Ontario’s Best Wine Regions (and Where to Sip)

Visit award-winning wineries on the Niagara Peninsula or sip Pinot on a patio in Prince Edward County.

Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery

Niagara Peninsula

With two regional appellations and 10 sub-appellations, each with its own unique climate, topography and soil, the Niagara Peninsula is one of the oldest and most diverse viticultural areas in Canada. The region is known for its cool-climate Chardonnays and Rieslings, but it’s also temperate enough in some spots for warm-weather grapes. The award-winning Tawse Winery, for instance, grows Merlot grapes in Twenty Mile Bench, a sub-appellation on the Niagara Escarpment that benefits from warmer summer nights. For a memorable Niagara experience, visit Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery, along the Beamsville Bench. On clear days, standing among the vines, you can see across Lake Ontario to Toronto’s CN Tower.

Don’t miss: Held over three weekends starting Sept. 15, the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival has more than 100 events including chef-led tastings and pairings.

Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard

Prince Edward County

Situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County is not only Ontario’s coldest wine region, but also one of its fastest growing. Winters here are so chilly that growers have to bury their vines under the rocky soil to ensure they survive. “They say, if the vine has to struggle, the wine is better,” says Tim Kuepfer, winemaker and owner of Broken Stone Winery, which produces lightly oaked Chardonnay among its varieties. Visit Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard in Wellington, whose Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are standard-bearers for what can be done in the region. Tuck into a thin crust, wood-fired pizza, topped with fresh basil, and enjoy a glass of Pinot on the patio as you look out over the vineyard.


[This story appears in the September 2017 issue of WestJet Magazine and has since been updated]