The top 10 wineries near Toronto
The top wineries near Toronto range from small farm-like estates to roaring tourist destinations, complete with outdoor concert venues. What they all feature in common, however, is a commitment to making top quality wine in regions that are within a two hour drive of the city (and in some cases much less).
These are my picks for the top wineries to visit near Toronto.
This Beamsville Bench winery offers an excellent combination of top quality wines with a tour/tasting experience that's in depth and hands on. Take the time to book a vineyard tour and tasting session ($15 per person), which will teach you all about the area's terroir and let you try some unique wines.
The winery tours at Fielding Estate are informative without being drawn out too long. Book a private tour (daily at 2pm, $10), which will bring you out into the vineyard, though the winery and up to the tasting room. Make sure to check out the gorgeous patio, which boasts a stunning view of Toronto in the distance.
Hidden Bench is just over 10 years old (founded in 2003), but arguably boasts the best wine in Beamsville. Their Nuit Blanche white Bordeaux blend is legendary. The tasting experience here isn't particularly hands on, but the cottage-like room and the superb wine are the main draws here.
Flat Rock Cellars
Housed in a gorgeous, elevated building that overlooks its vineyards, Flat Rock Cellars has invested a great deal in making itself a destination. The diverse tour options fit right in with this mandate. The general admission tour is completely fine, but if you're really into wine fork out for the one with Ed Madronich, the founder of the winery ($100, up to four people).
Don't let the name fool you, this winery is actually located on Fourth Avenue, though its vineyards are spread out across the Vineland region. The weekend farmers' market makes 13th Street a total culinary destination (why not buy your wine and food at the same place?), but it's also the array of unique varietal blends that draws local experts out for a taste.
Featherstone boasts a modest tasting room to be sure, but it's one of my favourite places to stop because it feels more like a farm than a winery. There's something authentic and completely unpretentious about this place. Don't rush to the tasting room; take in the rolling hills and idyllic vineyards.
Stratus is one of Niagara's big-money wineries, and everything about the place screams sophistication. The one-hour winery tour and guided tasting will cost you $20, but it's worth the money to get a behind the scenes look at the gorgeous and modern winery. Many will argue that the wine itself is overpriced, but it's hard to say it's not some of Ontario's best.
If you believe in the mantra that bigger is better, then a stop to Jackson Triggs should be on your Niagara-on-the-Lake to-do list. One of the busiest wineries around, it's well-run to accommodate swarms of guest. There's even an outdoor ampitheatre that hosts relatively big-name concerts throughout the summer.
While the trip to Prince Edward County will take you longer than Niagara, this list would be incomplete without mention of Norman Hardie. From the outdoor pizza oven and patio to the stunning examples of County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it's my top stop in PEC.
Closson Chase is one of the reasons that Prince Edward County is on the map as top notch producer of Burgundian varietals. Founded in 1998, the winery is a must-visit for anyone interested in how PEC built its reputation. It's also a laid back place that offers a Sunday night supper club at the winery and hosts numerous events over the summer.
What did I miss? Add your favourite winery within two hours of Toronto in the comments.
Writing by Angela Rawlings
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