In 1948 at the age of 12, Gary Pilliterri emigrated with his father from the family vineyard in Sicily to the Niagara region of Canada to bring their grape-growing approach to the North Americas. Nearly two decades later, Gary and his wife Lena established their own business in Niagara-on-the-Lake, including Gary’s Fruit Market, which still operates on the winery’s east wing. Take a tour of this award-winning winery and its five vineyards for two complimentary “Taste of Pilliterri” samplings and a wealth of knowledge about some of its most innovative creations, like the Semillon Icewine or anything in the distinguished Twenty Three Series.
What began in 1927 from the efforts of Hungarian-born Andrew Peller is now internationally recognized as one of the best wineries in Canada. Peller Estates has won prestigious awards for its Chardonnays and Rieslings, as well as for its Icewine. Winemaker Katie Dickieson and executive chef and CityLine personality Jason Parsons work together seamlessly to produce a decadent experience in the Peller Estates Winery Restaurant, where visitors enjoy a mesmerizing view of the vineyards as they partake of perfectly paired wines and food.
Karl J. Kaiser and Donald Ziraldo, who founded Inniskillin in 1975, probably never foresaw that their winery would be named the world’s 20th most admired wine brand by Drinks International Magazine less than four decades later. The property’s historic Brae Burn barn serves as the visitor and tour centre, the wine tasting bar and the boutique, where visitors may taste and purchase Inniskillin’s world-famous Icewine. Visitors also may learn about this winery’s dedication to bottling outstanding wines that are VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) approved. Public and private tours are available throughout the year.
Reif Estate Winery
Since 1998, Reif Estate Winery has earned more than 75 local and international awards, but its roots go back nearly 500 years to the small winemaking town of Neustadt, Germany, where founder Klaus Reif’s ancestors perfected their innovative techniques. Their time-honoured “Reifstyle” traditions have been passed down for more than 13 generations, and visitors can taste the difference with a sampling of their sparkling white, rich red and sweet dessert wines.
Château Des Charmes
Château Des Charmes is more than a 35-hectare vineyard and winery. Its visionary founder, Algerian-born Paul Bosc, is widely recognized as a pioneer in viticultural research, discovering cutting-edge techniques in planting, drainage, harvesting, bottling and everything in between. Take a tour of the harvest room, underground geothermal cellars and bottling line, and then sample from the array of artisanal wines.