When you’re in the middle of condo renovations, training for a new job and temporarily living with your parents, nothing is more appealing than a mini vacation in Ontario’s wine country. Up until last week, I believed the majority of my Victoria Day long weekend would be comprised of trips to kitchen supply stores. In an impulse to avoid that and have a little break, I booked a one-night stay at the Inn on the Twenty in Jordan and lunch at Ravine Vineyard. In our relaxing 24hr trip, we managed to visit eight wineries. There's nothing better than drinking wine in the glowing sunshine all day!
I personally recommend exploring Niagara’s cultural and culinary attractions. Avoid the touristy spots and experience my favourite treasures that are so close to home. Ontario’s wine country is located less than two hours away from downtown and can be more fun than you think. Before you judge this region for its early bird dinners and retirement crowd, read below to gain insight on how this treasured wine town is an ideal escape this summer.
Where to Stay: Inn on the Twenty
The Inn on the Twenty has been a property that I’ve wanted to stay at since I studied hospitality back in 2012. The Inn on the Twenty has an intimate setting yet appeals to the guest who doesn’t want to stay at a cozy bed and breakfast. The staff all welcome you with the biggest smile and are happy to assist whenever they can. We even got upgraded to the Vintners Suite! This suite was a palace for just the two of us (but I'm not complaining!). Equipped with two bathrooms, a kitchenette, high ceilings and a living room...it felt like a dream!
Our stay included a wine tasting at Cave Spring winery (four tasting wines per person) and breakfast (yummy buckwheat pancakes). The lush green valley views while eating breakfast was magnificent, I definitely forget we were in Ontario. I recommend using the renowned spa facility if you have more time. This property was the first luxury inn to open in the region.
During our stay, we opted for a casual dinner (chicken curry and mac and cheese) and ridiculously good caesars the Jordan House Tavern (also owned by the Inn on the Twenty). After dinner, we went for an evening stroll while witnessing the fireworks explode over the charming village of Jordan. The Inn on the Twenty is a great spot for anyone that wants to avoid the crowds of downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake but also wants to be within close proximity of the wineries.
We ventured to eight wineries in our short 24hrs. Not too shabby! The wineries I've listed below are the perfect escape from the city. They're not packed with tourists like other local wineries and are fully stocked with delicious wine ready to be tasted.
Ravine Vineyard: Highlights included our incredible lunch. I’m talking about one of the best burgers I’ve ever had! That’s worth the trip itself! We also split their local beet salad (with an interesting twist of crunchy oats on top), their vegan poutine (with amazing roasted cauliflower florets) and the trout (served with a memorable dill potato salad and seasonal asparagus). I loved the historic buildings on the property. One of the historic building on the property was originally owned by Laura Secord’s uncle and has been transported across Ontario. We loved the vibe of this organic winery so much that we joined their wine club. We cannot wait to head back to Ravine for the summer campfires, ping pong tournament and the other fun events that come with this membership.
Stratus Winery: This winery is so stunning! It’s modern but has a warm ambiance that will make you want to keep going back. While it was crowded at the tasting bar when we arrived, we were helped right away and scored some prime seats on their beautiful deck. The sommelier brought us eight wines to try. It was literally a picture perfect afternoon. I could have spent the entire day sipping our wine, staring out into the vineyards and listening to the smooth jazz play on the outdoor speakers.
Henry of Pelham: One of my go-to affordable wines at the LCBO is “Baco Noir” by Henry of Pelham. I love that even though this winery is mass marketed in the LCBO, the family-owned vineyard still remains warm and inviting. We loved the Baco Noir reserve and sparkling (both not available at the LCBO). I will definitely revisit this winery and make a point to stay for a cute lunch date at the café.