With winter temperatures well below seasonal you might expect tourism in the Niagara area would suffer. In fact, it has increased.

The cold temperatures have resulted in beautiful ice formations in the Falls and people from all over North America are flocking in. The advantage of a winter trip to our area is the lower prices. But what do you do after you have gazed on the wonder of Niagara Falls?

My suggestion is to visit the numerous wineries in the Niagara Region. The early cold snap we experienced has resulted in a bounteous ice-wine harvest, and all the wineries are eager to share their creations with you. Here is a list of a few I frequent and what they are offering in the weeks and months to come. Please note that the list is in no particular order.

Chateau des Charmes


This winery will wow you from the moment you lay eyes on the fountain that is the focal point as you enter the long driveway that is flanked by vineyards. Here are a few of their offerings:

Add a Little Ice

$15.00 per guest (includes Winegrowing Discovery Tour). Reservations not required.

Sample the brands Vidal Icewine that is matched with a desert made from hand-made local ice cream and local fruit.

Pour your Icewine on top of your ice cream for a truly heavenly experience! This tour runs daily at 12:00pm in French or at 1:00pm in English.

Matchmaking 1.0

$15.00 per guest. Reservations not required.

A structured tasting experience that offers up an exploration of flavour and texture as you sample 3 artisanal Canadian cheeses paired with three Chateau des Charmes wines.

The experience starts at 12:00pm in French or at 1:00pm in English.

In April/May the annual release of the Rose is always highly anticipated. This year’s Rose is the 2014.

Pilliteri Estates


Pillitteri Estates Winery is the largest estate producer of Icewine in the world. They have also led the way by creating unique Icewines. These include: Vidal, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Cabernets, Shiraz, Merlot, Sangiovese and Semillon varietals and the latest creation a Cabernet Sparkling.

This summer, Pilliteri will be hosting its patio pop up series. The idea is a local chef will prepare lunch on the patio for guests, with the Chefs rotating through the summer and offering a new theme every Friday.

While you are visiting be sure to try the newly released 2012 Reserve Icewine Vidal.

Ice wine

Reif Estate


For two weekends in March Reif Estates is celebrating Mardi Gras. On the 7&8 or 14&15th from 12 pm to 4pm you can enjoy a marche-style tasting. Nothing will take your mind off of winter better than the delicious southern cuisine.

All the featured wines will be on sale for only $8.95 Complimentary wine and food tastings 12 – 4 pm while quantities last.

Then on the weekends of March 21&22 and 28&29th, from 11 am to 4 pm, you can sample 4 vintage wines paired with artisanal cheeses for only $10 per person; as part of the taste and buy weekend.

These are just three of the many wineries offering up delicious and unique experiences. If you prefer to make your own tasting choices all have wine bars that offer cheap samples. A hint: talk with the staff at the bar, ask lots of questions and you will get free samples.

So if you are in the area and want to know some more of the must visit wineries let us know.