With my birthday coming up, I wanted to spend the day doing what I love – wine tasting! Typically, I always venture to Niagara-on-the-Lake to visit the vineyards and sample some wine, which you can read about here and here. However, this time I decided to stick closer to home and explore what’s in my own backyard of Huron County.
Huron County is a rural community situated along the shores of Lake Huron and is home to many beaches, parks, and trails, and is soon becoming one of the latest and greatest beer, cider, and wine regions in Ontario’s West Coast.
Before I started researching, I didn’t even realize the number of places to check out and I’ve lived next to Huron County for so many years! Being so close to the countryside, I decided that Joel and I would make a day out of exploring Ontario’s West Coast and see what it had to offer.
1. Schatz Winery, Hessenlan Inn
Address: 72981 Bluewater Highway, Zurich
The first stop on my list was Schatz Winery at the Hessenlan Inn. The Inn has been in business for 30 years, with the newest addition being the winery which opened in 2019. The 5-acre winery is situated in the gorgeous countryside surrounding the Inn and the gardens. Not only can you enjoy a refreshing glass of wine while you stroll through the vineyard, but you can also get a bite to eat at the restaurant on-site and explore the stunning property which holds many weddings and events throughout the year.
After sampling some of the winery’s popular choices (Frontenac Blanc and Petite Pearl), we walked around the property to check out some of the points of interest.
One of the most interesting spots was the iconic sunset tower which offers breathtaking views of the entire property. There’s also a suite in the tower if you wanted to stay the night! Other spots to check out include the coach house (which has become a wedding venue), the gardens, and both the west and east vineyard.
2. Bad Apple Brewing Co.
Address: 73463 Bluewater Highway, Zurich
Bad Apple Brewing Co. was the only craft brewery we stopped at along the way and it did not disappoint. It’s located in a renovated century barn on an apple orchard right along the shore of Lake Huron. They grow their own apples (and make their own honey too!) to use in some of their beer recipes. With the patio open all summer and lots of picnic tables scattered throughout the orchard, you can relax with a craft beer or cider while enjoying the countryside atmosphere.
The brewery also offers other activities, such as beach volleyball and summer yoga in the orchard!
3. Cornerfield Wine Co.
Address: 74444 Bluewater Highway, Bayfield
Cornerfield Wine Co. Winery is one of the newest wineries to pop up in Huron County. It’s rooted in history and tradition and is nestled in a corner of a farm that has been a part of the Bayfield area for 175 years. For the last 40 years, the farm has been owned and operated by the Durand family who established their vineyard in 2015 and has been open to the public since 2019.
The 5-acres of land that the winery is located on has extra nutrients due to the many generations of farming in the soil, which helps to create the perfect environment for making a high-end glass of wine. My two favourites were the Farmer & Frenchman White and the Pale Red Rose.
The newly built barn offers an awesome spot to sample the wine or you can take it out back on the patio and relax by the outdoor fireplace.
4. Maelstrom Winery
Address: 78925 Sanctuary Line, Seaforth
Our last stop was Maelstrom Winery. This winery is owned and operated by the Landsborough family, who established their roots in 1834, and is the very first winery in Huron County. The land has over 8-acres of grapevines and uses a “hands-off” approach when processing the wine by using fewer chemicals and gentle filtering practices in order to produce a number of red and white wines.
Maelstrom Winery has a beautiful property where you can enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the vineyard. The view is absolutely stunning!
The winery offers tours throughout early spring to early fall where you can stroll through the vineyards, explore the facilities, and learn all about their process of growing grapes in Huron County.
I took home a bottle of their ice cider – it was super tasty!
So there you have it! Just a handful of the many wineries and breweries that you can check out in Huron County. I had so much fun visiting and I already can’t wait to go back!
To see what other wineries and breweries are available in Huron County, check out the Ontario’s West Coast website here.