Home & Garden

Escape the city and discover Ontario wine country. It's the perfect getaway!

By: Canadian Living
Canadian Living
Home & Garden

Escape the city and discover Ontario wine country. It's the perfect getaway!

By: Canadian Living
Corks are popping this spring in Ontario wine country It was a perfect weekend to spend outdoors! I'm fortunate enough to live a hop, skip and a short scenic drive away from some of Ontario's world-renowned and award-winning vineyards and wineries. In spring, summer and fall, many a sunny weekend is spent visiting my favourite wineries with friends in the  Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley wine regions, less than 30 minutes from my door – closer than the liquor store! We spend the day sampling the newest vintages and stop to enjoy the local cuisine on a sunny patio overlooking a shimmering Lake Ontario just beyond the vast rolling hills of the vineyards. Each time we go we're delighted to discover new wineries, restaurants, shops and trails. It's not only the medal-winning wines that are intoxicating (there is always a designated driver), it's the earthy scents, stunning vistas, fresh air and the yummy locally grown food that keeps us coming back for more. Think about supporting our local wineries and growers this summer and fall, and visit   Wine Country Ontario to get your Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide to plan a one-day, weekend or weeklong getaway you won't soon forget!   Your tour starts here To tempt you with the scenery, here's a sneak peak at some of the fabulous wineries I stopped into with friends over the weekend. Below: Our new discovery this spring is the stunning Megalomaniac (John Howard Cellars of Distinction) situated on 96 acres of the Vineland upper bench appellation and built underground, right into the hillside. Locals argue that it's the highest vantage point on the Niagara Escarpment  with a clear view of the Toronto and Niagara Falls skylines. Of note are their Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot single varietals. [caption id="attachment_1900" align="aligncenter" width="553"] Megalomaniac underground winery atop the Niagara Escarpment. Photo by Karen Kirk .[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1902" align="aligncenter" width="517"] Entrance to Megalomaniac Cellars, built below ground at the highest point on the Niagara Escarpment. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1901" align="aligncenter" width="201"] Megalomaniac 2011 Eccentric Savagnin.   Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Below: We never miss a visit to  Thirty Bench Wine Makers  in Beamsville, Ont., for a tasting in the vineyards and a bottle or two of their wonderful Riesling to go. [caption id="attachment_1904" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Thirty Bench Wine Makers in Beamsville, Ont. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1906" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Enjoy a tasting in the vineyards overlooking Lake Ontario and visit the wine boutique at Thirty Bench in Beamsville, Ont. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Below: Opened in 2005,  Fielding Estate Winery is set high on the Beamsville Bench against the wooded escarpment. Enjoy a tasting of their award-winning CWA Gold Medal Meritage and Cuvée-winning Syrah on the patio overlooking Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline. [caption id="attachment_1908" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Fielding Estate Winery reflects the family's Haliburton roots with a charming northern Ontario lodge ambience. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Below: Landing in the Top 10 in the Canadian Wine Awards since it opened in 2007, Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery is tucked away on Locust Lane in the Beamsville Bench appellation. The winery produces an award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. [caption id="attachment_1909" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Award-winning Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery in Beamsville, Ont. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1910" align="aligncenter" width="413"] Tending the vineyards in spring at Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Below: Many wineries along the wine route offer dining featuring local cuisine, so be sure to plan your day around when and where you want to stop for lunch or dinner. I love stopping into The Good Earth Vineyard and Winery  for lunch or, even better, for dinner to catch the sunset over the vineyards. Pair their Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc with a wonderful local cuisine–inspired menu or enjoy their "Moveable Feast" baskets for picnics on the bucolic 23-hectare property of orchards, vineyards and veggie and herb gardens. You might even want to sign up for The Good Earth Cooking School. [caption id="attachment_1911" align="aligncenter" width="351"] The Good Earth Vineyard and Winery in Beamsville, Ont. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1912" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Enjoy local cuisine for lunch, a picnic or sunset dinner at The Good Earth Vineyard and Winery, Beamsville, Ont. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Below: Known for their internationally acclaimed Rieslings and Cabernet Francs, Vineland Estates Winery also boasts a celebrated restaurant offering their renowned seasonal-inspired menu. Visit their wine shop and market featuring Canadian artisanal cheeses. [caption id="attachment_1913" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Vineland Estates Winery was established in 1984 in Vineland, Ont. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Share your favourite local winery with us in the comment box below. Visiting wine regions across the country is a great way to see Canada and enjoy the fruits of our rich and breathtaking landscape. Follow me on Twitter:   @KKMe123
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Escape the city and discover Ontario wine country. It's the perfect getaway!

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