The wine lover’s guide to Lake Erie North Shore
Visionary winemakers take full advantage of the warmest grape growing region of Canada to produce some of the country’s most incredible wines.
Seasonal tours, tasting rooms, and food and wine pairings are all a part of the experience as you weave your way down the country roads and soak in vineyard vistas, lake views and island vibes.
Use the Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC) map to plot your route and create your itinerary.
Wineries brimming with awards and accolades
With locations in both Kingsville and on the island for which it’s named, Pelee Island Winery is Canada’s southernmost winery. First established in 1854, the winery has stacked up hundreds of awards since the Paris World Fair in 1878 for their exceptional, approachable wines.
To visit the Pelee Island location, you’ll need to board the ferry from Leamington or Kingsville, which takes about an hour and a half each way. It is worth the trip to enjoy tastings at the Winery Pavilion, overlooking a portion of the 283 hectares of farmland and vineyards.
The Wine Patio at the Kingsville location is equally as lovely. Enjoy a crisp Late Harvest Riesling, a lively Pinot Noir or the medium bodied Cabernet Franc, a recent winner at the All Canadian Wine Championships. Ask about their interactive tour to learn all about the ‘vine to wine’ process.
Affectionally called ‘CREW’, Colchester Ridge is a family-owned winery located just outside the lakeside community of Colchester. In 2001 vinifera vines were planted on almost five hectares of land, with the production of quality award winning VQA wines and the establishment of the Winery and Gallery following.
Most recently, their 2020 Posh Cuvée and 2017 Grand Crew were recognized with Bronze awards at the All Canadian Wine Championships. The quality of the wine is matched only by the friendly hospitality of the CREW team. The kitchen has designed a thoughtful pairing and sharing grazing menu, so stop in to enjoy a tasting flight enhanced with flavourful dishes overlooking the lush vineyards. If you’re around on a Sunday, the CREW kitchen serves a divine brunch between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Location: 108 County Road 50 East, Harrow
Mastronardi’s 40 hectares historic vineyard was planted over 25 years ago and now harvests almost 20 varieties of grape vines used to create award-winning wines. Today, father and son duo lead the family-run operation, that includes a gorgeous, multi-functional event centre, as well as a European-style tasting room and retail area.
Follow the wine making process on a Viticultural Tour of the vineyard and production facility, from the grapes growing on the vine to the final product poured into your glass.
Location: 1193 Concession 3 East, Kingsville
With over 30 years of experience, Colio Estate Winery played a pivotal role in the renaissance of Lake Erie North Shore’s wine making industry. Colio was one of the first in the region to receive a license to produce alcohol since prohibition and has gone on to rack up over 500 awards nationally and internationally.
In depth tours lead you through the process of winemaking, including the grape handling process and to the climate-controlled barrel aging cellars and bottling area. Sample fruit forward sangrias from the Girls’ Night Out series or sparkling charmat crafted whites. Enjoy flavours inspired from the world’s most iconic wine destinations in the International series, as well as authentic wines showcasing the best of Lake Erie North Shore in the Bricklayer’s collection.
Location: 1 Colio Drive, Harrow
Visit for the wine, stay for the view
Welcome to Ontario’s only beachfront winery! The picturesque property features a grand stone and wood tasting and production facility surrounded by a forest to one side, rows of mature vineyards, small ponds and a soft sandy stretch of Lake Erie beach.
From Pinot Grigio and Riesling to Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, sample a variety of rich flavours with a wine tasting flight. And during the warmer months, take full advantage of the beachfront access with a delicious picnic lunch basket.
Location: 7258 Essex County Road 50 RR #5, Harrow
Located just east of Harrow in the heart of Lake Erie North Shore’s wine rich region, Cooper’s Hawk estate winery has reserved two hectares of its 28 hectare vineyard property as natural green space. The winery is named after one of the many bird species frequently viewed in the protected area, a testament to their commitment to the local environment and its inhabitants.
Visit this scenic spot for lovingly crafted wines paired seasonally with delicious fare from The Vines restaurant, patio and tasting room. Stay for the birdwatching, breathtaking views and romantic sunsets.
Location: 1425 Iler Road, Harrow
With a view that extends from the spectacular tasting room and large lakefront patio across expansive lawns to the blue waters of Lake Erie, Viewpointe Estate Winery couldn’t be more aptly named. On the sunny day the shimmering lake blends into the clear blue sky, creating a surreal horizon-less effect. Soak in the scenery with a glass of your favourite red, white or rosé wine.
Location: 151 County Road 50 East, Harrow
For something a little different, visit Dancing Swallows Vineyard, situated on a century old farm just a couple of kilometres southeast of Amherstburg. In the heart of the property, tucked beneath the largest maple tree on the farm, is not a tasting room but a tasting garden. Guests are welcomed to a repurposed shipping container serving up craft wines from their Artist series to enjoy outside between May to October, surrounded by the lovely vineyards and succulent grapes.
Location: 8704 Essex Road 9, Amherstburg
Winery restaurants and wood-fired pizzas
Lake Erie North Shore shares the same location along the 42nd north parallel with wine regions in southern France, Italy and California. Hence the name of this 6.8 hectare vineyard, winery and restaurant.
Chef Cameron heads up the culinary team at Bistro 42, who welcome you to the new tasting room and restaurant for a curated menu of classic French bistro inspired cuisine carefully matched with a selection of North 42 Degrees’ handcrafted wines. The majority of ingredients are homegrown produce, local meats and cheese and Canadian sustainable seafood. In addition, Serenity Lavender Farm and Retail Shop is located on the property, and you’ll see lavender infused items on the menu.
Location: 130 Essex County Road 50, Harrow
East of Colchester and south of Harrow, Oxley Estate Winery specializes in small batches of quality, fruit-forward wines grown on over 15 hectares of vineyard.
The estate is home to a beautifully renovated century-old barn, where guests are welcomed to dine indoors or on the wine garden patio weather permitting. The menu features down-to-earth, locally sourced items including Lake Erie perch, Oxley barn burgers and charcuterie and cheese boards. Pair these delights with their Chardonnay, Pinot Rosé, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, sparkling or Icewines.
Attention music lovers! Oxley raises wine pairing to a whole new level. Each wine has a unique sound and is paired with a song, from The Tragically Hip’s ‘Ahead by a Century’ to Louis Armstrong’s rendition of ‘La Vie en Rose’.
Location: 533 County 50 Road East, Harrow
Paglione Estate Winery brings the charm of Italy to Ontario’s southernmost coast.
Soak up the Mediterranean atmosphere from the beautiful architecture to the fresh insalate, delicious antipasti, homemade, wood-fired thin crust pizza, and hand-crafted gelato. Paired, of course, with delightful, small batch wine inspired by Italian winemaking traditions.
Location: 724 County Road 50 East, Harrow
Muscedere Vineyards is a five hectare, family-owned and operated winery that hand-harvests its grapes to produce premium, hand-crafted, small lot wines. Specializing in premium reds, including a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, each bottle offers a unique varietal character.
From May to October, guests are invited to their dog-friendly outdoor patio for wood fired pizzas paired with award winning Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage and Pinot Noir. Simple and delicious, the pizza menu includes veggie and meat lovers options, as well as gluten free dough.
And because the winery is located alongside the 50 km Chrysler Canada Greenway Trail that travels through Essex County, it’s the perfect spot to add to your cycle touring itinerary.
Location: 7457 County Road 18, Harrow
Last updated: September 19, 2023