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Cut from the rock by post-Paleo glaciers, Beamsville Bench has built a rep for mineral-etched wines. Here, we explore why people are so pumped about the Bench.

A sub-appellation of the Niagara Escarpment, Beamsville Bench is dissected by small ravines and streams that create north- and east-facing slopes and provide a ready source of water in the dry summer months. Temperatures on the Bench are moderated by soaring elevation and circulating lake breezes, and diurnal temperature swings are relatively small. Warmth builds up across the appellation in spring and sticks around well into autumn, extending the growing season and giving fruit plenty of time to fully ripen. Meanwhile, the lack of heat spikes allows fruit to ripen slowly and evenly while retaining its complexity, balance, freshness and food-friendly natural acidity.

Beamsville Bench’s glacier-forged soils feature a unique mix of boulders, gravel, sand, silt and clay dotted with shale, sandstone and limestone—specifically dolomitic limestone, a rare type based on dolomite rather than the usual calcite and aragonite. Dolomitic limestone is an important component across the region and figures prominently in the wines.

Wine tourism is increasingly popular in Beamsville Bench, which isn’t surprising given the stunning scenery and welcoming atmosphere. The Bench offers breathtaking views framing Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline, not to mention the beauty of the vineyards and wineries. Visitors are often greeted in the tasting rooms by winemakers and winery owners sharing their stories and their wines, making the experience all the more personal. Some wineries feature their own restaurants and accommodations, such as Cave Spring Cellars, whose Inn On The Twenty and Spa On The Twenty in the nearby town of Jordan helped pioneer wine tourism in the Niagara Escarpment.


The Finer Points

ORGANIZED CRIME SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016
VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment
396275 (XD) 750 mL $18.95

Grass, white pepper, gooseberry, apple, peach and lime zest. Crisp and intensely flavoured.

Aromatic & Flavourful

HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2016
VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment
183491 (D) 750 mL $23.95

Zesty with pure mineral, bright citrus, peach and apple fruit.

Aromatic & Flavourful

Organic product

CREEKSIDE MARIANNE HILL RIESLING 2016
Marianne Hill Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment
443572 (D) 750 mL $21.95

Bright and ripe apple, lime and pear notes with a high-toned floral component. The vivid, driving acidity keeps this on the drier side of off-dry.

Aromatic & Flavourful

CAVE SPRING CSV CHARDONNAY 2015
VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment
529941 (XD) 750 mL $29.95

Characterful, complex and elegant, with bright citrus and apple.

92 points (Michael Godel)

Full-bodied & Rich