Experience enchanting Wine Country Ontario
Unearthing Ontario’s local wine story has never been so exciting, thanks to Wine Country Ontario’s breathtaking scenery, regional cuisine and great tasting local wines.
Chris will be discovering for himself as he broadcasts live from The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estate Winery. The Grange is a small family-run estate winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario and part of a 600-acre farm. With 60 acres under vine, the farm is home to 6 distinct vineyard blocks; plantings include Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and enough Pinot Noir to make it one of the larger vineyards in Canada. The Grange proudly participates in Sustainable Winemaking Ontario and is consistently conscious of environmental impact.
When you see the designation “VQA” on a bottle of Ontario wine it means that it is made with 100% Ontario grown grapes. The VQA medallion is Canada’s symbol of quality in wine production and assures you that you are buying quality production, content, varietal percentage, appellation and vintage.
With warm hospitality, wineries welcome visitors to become part of the community, meet the winemakers and grape growers, take in the landscape, the cuisine – the whole unique experience that makes Ontario wines so special. Ontario’s unique combination of climate, location and soil means outstanding Ontario wines are produced in four primary wine country destinations:
Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley
First-time visitors are often astonished by the breathtaking natural beauty of the Niagara Escarpment, a massive ridge carved out by ancient glaciers. This magnificent feature is responsible for Niagara Falls—and for the distinctive, fossil-rich limestone soils and microclimate that create the classic mineral profile of the region’s wines.
The Escarpment - a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and the backbone of the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest footpath - supports a vital ecosystem, with hundreds of species of animals and plants, including 37 types of wild orchids. Whether you’re looking to catch a glimpse of nature’s treasures or pick up a one-of-a-kind antique in one of the area’s many charming shops, the Niagara Escarpment and surrounding area offers plenty to see and do. The Niagara Escarpment is just over 60 minutes by car from Toronto.
The Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake are 25 wineries nestled below the Escarpment amidst a landscape of vineyards and orchards that stretches to the picturesque Niagara River Parkway (the drive that Winston Churchill called one of the prettiest in Canada) and the shores of Lake Ontario.
Erie North Shore and Pelee Island
Stretching along the warm, shallow waters of Lake Erie, this area boasts a long growing season, with summer heat and moderating lake breezes providing excellent ripening conditions for producing full-bodied wines.
Local attractions include gardens, bike trails, produce stands, B&Bs and festivals, including the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival (Sept 6-9, 2012). Pelee Island is Canada’s most southerly point, with the longest wine-growing season in the country. Famous for its magnificent migrations of birds and monarch butterflies, discover majestic Carolinian forests and glorious stretches of sand dunes and beach. And observe a wonderful array of Great Lakes wildlife in well-conserved wetlands and protected marshes. Lake Erie North Shore is 4 hours by car from Toronto.
Prince Edward County
Ontario’s newest wine appellation, “The County” is quickly becoming one of the province’s must-visit destinations. The area boasts mineral-driven wines, small-batch beers and crisp ciders, artisanal cheeses, Italian-style ice creams, mouth-watering meals and gourmet hot dogs—all inspired by a dedication to local ingredients. It’s also home to some of North America’s largest freshwater beaches. Prince Edward County offers relaxing getaways that are a short drive from Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston and Montreal. Prince Edward County is approximately 2.5 hours by car from Toronto; 3 hours from Ottawa.
With over 130 wineries in Ontario to choose from, there’s so much to see and do. Explore charming towns and historic villages with quaint boutiques, shops and galleries. Surrounded by charming vineyards and beautiful architecture, revel in one-of-a-kind festivals and special wine country events.
And it’s all right in our own backyard – so close to home. Come for an afternoon – or a few days. Visit any time of year and start planning your next trip by visiting www.winecountryontario.ca
Wine Country OntarioTrip Showcase
Ontario Wine Country experiences are numerous and diverse and welcome visitors to:
For a trip to the Niagara Wine Region here are two not-to-be-missed winery suggestions:
- Savour regional cuisine in farm settings, cafes, fine restaurants and 5 star accommodations. Some wineries have restaurants and others offer food & wine pairings and cooking demonstrations. Niagara is home to Canada’s first winery cooking school.
Get your hands dirty and participate in winemaking by interacting in unique hands-on experiences and special workshops. From vineyard to bottle - visitors can pick, sort and crush grapes; learn how to make a bottle of wine; taste wine at in-depth wine training sessions and meet the winemaker.
- Participate in eco tours and learn about biodynamic winemaking practices in Ontario and also visit several wineries producing organic wines.
- Celebrate winter in a new and exciting way by taking an Icewine adventure and appreciate why Ontario is the only region in the world to make this treasured wine every year.
For a trip to Prince Edward County Wine Region here are two not-to-be-missed winery suggestions:
- Peninsula Ridge Estates encompasses 80 acres on the Niagara Escarpment, which is designated by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve. The vineyards are located on the Beamsville Bench, considered by many to be one of the premier grape growing regions in Canada. The Restaurant at Peninsula Ridge offers a fun, casual fine dining experience with seasonal menus featuring fresh, local foods paired with a selection of Peninsula Ridge wines.
- Vineland Estates in the Niagara Escarpment is not only the home of fine wine and cuisine, but an unmatched wine country destination. The exceptional Restaurant at Vineland Estates Winery has panoramic views over the vineyards. On the bench of the Niagara Escarpment, extensive vineyards provide a stunning backdrop to a unique cluster of carefully restored historic buildings. The landmark stone tower stands proudly over a former Mennonite homestead, with structures that date back to the 1840s.
- The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estate Winery is part of a beautiful family owned farm. This property has been a working farm for more than 200 years and the building that houses the winery is actually the barn that was built in 1826. The hayloft now houses the tasting bar, and the old limestone basement that was once a dairy milking parlour, is now the wine cellar. The Grange offers some unique Prince Edward County experiences! During the summer stop by for food and wine tastings, book tours and cellar tastings and order picnic lunches. Come for a harvest experience and work in the vineyards for a morning and in the afternoon explore the cellar and learn how wine is made.
- Huff Estates is located on a small peninsula in the south eastern corner of Prince Edward County, surrounded by Lake Ontario South Bay. A beautiful patio overlooking the vineyards showcases the perfect partnership between delicious cuisine and the fine wines of Prince Edward County! The 21 suite Inn at Huff Estates offers luxurious accommodation that is very contemporary in design but has a country feel as the rooms either overlook the vineyard or the garden. Packages include not just wine tours but spa experiences, cycling, culinary classes, photography and more! The Winery also features The Oeno Gallery with a group exhibition exploring new processes and methods in contemporary art.