When visiting Canada’s Wine Region in Niagara I guarantee that you will have a difficult decision to make when it comes to choosing which wineries you want to visit and what wine you want to taste. I can relate. I also have that difficulty.
De Simone Vineyards, A Small Winery With a Big Heart
During a recent visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake, I wanted to try something new and a little different than the norm. I have already visited many of the larger vineyards and this time I wanted to visit a small, intimate, family run vineyard so I reached out to a contact on Instagram who frequents the Niagara Wineries often for her recommendations. Her immediate response was De Simone Vineyards, “it’s a small Niagara winery with a big heart“, she told me. Within minutes of my arrival, I completely understood why my friend ranked De Simone Wineries number one on her list. It is now also number one on my list. De Simone Winery offers a cozy, relaxed, intimate atmosphere, which was exactly what I was looking for since I would be visiting the winery on my own. After getting settled in and making small chat with the owner, it didn’t take me long to realize that De Simone Vineyards was a small winery with a big heart.
From my first contact with the winery via email until the time I left, I was treated with nothing but kindness by everyone and made to feel welcome at every turn.
Since I was going to be visiting the winery in the morning, I didn’t want to do the typical wine tasting (although after tasting the Merlot I wish I had done the full tasting), but instead I opted for a tasting called S’Merlot. Yes….it’s exactly as it sounds. It is a s’more and the best glass of Merlot that I have ever tasted. One would think that this is a strange combination but it sounded fun and interesting so I had to try it. What better breakfast could you ask for :).
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Getting to De Simone Vineyards
Getting to De Simone Vineyards couldn’t be easier. When driving into Niagara-on-the-Lake from the QEW on Highway 55, you will drive right past it. It is on the right hand side of the road just before you reach the small Village of Virgil.
If you are coming from Niagara-on-the-Lake it is a short 10 minute drive down Highway 55. It can’t be missed. And of course, if you want to be responsible and not drink and drive, you will always have the option of renting a bicycle to tour the Niagara Wine Region.
About De Simone Vineyards
In terms of vineyards, De Simone is quite young. In 2010, Vincenzo and his father planted three rows of Cabernet Franc. Since it was such a success they were prompted to continue planting until they had planted over 17 acres of vines as can be seen when visiting the vineyard today.
Vincenzo De Simone, Winemaker/Owner
Ever since Vincenzo was a small boy he enjoyed listening to stories of his ancestors who were winemakers in Italy. It was a passion he never let go of and he believes that “winemaking is an art and it must be felt from the heart”.
Vincenzo spent 9 years touring around Italy learning everything there was to know about the fine art of winemaking. He graduated from Niagara College in 2011 and the rest is history. His life-long dream has come to fruition.
Wines at De Simone Vineyards
This boutique, family run vineyard carries various types of wine, including:
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Vidal Rose
- Sparkling Rose
- Sparkling Vidal Blanc
- Vidal Icewine
I can only vouche for the Merlot, but if the other wines are even half as good as the Merlot I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of them.
The wine can either be purchased in the retail store or by ordering online.
Tours and Tastings Offered at De Simone Vineyard
There are several tasting options available a De Simone Winery, all of which will allow you to taste the world class wine:
- Fire & S’Merlot
- Ice & Sparkles
- The Classic Tasting
- Big Reds Big Glasses
As the winery gains exposure, more and more tastings are being offered, so the website to book the tasting of your choice. If you have questions like I did, leave them in the comment section of their website and someone from the winery will call you. The Fire & S’Merlot package was priced for two people, but since I travel solo accommodations were made for just me 🙂 .
My Visit to De Simone Vineyard
My S’Merlot package was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. … yup …s’mores and wine for breakfast. It doesn’t get much better than that!
I was greeted by Vincenzo in person as well as one of his employees. I was escorted outside to a firepit looking towards the vineyard and handed a large glass of wine and a box containing everything I would need to make my s’mores. Since it was so early in the day, I was the only guest there and Vincenzo was kind enough to enlighten me with the history of the vineyard, as well as to share some of his future plans. I can’t wait to visit again next year to see what changes and/or additions have been made.
S’Merlot Time at De Simone Vineyard
Once settled in I sat back and enjoyed the view of the expansive vineyard and the taste of a large glass of full bodied, red wine, while roasting the marshmallows to make my s’mores. If anybody ever told me that s’mores and wine paired well together I would have never believed them. But you have to try it sometime, it was actually delicious.
Retail Store at De Simone Vineyard
Once done with my wine and s’mores a trip inside to the retail store was in order as I had to purchase a bottle of what I just drank. De Simone is a small boutique winery and the retail store was not large, but it was very welcoming and cozy, with a bar for tasting.
There is also a separate tasting room which doubles as home for the wine barrels. I loved this room and on my next visit I will be doing some tasting in here.
My Final Thoughts on De Simone Vineyard
I honestly can’t say enough about this boutique, family run vineyard. The wine was not only second to none, the larger vineyards wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to the hospitality displayed by Vincenzo and his staff at De Simone Vineyard.
The horse is the symbol used by De Simone Vineyard.
“The horse represents strength, freedom, determination, and passion. It is a symbol of strong motivation that carries one through life.”
After spending a couple of hours at De Simone Vineyard and talking with Vincenzo it became more than apparent to me that the horse perfectly represented Vincenzo and his vineyard. De Simone is a small winery with a big heart and you can feel and see this from the second you walk through the door.
I am excited to return to Niagara-on-the-Lake again next year to check in to see what changes have been made to what has now become my favourite winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. If you haven’t visited De Simone Vineyards yet, I highly recommend that you do next time you’re in the Niagara Region.
PIN TO VISIT DE SIMONE VINEYARDS