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The Napa of Ontario

konzelman1When thinking of Niagara-on-the-Lake the image of a quaint little town to the north and the Niagara Falls to the south may enter one’s mind. However there are 27 wineries in this area with many more forty minutes to the west in Jordan and Vineland. We visited the area twice in 2008 and each time was surprised to travel the side roads. It seemed like every turn led you to another vineyard. One can find small boutique wineries and large showcase estate wineries.

Tasting rooms vary in size and opulence. You can taste wines from small family owned wineries as well as in larger architecturally interesting facilities. What these wineries have in common, that you won’t find in Napa, is Canadian Icewine. These wineries take their Icewine seriously harvesting the grapes when the temperatures drop to a minus eight degrees Celsius or colder (seventeen degrees Fahrenheit).

The Vidal grape reigns supreme in Icewine production. One will also be able to taste Icewines made from Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Our favorite was a Cabernet Franc Icewine. All of the Icewines we tasted were sweet but have good acidity on the finish. For a memorable experience, pair Icewine and bleu cheese.

Check out these Niagara-on-the-Lake trip itineraries:
Niagara-on-the-Lake 1 
Niagara-on-the-Lake 2 

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