The Wine Regions of Ontario
So we have just learned about the wine regions of the beautiful Niagara Peninsula, but there are many wineries scattered all over the beautiful province of Ontario. The two other large wine producing regions within Ontario are the Lake Erie North Shore (LENS) and Prince Edward County (PEC / The County). Every region has their own particular style of wine, specialty grapes, and their own atmosphere and culture.
Lake Erie North Shore
Lake Erie North Shore encompasses the southwestern extremity of Ontario. This appellation stretches along the shoreline of Lake Erie (hence the name), from Amherstburg to St. Thomas. LENS has a long growing season aided by the quick warming waters of Lake Erie. Harvest typically begins and finishes earlier compared to Niagara due to LENS having the highest number of heat units out of all of Ontario's viticulture areas.
LENS is also home to the South Islands sub-appellation. This is comprised of 9 islands, with all of the grapes being grown on the largest island, Pelee. The island experiences an even earlier harvest compared to the rest of the LENS region, and is able to be home to grapes not easily found elsewhere, such as Tempranillo. Pelee Island is also the site of Canada's first commercial winery, VinVilla, which started in 1866.
Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County is located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario, south of Belleville. At a latitude of 44°N, PEC is Ontario's most northern appellation, and relies heavily on Lake Ontario to moderate the temperatures.
Prince Edward County is filled with mesoclimates, and different terroir conditions that help create their distinctly different wines. While the County tends to specialize in Chardonnay, which does exceptionally well due to the unique soil characteristics, many wineries also adventure out and are doing very innovative wines with Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris, Baco Noir, and more
While Niagara is the most known wine region in Ontario, there are so many wineries that spread far beyond. We highly recommend taking a day, weekend, or week long trip to go out and explore!