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Welcome to Robert Bell's Wines of Canada

Ontario's
Lake Erie North Shore Wineries

There are just over 1,400 acres of vineyards in southwestern Ontario, located along a peninsula that wraps around the north shore of Lake Erie, including the South Islands. The waters of Lake Erie, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair surround this peninsula. Located at a latitude of approximately N42 and stretching along the bow-shaped shoreline of Lake Erie from Amherstburg to Leamington, the Lake Erie North Shore appellation encompasses the vineyards in the southwestern extremity of Ontario. This favourable southerly location combined with the warming effect of the shallow waters of Lake Erie allow this appellation to enjoy a long growing season and promotes ripe fruit with a perfect balance between natural sweetness and acidity.

There is a rich wine history It is one of Canada's oldest grape growing regions. One of the very early wineries of Canada was built on the island in 1866. The Vin Villa Winery opened in 1871 became renowned for it's rare Catawba wines and the many awards it won from as far away as Europe. Six additional wineries were built making the island a centre of early wine making in Canada. Today the Island vineyards remain. Pelee Island has one of the longest growing season the most frost free days and the most heat units. It was and is a unique microclimate for for growing quality grapes. Read More

All of the regions wineries are located along shore line between Amherburg and Tollsonburg. Tollsonburg been approx. 2 hours from Niagara-on-the Lake and about 1 hour 50 minutes from Toronto.

The oldest winery in the region is Pelee Island. The Winery it located in Kingville with well established vineyards on the actual Island. The winery was established in 1979. Walter Strehn of Deutschkreutz, Austria. A larger than life character by all accounts.

It was through a mutual friend, George Piller, who knew about Pelee Island and its wine-making history that led Walter to investigate the potential of starting his winery there. After scouting around and comparing the Niagara region to the Lake Erie shore and to Pelee Island, Mr. Stehn went ahead and bought land on the Island of Pelee in autumn of 1979.

They were among the first if not the first to produce an Icewine in Ontario. The winery paved a path for future success for the Canadian wine industry.

Winesofcanada.com currently lists 20 wineries in the region not to mention a number of cideries and meaderies.

Situated in the Lake Erie North Shore region near Harrow, Colio Estate Winery dream began in 1980.Colio Estate Wines received the first winery license granted in Southwest Ontario following prohibition. Today the winery is known around the world having received over 200 awards of achievement. They produce over 400,000 cases of wine.

Erie Shore Vineyard is a family run estate winery, owned and operated by Harvey and Alma Hollingshead and their two sons, who specialize in 100% estate grown VQA wines. The winery is just 600 meters from Lake Erie, the area is ideally suited for the production of world class grapes and wine. Located south of the town of Harrow making it Canada's most southern winery.

Quai Du Vin Estate Winery is one of the smaller quaint family owned wineries. The winery operates out of St. Thomas. The owners are Jamie, Rob and Lisa Quai. The vineyards first planted in 1970, Redi and Roberto Quai drew on their European heritage to establish this scenic country estate. Roberto and his wife, Lisa, opened the doors of the winery in 1990.

Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery represents the fulfillment of a dream that started over 44 years ago when Hannah & Gord Mitchell purchased a 52 acre farm situated on beautiful Lake Erie, with the intent of planting a vineyard, and perhaps one day, establishing a winery. in 1991 the first acreage of vines was established. Subsequent years saw the acreage rapidly expand to its current 35 acres of noble varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon just to name a few of the nine in total. However life happens and due to health issues the winery did not open until 2006. Today it is one of Ontario's most successful wineries.

Viewpointe Estate Winery The work of producing fine quality wines began in the 2000 under co-owners and brothers Stephen and John Fancsy; the first vintage was in 2001. Viewpointe Estate Winery is made up of three parcels of land that produce a variety of vines, each influenced by the nature of its geography. When mature, the combined 42 acres produce 12,000 to 14,000 cases. At capacity, the production will be 25,000 cases. The location has conditions favourable to high quality wine grape production (soil and climate) as well as a breathtaking vista situated within a well recognized viticultural area. The winery provides a breath taking view of the lake and comprises a culinary venue (instruction) and rental hall. Viewpoint is a total "experience" winery.

Aleksander Estate Winery A family owned winery located on the North Shore of Lake Erie,near Ruthven,they produce grape and fruit wines from their own estate vineyards. Aleksander (Alex) Bemben is the founder, The winery focuses on making small batch, high quality wines that capture and reflect the characteristics of each vintage.

Mastronardi Estate Winery established in 2006, is nestled in the heart of Essex County. Owners, Eadie and Tony Mastronardi, along with winemaker Lyse Leblanc are dedicated to growing exceptional grapes and producing high quality VQA wines.

The 100 acre vineyard, originally planted over 25 years ago during the revival of wine production in Southern Ontario, produces 18 varietals of Vinifera. The vines thrive amongst 1000 + acres of vineyards in Southwestern Ontario, located along a peninsula that wraps around the north shore of Lake Erie. The moderating effect of the climate is ensured by the warm waters of Lake Erie, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, which surround this peninsula. It is the location along the 42nd north parallel (similar to that of French Riviera, Mendecino, California, Tuscany Italy and southern France) that gives Lake Erie North Shore the highest accumulation of heat units in Ontario each summer. This lake effect along with abundant sunshine results in the high sugars and ideal acid levels of each varietal. Therefore, an earlier harvest is common.

Among the newer wineries Black Bear Farms of Ontario Estate Winery Inc owned by Jerome and Madeline Rondelez and their three children Jerome, William, and Michelle. They opened our winery doors on December  14, 2008 and five months to the day they opened William was receiving a gold medal at the 2009 All Canadian Wine Championship for Papa’s Special  Reserve and a bronze medal for Purple Raspberry. 

The Hounds of Erie founded in 2015, the winery/cidery is owned and operated by winemaker Mat Vaughan and family. The winery/cidery specializes in hand crafted very small batch premium wines and ciders. The Hounds’ first release was its national award winning hard cider called Top Dog hard cider in December 2015.

Cooper's Hawk Vineyards located on 67 acres of land just east of Harrow, Ontario, in the Essex Pelee Island Coast Owed by the O'Brien and Meloche Families The name comes from the numerous hawks that fly over the vineyard and their dad worked for PriceWaterhouse Coopers who make wine barrels. Two large ponds on the property teem with life of the local ecosystem, including turtles and bullfrogs whose songs on warm summer nights are relaxing and true to the vitality of the region. They have have partnered with Ducks Unlimited to restore a wetland on the property.  An observation deck is being constructed to provide guests with a view of the area.   They have also planted thousands of native trees on site and have installed solar panels near the entrance of the winery.

Among the newer and quickly rising to stardom are

Oxley Estate Located in the historic hamlet of Oxley on the Lake Erie North Shore. The winery is owned by Ann Neydon Wilson and Murray Wilson.

Paglione Estate Winery nestled in 40 acres of land with 10 acres of vines along the shores of Lake Erie in the Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC) wine region in Harrow, Ontario. The winery is owned by Nancy Paglione and family.

North 42 Degrees located in Colchester owned by Martin Gorski and Suzanne Dajczak.

All the wineries

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