Mayer Bros. Cider Mill founder Jacob Mayer first squeezed juice from apples in 1852. Local farmers brought baskets of their apples to his mill, and he sent them on their way with jars of cider. Jacob passed his mill on to his son, John, who started brewing hard cider in 1936 by fermenting the fruits of apple trees that he watered with whiskey. Today, Jacob’s fourth-generation heir—also named John—carries on his forebears’ tradition in the same rustic building, painted in the dusky crimson hue of a Red Delicious apple.
Many autumns have passed since that barn was raised, but each year is more or less the same: a stream of visitors flocks to the mill for apple fritters, donuts, and jugs of flash-pasteurized apple cider. Guests can also purchase pies, seasonal cheeses, and apple juice made as Mother Nature intended—without any sweeteners or additives.
The staff at Chateau Buffalo strives to support local farmers, and they do so by using locally produced grapes in their red and white wines. They also produce craft ciders that come sparkling, cold, or warm. Those unsure of what they'd like to drink will find the Chateau's tastings, like a hair tie made of Twizzlers, are both tasty and helpful.
On the corner of Buffalo and Main Street, Ten Thousand Wines inhabits a quaint brick building that welcomes visitors to its microwinery and tasting room. As a winery free from ties to a particular vineyard, Ten Thousand Wines' staff can source its grapes from vines all around the world—including Antarctica—a practice that inspired the winery's name. The vintners hand make each variety in small batches and carry more than 40 wines in their retail store. At a tasting bar, open Tuesday–Saturday, curious sippers perch around a quarter-circle bar to sniff and swirl their wines, such as Nooks & Crannies, a cranberry-chianti blend, or the delicate Delaware, made from New York grapes. The shop's resident oenophiles share their passion with guests in 90-minute wine-making classes, bolstered by a wealth of wine kits and raw grape juices. In an article from the Buffalo News, owner Mike Ditonto cites what he sees as the appeal of home winemaking: nostalgia for grandparents' wine cellars and new methods of family bonding more comfortable than supergluing yourself to a favorite relative.
The sound of honking horns, chattering pedestrians, and singing puppets fades away when diners duck into Wine on Third’s dimly lit dining rooms. Here, the din of Third Street is replaced with soft music and tinkling wine glasses. Diners perch along a lengthy wooden bar sipping red, white, and sparkling selections from the eatery’s comprehensive wine list, which was awarded the Award of Distinction from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Small plates of tuna sashimi, assorted cheeses, and greek dips flood tables throughout a spacious dining area flanked by vibrant local artwork where guests linger over last bites of New York–style cheesecake and final sips of sweet martinis. Branching out beyond satiating taste buds, the elegant eatery plays host to special events including art shows and live music throughout the month.
Eveningside Vineyards’ owner and winemaker, Randy Biehl, was captivated by the millennia-long history of winemaking. Determined to contribute his own spin on this timeless beverage, he founded his own vineyard, beginning its first chardonnay, riesling, and cabernet franc in 2001. Since then the roster of wines has expanded to include pinot noir, merlot, and many others.
During the weekend of April 26–28, 2013, representatives from local and international wineries, breweries, and restaurants flock to the Scotiabank Convention Centre to showcase their specialties. While experts from Vines Magazine lead tutored tastings, local musical acts such as Jesse Parent and Duo d’Amore perform onstage. Elsewhere, chefs demonstrate their signature dishes on the chef stage and a silent auction to benefit the Breast Cancer Society of Canada lets guests bid on guided tours by experts, such as Iron Chef America’s Kevin Brauch.
On Tours of Niagara Falls' expeditions, participants can look down on the iconic waterfall from a helicopter or follow a footpath behind its massive curtain of water. Boat rides offer a perspective from calmer water, and the views from the observation deck are far preferable to the views from a surfboard.
However, the company's guided tours occasionally eschew the waterfall in favor of other local landmarks. To wit, a winery tour highlights local vintages, and a wintertime tour showcases holiday-lights festivals. Even those tours centered on the waterfall make stops at other scenic locales, such as a butterfly conservatory.