T hink you know Niagara? Think again. Sure, many of us know the Niagara Region as the home of the world-famous falls, but there’s so much more to the region – that spans Port Colbourne, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland – to leave you just as inspired and invigorated as the Niagara Falls themselves.
Here we’ll feature Niagara locals and their businesses to share what their version of Niagara is, to encourage you to discover yours.
Meet Barb Honsberger, Owner of Honsberger Estate Winery, one of Ontario’s smallest boutique wineries, known for producing nationally award-winning wines. Nestled in the quaint Jordan village along the Niagara Escarpment, Honsberger’s family-run farm showcases the unique agriculture and welcoming hospitality of the Niagara Region.
Amidst blooming orchards, lush vineyards, wandering livestock and tail-wagging rescue dogs, Honsberger Estate Winery is a rural oasis set on farmlands exuding charm and family tradition. With Honsberger’s farming roots dating back to 1811, the land’s heritage and history are very much a part of now-owner Barb, a sixth-generation farmer.
“The bounty that Niagara has to offer is embedded in me,” she said. “It comes from generations of farmers loving this land before me and seeing the care for the generations ahead of me.”
Having grown up in Jordan watching her father tend diligently to their family farm from sunrise to sunset, Barb credits her upbringing for instilling her with the passion she has for her work today.
“I spent my childhood just like generations before me, running between fruit trees and riding the tractor on my father’s lap,” said Barb. Eventually, Barb’s past would lead her to her future calling—“after stumbling through a variety of careers, opening Honsberger Estate Winery is exactly what I was meant to do.”
Initially only selling barrels of grapes to other wineries, in 2002, they began planting Riesling and Cabernet Franc vines. Only in 2012, did Honsberger Estate eventually start keeping a small portion of grapes for their own label, simply for the love of winemaking.
While the art of making wine is far from easy, being backed by heart, history and the support of the local winemaking industry confirmed their decision to become a small-batch winery.
“Even though Honsberger Estate is one of the oldest farms in Niagara, I’m always humbled by the support of the community and how we were welcomed into the industry,” she said. “The community has a common goal. We all want to see Niagara at its best. When we all work hard in our own backyard, yet also lift and support our neighbours, everyone becomes inspired.”
Today Honsberger Estate Winery continues to be steadfast in their decision to remain small and craft offerings that are a testament to the quality farm-grown grapes they are made from.
“By working with the motto of ‘quality over quantity’, we can offer a product that we are proud of,” said Barb. “That’s why we put ‘from our roots to your table’ on every bottle of wine.” Their philosophy has enabled the winery to stand confidently on its own, alongside fellow award-winning wineries in the area.
Whether you stop by Honsberger Estate Winery for a sip or a bite from one of their two restaurants, or simply to say hello, one thing’s for sure—there’s no doubt it’s a uniquely Niagara experience that will make you feel right at home, no matter where you’re from.
“Niagara is home. It’s family, it’s friends, it’s giving and it’s a gift to all of us,” Barb shares. She invites guests to the region the same way she would invite someone into her home – with a smile and with outstanding hospitality.
To plan your trip to Niagara visit www.visitniagaracanada.com and follow @visit_niagara on Instagram and Twitter as well as @visitniagara on Facebook.
For more on Honsberger Estate Winery head to www.honsbergerestate.com