Photo © Pexels/Jill Wellington
Ontario’s wine industry is growing and maturing with each passing year. This is especially true in Ontario’s Southwest, home to three wine regions, each with its own charms and unique experiences. Fall is the perfect time to plan a wine-tasting adventure complete with local delicacies and breathtaking views of Ontario’s natural beauty. Leave behind the crowded and overbooked spaces and take in the scenic charms and inviting warmth of the emerging wineries in Norfolk, Sarnia-Lambton, Essex County, and Pelee Island.
All the wineries in Southwestern Ontario take advantage of a temperate climate, enhanced by the diversity of glacial soils and the moderating effect of the Great Lakes, to produce their unique wines. Celebrate Ontario’s Southwest with award-winning wines that truly reflect the history and character of their region.
South Coast Wine Region
Norfolk County is situated along the North Shore of beautiful Lake Erie, just two hours from Downtown Toronto. With a landscape dominated by Carolinian forests, pristine farmlands, and some of Ontario’s best beaches and parks, Norfolk has become a favourite destination that is highly accessible.
The wineries of Norfolk County form part of the South Coast Wines region, a stunning area with ten celebrated wineries, all producing fabulous, award-winning wines that truly reflect the history and character of the region. Add to that Norfolk’s deeply rooted agricultural history, and visitors soon find that it’s not just local grapes that help
Norfolk stand out. Fresh fermented hard ciders and exceptional craft-brewed beers and spirits result from an exquisite bounty of hops, apples, and other fresh ingredients.
Sip and Savour at Front Road Cellars
At Front Road Cellars, the insistence upon only the best for their wines begins in the field, where premium fruit and grapes of the highest quality are bathed in Southwestern Ontario sunshine. With minimal intervention in the cellar, the winemaking process lets each fruit express its true character. Whether sipping a pint of cider while grilling dinner on the back deck or pouring your new favourite red for friends, every sip is meant to be savoured and experienced.
History and Charm at Burning Kiln Winery
Situated on a former tobacco tract and overlooking the UNESCO World Biosphere of Long Point, Burning Kiln Winery has been built to preserve its historic charm. Its original wooden structure is part of the experience, where visitors can view much of the operation from behind giant, contemporary glass walls. Inside, a wonderfully functional, modern, working winery shares its winemaking secrets. Enjoy tasting award-winning VQA wines year-round in this unique and picturesque location.
Legacy and Heart at Inasaphere Wines
At Inasphere Wines, on the shores of Lake Erie, you are guaranteed to find quality home-grown flavours and experiences to remember. The family-run winery is committed to a legacy of growing Ontario produce and estate grapes with passion and heart. With grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio, combined with a uniquely breathtaking view of Lake Erie, Inasaphere Winery is a must-see stop on your wine tasting adventure.
Between sips, explore beautiful beaches, meandering bike trails, fresh fruit and vegetable stands, and a vibrant culinary scene. All of the wineries in the area can be found on the Toast the Coast Trail, a self-guided trail that spans three counties on the north shores of Lake Erie.
To learn more, visit ontariosouthcoastwine.com
Blue Coast Wine Region
Experience the perfect beach day along Ontario’s Blue Coast in Sarnia-Lambton, where breathtaking waterfront views and a bustling food scene await you, inspired by the laid-back coastal lifestyles in Lambton County.
The region is home to three emerging wineries, each of which boasts a unique adventure for every kind of getaway, from horseback riding to scenic walking trails, each made better with award-winning wines and a premium waterfront food scene.
Family-Friendly Adventures at Shale Ridge Estate Winery
Explore and indulge in all the wonders of the Sarnia-Lambton wine region, starting with an unforgettable outing with family and friends at Shale Ridge Estate Winery in Thedford, the region’s newest winery. Sip wine while sitting back in suspended swing tables overlooking the rural Sarnia-Lambton landscape, or enjoy a taste of adventure with a horseback and wine tasting tour through the rolling hills surrounding Shale Ridge Estate Winery.
Tradition, Nature, and Innovation at Alton Farms Estate Winery
Get back to nature with a stroll through Alton Farms, exploring the walking trails that wind through the vineyard. Excite your tastebuds as you sample wine and food pairings from local chefs and participate in vineyard events like the annual Fall Grape Stomp. With over 17 wines, Alton Farms has something for those new to wine and those with the most discerning taste buds.
A Cozy Getaway at Dark Horse Estate Winery
Over in Grand Bend, Dark Horse Estate Winery is home to premium wines and breathtaking views—a perfect combination in a picturesque location. Cozy up around the fire on the 85-acre vineyard for an evening glass of wine with your significant other to commemorate a perfect getaway to Sarnia-Lambton, or watch the sunset along Ontario’s Blue Coast, just a short distance from Lake Huron. With VIP tasting tours, premium events space, one-of-a-kind architecture, and a wide selection of perfectly aged wines, Dark Horse Estate Winery is your perfectly curated getaway in Sarnia-Lambton.
Ontario’s Blue Coast-Lambton County is earning a name as the destination to visit and taste a variety of new drink creations, from award-winning wine to craft-brewed beer, hard cider, and mead. Experience every corner of the region with a trip down The Cheers to the Coast Drink Trail, which shines a spotlight on the many award-winning talents of Lambton County, with 14 locations to explore. Come and sip, savour, and let your taste buds decide on your favourite.
To learn more, visit: ontbluecoast.com
Essex Pelee Island Coast Wine Region
Welcome to EPIC Wine Country. With 18 waterfront wineries along Lake Erie North Shore, including Ontario’s only beachfront winery and the Pelee Island Winery & Pavillion, Essex Pelee Island Coast Wine Region has wine and food pairings for every set of tastebuds—and you can try them all.
With an EPIC Tasting Pass, you can experience tasting sessions at eight participating wineries:
Colio Estate Winery
One of Ontario’s first wineries and a must-visit location for those who want to experience a taste of history.
Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards
The perfect place to enjoy a glass of award-winning wine, surrounded by beautiful views of the vineyards, wildlife, and majestic sunsets.
Oxley Estate Winery
Known for its small lot, fruit-forward wines, and delicious locally sourced foods, is located in the scenic and historic hamlet of Oxley on the north shore of Lake Erie.
Dancing Swallows Vineyard
Essex county’s newest and smallest winery, lets nature take the lead in guiding their wines, allowing each wine to be wholly itself. On each year’s label, they share original artwork depicting swallows in flight.
Pelee Island Winery
Home to a 700+ acre farm in Canada’s warmest grape-growing region, has a winemaking history dating back more than 150 years and is a founding member of Sustainable Winemaking Ontario.
Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery
Ontario’s only beachfront winery, complete with warm hospitality, expansive natural settings, and picnic lunches.
Viewpointe Estate Winery
An ideal place to gather with family and friends and enjoy Essex County’s fine wines and culinary diversity.
Vivace Estate Winery
Located in the historic town of Amherstburg, Ontario, is a remarkable experience of vine-to-wine excellence.
To make the most of your adventure, plan a fall road trip using the Windsor Essex Digital Itinerary Builder and create a custom plan based on your interests, budget, travel dates, and everything in between.
When you visit make sure you register for your My Happy Place Pass at myhappyplace.ca for instant rewards at 110+ Certified Happy Places across the region plus score free gift cards the more you explore. Use the pass to guide you across Windsor Essex and check in at locations as you visit to get instant offers (at participating locations) and points at each stop.
Make the most of your stay with a luxurious night at one of the unique stays including Magnolia Ranch Bed & Breakfast located in the heart of wine country, The Grove Hotel on beautiful Main Street in Kingsville, or The Walnut Grove B&B for a romantic night you won’t soon forget!
To learn more, visit: visitwindsoressex.com/wine
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Combine the shorelines of Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake St. Clair offering up world-class freshwater beaches, the rich biodiversity of the Carolinian Forest region with some of the most productive farmlands in the province creating a rapidly evolving wine and culinary scene and the friendliest communities on the planet and you get Ontario’s Southwest! Now that we’ve let you in on the secret, it’s time to come and discover it for yourself.