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Off The Beaten Path: Wineries of Essex County

You know that feeling when you�re the first to discover something?

How about when you feel like you�re lost, but somehow you end up in the perfect place. That’s how I feel everytime I find myself in Essex County. If you�re going to get lost in this big province of ours, you�re probably best doing so in a wine country after all! So pack your bags and join us as we explore Essex, one of Ontario’s best kept secrets.

Find yourself amongst the willows at Cooper’s Hawk

Located on 67 acres of land spanning the north shore of Lake Erie, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards is the perfect spot to wander. Named after the hawks that call the forested areas around the vineyard home, it’s also home to ponds and parkland — all licensed — inviting you to sip and stroll.

Down the road near Harrow, you’ll find Oxley Estate Winery. In winter months, their outdoor fireplace plays host to crowds of wine lovers enjoying mugs of hot cocoa while watching the snow fall over the vineyard. Come summer, wandering wine lovers can stumble upon haskapp or saskatoon berry bushes while enjoying a chilled glass of Oxley Rose. Made with three varietals unique to Essex County, it’s lovely notes of ripe strawberry, anise and tangerine peel are the perfect summer sipper.

A misty morning overlooking Sprucewood Shores Winery.

Further still, you’ll find Spruce Wood Shores Estate Winery surrounded by 35 acres of flourishing 24 year old vines. Plan to stay a while as you follow the path through the vineyard down to the beach. Hungry travellers can grab a picnic basket at the tasting bar, along with a bottle of the Lakeside Sparkling, before heading down to watch the sunset.

Looking for a place to call “home” while exploring the area? Windsor offers up some great hotel options and is conviently located to act as your home base. While there, make sure to stop into Rino’s Kitchen for a Feast ON Certified pulled pork waffle — or two, or three!