All about tours

Decide on a designated driver
Although you can visit wine country by train, bike, bus or helicopter, the reality is that most visitors travel around wine country by car. Please make sure you have a designated driver—we want your trip to be safe, as well as fun.

Choosing where to go
Ontario is the proud home to nearly 100 wineries, so you’ll need to narrow your choices when deciding on where to go. Expect a lot of variety: Our talented winemakers are as diverse as the wines they produce. Some were trained at the oldest institutions in the world, while others were schooled in our own backyard. Some prefer to uphold time-honoured winemaking traditions, while others seek to shatter preconceived notions. But for their differences, they all have something very important in common: They love Ontario wine, and they want you to love it too.

The easiest way to start is by picking a destination—Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Escarpment & Twenty Valley, Lake Erie North Shore & Pelee Island, Prince Edward County or another. Or, start with a winery you want to visit, and check out others nearby.

If your tour is leisurely or you are only planning to stop at a few wineries, you may want to consider specific itineraries. For example, if you’re eco-conscious, you might decide to tour LEED-certified wineries and other environmentally friendly facilities. Or, if you have a favourite single-varietal wine, you may wish to limit your tour to the wineries that specialize in it.

(As an aside, a “wine tour” is a trip in which you visit a number of different wineries, while a “winery tour” is a guided walk through a single winery.)

Once you have a few wineries selected, use our Wine Route Planner to create your own customized wine route. You can also book and pay for your tour in advance, online, at select wineries.

What to expect
No matter what your itinerary, you’ll find there’s a lot to see and do. Most wineries have a retail area and a tasting bar, where you can typically sample some wines. The majority also offer walking tours of their vineyards and facilities (usually for a small fee), where visitors learn about the history of the winery and see how the wine is produced.

Normally, these tours are guided, last about an hour and end with a step-by-step tasting. Some wineries host public tours at scheduled times throughout the day; others have call-ahead, private tours. Tours tend to be more frequent in the summer, which also means that you can expect smaller groups in the winter. Plan to visit no more than five or six wineries in a day.

Finally, don’t forget to confirm each winery’s schedule and tour policies—most have this information on their websites.

Wine Country Ontario site map