Inniskillin Winery Tour & Tasting

Inniskillin Winery Tour & Tasting

About 10,000 years ago, the very spot I am standing on was a steep cliff, eroded by the powerful Niagara Falls. Now, however, I'm here with a sparkling glass of rosé. I'm at the Inniskillin Winery in #Canada, to #explore some of the region's best #foodanddrink. And of course, that means, copious amounts of #wine - for testing purposes, of course.


After driving along the vine-lined roads, through the Niagara-on-the-Lake countryside, we pulled into a long drive way after spotting a flag flapping in the warm afternoon breeze. The flag was marked “Inniskillin”; we had arrived at the Inniskillin Winery.

Arriving at the Inniskillin Winery
Arriving at the Inniskillin Winery

The parking lot itself was set amongst the vines; there was a row of spaces, a few rows of vines, then another row of spaces, and so on. Having arrived only moments before, we were happily surprised to already be engulfed within the winery setting. We set off toward the entrance, excited to see what else Innsikillin had in store.

Amazing logo
Amazing logo

We were greeted by a friendly staff member, who then introduced us to our tour guide, Donald. Donald shared his name with one of the founders of the Inniskillin Winery, Donald Ziraldo, partner of Karl Kaiser. Our Donald proceeded to lead us over to the show room, explaining that it had started as an old horse barn and was then revamped into its current state with the help of designer Frank Lloyd Wright. We entered the building for our first tasting, trying a pinot grigio and a rosé.

White wine
White wine
Niagara Escarpment
Niagara Escarpment

Next, Donald lead us outside to a vine wrapped lattice-structure and pointed to a large rising in the distance. He explained that the rising was actually the Niagara escarpment. Only 10,000 years earlier (this is very young in geological terms) the escarpment had rested exactly where we were currently standing. Niagara Falls had efficiently worked away at the Earth, millennia after millennia, and effectively shifted its location to present day Niagara Falls (city).

Great decorations
Great decorations

Donald then explained that the escarpment was the reason that Niagara-on-the-lake has the perfect climate for growing grapes. Breezes coming in from Lake Ontario circulate by rolling over the plains, and then curling back over when they hit the escarpment, creating their very own microclimate. Generally mild temperatures remain nearly constant in the valley, year-round, making it the perfect environment for wine-country. In the few months of the year that do receive colder than regular temperatures, it is a great opportunity for ice wine.

White grapes
White grapes
Lighting poles
Lighting poles

Being a geography major, myself, I was very interested to learn all of the physical aspects of the winery. Aside from the air currents and escarpment erosion, we also learned about the soil. The soil on the farm is a loam, made up of a crumbly mixture of clay, sand and silt, and dolomitic limestone. Loam soil is high in acidity, which produces a different taste to the finished wine.

Interior design is amazing
Interior design is amazing

In order to compliment the flavour on the tongue, it is necessary to produce a glass that holds a certain shape. Inniskillin has produced its very own ice wine glass, for this very reason. With wide out-crops on the side, the sides of the tongue receive contact with the acidic flavours; with a thinner opening and narrow bottom, the tip and back of the tongue receive less of the (sometimes overly) sweet flavour that ice wine is known for. 

from  $15

Winery Tour

Food & Drink
 Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
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Understanding the glasses
Understanding the glasses
Understanding the color
Understanding the color
Wine Cellars
Wine Cellars
Old wines
Old wines
Visiting the cellar
Visiting the cellar

After a brief explanation of the machinery behind the wine, we headed underground. Welcoming the cold air on the hot summer day, we descended into the dark cellar. We viewed a video about winery operation, and then headed in among the barrels.

Old barrels 
Old barrels 

There were old bottles and new bottles, dusty bottles and shiny bottles. There were bottles with fancy shapes and designs, and even bottles larger than my head. Barrels lined the walls, and iron bars protected them from being moved. The room held so much history that it would be easy to spend hours down there, browsing the bottles, and reading over all of the information plaques that lined the cases.

Browsing different types of wines 
Browsing different types of wines 
A different view of the rows and rows of barrelsA delicious lunch, with a wine pairing of course!It was a fantastic day all around
A different view of the rows and rows of barrels
Wine tasting
Wine tasting
Taking a break
Taking a break
Amazing red wines
Amazing red wines

Exiting the cellar, we were lead between two buildings, into a back entryway. We had entered Founder’s Hall; the main serving area, where visitors come to enjoy small plates and drink a little wine (with air-conditioning!). To the side of the main room, was a smaller glass-walled roomed, called the Riedel Room.

Visiting the Riedel room
Visiting the Riedel room

Here, we were seated at a large oak table that was arranged with glasses and place settings. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of Flatbread Pizza, with Pingue Cacciatore, Chevre, Honey Mushroom, White Truffle Oil and Arugula.

A different view of the rows and rows of barrelsA delicious lunch, with a wine pairing of course!It was a fantastic day all around
A delicious lunch, with a wine pairing of course!
Great wines
Great wines

As if the lunch wasn’t already amazing enough, we were then served the Inniskillin 2006 Oak Aged Vidal, Apricot Ice Wine. We were floored. I can personally say, without any word of a lie—this was the best wine I have ever tasted. It had a rich, fruity taste, and the perfect amount of sweetness. Having to drive home later, I was forced to stop myself from sipping any further. However, stopping was the last thing that I wanted to do. Had it been under the proper circumstances, I would have easily been able to finish the entire bottle alone.

Departing
Departing
A different view of the rows and rows of barrelsA delicious lunch, with a wine pairing of course!It was a fantastic day all around
It was a fantastic day all around

We said our goodbyes and thanked Donald for the lovely tour. We made one last pit stop at the nearby vines to take a few photos, and then headed back to the parking lot among the rows. Taking one last look back at the winery’s Piazza, I thought to myself, “I am definitely going to come back soon, and buy myself a bottle of that Apricot Vidal.”

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