There is more planted vineyard space on the Niagara Peninsula than in any other viticultural region in Canada. Wine has been produced in Ontario as early as the 17th century when European settlers made use of both native grape varieties and more familiar European varieties. The first commercial winery in the region was set up in 1866 on Pelee Island, and the wine industry would grow over the next several decades. Around the turn of the 20th century, the industry moved toward the Niagara region, away from Essex County.
The industry managed to survive the Prohibition era, with wineries remaining open for export. Although several new winery licenses were issued during this time, a ban on new licenses was issued after Prohibition laws were repealed. By 1974, there were only six wineries left in the region, a sharp decline from the 60+ that existed before. Fortunately, new life was breathed into the region’s wine market from 1975, when the first license in more than 45 years was issued to Inniskillin Wines. The growth of the industry saw the development of new techniques and the ability to more reliably grow European grape varieties. There are now more than 180 wineries in Ontario, with over 30 grape varieties on the Niagara Peninsula.
Discover the best Niagara wineries with our search tool on our website, and with our mobile app coming soon. Simply choose a town or city and a type of wine to find a comprehensive guide to the more than 100 wineries in the region.