Winery-hopping season is here and Torontonians are beyond lucky to be driving distance from so many amazing vineyards. Wine tastings are the perfect activity to do with a group of friends or your significant other this summer. Each winery has its own vibe and character, and wines that do anything but disappoint.
Whether you opt for a day trip or check into a hotel or Airbnb, these wineries offer delicious vino and experiences you’ll want to redo over and over again. Either way, if you’re planning to do more than small tastings, make sure to bring along a DD or look into winery bus tours for your trip.
From the Niagara region and surrounding areas to Prince Edward County, here are 6 of the best wineries you can drive to from Toronto.
Ravine is one of the most gorgeous wineries in Niagara’s sub-appellation of David’s Bench. The 34-acre organic winery is family run and sits atop the river channel of the Niagara River. You can stop by their wine shop to explore small batch wines and hear about Ravine’s family history. The winery is accompanied by a charming restaurant that serves a local and seasonal fresh menu, or you can stop by their wood oven patio for a wood oven pizza topped with fresh produce from their garden and locally cured charcuterie. Either way, pair your food with one of their delicious vinos and you’ll be in heaven.
If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, you’re going to love Hinterland Wine Company, a vineyard that produces premium sparkling wine in the Prince Edward County region. From the White Cap, a creamy combination of peach and tropical fruit, to the Borealis, mixed with fresh berries, white pepper and toasty brioche, these sparkling wines are sure to satisfy your taste buds. They also offer an array of ciders and bellinis for the summer months.
Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Two Sister Vineyards is a family run winery producing premium Niagara wines. They have a tasting boutique open daily, and also offer a 45-minute “Explore the Grape” tour where you can savour world-class wines and tour their estate grounds. You can also opt for “The Experience Tour” which includes a tour of the winery followed by an intimate barrel tasting in their cellar. And if you find yourself getting hungry, make your way to their restaurant for a delicious bite.
Situated on a clay-limestone hill in Prince Edward County, Norman Hardie Winery uses the combination of clay and limestone to craft the highest quality Pinot noir, Chardonnay and other cool climate vino varieties. The tasting bar is open daily year-round, and from early May to late fall you can also enjoy a wood oven thin crust pizza on their gorgeous patio.
Sourcing only the best fruit from the Niagara region, Big Head Winery doesn’t disappoint. If you’re up for a tasting, you can opt for their standard flight of four wines at the bar, or you can go big with a 90-minute seated tasting accompanied by Grana Padano cheese and gourmet crackers. With a rich selection of reds, whites, sparkling and dessert wines, there’s something for every palate at Big Head.
6. Hidden Bench
About an hour south-west of Toronto in Beamsville Bench, Hidden Bench is a premium artisanal winery crafting wine solely from their organic estate. Visit their intimate tasting area, or enjoy a glass of wine and a charcuterie and cheese plate on their patio in the summer. The cottage-like 6000 foot facility features admirable wine-making equipment as well as a wine shop so you can take your favourites home with you.
Featured image: Instagram/ @ravinevineyard
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