Canada has some of the best wine regions in the world – unique in flavours and how some of the wine is produced. There are several different climates across the country and each region has found a way to make the most out of it to produce their own distinct wines. If you are looking for the perfect wine weekend getaway, you don’t have to look further than your own backyard, because there are several areas you can visit for a quick weekend away.

From the absolute luxe to the down-to-earth connection to nature, here are a few spots you should think about for the perfect wine weekend away in Canada.

Image courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission

Kelowna, BC

Get to know the wine

Known for beautiful summers and mild winters, incredible mountains, and farm-to-table pride, Kelowna and the surrounding Okanagan Valley also has 180 km of wineries for you to discover – over half of British Columbia’s wineries. Kelowna itself has over 40 wineries to delight wine lovers.

With so many options available, visitors can choose to either go on a self-guided tour at any time of the year, following any of five Wine Trails as suggestions, or you can go on a guided wine tour with a local expert. For both, you will have the chance to experience your selected wineries through tastings, wine and food pairings, and even a full farm-to-table meal. You might even be so lucky to have a tasting directly from the barrel.

Image courtesy of Destination BC/Andrew Strain

One thing that is special about Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley is that wineries are generally smaller than other parts of Canada. So, you will find world-class wines and will often get the chance to speak to the owners and experts on site. It also means there are more to choose from and the chance to discover new wines to expand your list of favourites!

Some local favourites are the Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Mission Hill Family Estate Winery. Award-winning Summerhill Pyramid Winery is a little different in that it produces organic wine from organically and biodynamically grown grapes. They have a unique process that literally aligns with the stars to create perfect, award-winning wines. Open year-round, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery offers so much more than just wine tastings. From an underground Barrel Cellar, to a large art collection, they even have culinary workshops on site. Take it all in while enjoying their award-winning wines.

Pair your wine with local activities

There are many activities to pair with your wine weekend getaway. Whether you are looking for something more challenging or something a little more leisurely, there are several hiking trails to check out throughout the year. It won’t take long to fall in love with the spectacular views and natural surroundings. During the summer, you can visit any of the 30 gorgeous beaches in the Okanagan valley such as Hot Sands Beach, Rotary Beach Park, and Strathcona Park.

Image courtesy of Destination BC/Kari Medig

If you prefer to cap your day of wine and food pairings with something a little more restful, why not go for a spa treatment? For something a little different, Float Space offers a unique experience where you are floating in a saltwater tank. The feeling of weightlessness coupled with sensory depravation allows the mind and body to fully relax. Or you could take in a mud wrap or more traditional massage at any of the local luxury spas.

Because Kelowna is known for it’s agriculture, you can have the most amazing farm-to-table experiences in the region. From picking your own fresh fruit like cherries, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, and apples between July and October at local orchards to fresh produce stands on the side of the road, local restaurants also pride themselves on highlighting local ingredients on their menus. And don’t forget the blossom festival each year. So many orchards mean endless gorgeous blossoms for visitors and locals to enjoy.

Image courtesy of Destination BC/Andrew Strain

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Get to know the wine

Ontario is Canada’s largest wine producer and Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario is a large part of Canada’s most well-known wine-producing region. It also happens to be the most diverse producer of high-quality wines. From Chardonnays to Rieslings and Cabernet Franc, each winery in the region is as unique as the climate. One type of wine that is an absolute must-try are the sweet ice wines only produced in the region.

Image courtesy of Ontario Images

There are around 40 wineries to explore in the region, ranging from large, well-known names to smaller, local wineries. Each is worth the visit. Who knew that a 90-minute drive from Toronto would land you in a year-round wine-lover’s oasis? You can and should do a wine tour either by car or bike through some of the region’s best wineries.

While some of the more well-known wineries like Inniskillin, Jackson Triggs, and Peller Estates have taken Niagara-on-the-Lake more mainstream, some of the lesser known names are also local favourites. Southbrook Vineyards is Canada’s first LEED Gold Certified winery. You won’t see sheep roaming many vineyards, but at Southbrook, they help with weed control at this organic and biodynamic winery where they let the vines do their thing naturally without forcing results. They even tend to the vines by hand. Another favourite – and a little more upscale – is Stratus Vineyards. They are all about the chemistry behind the wine and the wine and food pairing. It is worth it to experience their full tasting experience where they explain the science behind the wine you will fall in love with. The upscale wines are matched by the surroundings with a high attention to detail given at every step.

Image courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission

Pair your wine with local activities

Wine is really the star of Niagara-on-the-Lake, but there are certain things that pair well with it. For one, having a glass of wine watching the sunset over the rolling vineyards at your favourite winery is spectacular regardless of the time of year.

If you wanted a break from wineries (and nature) altogether, you could also check out the Outlet Collection at Niagara. From luxury stores to well-known brands and everything in between, this outdoor mall is a completely different experience than walking through the vineyards.

Image courtesy of Destination Canada

Prince Edward County, ON

Get to know the wine

Niagara Region might be the largest and best-known wine region in Ontario, but, with over 35 winemakers, Prince Edward County is Ontario’s fastest growing wine region. It’s kind of like Ontario’s best-kept secret for wine lovers and there is a winery experience for every taste. With a similar climate to Niagara region, the temperature is moderated because of its proximity to Lake Ontario.

Unlike other wine regions in Canada, every winter the harvested vines are buried under the soil to keep them insulated and alive. It’s just one of the things that makes the area’s wineries unique. And because it is a fairly young wine region, you will likely find yourself interacting with wine makers and owners at most of the wineries – getting behind-the-scenes looks at how the wine is made and hearing the stories about what makes each unique. So grab a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir (two of the region’s best wine varieties) and get to know this up and coming wine region.

When it comes to wineries, a couple of local favourites are Hinterland Wine Company, Chadsey’s Cairns Winery & Vineyard, and Rosehall Run Vineyards. If you are looking for award-winning sparkling wines, Hinterland Wine Company is for you. Chadsey’s Cairns is tied to the region’s history with their centuries old farm and small-batch wines made using both modern and traditional techniques. Rosehall Run is a small, family-run winery where the owners are dedicated to sustainable farming practices and a hands-on approach.

Image courtesy of Destination Canada

Pair your wine with local activities

Like other regions, there is a lot to discover if you are looking to take a break from wine tastings. If you want to get outside, Prince Edward County has a number of Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas to explore. Sandbanks Provincial Park is a unique natural attraction in the area. With some of the best beaches in Canada, there are large sand dunes formed by glaciers thousands of years ago. In fact, it is the world’s largest bay-mouth dune barrier formation.

Get to know the area’s history and culture by exploring great local boutique shops and antique stores in the region. You can also check out local art galleries and creative workshops, working with local talent. And if you are a history buff, you can visit any of the five museums in the region with both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Image courtesy of Destination Canada

Regardless of where you choose to visit for your Canadian wine weekend getaway, be sure to drink plenty of water and prepare yourself to be immersed into the local culture and delicious tastes of the region.

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