Wine Tasting Basics and Niagara On The Lake Facts!

Wine Tasting Basics and Niagara On The Lake Facts!

Wine Tasting in Niagara on the Lake Ontario Canada

You go out to dinner with a group of friends, everyone finally agrees on a bottle of wine or two from the wine list. THEN, the unthinkable happens. The waiter sets a wine glass in front of Y-O-U and starts pouring for your wine tasting approval. The entire table is now looking at you. Foolish and uncomfortable are the only two words you can think to describe the feeling because you know nothing about wine…

… $10 or $500, you wouldn’t be able to pick out the best bottle of wine if it jumped up and hit you in the head!

If this is you, don’t worry. You are not alone.  Most people have no clue how to do a wine tasting either but today we are going to teach you exactly what to do the next time you are singled out to do the deed of wine tasting.

Niagara wine tasting

Inspired by our recent trip to Niagara Falls & Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada, we wanted to tell you about some of the cool things we learned about Niagara wine country:

  • It is regarded as one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world.
  • Because ice wine is produced from frozen grapes, Canada, particularly the Niagara Peninsula, consistently undergoes freezing in winter and has become the world’s largest ice wine producer.
  • The reason why ice wine is so expensive is because 1 vine of grapes will normally produce around 5 bottles of regular wine, but only 1/2 a bottle of ice wine.

Ice Wine Tasting is so fun and delicious!

  • There are 28 wineries in the area, so there are many wine tasting tours to be had to sample their grape creations.
  • Niagara on the lake has more than 200 Bed and Breakfasts
  • Because Niagara-on-the-Lake is a small city at the mouth of the Niagara River, on a clear day you will be able to see the Toronto skyline across Lake Ontario from there.
  • The town has kept its 19th century charm, and is a fantastic place to explore its old forts, grand mansions, potpourri of arts and crafts, lush gardens, and parks.

Wine Tasting Basics and Niagara On The Lake Facts!

Our time in Niagara was limited, so we took a wine tour and wine tasting at Inniskillin
Estates. Here we learned the 6 steps to wine tasting:

during wine tasting check wine for clarity

STEP 1: Pour wine into sparkling clean glass, hold it up to the light and inspect for clarity. There should be no sediment, cork, anything in the wine.

sniffing the wine during the wine tasting

STEP 2: Smell the wine. To do this, exhale first, put your nose in the glass, close your eyes, now inhale. You should smell different berries and oak for example, not dirt or any other fowl smells.  It should smell good to you, something you want to taste.

swoosh wine during wine tasting

STEP 3: Now, swirl the wine around the inside of the glass rapidly. The purpose is to get air through it which brings out more of the flavor and aroma. (side note: the more legs, as shown in the picture above, the more alcohol content in the wine… cool huh?)

smelling wine during wine tasting

STEP 4: Smell it again. The flavors will be more predominant after step 3. Smell good enough to taste?

the best part of wine tasting is sipping the wine

STEP 5: Have a small sip to cleanse your palate, and now take a big swig, swoosh around your mouth and then swallow.  Did your wine tasting buds like it? If yes, we have a winner!

record steps to wine tasting on phone

STEP6: Take out your cell phone now and record the above 5 steps into it so you’ll never forget how to select a great bottle of wine for your next dinner party. 🙂

Have Fun Wine Tasting- Now That You’ve Got The Basics Down.


Tip: During your wine tasting, there are a few reasons to hold and pick up your glass by the stem. 1. so the glass always looks shiny and clean and 2. you can easily do a wine tasting without having to look through smudges. 3. Who wants to taste wine out of a dirty looking glass anyways, right? 🙂

Another tip for you:  Take a wine tasting tour with a driver included. Many people forget this and then have to limit their wine tasting experiences. Don’t let that be you. Instead, plan a wine tasting tour ahead of time if you’re looking to visit many wineries in one day, so you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about mixing alcohol and driving.

Have fun wine tasting and stay safe!

Did you know there are many Ocean Cruises & River Cruises that are specific Wine themed ones?  They feature everything from winemakers from famous wineries onboard to wine tasting events to visiting wineries, etc.

If you would like to take your love of wine & wine tasting skills on the High Seas for a “Wine Cruise of a Lifetime” then Shawn, your Expert Cruise Specialist can help! Feel free to call him directly at 1800-219-7477 or send him an email at to help you plan your next Cruise.

We Appreciate You!

Nancy & Shawn

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Wine Tasting