Ontario wine is a relatively recent invention. It was only in the last century that we really got things up and running, so compared to those European wineries that have been around for hundreds of years, we are babies. That said, our wineries are winning awards year after year, and more and more are sprouting up these days. Here are the wine regions in Ontario, just a short drive away from Toronto – perfect for a road trip.
Niagara Escarpment & Twenty Valley
The Niagara Escarpment is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, in part because of the region’s commitment to sustainability. The escarpment is both beautiful and important to the landscape of this region: it is part of the Bruce Trail, one of Canada’s oldest and longest footpaths, and the soil in the Escarpment (along with the close proximity of the lakes) helps create perfect wine growing conditions. Check out Megalomaniac, Cave Spring Cellars, and Pearl Morissette to experience the range of wineries in this area.
This is one of the most well known Ontario wine-producing regions. The drive to this charming area is approximately an hour and a half from downtown Toronto. Once there, there is the charming town to explore, produce stands, and bakeries specializing in local fruit pies. Many of the wineries can be reached on a rental bike. Check out Konzelman to try peach wine, Stratus to sample the really high end stuff and Ravine is a beautiful, rustic winery offering dinner with wine pairings.
Lake Erie North Shore & Pelee Island
This is Canada’s most southern wine region. Travel takes about four hours by car from Toronto, and Pelee Island is reached by an additional 90-minute ferry ride. The island is a peaceful oasis and has a small national park on its tip. Rent canoes and explore Point Pelee National Park, which extends right into Lake Erie. Pelee Island Winery, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, and Muscedere Vineyards are all great wineries to visit in this area.
— Essex Masque (@EssexMasque) April 11, 2014
Prince Edward County
This is Ontario’s newest and fastest growing wine region – this is where The Drake is setting up shop in late September 2014. The County is approximately 2.5 hours by car from Toronto. This area has the whole idyllic country charm thing down pat. Cheese makers, lavender farms, and beaches are the distinctive markers of Prince Edward County. While there, take a trip to Rosehall Run, Sugarbush Vineyards and Winery and Three Dog Winery.