Burgundy, Rhône, Napa Valley and Bordeaux are areas around the world that are well known for growing grapes and producing award-winning wines, however, did you know that you can include Ontario among that prestigious list? Ontario wines have been recognized by some of the world's most sophisticated palates.
There are actually four wine regions in Ontario. The Niagara Wine Region is Ontario’s most bountiful wine region thanks to a unique micro-climate, which is the result of the area’s southern latitudinal reach (the southwestern tip of Ontario extends through the 43rd parallel – the same as Bordeaux), the protective nature of the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario’s moderating effect on temperatures.
There more than 60 wineries in Niagara and some of its best have produced internationally award-winning wines. You’ll find every type of winery here from the intimate Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery, to Peller Estates’ large manor, to the sleek and modern Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate, to the eco-friendly Stratus Vineyards.
A short drive east will take you to the province’s emerging wine region in charming Prince Edward County. Long recognized for its many fruit orchards, Prince Edward County now has almost a dozen wineries and many, such as Norman Hardie, Huff and Waupoos estate wineries are already capturing the attention of discerning chefs and sommeliers.
You’ll also find a handful of wineries just outside of Toronto in the Vaughan region and dotting the countryside along the north shore of Lake Erie where there is even one located on Pelee Island - Pelee Island Winery Pavilion.
Perhaps Ontario’s best wine ambassador is its famous Icewine. Ontario is one of the few regions in the world that can reliably produce Icewine on an annual basis, making it one of Canada’s most coveted exports. Having been judged one of the world’s best wines at Vin Expo (Bordeaux, France), Ontario Icewine has become so renowned there is even an annual Icewine Festival celebrating its world success and the excitement of the winter grape harvest.