Visit Canada’s hottest wine region, EPIC Wine Country, where you will sip and savor why this is a true wine lover’s destination. Explore scenic wine routes along Lake Erie North Shore (LENS). Take a guided wine trail ride and pedal through the enchanting wineries and vineyards that make up Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC). Among the nearly 20 wineries here, you will find internationally acclaimed and award-winning robust reds, crisp whites and captivating pinks.
Wine making has a rich history here, starting in the 1860s when three gentlemen farmers from Kentucky came north looking for winemaking opportunities. They found promise on Pelee Island, just off the shores of Lake Erie. In 1866 the trio – D.J.Williams, Thomas Williams and Thaddeus Smith – opened Canada’s first commercial estate winery, Vin Villa Estates. Since then, a growing number of vintners have been reclaiming the soil and the region’s reputation by producing some of Canada’s best wines. Today, there are approximately 1,000 acres of grapes in the Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island Designated Viticultural Areas.
There is not a better time to head north and explore our EPIC Wine Country then during the summer. Situated on the northern shore of Lake Erie, it is within easy access by car or by ferry. For more details on getting here, go to crossingmadeeasy.com.
On the same latitude as some of the world’s finest wine regions, (such as northern California, and southern France), the area’s distinctive terroir offer optimal growing conditions with the most heat units in Canada, thereby producing EPIC Wine Country’s award-winning varietals, particularly Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
From quaint, inviting, family-run farm estates to the opulent and grandiose, all the wineries here are defined by their warm, welcoming nature. There are so many ways to tour through the region; hop on an old-fashioned trolley ride, cycle through the richly fragrant vineyards, or take a country drive through quaint waterfront villages and towns. For foodies, there is much to revel in as well with an enterprising farm-to-table dining scene at participating wineries or in surrounding towns such as Kingsville, Leamington, Amherstburg, and Essex.
Enjoy various events throughout the year at our wineries – during the summer don’t miss live music, celebratory events, concert series, and Shakespearean theatre. One of EPIC’s loveliest events is on August 12 – the 24th Annual Vintage Tasting. A beautiful afternoon of delicious wines, amazing food, fun seminars and live music – in the bucolic setting of Vivace Estate Winery in Amherstburg. These tickets sell out very quickly, secure yours soon! A fabulous way to spend the day, with like-minded people.
Before you start your journey, make sure you purchase a Passport to EPIC Wine Country – it’s filled with over $100 of special offers to make your trip even more affordable. To assist with navigation and to get further acclimated with our region, request or download an EPIC Wine Route Map. For even more of a savings, know the U.S. dollar will go further too in Canada.