Although perhaps not quite as famous as places like Napa Valley or Sonoma, Lake Erie Wine Country is a fantastic destination for serious wine lovers. The Lake Erie American Viticultural Area, on the southern shore of the Great Lake, is the largest wine region in the US outside of California, with over 20,000 acres of vineyards. On the other side of the Canadian border, the North Shore is Ontario’s southernmost wine appellation, with a selection of truly impressive Canadian wineries.
Tours are available to the wineries through local tours such as Rupp Limousine. Arrive in style! Or make it an overnight trip and pack your bags for a wine-flavored holiday in the MidWest, take a look at our favorite tasting spots in Lake Erie Wine Country.
If you think that planning a cruise is easy, try organizing a tour of the fantastic wineries in Lake Erie Wine Country! The area is packed with amazing places to taste wine as well as charming places to stay, which makes exploring the fantastic wines of Lake Erie a brilliant way to spend a vacation.
Johnson Estate Winery
With stunning vistas of rolling hills covered in vines, as well as the magnificent lake Erie, Johnson Estate Winery is an impressive place to visit before you even get to the wine. However, the grapes are, of course, the main event, and the delicious creations from this excellent winery are a match for even the most discerning of palates.
Must-try wine: Sparkling Traminette, a wine made from a hardy, cold climate grape with lovely aromas of lychee and rose with notes of spice in the finish.
21 Brix Winery
Surrounded by vines (unsurprisingly) and cherry orchards (perhaps more surprisingly), 21 Brix is a charming destination. The surrounding scenery provides the perfect backdrop to discover their excellent range of some of the best wines in the region, with a full complement of varietals on offer. Their specially constructed tasting room is a delightful spot to sample their products, and the small-plate food menu and local craft beers and ciders mean that it offers something for everyone, even members of the family who aren’t keen on wine!
Must-try wine: Thirsty Elephant, a tri-grape blend of Niagara, Fredonia & Concord, is a cheeky number with notes of jam, cotton candy and fresh strawberries.
Penn Shore Vineyards
Penn Shore is the oldest, and one of the largest wineries in Pennsylvania. They specialize in European and American varietals and blends, and grow all their grapes on site, with hundreds of acres of vines surrounding the winery itself. They have an extremely attractive patio, as well as spacious tasting rooms, and during the summer the winery is transformed into an events venue with a program of summer concerts running every Saturday in July and August.
Must-try wine: The signature bestseller of Penn Shore, Lambruscano is a blend of Native American and French-American hybrid grapes, culminating in a wine that is semi-sweet, soft, and mellow.
Arundel Cellars and Brewing Company
Arundel Cellars and Brewing Company was Erie’s first combined winery and brewery, and is set in a fabulously renovated historic 19th century barn. The atmosphere is everything you could hope for, and the small menu of delicious dishes makes it a wonderful place to wile away a few more hours after your tasting. Don’t miss the live music performances held every Sunday afternoon!
Must-try wine: Winner of the award for Best Rose in the American Wine Society Commercial Competition, Our Reunion is a must for visitors to Arundel Cellars.
Founded in 1973, Mazza has spent the last four decades perfecting a blend of ancient winemaking traditions with the most innovative and up-to-date techniques and technology in viticulture. They work with a select group of growers in the area to ensure that only the best grapes go into their wines, and the quality and attention to detail shines through in their creations.
Must-try wine: Mazza Winery has been producing the unique and fascinating Ice Wine since 1984 and a visit here would not be complete without tasting this wonderful sweet offering.
Right in the center of Lake Erie Wine Country, Courtyard Winery is a vine-to-table operation, covering every aspect of the production process from growing vines and harvesting grapes to creating stunning, carefully developed wines and bottling them on site. They are well-known for their small batch artisan wines, which have been regularly recognized at various local, regional, and national awards. Their Vineyard Veranda terrace is as pleasant a location for a wine tasting, or even just a relaxing evening out, as you could possibly imagine.
Must-try wine: Chambourcin, a barrel-aged dry red with upfront notes of raspberry leading to a well-balanced mid-palate of plums and cherries.
Arrowhead Winery is a really interesting spot for wine connoisseurs exploring Lake Erie. Italian owners Nick and Kathy have brought European know-how to the region, crafting award-winning wines from native, European, and hybrid grapes grown on their huge 250-acre plot since 1998. Arrowhead is also known for its astonishing gift shop, the largest winery gift shop in the region. You will struggle not to go home with a delightful souvenir of your trip!
Must-try wine: Franc ‘n Berry Wine, a sweet dessert Cabernet Franc ice wine blended with traditional Red Raspberry wine, the perfect after-dinner treat.