The Essex, Pelee Island coast region aka Lake Erie North Shore, situated at the southernmost tip of Canada, and basking in warm Lake Erie breezes now called EPIC (Essex, Pelee Island Coast), is known for rich red wine blended with mainly Bordeaux varieties ( i.e cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot).
Visitors to this fascinating region can experience scenic beaches, take nature walks, watch almost 400 species of birds, visit a cornucopia of greenhouses, and farmer’s markets. Needless to say, picturesque vineyards and boutique wineries lined country roads, with signs inviting visitors to taste their wines.
Colio Estate in Harrow was the first winery in south-western Ontario to be granted a licence after Prohibition.
I was one of the first writers to visit it. The owner had hired a small aircraft for a day to fly five of use to visit the winery and taste his wines produced by an Italian winemaker from Friuli.
The wines were quite tasty as I recall, but not outstanding, but now all wineries produce fine wines, since well educated winemakers using modern technology can coax the best flavours from grapes.
Pelee Island maintains approximately 200 hectares of grapes on the island, and vinifies the fruit on the mainland.
The region is situated at 42 degrees north latitude (approximately as Rioja in Spain).
This area was the original wine region of Ontario, boasting more wineries than anywhere else in the province. Practically all disappeared over time, due partially tot eh prohibition, changing market conditions, and consumer preferences.
Today, there are 17 wineries and counting in the region.
Ancient glacial have deposited plenty of sediment in the region, adding small stones to the mostly loam and gravel deposits. These light, well-drained soils bring forth grapes that are suitable for producing fine wines in the hands of skilled winemakers.
The region is blessed with sunshine throughout the growing season.
Now, a few wineries kiln-dry grapes for a few days to increase sugar content and produce high-alcohol, very fruity wines.
Pelee Island Winery produces from entry-levels wines, to medium-priced and high-end wines.
I have tasted many of them, and recommend the middle – and high-end wines. All are flavourful, relatively low in acidity, and blended to please most consumers.
Pelee Island wines are available coast to coast to coast.
Colio is now a large, modern winery owned by foreign interests, and produces entry-level, medium-priced, and high-end wines. Bricklayer’s Reward Block 3 Merlot, 2012 is a fine wine selling for less than $ 20.00. Girls-Night-Out is a very popular brand.
Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, Dàngelo Estate Winery, Erie Shore Vineyards, Mastronardi Estate Winery, Muscedere Vineyards, North 42 Degrees, Oxley Estate Winery, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, Viewpointe Estate Winery Burning Kiln Winery, Frisky and Gamble Cellars are other wineries that you can visit.