The Only Spring Wine Guide You’ll Need

I don’t often like to make bold overarching statements using words like favourite, best, always (or the such) because in almost every case it diminishes someone else. I guess in that way I am very much a Libra and people pleaser, not looking to rock the proverbial boat. That being said, after ten years I think I’m a little tired of corporate entities or governing organizations pushing out guides that are ultimately pay for play and have nothing to do with the hard work or incredible wine being produced in Canada. Those with marketing dollars looking to get seen and be noticed on a shelf, in a magazine, or via an article too often outshine the real stars of the Canadian wine world.

Not here, and certainly not with me. I’m about a genuine support local energy and that is why I gathered together my ultimate wine list for the spring, and I can assure you that I didn’t charge anyone to be on this list. Instead I’m sharing them because they are creating some of my absolute favourite bottles right now and if you’re a wine lover too, this is a great way to explore what Canada has to offer.

In an effort to make my guide nice and easy, I decided to break the blog post into four main sections: White, Red, Sparkling and Rosé. I’ve itemized wines in each category with a link on how to buy each for each wine maker directly as opposed to from your local liquor store. While that is a great way to explore new wine regions, and it’s something I encourage as a means of exploration, buying directly when possibly puts more money in the pockets of the wine maker and helps them to do what they do best.

White Wine

Hillier Creek Estates Winery 2015 Oaked Chardonnay
Grange of Prince Edward 2022 Pinot Gris VQA PEC
Cave Spring Vineyard 2020 Riesling Estate
Backyard Vineyards Backyard Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Vivace Estate Winery Arietta
Holland Marsh Wineries 2020 Ephemere Pinot Grigio
Lakeview Wine Co. Lakeview Wine Co. Fume Blanc 2021
Georgian Hills Vineyards L’Acadie Blanc, 2019
Back 10 Cellars Start from Scratch Chardonnay 2020
Malivoire Chardonnay
Speck Bros Free Bird Riesling, 2021
Pillitteri Estates Winery Canadian Gothic White 2021
Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Summer Series’ Susan’s Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Henry of Pelham Classic Riesling 2022
Lailey Winery 2019 Stonebridge Chardonnay
Harbour Estates Winery 2018 Semi Dry Riesling
180 Estate Winery “Living the Dream” White Spritz
Muscedere Vineyards Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc

White wine is in almost every case a crowd pleaser. Served cold during a warm / hot spring day, it can be the refreshing sip that you appreciate while planting the garden, tidying up the house, and emptying out the closet. Above is a list of favourites from wine makers of all kinds that shows the versatility of Canadian white wine, and how adventurous they can get with their bottles.

Red Wine

Hillier Creek Estates Winery 2020 Gamay Noir
Grange of Prince Edward 2020 Gamay Noir ‘The Hidden Barrels’ VQA PEC
Cave Spring Vineyard 2020 Gamay Estate
Backyard Vineyards Backyard Vineyards Syrah 2019
Vivace Estate Winery Etude 2021
Holland Marsh Wineries 2021 Ephemere Baco Gamay
Lakeview Wine Co. Twenty Bees Queen Bee Meritage 2019
Georgian Hills Vineyards Marquette, 2019
Back 10 Cellars The Big Leap Cab Franc 2021
Malivoire Farmstead Gamay, 2021
13th Street Gamay
Pillitteri Estates Winery Team Canada Red 2019
Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Premium Series’ Silver Bridge Syrah 2019
Lailey Winery 2021 Lailey Zweigelt
Harbour Estates Winery 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
180 Estate Winery 2021 Gamay Noir
Muscedere Vineyards Estate Winery Cabernet Franc

For a long time it was believed that Canadian wine makers couldn’t master the complexity of red wine grapes, but I would go so far as to say that many of them now are some of the best expressions in the world. Yes, of course we are known for Pinot Noir and fruitier, lighter varietals. But I would dare you to try the list above of some of my personal favourites and not be impressed by how big and bold they can get in similar ways to more internationally recognized red wines.

Sparkling Wine

Hillier Creek Estates Winery 2020 Summer Breeze
Grange of Prince Edward 2017 Lafontaine du Loup Sparkling Rose VQA PEC
Cave Spring Vineyard NV Blanc de Blancs Brut
Backyard Vineyards Backyard Vineyards Blanc De Noir N/V
Lakeview Wine Co. Twenty Bees Sparkling N/V
Georgian Hills Vineyards Viva Vidal, Non-vintage
Back 10 Cellars Smitten Sparkling 2020
Malivoire Che Bello
13th Street 13th Street Blanc De Blanc
Pillitteri Estates Winery Market Collection Sparkling Rose 2021
Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Effervescence 2021
Lailey Winery 2021 Stonebridge Premier Brut
180 Estate Winery 2022 Sparkling Gamay Rosé
Muscedere Vineyards Estate Winery Sparkling Rosé

Rosé Wine

Hillier Creek Estates Winery 2019 Rose
Grange of Prince Edward 2021 ‘The Sound Advice’ Rose
Cave Spring Vineyard 2021 Rosé Estate
Backyard Vineyards Backyard Vineyards Rose 2021
Vivace Estate Winery Brillante
Holland Marsh Wineries 2020 Ephemere Rosé
Lakeview Wine Co. Lakeview Wine Co. Pinot Noir Rose 2021
Georgian Hills Vineyards Notty Bay Rose, 2021
Back 10 Cellars Rose Coloured Glasses 2021
Malivoire Ladybug Rose, 2021
13th Street 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé
Speck Bros Three of Hearts Rosé, 2021
Pillitteri Estates Winery Sunset Rose 2021
Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Summer Series’ Rebecca Rose 2021
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Henry of Pelham Classic Rosé 2021
Lailey Winery 2021 Lailey Estate Rose
Harbour Estates Winery 2018 Sunset (85% Riesling/15% Merlot)
180 Estate Winery 2021 Specialty Rosé
Muscedere Vineyards Estate Winery Rosé

I saved Rosé for last because although it epitomizes the warm weather in Canada, I keep bottles in our wine fridge all year long. Canadian Rosé is a subtle marriage of styles ranging from dry to sweet, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a bottle I haven’t loved. You’ll notice a few of the above are sparkling, which is also fabulous and a must for us to enjoy in the sunshine while planning our upcoming adventures and I can assure you that each and every bottle I listed will make you smile.

Now that I’ve outlined my favourite wines for the spring, I hope that this list helps to remind you to support local wine this year a little bit more. What’s better than buying from each of these amazing wine makers? Going to visit! Make sure to plan a visit to explore Canada more this year, share your favourites online via social media, and help to support an industry that means so much to me.

Did I miss a wine that you think I should try? Tag @dothedaniel on social media and let me know!

This post is not intended to be seen by persons under the legal alcohol drinking age or in countries with restrictions on advertising on alcoholic beverages. Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.  

If you’re not following me yet, find me at @dothedaniel on all social media platforms

Photos: Daniel Reyes Cocka and participating brands 

Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year 

Daniel Reyes Cocka xo