If you’re already visiting wine country, you may as well venture off the main tasting routes of icewine, chardonnay, riesling, cabernet, and the pinots and try some truly unique wines from truly unique people. And these aren’t your “we do it differently but they taste weird” wines. These are outstanding examples from proven masters.
Whether you’re in looking for Okanagan wine tours, Niagara wine tours, or Nova Scotia wine tours, these three wineries will introduce you to something different.
Best Okanagan Wineries – Iberia in the Okanagan
You can find Terravista Vineyards along the Kettle Valley Trail on the Naramata Bench. The area is astoundingly quaint. From the terraced mountainside rising above Lake Okanagan, the land sweeps, bends, rises, and switches back, offering dramatic stolen glances of geology, vine carpets, and water. Head down to the hamlet for beach time and some dining.
The winery was founded by Senka Tennant and her husband Bob, original founders and winemakers of the esteemed Black Hills Estate Winery in Oliver. Senka is a live wire and natural-born storyteller. She explains that as she grew up (as in, from being a physician to making the Okanagan’s best full-bodied red wine), her system disagreed more and more with red wine. So, at Terravista she makes whites, a few of which we see almost nowhere else in Canada. The stars of the show are Spanish-Portuguese in origin: the single-variety Albarino and the Albarino-Verdejo blend called Fandango. Both are magnificently aromatic, and while the first one plays to the crisper side, the blend is rounder and fleshier.
This is BC wine at its finest and a must-try Okanagan Valley wine.
Tip: There’s much more to BC than wine. Don’t forget to see and do some of the best things to do in British Columbia while you’re there.
Niagara on the Lake Wineries – Orange—Wine’s Fourth Colour
As one of the best wineries in Niagara, Southbrook Farms Vineyard lies along the main route into “The Prettiest Town in Canada” from the QEW. The closer you get to town, the more vineyards, farm buildings, and winery cottages you see.
Ann Sperling, the soft-spoken wine-siren to Senka’s sass, is the Canadian wine-making legend who heads the team at Canada’s first fully recognized organic and biodynamic winery. The most unique wines are a Sherry-like Chardonnay called Anniversary and an orange wine.
They fortify (add extra alcohol) the Chardonnay and age it for seven years in small oak barrels, giving it the nutty, caramel character of Sherry. Orange wine, on the other hand, is an ancient European style that’s seeing a revival in wine regions across the world. Normally, white wine is fermented from freshly run juice while red wine sits on its skins to extract colour and tannins. At Southbrook, Ann leaves white Vidal grapes on its skins to add grip and complexity. The process also helps naturally preserve the wine so it can age. This is definitely one of the unique Niagara wineries.
If you’re designing one of your own Niagara on the Lake wine tours, make sure you include Southbrook Farms Vineyard.
(Note: If you’re looking for Niagara winery restaurants, check out our recent trip to Niagara article.)
Nova Scotia Wineries – The Champagne of Canada
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in pastoral Europe in Nova Scotia’s low, rolling Gaspereau Valley where villages, barns, and outbuildings dot the quilt patchwork of forest, farmland, and vineyards. It’s here that Gerry McConnell and his late wife Dara Gordon established Benjamin Bridge. They gambled on the expertise of leading wine-making consultant Peter Gamble, who in turn turned to the world’s top champagne minds to make magic.
Benjamin Bridge’s most acclaimed wines are, you guessed it, the champagne-like sparklers they make from the classic varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Indeed, the wines have proven to equal or better the world’s best champagne in blind tastings by top experts. The valley’s special climate keeps the grapes crisp and fresh and yet develops their flavours to maturity.
And, while not as high-falutin’ as the better-known grapes, their other specialties come from the local grapes l’Acadie, Ortega, and New York Muscat and offer pure fruity, crisp and aromatic joy.
Located right next to the Annapolis Valley, this is also one of the most scenic areas of Nova Scotia and a great place to do a road trip. While not as known as Niagara Falls Wineries or Okanagan wineries, there are so many Nova Scotia vineyards and some very popular Annapolis Valley wineries. There’s also a number of Annapolis Valley wine tours in the area, so if you don’t have your own car, check out some of these.
Tip: There’s much more to Nova Scotia than wine. Don’t forget to see and do some of the best things to do in Nova Scotia while you’re there.
Vineyards in Canada
For all you wine lovers out there, Canada is a great place to taste unique wines, sample delicious food, and basque in the beauty of the various wine regions of Canada. In British Columbia, in one of the warmest places in Canada, lies the Okanagan Valley, which is home to some of the best wine tours BC has to offer. In Niagara, when you have a moment to step away from the world-famous waterfalls, you’ll find a number of Niagara Falls wine tours that you can take, whether you go with a group or on your own. Then there’s laid-back Nova Scotia, the heart of Canada’s Maritimes.
There you have it. You have the views, the food, and the wine. Now you can push it slightly further and try some of the most unique wines of Canada.
As you can see, there are so many things to do in Canada. From tasting wines across the country to world-class cities and vast wilderness, Canada is one of the best places you can visit and explore.
For more, check out our 150-day Canada road trip.
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