September is an exciting month in Niagara as one of our highest profile industries begins its busiest season. Harvest time has arrived! Long days in the vineyard are ahead as the labour of love ensues and results in the fruits of that labour – which we all love!
To fully appreciate the Niagara harvest experience, stop by a winery dining destination for a beautiful meal and perhaps even a themed harvest menu. Here are our must-try restaurants amidst the vines:
Located amidst the estate vineyards on the Vineland Estates property, this is the quintessential winery experience. Overlook the harvest activities while you sit indoors or outdoors (this location has one of the best outdoor dining spaces in the peninsula). The menu is the creation of Executive Chef Justin Downes, whose farm-to-table sensibility shines through with his authentically Niagara ingredients list that pairs perfectly with the beautiful estate wines. Another reason to visit: this location has received the CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award!
Trius Winery Restaurant
Perhaps a name you don’t recognize, this is the rebranded Hillebrand Restaurant and is located on the Hillebrand property. Executive Chef Frank Dodd is a popular Niagara chef who runs cooking classes in addition to his role as the mastermind behind their innovative menus. New to the Trius dining line-up are two unique menus that you might want to check out:
• Totally Trius, a tasting menu with 100 percent Trius wines
• TASTE Niagara, a locally inspired menu featuring Niagara purveyors
Located at Niagara College, Benchmark is a spectacular dining experience for the wine country visitor. The restaurant operates under the guidance and leadership of industry experts and is operated by students of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. The menus act as a window into the curriculum with menu items that are recipes learned in the classrooms. On top of it all, this restaurant has a winery and brewery on site, so you are truly indulging in all things Niagara!