The word “EPIC” is often use to describe something so unique, so one-of-a-kind and so unforgettable. The same is true about wine tasting along the shores of Lake Erie. After all, this emerging wine region in southwestern Ontario has the word built right into its name. EPIC refers to the Essex Pelee Island Coast and is a collaboration of several wineries working together.
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We started our wine tour and had our first tasting at Sprucewood Shores, where we picked up our EPIC 150 Passports. These Passports included complimentary tastings, discounts as well as special offers at other businesses in the area. Surprisingly, Sprucewood is not only a vineyard with a winery and event space…but it also has direct beach access! We learned that the staff can prepare a little ‘charcuterie picnic basket’ for guests to enjoy on the beach, along with their wine. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Our next stop was Viewpointe Winery. It’s a property that’s also on the shores of Lake Erie, however it sits much higher. There’s no beach access, but as the name suggests, the view is amazing. They also have event space to host parties as well as a massive patio where you can enjoy both a meal and the view.
North 42 Degrees is a winery with a sister property called Serenity Lavender. The Owners wanted to grow both grapes and lavender, so that’s exactly what they did. This works out great for visitors because you can tour both farms and buy both wine and various lavender products at the same stop. The was major construction taking place during our visit to make space for a brand new tasting room as well as a restaurant situated high above the vineyard which, when opened, will offer amazing views and sunsets for guests.
Oxley Winery is also very popular spot on the EPIC wine tour judging by the number of cars in the parking lot. When we were there, they had a live band on the covered patio and it was jam-packed full of people.
Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard is a little further inland than the other places we went to. As you would expect the wine is great there too. The tasting room looked amazing, and the staff were incredibly knowledgeable. We even ran into Ben who was featured in our Pelee Island video. Cooper’s Hawk also has a restaurant and event venue on site. We were thinking of crashing the wedding party next door but then cooler heads prevailed.
That’s where we ran into Jody Gosselin who was also on the wine tour. She’s in charge of marketing and social media for the EPIC wineries. We talked about how the wine region started, some 152 years ago, and about where the region is headed in the future. Watch our YouTube video to see more of our chat with Jody.
Probably our favourite spot on the tour was Muscedere Winery. When you first arrive, it looks like someone’s family home in the middle of a vineyard. This is true. The winery is IN the Muscedere’s family home so naturally everyone has to pitch in.
Long story short, they had no intention of starting a winery, but they planted some vines, then some more and before they realized they were operating a winery out of their home. The garage used to be the production facility (it’s no longer, they’ve since outgrown it) and the basement is currently the tasting bar and retail store. As you can see in our YouTube video, their backyard patio is open to guests and Nonna Muscedere serves wood oven pizza to guests.
You can take the 401 West which conveniently ends in Windsor if you want to check out this lovely city before heading south to the Wine Region. As you can see from the map below there are many routes that lead to the wineries. We highly recommend taking the longer yet scenic route through Lasalle and Amherstburg for a drive along the shores of the Detroit River.
Visit Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island’s Wine Route website for a list of other local businesses in and around these wineries.
Tastings are $2 / glass, on average, however this fee is waived whenever a bottle is purchased but we recommend buying an EPIC Passport for an even better deal. You can’t beat the value & freebies!
Keep in Mind
- NEVER Drink & Drive / Bike Ride.
- 10 Wineries worked together and created a special bottle to commemorate Canada’s 150th Birthday in 2017. These bottles all have a special green label ‘EPIC 1867’. Each label was designed by local artists to represent each of the provinces of Canada.
Top 5 Things to Do
1 – You MUST, MUST, MUST try Nonna Muscedere’s pizza. Thin crust, wood oven baked, traditional Italian pizza with a glass of vino under a beautiful gazebo. Life doesn’t get better than this. Salute & Buon Appetito!
3 – Buy a glass and enjoy it on the gorgeous shaded patio at Oxley which features live music.
4 – Stand in awe at the beautiful shorelines of Lake Erie at Viewpointe. Just look at how excited Tony was to check out the view.
5 – Look out for the green EPIC 1867 label at each participating winery and buy yourself all 10 bottles to complete the collection. It’s the best kind of souvenir you can buy from EPIC Wine Country in our opinion!
We had the best of intentions to make it to 8 wineries in a day but simply didn’t make it only because we stayed longer than expected at all 6 because of the unique features each winery had to offer. If you’re planning on visiting for just the day like we did then we recommend visiting 4 wineries in a day. We sincerely hope that you plan and visit the area and trust us…it’ll be an EPIC experience!
Have any photos or videos of your visit that you would like to share with us? Send them over to @LetsDiscoverON.