Sub-Appellation STATS

2021-22 Annual
Production (9L Cases)

Degree Days

Number of

Number of
Appellation Wines

Common Varieties    Riesling         Sauvignon Blanc        Cabernet Sauvignon

Sub-Appellation OVERVIEW

Niagara Lakeshore follows the shoreline of Lake Ontario from the Welland Canal east to the Niagara River and inland for approximately 3 kilometres. The growing season is long, extending to late October, and supports the production of mature, full bodied wines, notably some later ripening varieties.

Dominant influence of LAKE ONTARIO, long consistent growing season for flavour DEVELOPMENT

Grapes in a Niagara Peninsula winery

The primary influence on this sub-appellation is the proximity of the Lake and its year round moderation of temperatures.



The topography is relatively flat, with a very gentle slope towards the shore of Lake Ontario. The appellation features a large creek – Four Mile Creek – and a few intermittent streams that usually disappear in the height of summer. This simple topography ensures uninterrupted sunlight exposure for grape vines throughout the growing season.


Soils in Niagara Lakeshore consist primarily of glacial and lake deposited clay and silt, and deltaic sands and silts that were deposited on a thick layer of Halton Till that overlays the red Queenston shale bedrock. Reddish-brown sandy soils in areas adjacent to the Lake Ontario shore promote deep root penetration and have low water-holding capacity because they are porous and unconsolidated. Clay loam soils in the centre of this sub-appellation on the other hand, hold moisture for many months and retain their heat longer into the early fall.

Produced by and shared with permission from the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario/VQA Wines of Ontario.

Temperatures in this sub-appellation remain relatively cool in April, rising gradually in May and decreasing gradually decreasing in October. In the summer and over the peak of the growing season, the subdued topography ensures maximum sunlight exposure for the growing vines and their fruit. The temperature difference between the cool air over Lake Ontario and the warm air over the land create localized circulation systems that moderate the rate at which this appellation warms during the day and cools at night.

Notable Features

Lake Ontario has a substantial and immediate effect in moderating temperatures along the Niagara Lakeshore. In the summer, cooler lake air replaces rising warm air above the land, reducing daytime temperatures, while at night the reverse effect, with relatively warmer lake air replacing low-lying cool air to keep the air temperatures from falling.

Wine personalities

With the full and direct moderating impact of Lake Ontario, grapes grown here enjoy plenty of opportunity to become ripe and flavourful.

Whites are often rich with fruit aromas and tastes but well balanced by a seam of trademark cool climate acidity.

Reds are well represented in this appellation where full ripening of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are assured and the resulting wines convey jammy fruits with earth and spice and a solid finish.

Young grape vines, prior to being transplanted into vineyards for wine production, photographed in Niagara on the Lake, Canada


Situated at approximately N43° latitude this prime and diverse appellation is characterized by rich, fertile soils and unique meso climates, which provide ideal conditions for producing wine grapes with more complexity and intense flavour than in many warmer climates.

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