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Hillebrand Winery
by
K. L. Sullivan

HillebrandSummary: Hillebrand is one of the largest family owned wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Be sure to have enough time and take a leisurely walk along a street. A small tower at the end of the street allows visitors a great opportunity to take pictures. Several activities for visitors are offered.

The doors of Hillebrand opened in the 1970’s. Today they produced 300,000 cases with one acre of grapes onsite. Hillebrand sources grapes from other growers with whom they work. Hillebrand is the largest winery we visited in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

 

HillebrandThe Hillebrand facility offers many features as a result of a three million dollar renovation in 2007. As you approach the tasting room, you will see a street and board walk giving the impression of a small town. The street leads to other features of the winery including an onsite restaurant, a landscaped area with manmade falls, an events room and winemaking buildings. At the end of the street is an observation tower equipped with fireplaces. From the tower, referred to as the winemaker's lookout, you can observe the several buildings that comprise Hillebrand. In one direction, you’ll see several multi-story stainless steel tanks. Another side of the tower overlooks the five acres of onsite vineyards. Waterfalls and the events building are observed from another side of the tower.

 

 

HillebrandHillebrandThe restaurant is designed to look like a winery; the flooring of the restaurant is made of cork. The chef, Frank Dodd, uses seasonal local ingredients in his menus. In addition to the restaurant are two smaller rooms and a large pavilion available for groups. The large pavilion, with tall windows overlooking a falls and vineyards, provides seating for 125 guests.

The cellar room holds 400 barrels aging wine. On a tour of the cellar you will see several gyropalettes for mechanically riddling sparkling wine bottles. A large room holds many barrels in rows piled four high on racks. Turning the corner you will observe a long room with barrels resting on both sides. The barrels guide your eyes to the center of the end of this cellar where the wine library sits behind glass doors. A small table in front of the library held two opened wine bottles and a decanter. This room is reminiscent of old world cellars, a gentle reminder that winemaking uses both old world and new world ideas and technologies.

HillebrandThe tasting room is in the retail store. One can browse the store for wine and wine accessories including fine wine crystal and decanters. The wine and accessories are tastefully displayed and there is plenty of room to meander amongst the displays. The octagon tasting bar is near the center of the retail area. Several wine consultants are ready to greet visitors as they approach. We were immediately offered a taste of the Trius Brut. This sparkling wine was crisp, cleansing and dry. We like beginning a tasting with a sparkling wine. If you have visited other wineries this practice affords the opportunity to cleanse the palate. A formal tasting bar is located on the second floor.

When you visit you will discover that all wines produced here are VQA. Trius Brut was crisp and cleansing with an apple nose and dry taste. We were introduced to a Blushing Canadian. A bit of 2006 Cabernet Franc Icewine was added to the Trius Brut. The addition of the icewine changed the color to pale orange and the taste became off dry. This is a great sipping sparkling wine. Showcase Chardonnay 2006 was produced from grapes grown in mature vineyards, aged in French oak for 12 months. The result was an oak nose, apple citrus taste and light oak on finish with a citrus aftertaste. Chardonnay Mercurey French Phuncheon 2006 was very smooth with hints of apples and citrus and only a light oak influence.

HillebrandSome of the red wines were decanted. A beautiful Baccas funnel was used to pour the wine from the bottle into a decanter. Showcase Merlot 2004 was aged in oak for 18 months. With a red fruit nose, and fruit forward, soft tannins it was very smooth and drinkable. Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 had black cherries on the nose and taste; it was smooth with soft tannins on the finish. When decanted it opened the nose.

The Showcase Icewine 2006 was made from Cabernet Franc grapes. It had a strawberry-rhubarb nose and taste. The acid on the finish cut the sweetness.

HillebrandVisitors to Hillebrand have many opportunities to participate in activities. In addition to the tasting bar, visitors can participate in a number of winery tours, special tastings and food pairings. Many of these winery experiences are offered daily. Special events are also held throughout the year such as the Wine and Herb Festival during May and the Summer Jazz concert during July. With an onsite restaurant, retail area, wine tasting and walking the campus, plan to spend several hours at Hillebrand.

Hillebrand Winery
1249 Niagara Stone Road
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

GPS N 43° 21.281' W 079° 13.282'


Visit this Winery/vineyard travel agency and Canada winery that partner with Wine Trail Traveler.

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  In Vino Veritas
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