When you think wine country you probably think Napa Valley, CA. On the East Coast you might think Finger Lakes, NY. But there is another ripe region brimming over with wineries that is often overlooked and in some ways all the better for it. Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario just a half hour north of Niagara Falls is filled with vineyards sporting all varieties of premium wines without the crush of tourists. A visit to this region is not complete without a winery tour, and Jackson-Triggs’ facility was designed specifically for your visit.
Situated near the mouth of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, the Jackson-Triggs Winery is in a spot filled with weather and an attractive vineyard out back in which to wait patiently for their crop to ripen. Most of Jackson-Triggs wines are made from contracted grapes so the vineyard you see is but a small part of the product. Their winery was built with tours in mind and stands apart from the typical visit you may be accustomed to with historic stone estates and sprawling vistas.
Jackson-Triggs has a distinctly modern style with state of the art engineering designed with an eye toward productivity and an homage to the Canadian farm. Approaching the entrance you are greeted by a water feature resembling a trough and walk through enormous floor to ceiling glass doors which mimic a barn’s. The interior ceilings have beautifully crafted thick rafters above a mammoth stone fireplace hearth to welcome visitors home.
It is a picturesque setting, even when storm clouds are brewing in the distance as they were when we visited. Your tour begins around a large butcher block styled table and proceeds out into the vines to learn how grapes are grown and harvested. The tour then proceeds up a large ramp from which you can see their outdoor amphitheater which hosts musical concerts during the summer months.
Inside the winery are gleaming metal containers which crush, filter and facilitate the fruit into juice. It is very modern, clean and crisp – like a factory. So where is the romance, the flavor, the spirit of the wine? In the cellar of course.
Stepping into a different atmosphere of dark serenity, the tour brings you to the cool underworld where oak casks work their magic to turn patience into delight. Here you learn why certain woods are selected for containers, how long the winemakers wait for results, and the difference between the varieties.
The tour ends in a tasting room that reminded me a bit of an old science lab with lots of cool metal and little beauty, except for all those pretty wine bottles used to pour samples for everyone to taste. The guide explains the process and reason for properly tasting wine and takes you through the succession of flavorful varieties.
Of course no tour is complete without dumping you out into their gift shop. But at Jackson-Triggs that is something you savor rather than rush through. Further sampling is available here of a wider selection, though they will cost you $1 a pop. The tour stub provided us each with a $5 coupon off of most bottles for sale and we walked away with tasty memories of Niagara-On-The-Lake much better than the Falls shot glass we bought along the way.
- COST = $5 (Canadian)
- DURATION = 45 minute tours
- HOURS = In the Summer, tours start every hour on the half hour beginning at 10:30AM (closes at 6:00 on Sundays, 6:30 all other days). In the Winter, tours are conducted at 10:30AM, 12:30PM and 2:30PM.
- ENVIRONMENT = Primarily adults. Handicap accessible.
- ACCESSIBILITY = By car with plenty of free parking on site.
- WEBSITE = www.jacksontriggswinery.com
- FUN FACTS = Summer concerts are held in the outdoor amphitheater. Outdoor casual dining overlooks the vineyard. Special dining/tasting packages available year-round.
Here is a good resource for other Niagara Falls tours.
All photos credited to Molly G. @The Bumbles Blog