red-brick ambiance when you visit The Hare. You can choose to stay inside to enjoy a tasting, or sit out on their patio overlooking the vineyards. You may be tempted to stay for one of their brick-oven pizzas, too!
The Hare Wine Co. is offering free shipping for wine delivery to Toronto and across Ontario on orders of 6 bottles of wine or more during the current COVID19 pandemic. They’re also offering a discount of $30 when you purchase a case (12 bottles) of their Jack Rabbit wines.
9. Trius Winery
Another Niagara-on-the-Lake winery making this list for the best wineries in the Niagara region is Trius Winery. They’ve been making wine for over 40 years at Trius Winery, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. They put themselves (and Canada) on the map by winning an award for the Best Red Wine in the world in 1993 –a first for any Canadian Vintage wine.
One of the larger wineries on this list, Trius has a very large selection of wines to choose from. Their Trius Series of wines showcases the depth and breadth of wines they craft. If you’re looking for something a little extra special, the Trius Showcase Series of wines consists of small-batch, “true luxury” wines.
Trius is also a pioneer of Icewine, which is a specialty in the Niagara wine region and for Ontario wine. If that’s something you’re interested in, it would be a good idea to try some here.
A visit to the large and stately Trius winery offers their outside area, with beautiful vistas of the vineyards and modern surrounds. They also host a variety of unique events throughout the year, from farm-to-table dinners to film screenings and music festivals in the vineyard.
During the COVID19 pandemic, Trius is offering free shipping on all orders for home wine delivery to Toronto, Ontario and beyond. They also have free curbside pickup available during their modified operating hours.
10. Two Sisters Vineyards Estate
Located near the Niagara River, Two Sisters vineyards sits on large estate grounds. It provides great conditions for vineyard growing in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which makes them fittingly on this list of best wineries in Niagara.
As the unique terroir of the Niagara region dictates, Two Sisters offers a bounty of wines to choose. Their Cabernet Franc is especially delightful, bold and delicious.
This is a large winery that sees many tourists on a daily basis. The large tasting rooms and expansive terraces overlooking the vineyards offer ample opportunities to sample their wine or take a tour.
Two Sisters Vineyards is offering 10% off all online orders from their store–make sure you used the code TSV10 at checkout. They’re also offering free shipping on wine delivery to Toronto and in Ontario with the purchase of four bottles or more as a response to the COVID19 pandemic.
Your Niagara-on-the-Lake Winery Experience
So there you have it. A list of the best wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
There’s an excellent variety of wineries on this list. This will help inform you of which Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries to choose from to help you get your wine delivery to Toronto or other parts of Ontario.
It doesn’t matter if your experience will be virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic or in person. Either way, the best wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake will deliver that same taste and quality in your home or on site.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the list. Be sure to leave a comment if you found this article helpful. If you have any Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries you feel should have made it on the list, feel free to let us know too!