Aficionados of all things fermented flock to Ontario for a taste of what lies just beyond cellar doors. From the North Shore of Lake Erie to Prince Edward County, some of the best reds and whites in North America are bottled in SE Canada. If you count yourself among the wine lovers of the world, this region absolutely must be on your (perfectly chilled) bucket list. We’ve partnered with Wine Country Ontario to bring you just a taste of what awaits at these must-visit wineries in Ontario.
Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island Region
If you’re on holiday near the North Shore, make the journey to Viewpointe Estate Winery. The stellar vistas at this aptly named vineyard make the stop well worth your time, but there’s more! The experts here bottle merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and other favourites. Do yourself a favour and sign up for a culinary class; the winery offers instruction on everything from pasta making to holiday sweets baking. Next up should be a stop at North 42 Degrees Winery in Harrow, which is run by third-generation grape farmers. Focused on sustainable practices, this estate is nestled amidst forests and Lake Erie, providing a perfectly charming environment for a tasting.
This quaint lakefront community is an ideal place to set up shop in a B&B for the weekend, peruse farmers’ markets, and sip on estate wines. Located where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, the fertile grounds here are often considered the origin point of Ontario’s modern wine scene. In any case, properties like the Hinterbrook Estate Winery deliver a singular experience. It’s focused on eco-friendly practices, harnessing solar power and rainwater collection (along with other green initiatives) to create some of the richest reds and sweetest rosés that will ever pass your lips.
Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley
This UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve offers more than a rich environment for myriad plants and animals. It’s also the home of the world-famous Niagara Falls and an ideal environment for making wine. It’s no surprise, then, that a gaggle of boutique wineries have cropped up in the area. From the Canadian Wine Awards-winning Hidden Bench Vineyards to the “icewine specialists” of Royal DeMaria Wines, the range and depth of this region’s flavours is truly impressive. Among the venues producing bottles of fermented goodness is Leaning Post Wines, a small family-run winery that remains committed to artisan wines with unique flavour. Expect a stop-in at Leaning Post to include a tasting in the charming on-site barn. The winery primarily produces riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, and syrah.
Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County is a popular tourist destination for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the terroir just begging for wine production. The soil here is similar to the French Burgundy region, and the offerings are just as good. After a day of devouring artisanal cheese and relaxing on a freshwater beach, tasting a premium glass of vino is an excellent idea. Karlo Estates is one of the most unique wineries in the region. In fact, it’s the first vegan-certified winery in North America. The bold wines produced here include cabernet franc, merlot, and pinot noir. If you support sustainable farming, visit Rosehall Run. Grab lunch at the on-site Greer Road Grocer and, during summer months, the PICNIC food truck. You are sure to leave full and happy.
Some Ontario regions are established in the wine business, while others are still earning their stripes. Just because areas like the Eastern Erie shore are still emerging, it doesn’t mean they can’t produce a fine bottle. Stop by Magnotta Winery for a signature glass of Sparkling Ice™, an icewine that originated right at the Ontario venue. While you’re at the winery’s flagship location, check out the two tasting bars and retail store. Thirty minutes north of Toronto, end a mini road trip at Galluci Winery and sit back with a full-bodied red on the scenic terrace.
Wine lovers never have to settle for less than the best in Ontario. Whether you’re after a glass of rich red or a sweet white, you’re sure to find a bottle of vino in eastern Canada to please your palate!