In 2013 the brothers of Mount Carmel, a religious order of monks, located in the Fallsview Area of Niagara Falls partnered with Reif Estate Winery in Niagara on the Lake to form Monastery Cellars. That’s the year two hectares alongside the monastery was graded and vines were planted.
Wines made at monasteries have been happening for centuries. The Carmelites decided to go this route because they needed to make money to pay their expenses to continue their order. The brothers choose to go this route rather than sell the land. The Carmelites operate a Spiritual Retreat and Conference Centre.
The versatile Vidal grape was chosen because it grows well in colder climates and it lends itself to good quality icewines.
Today you can taste red and white wines at the monastery gift shop at 7020 Stanley Avenue. The wines sell for $20.00 a bottle. A bottle of Monastery Cellars’ Vidal icewine can be purchased for $80.00.
There are approximately 90 wineries operating in the Niagara region.