Some Great Pelee Island Winery Tasting Experiences
On a long weekend trip to Leamington in Southwest Ontario, we enjoyed several different Pelee Island Winery tasting experiences.
We often went wine tasting when we travelled. So when we learned about the Pelee Island Winery we were not going to pass on trying some new wines. Especially after we learned this was the most Southern winery in Canada!
Our first stop was the Pelee Island Winery Pavillion and vineyards on Pelee Island. We even found several wines we really liked on our wine tasting. No wine processing was done on the island. So we then planned a road trip to visit the large store and wine processing facility in Kingsville. We learned more about the wines and even found more wine we liked.
Visiting The Pelee Island Winery Vineyard On Pelee Island
On our stay in Leamington we planned a day on Pelee Island. We got the early morning ferry for a longer day to explore. We caught the ferry from Leamington but there were also ferries from Kingsville and from Sandusky across Lake Erie in the U.S.A.
Before we visited, we booked a tour and tasting at the Pelee Island Winery on Pelee Island. Our tour started shortly after our ferry arrived so we drove right to the winery when we landed.
We got there early for our tour and enjoyed some time wandering around the outside of the winery property. We got a great view out over the vineyards and even saw the ferry as it headed away.
Behind the winery we found a very large patio area with the BBQ Hut and Deli Hut. Good options for lunch or a snack after a wine tasting.
Inside the store we walked around. There were posters on the wall that documented the history of this winery and wine production on Pelee Island. And other displays that provided information on cork harvesting. We learned a lot about cork trees and products when we explored the Alentejo region in Portugal.
Our tour guide Davin joined us with one other couple and led us outside.
Wandering Through The Vineyard
At one time, most of Pelee Island was swamp. In the late 1800s the swamps were drained and ultimately the grounds were cultivated to plant vineyards. The grapes for much of the wine for the Pelee Island Winery were grown and harvested on the 700 acre vineyard on Pelee Island. Our guide started with a walk along the sample vines for the multitude of varietals used in the wines.
We walked around the outside and we saw the Eastern Prickly Pear cactus only grown on Pelee Island. And then learned about the Red Cedar Savannah trees that helped to absorb the water on this former swamp ground.
In the back we saw the vast vineyard. When we went close we saw tiny grape buds just starting to form.
The group stopped by two different sets of oak casks. There were a small number of French oak casks used by the Pelee Island Winery. We also saw the much larger Hungarian oak casks. We were told they were much less expensive and equally good for aging good wine.
When we went back inside, we were ready for our Pelee Island Winery tasting experiences.
Wine Tasting On Pelee Island
We went downstairs and into the private wine tasting area. A tasting card was set up at each spot. Davin showed us the 4 wines we would try.
We started with two white wines – the Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer and the LOLA Pinot Grigio. Even though it was a Late Harvest, David did not find the Gewurtztraminer as sweet as he looked for and it had a spicy aftertaste. The Pinot Grigio on the other hand was light and crisp. A great white wine for a summer day.
We moved to the red wines with the Vinedressers Cabernet Sauvignon and the LOLA Nero sparkling red wine. We found the Cabernet Sauvignon much too dry for our tastes with an earthy smell. But were delighted when we tried the NOLA Nero. We saw the bubbles when the wine was poured but did not find it too bubbly. And it was just sweet enough to be easy drinking.
When we went back upstairs we decided there were still some Pelee Island Winery wines we wanted to try. So we bought another tasting card to share. Kailey had us taste test two of the rosé wines and found a winner in the Pelee Pink. It was fruity but not dry or too sweet.
David still had not found a wine sweet enough for his tastes. So we tried two of the icewines produced on Pelee Island. The Vidal was far too sickly sweet for both of us. But the Cabernet Franc icewine was much better. With a wine fridge at home filled with icewines, we passed on adding a new one to our supply.
We sure found some great wines during our Pelee Island Winery tasting experiences.
Heading To The Pelee Island Winery Production Facility In Kingsville
One day on our stay in Leamington we headed out along the coastal route to Kingsville. While we saw the vineyards for the Pelee Island Winery on Pelee Island, we knew that no real wine processing was done on the island. Only the icewine grapes were pressed there before they left the island.
As we drove through the town of Kingsville, we knew we were in the right place. The sign proclaimed Kingsville as the “Heart of Wine Country”. When we pulled into the Pelee Island Winery, we wandered around the outside property.
When we went inside we found a massive wine store. There was far more varieties of wine available here than we found on Pelee Island. As we wandered around, we were impressed with how many wine awards the Pelee wines won.
We knew there were lots more opportunities for Pelee Island Winery tasting experiences.
A Private Tour For Pelee Island Winery Tasting Experiences
We love to do winery tours when we travel. On a stay in French wine country, we visited during harvest season and loved watching the whole harvest process. We were intrigued with how wine processing was done in the desert when we visited Coquimbo, Chile. And on travels around the wine area of Temecula in California, we learned much about wine processing.
We just missed the winery tour at the Pelee Island Winery and were not prepared to wait for the next tour. So we were delighted when Michael asked if we wanted to see some of the Kingsville facility. We started with a tour of the display area and saw some historic bottles of wine.
From there we headed down to the expansive barrel room. We slowly walked along the intricately carved barrels. It reminded us of the barrel art we found on our winery tour in Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. We looked at some of the older barrels.
When we returned to the main floor, Michael gave us a few more wines to taste. I wanted to try the un-oaked Chardonnay. I generally say I am an ABC drinker – “anything but Chardonnay”. And was introduced to a new phrase – “Chardon – no”. But this Chardonnay might change my view. We also tried an organic rosé which we really liked.
It was great to add to our Pelee Island Winery tasting experiences when we visited Kingsville.
Taking Home Some Pelee Island Wines
At the Pelee Island Winery store we found a small section that sold wine and other store souvenirs. When we visited, our tour and tasting ticket was $20. Our second tasting was another $20. But each of the tasting tickets gave us a $15 credit towards wine purchases.
The credit was a great start towards buying the 3 wines we really liked at the Pelee Island Winery – the LOLA Pinot Grigio, LOLA Nero and Pelee Pink. When we checked out, the clerk showed us an interesting bottle with a wine-themed word scramble on the label, only available on the island. We could not resist adding that to our shopping bag.
Our free tour and tasting when we visited the Pelee Island Winery store in Kingsville did not give us a credit towards a wine purchase. But that did not stop us from taking home the organic rosé.
Our Pelee Island Winery tasting experiences sure helped to add some new bottles to our wine fridge at home.
We Enjoyed Several Pelee Island Winery Tasting Experiences
We enjoyed several different Pelee Island Winery tasting experiences when we took a long weekend trip to Leamington in Southwest Ontario. It was great to discover this most Southern winery in Canada.
First we visited the Pelee Island Winery vineyard on Pelee Island. And then headed to the large store and wine processing facility in Kingsville. Our wine fridge got some additions on this trip!
Did you enjoy your Pelee Island Winery tasting experiences and get to visit both winery sites?
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