Ontario’s Niagara region may be far better known for a certain famous waterfall than for its wines, but the Niagara Peninsula is now home to more than 60 wineries.
The Niagara wine district known as the Twenty Valley — around the towns of Jordan, Vineland, and Beamsville — is a popular day trip from Niagara Falls, or a destination in its own right for a weekend getaway, less than two hour’s drive from Toronto.
While the Twenty Valley doesn’t have the vast range of lodgings, restaurants, and other services of a more developed region like, say California’s Napa Valley, it’s a friendly, laid-back destination for wine tasting and touring.
Its wineries range from established producers like Vineland Estates and Fielding Estate Winery (in a particularly striking wood-and-stone building overlooking the vines), to homier destinations like the Good Earth Food & Wine Company, which also runs a recreational cooking school, and the Featherstone Estate Winery, which relies on grazing sheep to help prune its vineyards.
One of the first lodgings to set up shop in the Twenty Valley is still its most deluxe: the Inn on the Twenty, in Jordan Village.
Most of the Inn on the Twenty’s 27 rooms are located in a former winery warehouse, with two additional “cottage suites” and the more modest Vintage House suite in nearby buildings. The room decor is quite traditional, with lots of antique pieces, quilts, and plaid or floral upholstery.
Even the smallest rooms are spacious, measuring over 500 square feet, with fireplaces and large bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. In my “wine country suite” (pictured above), I could have hosted a small party.
Several of the suites are even larger — multi-level, loft units, with a seating area, fireplace, and half bath on one level, and a bedroom and full bath upstairs.
More a country inn than a full-service resort, the inn nonetheless has a small spa with a pretty garden and the normal range of massage, facial, and body treatments. Several boutiques and art galleries surround the inn as well.
The inn’s owners also operate the Cave Spring Cellars winery across the street, so you don’t have to go far from the tasting room to your bedroom. The winery building, which dates to 1871, houses Ontario’s oldest functioning wine cellar.
I didn’t have a chance to dine at the highly regarded Inn on the Twenty Restaurant, which has an ever-so-romantic setting overlooking the adjacent vineyards. It’s a formal, white-tablecloth dining room that draws extensively on local ingredients. Both the inn and the restaurant attract lots of couples for getaway weekends.
Since I was traveling alone, I opted for a more casual supper down the road at another property under the same ownership, the Jordan House Tavern, a rustic roadhouse that’s been pouring brews since the mid-1800s. From the menu of updated pub fare, I can recommend the lamb burger with a tangy green tomato chutney.
Inn on the Twenty double room rates range from CAD$259 to $389, including breakfast, during the summer and fall high seasons. From November through April, rates drop significantly, with nightly tariffs starting as low as CAD$159.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the new travel guide, Moon Handbooks: Ontario, which features fun and funky attractions and experiences, lodgings, and places to eat across the province. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The Inn on the Twenty hosted my stay for review purposes.