Ontario, home to some of Canada’s largest wine-growing regions and most ambitious winemakers, competes with British Columbia for the title of the country’s premier wine-producing province. Here’s how to best experience the different types of wine produced in this cool-climate region.
Ontario is perhaps best known for its production of ice wine, a sweet, concentrated, and refreshing wine made from grapes frozen on the vines. But as well regarded as Ontario ice wine is, it is really only the beginning of the province’s wine output. In the southern parts of the province near Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron, you’ll find well established wine-producing regions such as Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island, and Prince Edward County, all of which produce excellent wines. The moderating influence of the Great Lakes allows classic vinifera varieties such as chardonnay, riesling, cabernet franc, gamay, and pinot noir to thrive here. Look out for bottles bearing the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) stamp, which indicates the wine is made entirely from Canada-grown grapes and has passed a quality-assurance program.
- Taste the world-renowned Inniskillin ice wine during a winter wine tour.
- Pedal through the vine-planted landscapes of Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country, visiting wineries and tasting rooms as you go.
- Combine a sightseeing trip to the legendary Niagara Falls with a winery tour and wine-tasting session.
- Pair wines with delicious local produce, including Ontario-made cheeses, chocolate, or a gourmet multicourse lunch or dinner.