From Pelee Island to Niagara to Prince Edward County, Southern Ontario’s wine-producing pockets are home to a bounty of vintners that craft high-quality Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Icewines and much, much more. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, Where Toronto profiles an Ontario winery whose bottles are worth seeking out, and whose vineyards are definitely worthy of a day trip from the big city.
This week’s Ontario winery:
PELEE ISLAND WINERY
Founded in 1979
President: Walter Schmoranz
Winemakers: Martin Janz and Tim Charisse
How big is the winery?
More than 550 acres.
What are your three most popular wines?
Baco noir, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc
Tell us about the winery’s background.
Pelee Island is one of only three “Designated Viticultural Areas” in Ontario. Pelee Island Winery first established its vineyards in 1979, during which time we’ve planted more than 500 acres of vineyards. Since the early 1980s, Pelee Island Winery has planted the European Vitis vinifera varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Merlot, etc., on approximately 500 acres of land. These new plantings have ushered in a new era of success for the winery. The extended growing season here in Canada allows our grapes to reach their full potential and maturity. All these factors of sun, soil, climate and southern latitude help create an internationally recognized viticultural region.
How many varieties of wine do you produce?
More than 15, including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Shiraz, Lemberger, Vidal, Scheurebe, Gamay Noir, Merlot and Zweigelt.
Does the winery offer tours?
Yes, tours of the production process including the crushing of grapes and the bottling run daily year-round at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. The Wine Pavilion offers tours daily from May to October at noon, 2 and 4 p.m.; $5 per person, children 18 and under are free.
What is distinctive about Pelee Island Winery?
We strive to build a lasting relationship with our customers by providing to them a unique winery experience and exceptional product.