Last week my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary!!! We’ve got 6 years of marriage under our belts, 2191 days, 52584 hours, 3155040 minutes, 1 home, 2 loved puppies, 6 vacations, and ZERO STABBINGS!!! We must be doing something right?!? Here’s hoping we can keep that stellar record intact! We decided to celebrate by doing a mini version of the Niagara Wine Trail. The Niagara Wine Trails has 22 stops in all stretching across Niagara, Orleans, and Monroe counties. It’s within minutes of Niagara Falls and about a 35 minute drive from our home in Buffalo! The wine selections at each are quite diverse. I love visiting the Niagara Wine Trail because they have a large selection of wines that tend to be on the sweeter side, which I really prefer. That being said, each stop is uniquely different and you’re sure to find something for every palate here!
We decided to start at my absolute favorite, Honeymoon Trail Winery! They’re home to the original Niagara Winery. They offer a huge selection of wines! I counted 20 plus wines while we were there. This place is a great first stop because you can load up on the snacks! They now carry a large selection of cheeses, spreads, sausages and crackers, as well as gourmet chocolates. We couldn’t resist the smoked sharp cheddar cheese spread from the Cuba Cheese Shoppe! You can’t go wrong with their Diamond, the Mighty Niagara, and the Honeymoon Suite from their wine selection. We each sampled a tasting of 4 wines and ended up going home with a bottle of White Lace (an elegant blend of Riesling and Cayuga with refreshing hint of citrus) and a bottle of Chocolate Covered Cherry (decadent with ripe cherries, that melt into a chocolate finish). SO heavenly!! They said it pairs well with a rich dark chocolate or a slice of cheesecake! I cannot wait to crack this bottle open with dessert out by the fire after dinner!!
Our second stop found us at A Gust of Sun Winery less than 5 minutes away. The tasting room can be found right out front in an old Amish barn. The staff was the absolute sweetest! They even comped our wine tasting fee when they found out we were celebrating our anniversary. How awesome is that?!? One of my favorite things about this place was that they catered to my sweet tooth and even had a list of chocolates that paired well with each wine! Sweet!! They also have a great covered side patio to sip a glass (or two!) and a pond where you can lounge in adirondack style chairs and kick back and relax. It really was SO peaceful there!
This was my first time at A Gust of Sun but I absolutely fell head over heels in love with this place, from the amazingly friendly and helpful staff, to the beautifully groomed grounds, to the fabulous wine, and let’s not forget the wine slushies!!! Yes you read that right. Wine. Slushies. They come in three flavors and they are absolutely EVERYTHING!!! You can’t leave without sampling one. I went with Rhap-sody in Blue and it did not disappoint!
Taking a break by the pond to enjoy a little slushy! I was half tempted to ask if I could just move in. Do you think they’d let me??? We left with a bottle of Sweet Westies White (a crisp sweet to semi-sweet blend of Riesling, Cayuga White, and a splash of Niagara) which is adorned with an adorable photo of three of the owners beloved Westies! I wish all my wine came with pictures of puppies, don’t you?
Stop number three was just a two minute drive to Long Cliff Winery and Vineyards. This place has the cutest little selfie station as you walk in. We couldn’t resist taking a couple of mustache selfies before heading inside! Team Pink!
The winery has only been open since 2011, but the farm has been in place for the past 50 years. In that short time, they’ve expanded their offerings to include twenty wines! Long Cliff is the quintessential American farm that runs on hard work and keeping it in the family. The owner was actually the one to pour our tastings and his granddaughter popped in to help out as well. We loved chatting with them! This family is truly passionate about wine as well as extremely knowledgable. They even expanded my palate a little and turned me on to their Sauvignon Doux, which strayed a bit from my typically over the top sweet selections, and we took a bottle to go, as well as a bottle of the Cobalt! Be sure to head to their website (clickable link above) where they go above and beyond and even pair cheeses with all of their wines!
Just 5 minutes away, we found ourselves at Niagara Landing Wine Cellars. Established in 1998, Niagara Landing Wine Cellars was the first winery to open in Niagara County, NY in over a decade and the first winery on the Niagara Wine Trail. Their wine list is pretty epic offering a variety of 31 wines, which range from very dry to very sweet, and maybe one that’s even a little spicy! Really!! Their Hot Pepper Wine is a must try even for the most experienced wine connoisseur. Its a sweet wine with a spicy finish on the back end. It’s truly unique. Also not to be missed is their Loganberry Sweet, a loganberry flavored wine. All my Buffalo peeps know what I’m talking about! We’re diehard loganberry fans here! We absolutely had to take a bottle home with us, along with their Rosebud Gold nicknamed their “Island Wine”, as well as their Sweet Concord, which is essentially grape juice disguised as wine. Be careful with that one! Wink, wink!! They’re very generous here too, just $3 will get you six tastings. Tickets must be purchased at the cash register prior to tastings.
Our next stop took us less than 5 minutes away to Freedom Run Winery. The inside is absolutely gorgeous and definitely the fanciest on our trip! Like Niagara Landing you must purchase tickets at the register prior to tasting so be sure to jump right in line. We didn’t end up leaving with any bottles in hand. Unfortunately they were all out of the Catawba, their sweetest wine, which I’m sure would have been my favorite!! Next time!!
Our last stop led us to Eveningside Vineyards which is literally a minute down the road. This place was a bonus stop for us. It’s actually not listed on the Niagara Wine Trail but it was easy to spot from the road as you’re passing by. This place is super quaint and super hip all at the same time. You walk in to hear great music playing on vinyl records. You’re more likely to find company from a small group of friends sampling a few good wines than a jam packed bachelorette party filled tour bus, which can be a major relief on the weekends when the Wine Trail is at it’s busiest.
We finished our day with a special dinner at Black and Blue, one of our favorites in the Buffalo area! They are a must try if you’re looking for an upscale steakhouse in the Buffalo/Niagara area. We always find ourselves coming back and have never been disappointed with the food or the service! Click the link to join their Executive Club! It’s a rewards program that’s free to join AND as an added bonus, they’ll send you a $25 gift card on your birthday! Best birthday present EVER!!!