When it comes to excellent wines, Niagara can hold its own regardless of whether the discussion is comparing the region’s wines to Burgundy’s or Napa’s. Committed to excellence, the many winemakers and growers in the region have ensured that Niagara wine deserves its own seat at the world’s finest tables. For any visitor to Niagara, especially newcomers to our wine scene, a closer examination of what makes the area’s wine so special is almost a requirement.
One of the most recent winemakers in Niagara, Weinkeller opened its doors in 2013 as both a craft winery and fresh and local food-based restaurant. Located just a block off Clifton Hill, Weinkeller is easily accessible to the visitor who doesn’t want to venture out into the Niagara countryside, but who would nevertheless like to experience some of the area’s fine winemaking and dining. Here is a closer look at Weinkeller and the experience it provides.
Weinkeller is a riff on the idea of the brew pub, but what brew pubs do with beer, they do with wine. They craft three different red wines and three different whites, and they also carry numerous wines from the around the region, which enables guests to experience some of the richness of the wines available throughout Ontario and the Niagara Peninsula. The atmosphere is both welcoming and upscale, and the food is almost always from nearby, which means the menu changes every season to reflect what is being currently grown.
They feature a price fixed menu that enables guests to choose from specific preparations of entrees in a three- or five-course meal that allows the kitchen to flex its creative muscles, while also enabling guests to get something that’s directly in line with whatever it is they might be craving. Of course, if a guest wants a single item off the menu or desires to deviate from the recommended menu at all, Weinkeller — because of the commitment to guest experience — will be happy to comply.
It’s common practice in many parts of the Niagara Peninsula for restaurants, vineyards, and wineries to boast a family element, and Weinkeller is no exception. Owner/operator Chris Dobson originally hails from Vancouver, but he and his wife and children moved to Niagara Falls back in 2008 in order to be closer to his wife’s family. With over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Dobson has worked in everything from nightclubs and lounges to casual and upscale restaurants. He brings this experience and expertise to bear when helping his staff craft the ideal Weinkeller experience for guests.
Executive chef Stuart Mena has been cooking for almost two decades, and his professional career has enabled him to travel extensively, boning up on different techniques, tricks, and tastes everywhere he has been.
He particularly loves fresh and locally produced food, and he brings that love to everything he crafts at Weinkeller. Whether you choose, chicken, steak, a pork chop or Pacific salmon, the kitchen Mena oversees will turn it out perfectly every time.
Experience a craft winery and excellent food that’s within walking distance of your hotel and the falls. Weinkeller is a unique experience of some of the best that the region has to offer, and you can only find it in Niagara.