A young woman raises a glass of wine for a toast.

Shale Ridge Estate Winery and Cidery | Destination Ontario

Trendsetting getaways for wine lovers

A young woman raises a glass of wine for a toast.

Shale Ridge Estate Winery and Cidery | Destination Ontario

The elegant and fresh flavours of cool climate wines are making huge waves in connoisseur circles worldwide, and Ontario’s unique appellations, distinct terroir and innovative winemakers continue to put local wines on the map.

Explore these wine trends on your next getaway to Ontario’s wine regions.

Rosé is here to stay

You’ve heard “rosé all day”. In Ontario, it’s “rosé year-round”.

Rosé has become a fixture on patio tables and picnic blankets, but this cheerful blush is shedding its summer-specific reputation and fast becoming a favourite for any season.

Book a rosé getaway in Niagara Region

A winner of the “Best Small Winery in Canada” by the National Wine Awards, Two Sisters Vineyards offers a variety of tastings and tours as well as Italian-inspired cuisine at Kitchen76. Their Margo Rosé is a flavourful and fruity celebration of place.

A visit to Niagara’s Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, a rustic, fifth-generation, family-run winery in St. David, is an adventure in winemaking, as well as in culinary excellence, beekeeping, organic gardening and craft canning.

You can’t go wrong with the winemaker’s menu pairings at the onsite restaurant, including their dry and refreshing rosé, which pairs exceptionally well with garden-fresh salads. Or pick up a bottle to enjoy in your suite at Woodbourne Inn, a stylish country inn only a five-minute walk from the winery.

Two Sisters Vineyards, 240 John Street East, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, 1366 York Road, St. Davids
Woodbourne Inn, 214 Four Mile Creek Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Ontario’s bubbly rises to the occasion

Special moments require a special toast and Ontario’s sparkling wines are popping.

Southern Ontario’s limestone-rich soil and diverse climate is a similar terroir to northern France’s Champagne region. Innovative winemakers have capitalized on this, using Charmat or tank method ageing (similar to what’s used for Prosecco), they’re producing top-notch bubbly. 

Enjoy a sparkling getaway on Lake Huron’s west coast

Relax on the patio overlooking scenic vineyards at Dark Horse Estate Winery, an inviting spot along the west coast of Lake Huron. Guided tours walk you through the vine-to-glass process. Be sure to sample the limited edition Traditional Method Sparkling. This Gold winner at the National Wine Awards of Canada is a member of their Valegro series, inspired by a true dark horse champion.

The Lucia Sparking Blanc at Shale Ridge Estate Winery and Cidery is another fun fizzy to share with friends.

Pair your bubbly with beach, pool and marvellous sunsets at The Kiwi Motel in Grand Bend. Or drive up the Bluewater Highway to the lakeside village of St Joseph to Hessenland Inn. The restored 19th-century manor and restaurant was once surrounded by horse pastures but is now converted to expansive gardens and vineyards. 

Alternatively, channel the spirit of the west at Texas Longhorn Ranch in Strathroy. Enjoy hearty ranch-style meals, toast marshmallows over your private firepit, and sleep in a cozy covered wagon.

Dark Horse Estate Winery, 70665 B Line, Grand Bend
Shale Ridge Estate Winery and Cidery, 9090 Widder Road, Thedford
The Kiwi Motel, 40 Main Street East, Grand Bend
Hessenland Inn, 72981 ON-21, Zurich
Texas Longhorn Ranch, 1745 Melwood Drive, Strathroy

Orange is the happiest color

Named for its rich golden hue, Orange wine is not actually made from oranges but rather white grapes that are treated like red grapes during the vinification process.

Orange wine, or skin-fermented whites, is an ancient technique of winemaking but its revival is gaining momentum. 

Pair sunshine and orange wine on Pelee Island

Ontario’s southernmost winery has two facilities in Canada’s warmest grape-growing region, one in Kingsville and a seasonal winery on Pelee Island. Pelee Island Winery produces a rich, sun-kissed Empress Orange wine, perfect for patio sipping.

To enjoy a glass of orange wine on Pelee Island, board the 90 minute ferry from Leamington or Kingsville and make your way to the Island Winery pavilion, just half a kilometre from the ferry dock. Gardens, vineyards, lake views and live music will quickly ease you into island time.

The Wandering Dog Inn is a great island accommodation option. If you’re visiting in the fall, stop by Thiessen Orchards on the mainland in Leamington to witness the sunflower field in full bloom.

Pelee Island Winery, 455 Seacliff Drive, Kingsville
Pelee Island Winery Pavilion, 20 East West Road, Pelee Island
The Wandering Dog Inn, 1060 East West Road, Pelee Island
Thiessen Orchards, 40 Talbot Road East, Leamington

Go green with vegan wine

Traditionally, animal by-products such as milk, eggs, gelatin and beeswax were used to refine, clarify and bottle wine.

But the growing demand for vegan-friendly winemaking processes and ingredients have resulted in alternative methods, like using clay to filter the wine.  

Plan a plant-based getaway in Prince Edward County

Trendsetter Karlo Estates Winery is the first fully certified vegan winery in the world!

Located just north of Wellington among a cluster of other gorgeous Prince Edward County wineries and vineyards, Karlo is a must-stop to pick up a bottle of its animal-friendly, award-winning chardonnay or VanAlstine Red. 

Good Place is Wellington’s natural and health food grocer, juice bar and lunch counter. Select from fresh, vegan soups and grab-n-go wraps and super salads for a leisurely garden picnic at The Edward Bed and Breakfast, just north of Picton. Surrounded by 75 acres of nature, you’ll be treated to a healthy dose of fresh air and wholesome living. 

The modern, airy farmhouse suites at The Ferg are also a great option.

Karlo Estates Winery, 561 Danforth Road, Wellington
Good Place, 153 Main Street, Wellington
The Edward Bed and Breakfast, 662 County Road 7, Picton
The Ferg, 76 West Mary Street, Picton

Wine that’s tall on taste, short on alcohol

On average, most wines contain between 11 and 13% ABV (alcohol by volume), although white wines, including cool climate varietals, may be slightly lighter.

Drinking in moderation is always in style and discovering zero-alcohol or wines low in alcohol without compromising on flavour is a win-win. 

Retreat to wellness in Ontario’s Central Counties

Toast a rejuvenating getaway just north of Toronto with a bottle of dealcoholized wine from Magnotta Winery. Non-alcoholic options include a sparkling rose, pinot grigio, shiraz and a cab-sauv.

From the plunge pools, saunas and treatment rooms at Go Place Spa in Markham to the therapeutic salt caves at Sante Healing Spa in Vaughan, treat yourselves to a nourishing spa experience.

Or benefit from the beauty of nature on a forest hike in Forks of the Credit Provincial Park or Glen Haffy Conservation Area. Then head to Millcroft Inn and Spa to enjoy outdoor hot springs pools and the best sleep you’ve ever had.

Magnotta Winery, 271 Chrislea Road, Woodbridge
Go Place Spa, 3275 Highway 7 Unit 2, Markham
Sante Healing Spa, 1200 Hwy 7 Unit 3, Vaughan
Forks of the Credit, 17760 McLaren Road, Caledon
Glen Haffy Conservation Area, 19245 Airport Road, Caledon East
Millcroft Inn and Spa, 55 John Street, Alton

Fruit and floral driven wines

There is a growing appetite for unique fruit or floral-infused blends that reflect the rich variety of produce and local innovation.

Celebrate with cranberry wine in Ontario’s cottage country

Set your GPS in the direction of Ontario’s beloved cottage country, specifically to Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery in Bala to experience the perfect balance of tart and sweet in a glass of cranberry wine. It’s recommended to pair with dark, milk or white chocolate covered berries.

Book the guided Bog to Bottle Discovery to follow the journey the cranberries take from bog to a delicious bottle of wine. Time your visit to coincide with the annual Bala Cranberry Festival on the weekend after Thanksgiving for activities, entertainment and everything cranberry.

Stay nearby at Rawley Resort and Spa, an exclusive waterfront escape in Port Severn, where sipping cranberry wine goes well with a glorious sunset over Georgian Bay. 

Vintages dining room at Sherwood Inn on Lake Joseph often features cranberry in its season menus.

Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, 1070 Cranberry Road, Bala
Rawley Resort, 2900 Kellys Road, Severn
Sherwood Inn, 1090 Sherwood Road, Port Carling

Mead makes a comeback

One of the world’s oldest known alcoholic beverages, Mead is made with honey, water and yeast. This ancient wine ranges from sweet to dry, still to sparkling, and can be flavored with fruits and spices.

Add honey wine to your Niagara Benchlands holiday

Rosewood Estates is an award-winning boutique winery and meadery just outside of Beamsville. Three generations of natural and sustainable beekeeping experience ensure the production of high-quality honey from healthy hives.

Choose from a variety of options including a citrus mead seltzer, bourbon barrel aged mead and a semi sweet, spiced mead.

For a farm stay experience, book the cottage, cabin or unique container home at Inn on the Orchard near Jordan Station. Jordan House offers cozy accommodation in town with lively entertainment and pub fare next door.

Rosewood Estates, 4352 Mountainview Road, Lincoln
Inn on the Orchard, 4299 Fairlane Road, Jordan Station
Jordan House, 3751 Main Street, Jordan Station

Celebrate sustainability

Sustainable winemaking standards employ regenerative practices to create robust and biodiverse ecosystems and ultimately improve wine quality.

Regenerative viticulture starts with the health of the soil and extends to preservation and stewardship of land, water, wildlife and community.

Toast sustainable achievements in Windsor Essex

Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards in Harrow provides ample green space around the vineyards for bird and wildlife habitat and is committed to sustainable, innovative and energy saving winemaking practices. The estate has been achieved a GreenStep Sustainable Tourism certification and was recently named the Sustainable Trailblazer of the Year.

Sip a glass of wine in the vineyard, terrace or with a meal at The Vines Restaurant.

The Grove Motel in Colchester, a sister property to The Grove Hotel & Brewery in downtown Kingsville, offers electric or peddle bike rentals to tour the surrounding wine region. Or disconnect completely at Lungovita Beach Retreat, an adults-only glamping retreat overlooking the water.

Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, 1425 Iler Road, Harrow
The Grove Motel, 96 County Road 50 West, Colchester
Lungovita Beach Retreat, 225 County Rd 50 East, Harrow

Last updated: April 2, 2024

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