Helmed by friends and oenophiles Patrick Walsh and Barton Towell, 6 Mile Cellars' collection of red and white wines, aims to please even the pickiest of palates. Here are a few things to know before stopping by.
Aromatic white wines are the specialty here, but 6 Mile Cellars also offers sweet, semi-sweet, dry, and semi-dry wines, and even the occasional hard cider.
Vieni translates from Italian to "come" or "welcome," which is just how guests feel as they arrive at the breathtaking 175-acre Vieni Estates, located on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. The founder of Vieni Estates brings his passion for wine from Italy and combines it with his love for this distinctly Canadian wine region, particularly the unique attributes of the rolling hills of the Vinemount Ridge. Master winemaker Mauro Salvador takes the best of the many varietals grown on the estate to produce a broad and compelling range of still wines, icewines, and sparkling wines—each of which is crafted to reflect the best of the terroir, varietal, and the winemaker's skills. Seven days a week, the winery hosts tastings within the Vieni tasting room, pouring flights for visitors to sample Signior Salvador's wares and explaining the unique properties of each wine.
Niagara's terroir is also an asset for Vieni's beautifully-updated on-site bed and breakfast, where guests stay in luxurious suites, each of which has views of the vineyards and 30 acres of protected forest along the Niagara Escarpment.
In addition to their many fine wines, Vieni Estates is also home to a full distillery, producing Italian-style grappas and spirits from the various fruits of Ontario. Like the winery, the distillery is hosts tours and tastings seven days a week. And after enjoying a tasting, visitors can also take a scenic walk through the estate's section of the world-renowned Bruce Trail, or picnic around the large pond.
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.
A Gust of Sun Winery's name is more than a lovely turn of phrase. It's also a nod to the name of its founders, Erik and Shane Gustafson, a couple whose love for each other bloomed on the latticework of a shared love of wine. It all started when Shane took a wine appreciation class at their alma mater, Purdue, and convinced her new beau to follow suit. Erik became an oenophile too, and when they married they relocated from Indiana to his native western New York, where grapes flourish.
The duo tilled and sowed the land themselves, literally building their orchard from the ground up. From there, they added some sunny, sophisticated indoor lounges and tasting rooms. In August 2011, they opened their doors and started cracking open bottles of the seven wines they had created at the time. Since then, a Gust of Sun Winery has continued to fill glasses as well as schedules, arranging events, workshops, and tasting parties with the same dedication they pour into the creation of new wines.
Just as winemakers transform grapes into sumptuous sips, oenophiles Cynthia West-Chamberlain and Michael D. Chamberlain transformed their passion for wine into the family-operated Black Willow Winery. Although the winery primarily functions as a home for the couple's inventive wines, its charms don't end there. An elegantly appointed tasting room invites guests to sit, sip, savor, and even hold private events on Black Willow's scenic grounds. While they're there, many stock up on some of the winery's other house-made offerings, such as mead, chocolates, infused oil, and artisan vinegar.
When Nana and Papa Varallo brought winemaking to America from Italy, they unknowingly brought a livelihood for their successors. Son Nicholas made wine in Papa's basement from the age of 8, then taught the techniques to children Dominic, Cristina, and Americo Varallo. Now all three generations contribute to the development of the family's Spring Lake Winery, which offers group vineyard excursions, rentable wedding space, and, of course, the Varallo's award-winning wines.