Before I started researching my agritourism guidebook, I had no idea there were so many wineries in the Ottawa region. There are 11 wineries within a one hour drive of Ottawa, and according to some of the vintners I’ve spoken to, we’re about to get a lot more in the coming years.
You may wonder: how can anyone produce a good wine in such a cold climate? Well, the grape I keep hearing about is called “Frontenac”. It’s a French-American hybrid developed at the University of Minnesota for very cold climates. You can read about it here.
In addition to grape-based wines, some of our wineries produce wines from other fruits, such as strawberries and apples. With so many winery touring options, there really is no need to go to Prince Edward County, the Eastern Townships, or Niagara (much as these places are great too).
Here’s a brief description of the wineries in our region. Click here for a map that I created with Google My Maps.
South of Ottawa:
Jabulani Vineyard and Winery: The Ottawa region’s newest winery. Really good wine, and a wonderful agritourism experience. They are located in Richmond, and are open from 11am to 6pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Labour Day. Full report here.
Green Gables Winery: A picturesque winery in Oxford Station (near Kemptville). They make their own wine from Frontenac grapes, and also produce wine from grapes from the Niagara region. This winery is for sale, so if your dream is to own a vineyard, have a look at the Green Gables Winery real estate listing.
Countryman’s Estate Winery: A winery in Prescott that specializes in fruit wine. Lots of very interesting wines – for example, who would have thought you can make wine from watermelon? I tasted the strawberry, black cherry, rhubarb, and watermelon wines. I also tasted a maple-flavoured wine that’s similar to sherry – delicious! One wine you must try is the “Green Salad” wine. We tried it a dinner party with some guests from Wisconsin, and it made for some great conversation!
East of Ottawa:
Vankleek Hill Vineyard: A brand new vineyard with top quality white wine made from Frontenac grapes. This one is a can’t miss. In addition to selling bottles of wine, they also sell wine by the glass, which you can drink on a patio next to the vineyard. The owner is an experienced winemaker who was trained in Europe and was one of three people who brought the B&G Partager wine brand to market. As the name suggests, they are in Vankleek Hill.
Domaine Perrault: A terrific winery in Navan that produces several different varieties of wine. Some are blended with grapes from Niagara, but others are 100% local to the farm. They also have ice wine.
Domaine du Cervin: A very picturesque winery run by a Swiss family in Chesterville. They sell red, white, and rosé wine, dessert wines, and ice wine. They also raise deer, and have a nice selection of deer meat, including pepperettes and hamburgers.
Strathmore Orchard and Winery: A winery that specializes in wine from raspberries, strawberries, apples, and cranberries. They use cranberries from Upper Canada Cranberries to produce a great sparkling cranberry wine. Located in Monkland, which is south of Casselman.
Domaine Mont-Vézeau: A winery located in Ripon, Quebec that specializes in strawberry wine as well as wine made from grapes. The location is just beautiful – rows and rows of grapes set against a mountain backdrop. They also grow their own strawberries, and have a u-pick operation in season. They refer to their strawberry wine as more of a port – it’s delicious! None of their products are carried in the Quebec SAQ stores, but the strawberry wine is carried in some high-end restaurants in Montreal, and will be available at the SAQ in a year or so.
Vignoble du Clos Baillie: A small winery in Aylmer, Quebec. This is where you go to dream about opening a winery in your backyard – if you had the money for all the expensive equipment! They also make an excellent ice cider (similar to ice wine). Cash or cheque only, but amazingly, they’ll let you mail in your cheque later if you don’t have one on you!
Verger Croque-Pomme: A very large and popular apple picking operation located near Thurso, Quebec (east of Ottawa, across the Ottawa River). They also sell apple wine and cider, including ice cider (which tastes delicious – similar to ice wine).
Coronation Hall Cider Mills: Not a winery, but close enough! Located in Bristol, Quebec (near Shawville), Coronation Hall specializes in apple cider, including a hard cider that is delicious. They also have a wonderful café where you can have tea and apple pie. While you’re there, make sure you visit the beautiful 1930’s dance hall that they’ve restored. I’ll be writing a more detailed entry about this destination in the coming weeks.