On the Trail of Niagara Wines

Niagara Wine Trail - Grant Taylor Photography, Inc

Courtesy of Grant Taylor Photography, Inc.

With views of the sweeping countryside and Lake Ontario, the Niagara Wine Trail, made up of 22 wineries and vineyards, is one of the Empire State’s most scenic and productive wine regions. A unique microclimate resulting from the glacial effects of the last Ice Age makes for ideal grape-growing conditions. The result is a range of distinctive wines produced by award-winning winemakers that make for a memorable tasting experience. Here are a few of the wineries and vineyards that won’t disappoint even the most discerning wine enthusiast. And if you aren’t a connoisseur, you’ll love the warm welcome and delicious assortment of local wines on this scenic route:

Niagara Wine Trail

Strolling the vineyard. | Courtesy of Niagara Wine Trail

Twenty miles outside of Niagara Falls, NY, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards (4746 Townline Road, Lockport) creates wines celebrating the region’s distinctive terroir, or soil. Samples of Bordeaux-style red, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are available in their new tasting room. Between May and October, you can take a tour of the vineyard and wine-making facility, then sample wines from the featured barrel or from Arrowhead’s finished fine wines.

Further down Route 104 is Leonard Oakes Estate Winery (10609 Ridge Road, Medina), offering a glimpse into this local families’ 90-year farming dynasty. Since their first grape planting in 2003, the Oakes Family has been recognized for its ice wine, Riesling and Chardonnay, as well as its Steampunk Cider, a local apple-fermented favorite celebrated each August at a festival at the vineyard.

The Winery at Marjim Manor (7171 Lake Road, Appleton) is a female-owned winery offering grape and fruit wines tastings in a restored 19th Century mansion overlooking Lake Ontario. Visitors can also learn about the manor’s rich history. It has been a home not only to prominent area families but also nuns as a convent. Today, Marjim Manor is known for its otherworldly house residents, as featured on television’s Ghost Hunters.

Just a mile off of Lake Ontario, Schulze Vineyards & Winery (2090 Coomer Road, Burt) is a rustic, dog and picnic-friendly vineyard. Producers of award-winning wines, the family-run Schulze is also known for its carbonated ‘Crackling Wines,’ as well as a popular Prosecco-style bubbly. Next door is Live Edge Brewing Company (2100 Coomer Road, Burt), offering its craft beer on tap for a great doubleheader.

Nearby at the Black Willow Winery (5565 West Lake Road, Burt), visitors with a sweet tooth can enjoy wine and chocolate pairings, as well as regular and specialty tastings of port and ice wines. Black Willow also crafts mead, a wine made from honey, and is renowned for its artisan olive oils and balsamic vinegars sold at the winery.

Other New York Wine Trails to Explore:

Adirondack Coast Wine Trail, Adirondacks/Lake Champlain

Cayuga Wine Trail, Finger Lakes 

Dutchess Wine Trail, Hudson Valley

Keuka Wine Trail, Finger Lakes

Lake Erie Wine Country, Lake Erie’s South Shore

Long Island Wine Country, East End Long Island

Seneca Lake Wine Trail, Finger Lakes

Shawangunk Wine Trail, Hudson Valley

Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail, Hudson Valley

Take Amtrak to the Niagara Wine Trail

The Niagara Wine Trail is about 30 miles (half-hour) drive from Amtrak’s Niagara Falls and Buffalo stations. Don’t forget to use the New York By Rail 15% discount!

Rent a car from Enterprise and get picked up from the Niagara Falls Station and taken to your reserved #NYTRAIN rental. Click here to reserve your car or call the Niagara Falls office today at: 716-298-1000.Or, Click here to reserve your car or call the Buffalo office today at: 716-884-6666.

Advance arrangement for private limousine and coach tours are available with station pick-ups. The city of Niagara Falls, as well as Lockport and Medina, are convenient for overnight stays. For more information about the Niagara Wine Trail, transportation, accommodations and to plan a trip, click here.