When you think of Ontario wineries the first thing to pop in your head is likely the Niagara region or Prince Edward County, both famously known to be Ontario’s wine country. However, overflowing with tourists, bachelorette parties, and fully booked accommodations, sometimes those regions can be exactly what you’re not looking for in a weekend getaway or day trip. So where else do you go to enjoy local wines and beers? Norfolk County, part of Ontario’s Southwest.
Norfolk County is located in Southwestern Ontario on the north shore of Lake Erie. The population of the entire county is just shy of 65,000 and it’s filled with tiny towns, farms and to your surprise, lots of local wineries and breweries.
I had the opportunity to explore the area this past weekend thanks to Ride The Bine and Ontario’s Southwest. Ride The Bine is a new tour operator in the area run by Amanda and Susan. These two ladies started the tour company to share their love for beer, wine and the area that they grew up in and live today. The company offers two tours for people to join: Com’Bine’D Tour and Turn’Bine’ Tour. Both offering a different selection of stops in the area and both costing $95 CDN per person. Our tour was the Com’Bine’D Tour. although on the day we visited we were running behind schedule and had to cut one of the stops from our agenda. Have no fear though, this won’t happen on your tour, it was only because I was on a media trip and we had a very set agenda.
All tours start at 12:30pm (after lunch) and run until around 4:30pm. The starting point is at one of the wineries or breweries, however you can also pay extra to arrange a pick-up and drop-off (no drinking and driving folks). Here were some of the stops we had the chance to experience with Amanda and Susan…
Situated on a former tobacco tract, Burning Kiln opened its doors in 2011 and has been producing award winning wines since. Their wines were even served at the NHL draft! The views of the winery are absolutely incredible and their wines don’t fall short. My fav was the Kiln Hanger, a cabernet franc.
This little winery blew me away. Inasphere just opened their doors in April and they boast a gorgeous farm and vineyard. Their property is actually at the lowest elevation in the county which makes for a very unique landscape. In the photo above I’m looking out over 500,000 cabbages in the field.
One of the most unique breweries I’ve ever been to, New Limburg focuses on Belgian style ales but what makes this family run brewery different is where they’re located. New Limburg is located within the walls of an old elementary school that was shut down and still holds a lot of the elements you’ll remember from when you sat in a classroom. Oh and also, their seasonal pumpkin ale was AMAZING!
After our last stop, we parted ways with Susan and Amanda. Ride The Bine gave us the ability to explore a lesser known area and see all that they had to offer. This is the perfect tour to do when you’re looking for something different to do that’s a bit off-the-beaten-path from the regular wineries in Ontario. The best part? These tours depart only around 1.5-2 hours from Toronto. The perfect day or weekend adventure!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary tour from Ride The Bine and Ontario Southwest to conduct a review. I only recommend experiences that I enjoyed, and think other travelers would benefit from. All opinions in this piece are my own and 110% honest.