Wednesday September 11, 2019

How to Spend a Wine Weekend in Windsor Essex

Original blog by Diana's Healthy Living

Original blog by Diana of Diana’s Healthy Living | September 11, 2019

Spending a day at a winery is fun but exploring a wine region for an entire weekend makes a great getaway.  Heading to a Vintage wine tasting, biking from winery to winery, dining at Estate wineries that feel like you are in Italy. This is the ultimate weekend getaway for the foodie and wine lover.

Day One in Essex County

The drive from Toronto is approximately 3.5-4 hours and about one hour from the Detroit/Windsor border. You don’t have to go far to feel like you are in Italy as this wine region is located as far south as Northern California and the Tuscany region of Italy, making it the ideal region for some of the world’s best vinifera and French hybrid wine grapes.

If you are lucky enough to be visiting during the EPIC Vintage Tasting event, then head straight there. This event is packed with wine tastings from 11 EPIC wineries, as well as food that includes local cheese and entertainment. You will enjoy wine tastings from all the local wineries.

After a full day of wine tasting and entertainment head to HoriZen Bed & Breakfast to drop off your bags before heading out to dinner.

We were welcomed by the husband and wife duo along with their two children, who immediately warmed up to us and made us feel like family. The property is a beautiful historic home with a large wrap-around front porch. 

If you are looking for something a little different, I would recommend you stay at the Journey floating wine barrels. It is the ultimate glamping experience while floating on the water in a wine barrel. The wine barrel overlooks the vineyards and you will be surrounded by wildlife such as ducks, herons, and local bald eagles, just to name a few. The perfect spot to unwind and relax. 

After you drop off your bags and you have had some time to refresh, head straight to Paglione Estate Winery for alfresco dining that will make you feel like you are in the Chianti wine region in Italy. Make sure to order the delicious pizza that is made in a wood fire oven paired with one of their wines. End your evening with either some homemade Beemer gelato or a dessert Nutella or apple pizza.

After a fabulous dinner, head back to HoriZen Bed and Breakfast where you can park your car and head out on a relaxing evening stroll along the Pedestrian Pier or along the waterfront to the marina. If you would rather relax, then end your evening with a glass of local wine in hand while relaxing on the serene wrap around porch. Either is a perfect way to end a fabulous first day in EPIC Wine country.

Day Two Exploring Essex County

Enjoy the delicious hot breakfast made fresh at HoriZen Bead & Breakfast. We indulged in some freshly baked scones followed by Huevos Rancheros along with freshly brewed coffee.

After filling your bellies with a delicious breakfast, head to Farm Dog Cycles* for a self-guided wine tour. The self-guided tour is $48 per person and includes a bike rental, a mapped route, & special tasting coupons for wine pairings or signature snacks at three of their favorite local wineries.  There are different wine routes. If you love biking then head out on the 20km bike loop that will have you hitting up all the wineries.  (*Please note, since publishing of this blog, Farm Dog Cycles has ceased operation)

For a shorter wine route, head to Colchester Ridge Estate Winery (CREW) for your first wine tasting. The vineyard boasts 12 acres of vines, consisting of vinifera varietals. They have won many prestigious awards since opening their doors in July 2006.  Awards. The small retail store offers complimentary tastings. They are currently building their new wine tasting room that is planned to open in the fall of 2019. I can’t wait to return to see the new facilities.

Next head to North 42 Degrees Estate Winery, a 17-acre vineyard, winery, and Bistro located in the heart of the Lake Erie North Shore. The tasting room is set in a beautiful, modern building where you can dine in their bistro that offers spectacular views.

Next stop is Viewpointe Estate Winery where you can sit back and enjoy some wine tasting with magnificent views of Lake Erie.

After all that biking through the wineries, I am sure you have built up your appetite. Head to Oxley Estate Winery where you will not only taste some delicious wines but be able to refuel and indulge in a delicious lunch on their outdoor patio. You must try their famous Sticky Duck Wings followed by Lake Erie Yellow Perch. If you are looking for a refreshing white wine, I would recommend pairing your lunch with the Wowza white that has tropical fruit notes of pineapple and mango.  Before heading out on your final stretch of biking, I would highly recommend treating yourself to dessert. The banana hazelnut fritters are definitely worth the calories.

Make sure to include a stop at Pelee Estate Winery and experience Canada’s Southernmost winery. The 550 acres of vineyards are in Canada’s warmest, oldest and the most southerly grape-growing region with  35+ years of experience in wine making. The winery is just under 42 degrees North, Pelee Island is at a latitude similar to that of Rioja, Spain, Porto, Portugal, Provence, France, and Tuscany, Italy.

Before heading back home after your weekend in Essex county, make sure to drop by Lee & Maria’s Market that is located just up Seacliff Drive to pick up some local produce.  

I hope this two-day itinerary inspires you to head out on a weekend exploring the wineries of Essex County.  I have always wanted to visit and experience the region and will definitely be returning. 

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