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Agritourism Ottawa

A Guide to Wineries, Orchards, Gardens, Farm Tours and Other Agricultural Adventures in the Ottawa Region

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Wineries and Vineyards in the Ottawa Region

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! Continue reading “Wineries and Vineyards in the Ottawa Region”

Galetta Rose Nurseries

Roses

Today Gary and I took the motorcycle out for a visit to Galetta Rose Nurseries in the west end of Ottawa. Originally an abandoned gravel pit, the nursery has undergone a profound change in the last 20 years and is now covered in plants, trees, and grasses. There is something very peaceful about being in a sunken area surrounded by pine trees above you. There is also a lovely pond on the property, complete with a short boardwalk and bridge. It’s a very unique spot – different from any other nurseries we’ve been to in the area.

Like many of the nursery owners I’ve met over the last few weeks, this is the owner’s second career. He was previously in high-tech, and still does some consulting, but is primarily focused on the rose business. Although the nursery used to sell more than roses, it became too difficult to compete with the low-priced imports being sold at Walmart and Canadian Tire. Instead, the nursery now specializes in hardy roses. Continue reading “Galetta Rose Nurseries”

Gardens in Perth

Last Sunday we drove out to Perth to check out three gardens: Rock Wall Gardens, Kiwi Gardens, and the Round Garden for the Blind. Each was special in its own way, and made for a very nice day trip.

Our first stop was Rock Wall Gardens just off Hwy. 7 outside of Perth. The owners, Judy and Phil Wall, have converted the ruins of an old dairy barn into a stunning garden centre. The combination of the old stone foundation, colourful drought-resistant plants, and stained glass windows in the old window wells makes this a very special place. They also have a pond surrounded by sun-loving plants, and a demonstration shade garden right beside it. Continue reading “Gardens in Perth”

Herbfest and the Carp Farmers’ Market

Last weekend I visited two places: the Carp Farmers’ Market and the Annual Midsummer Herbfest at the Herb Garden in Almonte. Both events were opportunities to make agritourism contacts for my book. It was a good test of how comfortable I am approaching strangers and asking if they give tours of their agricultural operation! I’m still a little shy about it, but that’s something I’d like to work on from a personal development perspective anyway.

My first stop was the Carp Farmers’ Market on Saturday. The market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays from May to October. It’s the largest producer-based farmers’ market in Ontario (over 100 vendors) with about half the vendors outside, and the other half in a heritage exhibit hall at the entrance to the grounds. Continue reading “Herbfest and the Carp Farmers’ Market”

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