In general, Canadian wine isn't known around the world the way that French, Italian, or even US wines are. But Canadians know that this northern country, contrary to its popular image as a place of ice and snow, has some esteemed wine regions that produce incredible wine. The countryside around Toronto just happens to be one of Canada's most productive and well-regarded wine regions, meaning Toronto is a fantastic place to drink wine.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Toronto, and you'll be ready to immerse yourself in the cool climate wine varietals Ontario specializes in. Not only is this one of the best things to do at night in Toronto, but it's a great group activity for a bachelor or bachelorette trip and an excellent couples activity. Try some of the many wine tastings available in and around Toronto, and you'll develop a taste for the wine that comes from Canada's best wine-producing regions.
Pelee Island Wine Region
Only 30 minutes from Detroit, Pelee Island and the Lake Erie North Shore are the southernmost point in Canada. So maybe it's not surprising that this is part of Canada's wine country. However, the region still has cold winters, and the need to withstand the cold has led to vintners here creating distinct grapes that can stand up to the sometimes harsh climate. This region is famous for its delightfully sweet ice wines, made with grapes that freeze on the vine to crystallize the sugars inside the delicious grapes to create a dessert wine enjoyed around the world.
But the Pelee Island Wine region produces more than just ice wine. This area is home to tons of wineries, each producing distinct wines from different varietal grapes. Wine tours in this region let you taste varietals from a range of different wineries, and you can take bus tours and even winery cycling tours that will let you enjoy the wines produced here.
Be sure to check out Turtle Creek Winery and Colio Estate Wines while you're in the Pelee Island Wine region.
Unfortunately, Pelee Island is quite some distance from Toronto, requiring a drive of around five hours. That's why it's better to plan to spend a few days enjoying this region and staying overnight in the many charming hotels and B&Bs you'll find here.
Address: various locations
Niagara Wine Region
The Niagara Wine Region is one of Canada's best-known wine regions, and it's just a 90-minute drive from Toronto. The climate here is perfect for producing cool climate varietal wines like Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to all of the great wines produced here, the Niagara Wine Region is also famous for its stunning scenery. This part of Ontario is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Canada, with rolling hills blanketed in vineyards as far as the eye can see.
The Niagara Wine Region is home to more than 70 different wineries, and wine lovers will find plenty to keep them busy here. There are wine tours galore, as well as opportunities to go vineyard hopping and even take part in grape stomping events. And, of course, there are plenty of chances to simply sit back and enjoy a glass of the delicious wine produced in this region.
Some of the best wineries in the Niagara Wine Region include Flat Rock Cellars, Inniskillin Wines, and Peller Estates.
Address: various locations
Niagara-on-the-Lake is part of the Niagara Wine Region, but it deserves its own entry as a charming town that's worth visiting for a number of reasons. It's not just wine that brings tourists here, but also the important National Historic Site site of Fort George and the relaxing small-town vibe of the place itself. This is also part of Ontario's so-called Banana Belt, an area with one of the warmest climates and, therefore, the longest growing season in Canada. It's not just wine you'll find on offer here, but also fresh fruit in season from the many orchards in the area, and you may get to try some fruit wines during your wine tastings here too.
Of course, the spectacular natural wonder of Niagara Falls isn't far away, so you can combine a visit to the falls with a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake to enjoy some of the best of what southern Ontario has to offer. A wine tasting in Niagara-on-the-Lake is an excellent way to start your journey into Canadian wine, and it's only an hour and a half from downtown Toronto, so it's easy to visit on a shorter trip.
Address: various locations
Niagara Peninsula Inniskillin Wines
One of the most celebrated wineries in the Niagara region is Inniskillin Wines. This company was a pioneer in the production of ice wine and has brought this unique and delicious adult grape juice to the forefront of the Canadian wine industry. Inniskillin is also one of the largest wineries in the Niagara region, with more than 200 acres of vineyards.
In addition to producing some excellent varietal wines, Inniskillin is also famous for its sparkling wines and dessert wines. The company offers a range of different wine tours, including a tour of the on-site barrel room where you can learn about the winemaking process. And, of course, no visit to Inniskillin Wines would be complete without a wine tasting. You can do a basic wine tasting here or opt for a more comprehensive food and wine pairing experience.
Address: 1499 Line 3, Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Prince Edward County
One of the most popular day trips from Toronto, Prince Edward County is famed for not only its scenery but for its celebrated wine country. The region is home to more than 30 different wineries, and the wines produced here are winning awards all over the world. The climate in Prince Edward County is slightly warmer than in other parts of Ontario's wine country, and this helps to produce some excellent red wines.
Some of the best wineries in Prince Edward County include Closson Chase Winery, Sandbanks Winery, and Casa-Dea Estates Winery. If you're looking for something a little different, you can also visit the Norman Hardie Winery, where you can try natural method wines made without added sulphites.
Address: various locations
The Beamsville Bench
The Beamsville Bench is a small sub-appellation within the Niagara wine region. This area is known for its unique microclimate that helps to produce some excellent red wines. The Beamsville Bench is home to a number of different wineries, including Creekside Estate Winery and Vineland Estates Winery.
If you're planning a wine-tasting trip to the Niagara region, be sure to add the Beamsville Bench to your itinerary. You won't be disappointed by the wines produced in this unique part of Ontario.
Address: various locations
Toronto Aerial Tour
There are lots of different areas in Ontario wine country to explore. But if you want to embark on an unforgettable wine tasting experience and don't have a lot of time to journey far from the city, consider taking an aerial tour. Flying above the city in a small plane, you'll get spectacular views of Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline. Then, you'll be transferred to a limo bus that will take you to some of the best wineries near the city to enjoy what they have to offer. This five-hour tour doesn't come cheap, but it is a great way to enjoy wine tasting with a luxury twist and sample one of the best Toronto wine tasting experiences in a short time.
Address: 2833 16th Ave, Markham, Toronto
Staying in the city doesn't mean you have to give up your dream of Canadian wine tasting. Downtown Winery is the latest iteration of a family-run business that has been active in the Toronto wine scene since the 1970s, and their passion for wine is infectious. Their well-stocked tasting room carries not just Canadian wines but some of the best bottles from around the world, and their food menu is carefully curated to ensure it pairs perfectly with the wine they have on offer.
Try one of their themed wine flights, such as the Fall-ing For Niagara, for a taste of super local bottles, or the Keeping Up with the Cab Sauvs to try a broader range of wines from around the world. They also offer private wine tastings, making this one of the best wine tasting experiences in Toronto.
Address: 30 Ossington Ave, Toronto
Run by the same family as Downtown Winery, Macedo Winery offers a well-stocked wine shop that's a great place to pick up a bottle or two. But what sets them apart is their Make Your Own Wine experience, which allows you to produce your own bottle without worrying about maintaining the equipment. The well-trained staff is on hand to help you blend different wines into your own unique vintage, and you'll leave with the perfect souvenir of your wine tasting trip to Toronto.
Address: 1381 Dufferin Street, Toronto
Billing itself as Toronto's largest private club and wine cellar, Wine Academy is an impressive place to visit, with its multistory wine cellar acting as a centerpiece. This exclusive location is where Toronto's wealthy store their wine collections under the watchful eye of the expert staff. It's also a great place to dine and drink wine, with several different events held throughout the year.
Ordinarily, you need a membership to enjoy what Wine Academy has to offer. However, you can take a tour before joining. And if you like what you see, it might be worth seeing if you can get in one of Toronto's most luxurious wine tasting experiences.
Address: 67 Richmond Street West, B101 Toronto
At the other end of the scale, you'll find Grape Witches. This cheeky and cheerful company aims to demystify the world of wine and remove the elitism sometimes associated with wine drinking. From their downtown Toronto location, the company offers fun events like a Lake Ontario karaoke cruise with wine tasting and educational events that will teach you more about how to appreciate wine. Their clean, minimalist wine bar is the perfect place to enjoy a glass or a flight, and they also have an upstairs salon that is ideal for private events. If you just want to enjoy wine without all the pretension, this is the perfect place to do it.
Address: 1247 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Wine tasting in Toronto is one of the best ways to appreciate what the city has to offer. As well as having great food, beautiful scenery, and lively culture, Toronto is home to some truly excellent wine experiences. Not only can you enjoy local wines from one of Canada's best-regarded wine regions, but you can also enjoy wines from around the world at the city's many well-stocked wine bars.
In fact, there's so much to do in Toronto that choosing what to focus on may be the hardest part of your trip. Check out our guide on how to spend three days in Toronto for some inspiration on everything Canada's biggest city has to offer.
There are so many great wine tasting experiences to be had in Toronto that we've only really scratched the surface here. If you're a wine lover, you'll find plenty to keep you occupied even on a longer trip to Ontario. And if you're new to the world of wine, there are few better places to discover it than in Toronto.