Okay, don’t judge me, but I hadn’t really heard of ice wine before our trip to Canada. I had literally no clue on any of it! Now, it’s no secret that I’m a sucker for anything wine related, so as soon as I heard about ice wine in Canada I knew I had to visit one of the vineyards. It just all sounded so intriguing and totally delicious.
Following a little stroll around some of the vineyards that produce ice wine in Canada, I can now firmly say it isn’t just a slushy of wine and ice in a glass. Yup, I admit it, my mind went to a big gulp glass of a slushy when I first heard of ice wine. 🤣
Thankfully, this isn’t the case and ice wine is something of a treat and requires lots of expertise to produce. 🍷
What is ice wine?
It probably helps for me to give you a really brief explanation of how ice wine is made, after all, I had no clue what it was before our visit.
At the simplest level, ice wine is produced by planting vineyards in seasonal climates that freeze in winter. Once the vines grow in the summer, the grapes are left on the vines to freeze in the winter months. Now, this is where the magic happens, it’s actually only the water in the grapes that freeze, meaning the sugars can be separated from the water to produce so it can be separated before the fermentation process.
After a healthy bout of pressing and fermenting, sweet ice wine is finally made. It’s very similar in character to a dessert wine and is often sold as such.
What Vineyards To Visit For Ice Wine In Canada?
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the best places to explore and try ice wine in Canada and especially in Ontario. 🇨🇦
1.) Peller Estates Winery
Peller Estates is one of my favourite places and vineyards to try ice wine in Ontario. Perched pretty close to Niagara-on-the-Lake, it’s a stunning estate that has some an amazing winery tour that also includes a visit to their frozen bar called, 10 Below. It’s the perfect spot to try ice wine in Canada.
You can see the different varieties of ice wine they create, here. They make a delicious Ice Cuvée!
Afterwards, make sure to grab a table at the Winery Restaurant – they serve up some of the tastiest food in the area. I loved it.
2.) Konzelmann Estate Winery
Konzelmann Estate Winery is considered to be Niagara’s only lakefront vineyard. Now, Konzelmann actually started long ago in Germany (where ice wine comes from) but after switching continents they brought their expertise to Canada.
Specialising on Vidal varieties, Konzelmann Estate has some of the best ice wine in Canada to try.
3.) Rancourt Winery
Rancourt Winery is a family-owned and runs estate that’s perched in the heart of Niagara. The best thing about Rancourt is that it’s open 7 days a week and has an epic tasting room and guided tours to join.
As with most of the vineyards, they don’t just focus on ice wine in Canada and have a selection of other wines to try, too.
4.) Chateau des Charmes
Chateau des Charmes makes some of the best Vidal ice wine in Canada and it’s a vineyard that’s pretty easy to visit when in the Niagara region.
Once here, join either their Winegrowing Discovery Tour or their ‘Four @ Four’ tour that includes 4 different wines and 4 pm.
5.) Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery
You might recognise the name (if you’re Canadian), no? If not, Wayne Gretzky is a former ice hockey player that’s somehow dipped his toes into all sorts of ventures across Ontario, with his Estates Winery & Distillery being just one of his amazing spots.
Once here, book yourself onto one of the tours that the estate runs and make sure to try their Cabernet Franc ice wine. It’s so delicious.
6.) Between the Lines Winery
Between the Lines Winery have two really nice ice wines to try (well, my favourites at least) that I hope you love. Once you arrive at the estate, make sure to see if they have the 2016 Cabernet Franc Icewine or the 2016 Vidal Icewine that are pretty darn special.
Between the lines also have something a little special with their events they run, everything from art tours, yoga and beneath the star tours – they really are very special. You can take a look at the upcoming events, here.
7.) Reif Estate Winery
The Vidal ice wine at Reif Estate has wone lots of awards and is pretty well-known in the region for its quality and taste. Best of all, you can visit the vineyard and estate to explore the gardens, grab a charcuterie board at the wine bar or join their group or private tours that run almost daily.
8.) Inniskillin Wines at the Brae Burn Estate
Based, about, 25-minutes drive from Niagara Falls, Inniskillin Wines is a great little spot to visit whilst you’re in the Niagara region. Once here, make sure you try their Inniskillin Riesling varieties that are perfect if you love a sweet wine.
Best of all, they have a specific ice wine in Canada experience that’s hosted every weekend (and can be booked, here)
9.) Niagara Ice Wine Festival
Okay, it’s not necessarily a vineyard or estate to visit but it is one of the best ways to try shed loads of ice wine in Canada. Usually held for about 2-3 weeks in January, the Niagara Ice Wine Festival has become something of a tradition in Niagara-on-the-lake (around Queen Street).
You can see more about upcoming ice wine festival events here.