Schulze Vineyards and Winery is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. The lake effect climate and rich soil enable us to produce unique still and sparkling wines. We are an Estate Winery, producing vinifera, hybrid and native grapes. Our commitment to growing the highest quality grapes is the hallmark of our award
To the Spicola family, wine isn't simply something sipped on at dinner or during a party. Rather, it's the family heritage, which forms a bridge between generations. Today, Dominic Spicola runs the Winery of Ellicottville with his son-in-law, but years ago, he worked alongside his father, Francesco, an Italian immigrant schooled in his home country's winemaking tradition. Together, the duo crushed and pressed annual harvests into barrels of wine, making sure their relatives had enough to fill glasses at dinner and water balloons at family picnics throughout the year.
Today, Dominic and his son-in-law mesh this Old World wisdom with New World techniques to craft chardonnays and merlots, reds and whites. They sell their bottles from an unassuming shop on Monroe Street, where sky-blue walls, family pictures, and shelved knickknacks surround a sun-splashed bar.
Though most people may picture winemakers among sunny coastal knolls, Jamie Macfarlane can often be found staying up late each December, waiting for the thermometer to hit -8 degrees Celsius. It's at that point—frigid, quiet, dark—that Jamie knows his vidal grapes are ready for harvest. Left to freeze, thaw, and freeze again, the grapes have already matured throughout the season, allowing the robust notes of apricot, peach, butterscotch, and honey to develop under the outer layer of stone-cold skin.
Once the mercury hits -8 degrees, Jamie and his team head out to the vines to handpick the grapes while they're still frozen. They rush them to the winery, press them through the night, and transfer the concentrated must to the fermenting tanks before the sun rises and demands its keg of morning coffee. The Ice House Winery grows vidal, Cabernet, and Riesling varietals. In the tasting bar at The Ice House Winery, visitors can peer at these batches-in-progress as they lean on a rough-cut support beam or barrel table, listening to Jamie spin yarns about the days when his grapes were still young and in diapers.
The vineyards of Niagara's wineries offer guests an inside look at their wine-crafting practices, including grape selection and cultivation. The full-day tour reveals all of the necessary steps each winery takes in preparing its signature libations, with each tour culminating in a wine tasting, sure to please the palate and nurture appreciation for the sacrifices of selfless grapes throughout history. To redeem this deal, simply visit the wineries of your choice and present today's Groupon to frolic in the vinous depths of oenophilic education.
Honoured with more than 500 awards, Pillitteri Estates Winery produces rich reds, fragrant whites, and signature icewines. Tour groups of 10 to 15 visitors kick off their oenophile journey in the awards room, stuffed to an impressive degree with plaudits from both domestic and international competitions and organizations. After a visit to the press room, where vintners do their grape-squeezing and movable type-shuffling, guides usher guests into the neo-Norman barrel cellar, a cooled concrete vault filled with litres of libations aging in oak barrels. From the ceiling hang 23 stainless steel chairs bearing etchings recounting the ancestral origin myth of the winery's proprietors, the Pillitteri family, two generations of whom remain active in the estate's day-to-day operations.
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.