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Niagara Vineyards Bikes in front of Hinterbrook Nomad

Discover Niagara’s wineries with Visa Infinite

To the point I visited the Niagara region. Here are my findings and which card I used to get benefits.

Looking for a place for a romantic getaway? A road trip with friends? An activity for a bachelorette party?

As far as I’m concerned, any opportunity is good to spend a few days wandering the vineyard terraces while enjoying local products. I am particularly fond of the Prince Edward County region which I had briefly mentioned in my Ontario road trip article, but this time, I explored the Niagara region.

Wine Tonneaux Align - Vignobles Niagara

Enjoy the benefits of the Visa Infinite card.

With the Visa Infinite in my pocket and screenshots of promotional offers from the website, I knew my experience would be enhanced and, most importantly, more economical.

Offre pour les vignobles Niagara

First, you should know that most wineries in the Niagara region operate on an appointment basis, especially since the pandemic. However, I booked the day before or the morning of for my wineries and the vast majority had availability despite it being the weekend. However, if you have your eye on specific vineyards or wish to follow a particular itinerary, plan ahead.

The Visa Infinite offers vary from 2-for-1 on tastings or tours, free food with the purchase of a glass of wine on the terrace, discounts on the purchase of bottles or delivery when ordering online, etc.

To use the offers, all you have to do is mention that you have a Visa Infinite (or Visa Infinite Privilege) credit card . Personally, I liked to show the screenshot of the offer, but none of them required it, and I never had to show my credit card either. On-site, the employees knew the promotion, and it was not obligatory to pay with the visa. This is by far the easiest promotion I’ve taken advantage of.

Visa InfiniteWine Privileges

My opinion on the places visited as part of the program

Henry of Pelham Family estate winery

We were able to take advantage of the two-for-one tasting pallet at Henry Pelham Winery. We had to select four wines from nine bottles to create a palette according to our preferences.

To be enjoyed on the picnic tables on the outdoor lawn with a good bag of popcorn offered by the house. Affordable bottles start at $15, some of which are available at the SAQ.

Vignobles Niagara- Henry Pelham
Vignobles Niagara- Henry Pelham
Vignobles Niagara- Henry Pelham
Vignobles Niagara- Henry Pelham

NOMAD at Hinterbrook

The benefit of the card is a subscription to their exclusive members’ club. This benefit was not attractive to me, but it was nice to do the tasting outside. The Nomad at Hinterbrook winery stands out for its minimalist approach and its self-designed white labels. It is an original concept, but the service was a bit cold. Bottles from $16.

Niagara Vineyards Bikes in front of Hinterbrook Nomad
Vignobles Niagara - bouteilles du Nomad à colorier
Vignobles Niagara - Nomad
Vignobles Niagara - Nomad Hinterbrook
Vignobles Niagara - Nomad Hinterbrook

Kew Vineyard

I once again enjoyed the two-for-one tasting at this small, cozy winery, Kew Vineyard, which favours traditional methods.

Outdoor tasting of a choice of three wines. Possibility to order a cheese platter and their homemade cider.

Overall pleasant experience, affordable wines.

Pillitteri estate winery

With the purchase of a pizza on the terrace, a glass of wine is offered with the visa infinite card. When I visited the Pillitteri winery, I had already eaten, so I didn’t take advantage of the offer. However, I liked the service during my tasting.

The wines are served one at a time with explanations. There is a choice of wines, and although we pay for a tasting of four wines, we are asked if there is anything else we would like to try on the menu. So we tried three other wines at no extra cost.

This winery also encourages Canadian athletes. Royalties are paid to Team Canada for the bottles bearing their likeness, which are also available at the SAQ. To top it off, they accepted us without an appointment.

Vignobles Niagara - Pillitteri
Vignobles Niagara - Pillitteri
Vignobles Niagara - Pillitteri
Vignobles Niagara - Pillitteri
Vignobles Niagara - Pillitteri
Vignobles Niagara - Pillitteri

Reif estate winery

We were treated to a tasting at the bar with personalized service at the Reif winery. The bartender would describe and explain each wine, taking care to ask our opinion. He was interested in our tastes and built the tasting according to what we might like.

We were again treated to some extras, having the chance to try more than four wines. The atmosphere was muffled at the bar, and we received a quality service.

Wide range of wines with prices from $13 to $100.

Vignobles Niagara - Reif estate
Vignobles Niagara - Reif estate
Vignobles Niagara -  - Reif estate
Vignobles Niagara - Reif estate

Stratus Vineyards

Probably my favourite of the thirtheen I visited during my stay.

The food, wine and terrace were all enjoyable at Stratus Winery. The offer stipulates that a charcuterie and cheese platter is offered when purchasing a drink on the terrace. We could easily replace this glass with a tasting pallet for which we had come in the first place, and there we were with free cheese, prosciutto, sausage, olives and chocolate dessert.

The tasting is self-guided, thanks to the QR code to be scanned on the phone. The choice is made between two palettes with pre-established wines. Bottles from $20 to $125, many of which are available at the SAQ.

Dégustation deux personnes au Vignobles Niagara - Stratus
Vignobles Niagara - Stratus
Vignobles Niagara - Stratus
Vignobles Niagara - Stratus

Sue-Ann Staff Winery

Sue-Ann Staff Winery is another place where it was nice to take advantage of the two-for-one on tastings. The staff was thoughtful enough to advise us that there was a musical event taking place that day and, therefore, the service would possibly be affected.

Despite this, I found it pleasant to enjoy the outdoor courtyard in this nicely decorated place. The staff was friendly and it felt more like a family atmosphere.

We first choose the range of wine we want for the tasting and select our three favourites to taste. Some wines are available at the SAQ.

Vignobles Niagara Sue Ann
Vignobles Niagara Sue-Ann
Vignobles Niagara -  Sue-Ann
Vignobles Niagara - Sue-Ann

Wayne Gretzky Estates

This well-known industry attracts many customers. The outdoor area of the vineyard is well laid out, with the pond, outdoor bars and vineyards as the backdrop.

I took advantage of the two-for-one for the guided tour, which also included three tastings. I found it interesting to choose the visit to this winery over another because they also make beer and whiskey.

The scale of the business, however, has the negative effect of depersonalizing the service. During the guided tour, we felt like we were going through the “sausage machine” with a tight schedule and a well-learned text by the guide, who had to finish in time for her next group.

I still liked the location and the variety offered. You just have to know what to expect. Many wines and whisky available at the SAQ

Vignobles Niagara - Gretzky
Vignobles Niagara - Gretzky
Vignobles Niagara - Gretzky
Vignobles Niagara - Gretzky
Verres au Gretzky
Vignobles Niagara - Gretzky

My opinion on the other places visited

Konzelmann estate winery

The Konzelmann vineyard is best known for its peach wine, the star fruit of the region. This does not prevent him from producing white, rosé, red, sparkling, ice wine and a vintage range.

The building is halfway between a castle and a church. The tastings are done inside. Correct service, but nothing more. Most bottles are between $15 and $25 except for the reserve selection. Some availability at the SAQ.

Vignobles Niagara - Konzelmann
Vignobles Niagara - Konzelmann

Inniskillin wines

This winery, Inniskillin, is very well known for its ice wines, with 26 products in the SAQ. I had high expectations for this visit, and I must admit I was disappointed.

The place was beautiful inside and out, but the service was terrible. We were pretty much left to our own devices, and the waiters seemed completely disinterested. This does not detract from the quality of ice wines, but let’s face it, big companies that hire seasonal workers do not offer the same warmth as a small family vineyard where people talk about their wines with passion.

Vignobles Niagara - Inniskillin
Vignobles Niagara - Inniskillin
Vignobles Niagara - Inniskillin
Vignobles Niagara - Inniskillin
Vignobles Niagara - Inniskillin
Vignobles Niagara - Inniskillin

Caroline Cellars

Caroline Cellars, with its more rustic feel, offered a warm, family-friendly experience. The tasting was more intimate and could be done inside or outside.

All of their wines are available for tasting, and the fee of only $5 is waived with the purchase of a bottle. The tasting includes four wines, but the winemaker was flexible to allow us more. Most bottles sell for between $11 and $15.

Vignobles Niagara - Caroline Cellar's
Vignobles Niagara - Caroline Cellar's

Two sisters Vineyards

This vineyard, Two Sisters, with its majestic appearance, impresses with its luxury. It accepts walk-in clients on a first-come, first-served basis.

Personally, this is the one that made the worst impression on me despite the beauty of the place. The tasting pallet was $30 for four one-ounce wines, the most we paid in the area. In addition, they charged us a $10 surcharge to share the tasting, a practice I had never seen at any other Canadian winery.

The service leaves something to be desired. Bottles start at $35.

Vignobles Niagara - Two sisters
Vignobles Niagara - Two sisters

Between the lines Winery

Between the lines is a small, friendly family-run winery where we are taken care of, one wine at a time, and each one is explained to us. Excellent service with employees who knew how to make us laugh.

It is possible to order trays to accompany the tasting. They also have boxes of cheese to go and wine in cans. Perfect for a sunset picnic.

Vignobles Niagara - Between the lines
Vignobles Niagara - Between the lines
Vignobles Niagara-36
Vignobles Niagara - Between the lines
Vignobles Niagara - Between the lines
Vignobles Niagara - Between the lines

Conclusion

Visits to the vineyards are made all year round. It is suitable for both rainy days and sunny afternoons on the terrace. Many of them travelled by bike because the flat landscape and the proximity of the settlements are conducive to this type of travel.

Driver services or organized tours are also available in the area. With 89 wineries, the Niagara region will amaze you again and again.

Vignobles Niagara - Between the lines
Vignobles Niagara- Between the lines

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