Wine and romance have a lasting, loving bond. In fact, history has demonstrated the inseparability of the two in cultures around the world. Roman poet Ovid, much famed for his inflammatory treatises on love, rhymed “It warms the blood, adds luster to the eyes, and wine and love have ever been allies.” More recently, a French proverb states, “In water one sees one’s own face; but in wine one beholds the heart of another.”
Wine is unequivocally the beverage of choice for romantic occasions. This Valentine’s Day, you can harness this by surprising your sweetheart with a tour of Niagara’s wine country.
There is a wine for every occasion, and while most wines will hit the spot on your garden-variety date, some varietals are better suited for more romantic occasions. For various reasons, the following wines are ideal for a passionate Valentine’s Day experience.
- Pinot noir. This varietal is difficult to grow, but vintners who can master its cultivation are sure to create excellent wines. Most connoisseurs agree that pinot noir is the most romantic wine due to its rich and complex flavors of dark fruits.
- Chardonnay. Some wine novices may scoff at the idea of the world’s most popular white being romantic, but chardonnay is actually a strong wine that is lavishly layered and creamy, which makes it warmer than many lighter wines.
- Syrah or shiraz. Some of the darkest and fullest-bodied wines come from the syrah grape, which can create unique flavor combinations like spicy pepper, sweet blueberry, and savory olive.
This quaint village just minutes from Niagara Falls proper is inarguably one of the most romantic places in all of Canada. As though it has been frozen in time, the town features colonial architecture, old-fashioned carriage rides, and unlimited charm in its shops and boutiques. However, surrounding Niagara-on-the-Lake is some of the most masterful winemaking in the world. The following vineyards demonstrate how much love can go into — and come out of — a bottle of wine.
- Peller Estates. This is one of the most famous wineries in the region due primarily to its long line of award-winning vintages. However, Peller Estates also boasts a Zagat rating of “excellent” in its on-site restaurant, which pairs bottles with freshly prepared meals. Plus, the scenery all over the vineyard is sure to take your breath away — if your sweetheart’s beauty hasn’t already.
- Chateau des Charmes. Even the origin story of this winery is romantic: Descended from seven generations of vintners from France, Algeria, and Canada, Paul Bosc and his wife were among the pioneers of winemaking in the Niagara region. Today, their winery Chateau des Charmes is a tribute to the French chateaus of their past with the intimate atmosphere of the Old World as well as the sustainable winemaking technology of the future.
- Small Talk Vineyards. This boutique winery highlights the fun of the outdoors, with a tour through five acres of chardonnay grape fields. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, which makes the love — and the wine — flow freely.
- Cattail Creek Estate Winery. Another boutique vineyard, Cattail Creek offers intimacy above all else. The attentive staff provides the perfect amount of service while leaving loving couples alone to enjoy their wine and each other.
Also taking up space in Niagara’s verdant Green Belt, Twenty Valley enjoys the fertile soil and cool, dry air perfect for growing wine grapes. Couples who prefer some recreation with their romance might enjoy Twenty Valley’s renowned golf courses or wandering around the carefully tended parks and gardens of its three quaint towns. Overall, Twenty Valley is a stunning place to sip wine with a valentine.
- Creekside Estate Winery. Rustic is the perfect word to describe Creekside Estate Winery, which appears to have grown out of a cottage in the Niagara valley. The winery’s deck overlooks acres upon acres of vineyard land, which makes it a seemingly secluded spot to enjoy dinner and drinks with your love.
- Tawse Winery. One of the biggest and best wineries in the region, Tawse has won countless awards for its individual wines and collections. The immaculately designed tasting room is relaxing and invigorating, and you and your love will be reluctant to leave the inviting space.
- Stoney Ridge Winery. While Stoney Ridge offers a bevy of amazing wines to sample, they also routinely craft their own cheeses for perfect pairings. Plus, while visitors are welcome to walk around the vineyards, this winery also has gardens that are perfect for romantic strolls.