Sub-Appellation STATS

Production (9L Cases)

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Appellation Wines

Common Varieties    Chardonnay        Pinot Noir    Merlot        Syrah

Sub-Appellation OVERVIEW

St. David's Bench lies 10 km south of the shore of Lake Ontario and several metres above the Lake Iroquois Plain. This bench, formed when glaciers carved out the Niagara Escarpment, rises from the historic shoreline of Lake Iroquois towards the base of the escarpment.

Early warming in SPRING, gently sloping BENCH, generous PRECIPITATION

Grapes in a Niagara Peninsula winery

Vineyards in St David's Bench are mostly located on north-facing slopes on the upper portion of the bench and along its southern boundary at the Lake Iroquois Shore Bluff.



With an elevation ranging from 105 to 145 metres above sea level, this sub-appellation has a relatively high elevation with bluffs sheltering the area from the strong, cool south-westerly winds that prevail in the spring. Vineyards are situated on the long north-facing slopes, crossed by several shallow streams. These streams – many seasonal with flooding in early spring and dry beds by late summer – offer good drainage of the groundwater issuing from the base of the escarpment, promoting healthy vine growth throughout the growing season.


The soils of this sub-appellation, spread over a red sandstone bedrock, are deep, rich clays. The mostly silty clays and clay loam tend to hold moisture and drain slowly. Snow melt and spring rain saturates the soil early in the season and provides a reliable source of water that is held in the sub-soils and nourishes the vines throughout the season.

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

With shelter from the Escarpment and good cold air drainage down its slopes, this area experiences early warming in the spring, and enjoys a relatively long growing season. Frequent high pressure systems and clear and sunny weather, aided by steady air circulation during the growing season maintain moderate temperatures well into September and the start of the grape harvest. Combined with a generous amount of precipitation, this sub-appellation produces healthy vine growth and fruit with well developed character.

Notable Features

Sheltered by the Niagara Escarpment, and farther inland from the warm lake waters, vineyards on the Bench tend to be slightly cooler during the late season when grapes are ripening. Combined with the early spring warming, this creates a unique growing season and promises mature, refined wines.

Wine personalities

St. David's Bench’s consistent warm growing season allows for generous ripening of longer season grapes and great concentration of flavour in the wines.

White wines can be highly aromatic with lush tropical fruits and spicy floral aromas and include some interesting grape varieties such as Viognier.

Reds are full bodied, displaying robust fruit flavours, herbal, smokey notes, and often with substantial structure and ageing potential.

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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