Many say that Thirty Bench was the first winery in Ontario to embrace the small batch boutique concept.
Producing premium wines grown exclusively on estate vineyards in the Beamsville Bench appellation, the Bench is a superior winegrowing region on the Niagara Peninsula. The first Thirty Bench vineyard was planted in 1980, growing premium Riesling grapes, which are among the oldest vines in the region. In 1995, red grapes were planted, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Pinot Meunier as well as Pinot Noir.
Single-lot wines dominated the Canadian Wine Awards last year where Rieslings and Red blends flaunted their stuff to unanimous praise. The focus is on growing Riesling and classic red varietals on vines managed for low yield and maximum fruit intensity. Wines are produced in extremely small batches (the entire winery produced just over 5,000 cases last year, and in some cases purchases are limited to 2 bottles per person.) and boast rich flavours. If you love Niagara’s signature Riesling ($30) – look no further as six unique a varieties are available for tasting. The Award winning 2007 ‘Steel Post’ Riesling ($18.50) is full of tropical fruit while the crispy 2008 Thirty Bench Riesling is high on mineral and citrus.
Wines > More Riesling advice – try Triangle Vineyard variety ($35). It speaks of fresh fruit on and even and lasting finish. The Wood Post Riesling is off-dry with notes of peach and apple. Apart from those killers, there’s the 2003 Benchmark Blend ($25) if you like rich fruit and cedar. 2007 Thirty Bench Red ($24) is full force with velvet and spice. Two icewines are also available and come highly recommended. The pricey 2006 Cabernet Icewine ($90) has unique clover and floral components while the Riesling Icewine ($75) tastes like liquid fruit preservatives.
Tastings/Tours > For casual tastings at the bar expect to pay $10 for a flight of 4. That aside, we highly recommend that you reserve private tastings with front seat view to the vineyards. During private tastings, you may also get a chance to taste the limited wines.
Cost > Bottles range from $18 to $90.
Food > The closest restaurant is August down the street or The View.
Availability > You can find the Thirty Bench Riesling at the LCBO, the rest can be purchased online or at the boutique store.
Hours of Operation
Thirty Bench Winery
4281 Mountainview Road