The Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour To Unlock Your Senses

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Imagine taking a stroll through a vineyard and feeling the warm summer breeze while sipping a chilled glass of Icewine. Wouldn’t life be perfect if you could do that every single day? In Niagara, Kev and I had a taste of that perfect life on our wine tasting tour with Lakeview Wine Co. From white, to red, to Icewine, we smelled, tasted and pleasured our senses until we got a sugar hungover. Before I knew it, I already had 2 bottles of Icewine in my hands and was ready to check out! What exactly did we do on our wine tasting tour? Read on!

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

Niagara Wine Tasting Tour at Lakeview Wine Co.

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

If you’ve had 20 Bees, Lakeview Cellars, or Dan Aykroyd before, then you’re no stranger to Diamond Estates. As Ontario’s 3rd largest producer of VQA wines, Diamond Estates produces a wide range of wines crafted to suit every palate. Whether you are a seasoned connoisseur or a novice, you should have no difficulty finding one that you like!

In late 2016, Diamond Estates opened Lakeview Wine Co, the new flagship retail and wine tasting centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Here, you will find all sorts of delicious reds, whites, rosés, sparkling wines, Icewines, and even kosher wines!!! It’s truly a wine lover’s paradise!

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

Awakening Our Senses with FRESH

We started our wine tour with guided tasting at the welcoming new space. To match our adventurous spirit, the Wine Expert specially wines from the FRESH line to impress us.

Launched in 2012, FRESH wines are crafted in a vibrant and approachable style that appeals to intrepid millennial palates. This is especially evident in its colorful and creative labels. On top of that, what really caught our attention is its philosophy. No matter which wine you pick – be it the fresh opportunities, fresh ideas, or fresh adventures – you can see that it is all about the discovery or celebration of life!

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

Instead of delving straight into the wines, the Wine Expert walked us through the basic steps of wine tasting:

  1. Look: Slightly tilt the glass and inspect the wine under neutral lighting. Check for clarity and colour. Healthy wines should be clear and without sediments. The colour of the wine tells you its age. Generally speaking, the older a white wine is, the darker its color will be. The opposite is true for red wines which get lighter with age.
  2. Swirl: Give the glass a swirl. Pay attention to the “legs” or “tears” that run down the sides of the glass. Wines that have more legs have more alcohol content. The slower the wine tears drop, the higher sugar content a wine has.
  3. Smell: Stick your nose into the glass and take a good sniff. Identify key fragrances.
  4. Taste: Finally, take a taste!

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

I instantly fell in love with the Fresh Beginnings Moscato 2016! This refreshing white was strikingly sweet and bursting with perfumed floral aromas and wonderful hints of peach, citrus, and pear.

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

What surprised me more was the Fresh Perspective Satin Red 2015. Blending together Baco Noir, Gamay Noir and Merlot, this red showed a light pepper aroma, accented by notes of ripe red berries and dark chocolate – very different from the reds we had tried before!

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

[bctt tweet=”Attention #WineLover: Join this tour to taste the best wines in #Niagara! #travel” username=”fortwoplz”]

A Sweet Escape with Lakeview Cellars Icewine

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

Then came the highlight of our wine tasting tour – the famous Icewine!

We proceeded to the vineyard as the Wine Expert explained to us how Icewine is made. This lusciously sweet wine is renowned for its rich texture and mouthfeel. The thick golden liquid and its high sugar content are created from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine.

To be qualified as Icewine, certain requirements must be met, for example:

  • It must be produced from approved grape varieties
  • The grapes must be naturally frozen on the vine and harvested and pressed in a continuous process while the air temperature remains at or below -8°C. No artificial freezing is permitted!
  • The average sugar level of the juice used must reach at least 35° Brix (Brix is the measurement of sugar in grapes)
  • Both the alcohol and residual sugar in the finished wine must result exclusively from the natural sugar of the grapes

And these requirements are monitored by VQA to ensure high quality is maintained.

Note: VQA stands for Vintners Quality Alliance. It is Canada’s appellation of origin system, similar to France’s AOC, Italy’s DOC, and the United States’ AVA. If you see VQA on the label, it means the wine is made from 100% Ontario-grown grapes, which have been approved through a strict quality assurance program.

Pro tip: An easy way to tell if an Icewine is real or fake is through the label! If Icewine is spelled as two words and if the VQA symbol is not present, it is a counterfeit.

The most common grape varieties used to produce Icewines are Vidal Blanc, Riesling, and Cabernet Franc. We were lucky to try Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz Icewines from Lakeview Cellars that are produced in smaller amounts!

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

We absolutely adored Gewürztraminer Icewine‘s intense floral scent and sweet-spice flavors. We were also amazed by Shiraz Icewine‘s inviting strawberry jam aromas. Knowing that these Icewines are difficult to come by, we immediately add them to our shopping cart. Plus, Lakeview is the only winery in the Niagara region that produces Shiraz Icewine! #GottaGetThat

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

Pro tip: Lakeview sells value packs. You can buy a set of 2 or 5 Icewines at a much cheaper price than purchasing them individually! If you love what you sampled, buy it there because they are not sold at airport’s duty-free.

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour Icewine

An Insider’s Look into the Winemaking Process

Top Niagara Wine Tasting Tour

Our Niagara wine tasting tour ended at the cellar floor. The Wine Expert led us through the 1000 sq. ft. space and gave us an insider’s look into the winemaking process.

What makes the Niagara region so suitable for growing wines? What are the winemaking processes for red, white and Icewine? What does a typical year in the vineyard look like? We had our questions answered.

Interesting fact: On average, 1.5 grapes make 1 ml of table wine, but you will need 10 Icewine grapes to produce 1 ml of Icewine. That’s why Icewine is so much more expensive!

Kev and I had an incredibly educational and fun afternoon touring with Lakeview Wine Co. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and delight your taste buds on this top Niagara wine tasting tour!

About Lakeview Wine Co.
Address: 1067 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Want a little red or white on your Niagara Falls vacation? Join the top Niagara wine tasting tour and awake your senses with the award-winning Icewines!

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42 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I literally did not know about wine touring and tasting at Niagara! Also those bottles look a lot of fun!

  2. One of the things on my bucket list is to go for wine tasting one day! I’m just worried that at the end of it I would be too tipsy to decide which wine I want to buy LOL 🙂

  3. Ice Wine sounds amazing. We are definitely fans of high sugar content. I remember growing up in Ohio and learning that the Ohio River Valley (which would broadly include Niagara) was once the top producing vineyards in America. After that came the Mesilla Valley and then finally westward to California. The short summers and blight confounded growing in Ohio River Valley, but it seems like the new hybrid grapes could be solving that. Every year, the strains get more and more drought resistant and require a shorter growing season. Great to see the Niagara vineyards, not only thriving, but coming up with a regional wine, like ice wine, that just can’t be produced in California,

  4. Beautiful! Love your last photo especially. I’ve been in the mood for wine lately, so this tour is speaking to me lol. I will definitely look into this if I am in the area!

  5. What a fantastic day you had! I don’t know a lot about wine or where to go so it’d be nice to have someone to take me to all the best places. I love moscato and that one you had looks delicious! I’d also love to try some of the famous ice wine! 

  6. As I am currently sipping on some sparkling sake, this post just got me even more interested. Ironically enough, I will be visiting Niagara next June for a wedding. I loved Toronto the first time I went and would love to see Ontario in the warmer months. If I have the time during the weekend I will definitely be making a pitstop here. I want all of the rose!

  7. Yum! I love to visit local wineries, and these look fantastic! The Icewine sounds great as does the Moscato and the Fresh Perspective Satin Red — well, I’m sure I’d like the fresh perspective a few glasses of that might give me. 🙂 I’ll be sure to check these out on my way into Canada next spring.

  8. The icewine sounds right up my alley! I knew there were a lot of vineyards in NY but didn’t realize there were also award winning strains from Canada. Thanks for the tip!

  9. As a wine lover, I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t been to a wine tasting tour. This tour is a wine lover’s dream. So many great selections and it’s so nice to get a glimpse into how these wines are made!

  10. I think I’m actually more excited about visiting the NIagara region for the wineries over the falls! I like my sweet wines, so the Fresh Beginnings Moscato 2016 sounds like something I would love – and I can’t wait to taste the famous Ice Wine – I’ve heard quite a lot about it, and it seems to be the main highlight whenever I mention Niagara wine!

  11. I would never think of going wine tasting in Niagara, so thank you for introducing the idea! I love the look and sound of the Fresh wines, they sound delicious. Completely oblivious too about ice wine, looks like I still have a lot to learn!

  12. Seems like a very enjoyable experience. I’ve only been to one wine-tasting trip in Tuscany, and didn’t know about Niagara wine-tasting at all.

  13. I’ve never tried to go on a wine tasting tour but you got me. I was looking, swirling, smelling, and tasting the content in the pictures of wine bottles while reading. Lakeview Wine Co. is such a pretty place itself and their collection of wines looks amazing.

  14. I love wine tasting, we are heading to South Africa next spring and definitely plan to partake there. These FRESH wines look pretty cool. I’ve not heard of them before 

  15. We love going on tasting tours if we are in a wine producing area. Never knew this region produced any wine, must give it a try.

  16. I haven’t been on a wine tour in a while now, and I’d love to try this when I visit this area! Did you buy a crate from them?

  17. Wow, reading your post makes me thinking of a religion ritual as drinking wine. Yes, it is worth of. And I am so much grateful to know a lot of information and knowledge to enjoy wine besides its diferent tart feelings of the wines. Thanks so much.

  18. I’m not into wine but your blog makes me change my mind. Great images you have here. I’ve only heard Niagara Falls, now I know there’s more in Niagara.

  19. This is a region of the country that I have yet, to explore when it comes to wines. The closest I’ve gotten is the Finger Lakes region. There looks to be lots to discover and try! Thanks for doing all the homework for me I just need to take your guide and go!

  20. I’ve heard so much about Canada’s icewines. Is this anywhere near the Niagara???

  21. I love icewine!! So glad to see a post about wine tasting in Niagara. I went earlier this year for the annual Icewine Festival — if you like icewine, definitely check it out. It’s held every January. That’s really cool about the shiraz icewine — we’ll have to try that next time! And that moscato looks heavenly. I’d totally have it with breakfast 🙂

  22. I love a good winery tour! I’ve only really been to the wineries in BC, but I’ve heard so many people rave about the Niagara region. Gotta go check it out myself!

  23. I’m not really much of a wine drinker, simply because I have trouble finding wines I like! In saying that, I think I’d have some success on this wine tasting tour! I have a massive sweet tooth, so the Fresh Beginnings Moscato 2016 sounds very appealing. I’ve never heard of icewine before, but that also sounds right up my alley! Good tip on buying them at Lakeview Wine Co, as I’d hate to miss out (if I found a good one!). I think we’ll have to put icewine on our list of wines to try!

  24. This sounds like a pretty heady experience. I was fascinated by your experience with Fresh. Loved reading about the basic nuances of wine tasting and how to tell the age of a wine as well as tell how good or bad a wine is.

  25. I’m embarrassed to say that I had no idea Canada was a wine producer. I’ve never seen icewine before either, as a sugar addict I must try some. It’s interesting to learn about the process of making icewine as well as how to make sure what you are drinking is the real deal.

  26. I don’t like sweet wine very much, so I doubt the Moscato and Ice Wine would be my thing — however, I think it’s GREAT that this local winery is doing so well and racking up the awards. Like many on this thread, I didn’t know that the Niagara region was producing wine at all. Lakeview has found a great niche!

  27. I had no idea they had vineyards in Niagara. I loooove a good icewine, I think I’m in the minority for liking wines on the sweeter side. I’d love to try the Lakeview ones, I wonder if they sell it in the private liquor stores here since Ive never seen it at BC liq

  28. I love wine tasting days and Lakeview Wines and Diamond Estates looks like a perfect day out. It’s nice they paired the wines with your own personalities. And I’m glad you managed to pick out a couple of bottles to take home with you!

  29. All I want now is a nice glsss of wine. Not a day at work. Looks like an amazing experience and some delicious wines on offer. One day I’ll get myself another bottle of ice wine. We don’t get it here in Australia!

  30. Ice wine looks sooo good! I’ve never tried it but now I’m intrigued! From your description it sounds pretty sweet but I dig it! Can’t wait to go to Niagara and experience it!

  31. When I was studying at the College in Toronto I had a lot of trips to NOTL or Price Edward County to try new wines and different kinds of food. It was always a pleasure for me and I really liked my sommelier classes. I wish to continue just because I really enjoy a nice glass of wine and I would like to learn more about everything I will taste or drink.


  32. This looks even more fun than the Falls! I was there last month but had to skip the winery due to lack of time…and I regret it now! 

  33. Yum! All these wines sound so good. I didn’t know that the Niagara region had wineries, and I’ve never heard of icewine – so would love to try both!

  34. I’ve not tried Icewine yet but I’m headed to Niagara next month so maybe I’ll get to! I’ve been loving all of your Niagara posts for inspiration for my upcoming quick stop between NYC and Toronto!

  35. I’ve never had Icewine, but now you have me completely intrigued! The hotter weather does have me turning to the lighter wines, and the rosés are particularly appealing to me this year for some reason. We love going to tastings when we travel — I always learn something. Plus, it’s a great chance for us to try something entirely new. A Niagara wine tasting tour sounds like the perfect opportunity to do just that!

  36. Oh wow this post is so informative! I always need a reminder about wine tasting. Glad you listed out the steps: look, swirl, smell and taste. Perhaps I’ll look like I know what I’m doing next time I get wine at a restaurant.

  37. I love wine tasting so this is right up my alley! I would love to do it in this area too, I have heard great things about the wine from this area! However, in my experience I found icewine to be too sweet and syrupy for my liking. My mom loves it though, I could always bring her back a bottle as a gift!

  38. I’ll take the moscato and the ice wine, please! Funny enough, the first time I had REAL ice wine was in Canada. We bought it and only had one night left and carry-on luggage…so we drink a bottle in one night. It was so good! I would love to go to this wine tasting. Sounds like they do it right. They don’t just pour it and move along.

  39. I’ve never heard of icewine before, I’d love to try it! I do love a good wine tasting, and it sounds like you tried some fabulous wines!

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