Last updated July 18, 2022.
Twenty Valley is a region you drive through before entering Niagara on the Lake often also referred to as the Beamsville Bench. The area has been developing really well over the past few years and is now home to a wide variety of wineries and breweries. Many of these wineries I found when looking for award-wining wines while ordering deliveries during the lockdown so it was nice to visit them in person in early fall. This first visit was in 2019 and since then I’ve been back to the Beamsville Bench multiple times in the summer.
You can spend many days driving around Jordan and Beamsville, tasting wines, strolling through vineyards, and enjoying outdoor dining at sunset – a truly wonderful way to spend a weekend. I’ve broken down the story into categories: wineries, breweries, attractions and accommodations, there is no dining-specific section because many wineries offer food and some have really wonderful dining options you can take advantage of for lunch or dinner.
Here at Rosewood, they make wine and honey, both of which you can purchase on-site or have home delivered. The vineyard is surrounded by a beautiful view which you can enjoy during an outdoor tasting, sitting back in a Muskoka chair. The indoor space has a shop and a few dining tables, the decor is clean and modern, with a balance of farm chic, and a bit of futurism accented by beehive decor. As of this summer, they also serve food, all locally sourced and prepared on site this menu is a range of delicious cold dishes.
Favourite wines: Neptune (Riesling), Riesling AF, Night Moves (Gamay Noir), and The Looking Glass (red blend).
This is a stunning property with an on-site restaurant (reserve well in advance), a separate wine tasting area, and miles of peach orchards and vines surrounding the property. The winery has been open since 1998 and has a reputation for well-made tasteful wines set against one a stunning garden backdrop that many people chose as their wedding venue. The restaurant on the property is a hot destination for locals and winery visitors so I would highly recommend making reservations in advance (online or over the phone). The dining area in the summer spans from the garden to the back yard where occasionally there is also live music.
Favourite wines: Riesling, Rose, and Gamay.
Wine Lodge on top of the Beamsville Bench with a lovely view. They have a patio and do seated tastings which required reservations but you could get a glass of wine as a walk-in and enjoy it at a picnic table in the backyard. They also make cider but I didn’t try it during the visit.
Favourite wines: Estate Bottled Riesling
Fairly large property with indoor and outdoor dining and a tasting room. Our AirBNB was within walking distance so Redstone was perfect for dinner. The outdoor patio has lots of heating lamps, a fireplace, and a stunning view of the sunset over fields of grapes. The food was quite wonderful and our server added to the experience with her cheerful attitude. You can get a sample flight of wines or choose by the glass or bottle.
Favourite wines: Sparkling, unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact name.
Tip: In the fall bring a blanket for outdoor dining. I’ve been travelling with a Hudson Bay Polar Fleece throw and it serves well!
So this place is super cute: there is an outdoor veranda that they doubled in size this year, you can get a cheese fondue with a tasting of wine, and there is a falconry on the property. You can just pop in to hang out and grab a flight of wines or pre-book one of their fun experiences ahead of time.
Favourite wine: Sauvignon Blanc and Gamay Noir
This is a premium small-batch winery located a short drive from Bench Brewing. The owner of the winery, Michael Kacaba, use to work as a lawyer on Bay St. and when that was enough he took up winemaking and has been doing so since 1997. The property is quite spacious with a nice outdoor area, offering plenty of space to relax and grab a catered snack on the weekend.
Favourite wines: Reserve Riesling, it’s the only one I tried this time and it was great. I also took a bottle of Effervescence Sparkling because it sounded great :).
Another very popular spot with a great lunch menu and an on-site bakery. This location does get very busy and people do lineup for the bakery but the meal is worth the wait. The property is an open field with a sculpture garden and an art gallery. Full sit-down tastings are by reservation only but you can try wine at the garden.
Favourite wines: June’s Vineyard Riesling, Reserve Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Premier Cuvée Sparkling.
This winery is located a bit out of the strip but it is a fairly short and beautiful drive. The winery barn is located near a nursery and surrounded by a vineyard. Indoor and outdoor tastings are available and they have a very healthy selection of wines. After the tasting take a little stroll to get a full view of the building and a peek into the vineyard.
Favourite wines: Riesling, Sparkling Rosé, North Wind (white blend), Boreas (red blend), and Cabernet Sauvignon (2012)
Another fairly small winery with a beautiful on-site outdoor restaurant in a tent overlooking the vines with a phenomenal sunset view. The patio restaurant, Ricky + Olivia, has a fairly extensive menu, all prepared in the outdoor wood-burning oven in front of the guests. Highly recommend ☺️. I have now dined here twice and both times it’s been a phenomenal experience. Last time the weather was very moody so we got to witness a very poetic fog.
Really cool building, partially located inside a banker-like structure. They offer guided tastings by reservation or self-indulged tastings out in the yard. The grape bushes grow up a hill away from the tasting room making this location perfect for an intimate stroll with many photo ops [image above].
Favourite wines: Albert’s Honour Old Vines Foch, Small Lot Gamay, and Estate Grown Chardonnay
Sister (father?) winery to Redstone this winery has a wide selection of wines and spirits which you can taste on their enclosed, beautiful outdoor garden patio. They also sell some tasty jams and fresh potato chips to go with your wine tastings.
Favourite wines: Guy Lafleur Cuvee Chardonnay and Spark Riesling – Limestone Ridge
Located on the outskirts of the area, this is a unique and private space in a newly renovated cabin with a tasting room extension. The outdoor terrace has curtained seating areas that feel like cabanas, a view on a field, and a couple ponds. For a snack you can get a charcuterie which comes in a pizza box, thoroughly enjoyed that.
Favourite wines: Reserve du Domain Pinot Noir and Tradition Chardonnay
Lovely, quiet spot with a terrace where you can taste a range of wines by the glass. This winery does offer special experience tastings which you need to book ahead of time. This winery is owned and operated by Harald Thiel and family and primarily focuses on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling – very common in this region.
Favourite wines: Blanc de Blanc sparkling, need to return to try a few more.
Second-generation family-owned, small boutique winery with a sloping yard overlooking the nearby vineyard. Their wine selection is quite rich and in 2019 OCW placed in 3 top spots in the National Wine Awards of Canada. The backyard has plenty of sitting with a view and occasionally they have daily tasting specials. This is also one of the few wineries that open till 6 pm (but do check their site to be sure).
Near Redstone is the Bench Brewing Company which seems like the most popular spot in the area and may be hard to get in, but if you do, make sure to try one of their pretzels! Here you can get flights, samples, full pints, and a hearty meal. A fun fact about this building is it used to be a school so the architectural transformation is quite interesting.
New craft brewery in Beamsville that offers food from Blue Collar Kitchen, beer tastings (Dunkel, Helles, Wit, and Dubbel), and live music on some nights. For the guests in your party who might want or need other options, there is also wine and cider available on the menu.
Attractions & Accommodations:
Located a little bit out of the way in St. Catharines this is a butique hotel with lovely decor, cosy beds, and great service. Some friends of mine stayed here before and really enjoyed it and knowing that we might want to go out in the evening this seemed like a good chance to try it out. The Inn is operated on self-check-in which is convenient if you don’t know what time you might be arriving. We arrived quite late and were pleasantly surprised by the interior and a greeting trey with snacks and sparkling wine waiting for us on the bed. Each room has a uniquely different decor, ours (Room R) is inspired by the Hollywood-style rock n’ roll.
If you need some early morning adventure Ball’s Falls Conservation Area has a lot to explore from old-timy houses to waterfalls and hikes. There are different ways to get to the waterfall, some offer a view from the top, some from the bottom, this entrance is close to the parking lot.
If you go, some packing & shopping ideas
Cute clothing for all the pictures
We all have things we like but shopping, especially online, can be exhausting. Lulus* has a large selection of really nice outfits and single pieces that fit different body types and have good customer reviews.
Portable speaker for those picnics
I mention this piece of kit a lot: Solgaard* portable speaker and solar-powered charger. This has been my favourite travel soundtrack.
Learn about wine ahead of time
Preparing by learning about wine from the masters. Here is a fun course on Masterclass: James Suckling Teaches Wine Appreciation*.
Don’t feel like planning & driving yourself? Use a guide
There are plenty of different tours to take advantage of if you like the research, but I just found a few good ones on Tinggly*, have a look:
- Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine Country Tasting Tour*, Cheese Pairing with a guide-driver
- Guided Niagara-on-the-Lake Bike and Wine-Tasting Tour*, with an optional Lunch
- Afternoon Wine, Beer & Charcuterie Tour*, with a driver
- Guided Vine & Dine Bicycle Wine Tour*, Niagara On The Lake with lunch