When you think of high-end wine tasting and five-star vineyards, Ontario may not be the first place that comes to mind. That being said, our province’s distinct geography and terroir are conducive to some of the most optimal cool-climate growing conditions in North America. Along with the region’s existing cultural movements and fine dining trends, Southern Ontario vineyards are slowly turning heads on the world stage.
Of course, exploring local gems does not mean settling for familiar tastes or excursions. In addition to great wines, Southern Ontario’s best vineyards offer some truly unique settings and experiences that may surprise even the most seasoned sommelier.
Local Is In
The small batch, artisan production techniques that have become synonymous with Ontario’s vineyards have earned praise from enologists and sommeliers alike in recent years. As a result, a greater number of affluent consumers domestically and internationally are turning to Southern Ontario for luxe gastronomy experiences.
Regions within Southern Ontario are rapidly exploding in popularity with elite travellers. A handful of household names have been spotted vacationing in the Niagara area in past years such as Ryan Gosling, Kate Hudson and Kawhi Leonard. Across the lake, Prince Edward County is also gaining momentum with affluent getaway seekers, with luxury vacation properties steadily popping up along the region’s lush shoreline.
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For affluent consumers, exploring vineyards can be much more than just a simple wine tasting. Beyond the glass, Southern Ontario’s vineyard scene boasts full-spectrum luxury experiences. From five-star dining to platinum accommodations and private air transport, embracing domestic wine countries can feel like an international getaway.
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Château des Charmes | Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON
Founded in 1978 by a fifth-generation winemaker from France, Château des Charmes has become emblematic of Ontario’s luxury vineyard circuit. Holding true to the estate winery model, the vineyard has developed a global reputation for both its wine and stunning natural scenery. If you are looking for a tailored vineyard experience, check out the Château des Charmes Adventure Club. This unique service connects visitors to an exclusive wine concierge and bottle subscription program.
Megalomaniac | Vineland, ON
For those looking for a private wine experience tailored to their palette, Megalomaniac offers luxury wine tasting experiences with a scenic twist. The vineyard, perched atop the Niagara escarpment in aptly-named Vineland, hosts both private tastings and guided tours for their guests. As their clientele base continues to expand, visitors can expect to book well in advance for the vineyard’s excursions.
Hinterland | Hillier, ON
Despite the rich history of wine and enology, new ideologies and approaches to consumer experience can lead to an equally compelling final product. Located in Prince Edward County, Hinterland crafts high-end, small batch sparkling wines with their own spin. Although they passionately embrace the Charmat, Traditional and Ancestral methods of sparkling wine production, Hinterland steps outside of the mould when it comes to sharing their product with the world. For clients seeking exclusive vintages, Hinterland’s “antithetical” RD Club features unique twists on the modern wine subscription model.
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Closson Chase Vineyards | Hillier, ON
In the past ten years, Closson Chase has become one of Southern Ontario’s highest regarded vineyards. With the vineyard’s unique terroir, Closson Chase is known both locally and internationally for their chardonnay and Pinot Noir. On their Prince Edward County estate, Closson Chase blends luxury gastronomy with rustic country elements to create a truly unique atmosphere. In the summer months, they host scenic outdoor tastings with their in-house sommelier. Private, curated tasting sessions are also available for guests seeking an elevated experience.
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Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard | Wellington, ON
Incorporating the rich terroir of their local landscape, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard crafts cool-climate wines with a focus on quality and elegance. With their esteemed “hands-off” approach to viticulture, Norman Hardie adds a layer of luxury craftsmanship to each barrel of wine they produce. In addition to their award-winning wines, Norman Hardie offers some of the area’s best five-star dining directly on-site.
Two Sisters Vineyards | Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON
For wine enthusiasts seeking a scenic backdrop, Two Sisters Vineyards is a must-visit. Located just off the Niagara River, Two Sisters is acclaimed for its lush, natural atmosphere and scenic property. The estate building, which opened its doors in 2014 was inspired by Italian renaissance design and architecture. In addition to their award-winning wines, Two Sisters offers luxury Italian dining at their on-site eatery.
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