Welcome to Pelee Island Winery

Pelee Island is home to our 700+ acre farm in Canada’s warmest grape growing region with a winemaking history dating back more than 150 years. We welcome you to explore our diverse selection of approachable wines that are crafted for the most important people in the world, our customers. We pride ourselves on consistently producing exceptional wines in an ecologically conscious manner that will exceed your expectations and have you return to discover us again and again.

Vineyards

At over 700 acres of vineyards, Pelee Island Winery is the largest private estate winery in Canada.

Having control of our grape supply allows us to grow and care for each and every vine to specifications strictly outlined by the World Wildlife Fund’s strict Sustainable Vineyard Practice.

In brief, this means limited and controlled pesticide spraying and use of a 100% island grown natural fertilizer; sorghum grass. With heat units and frost free days unmatched anywhere else in Canada, the island is a natural destination for Vinifera grape growing. Soil type is Toledo clay with a limestone base found two to ten feet from the surface. The soils are well developed and highly calcareous indicative of very good fertility and intense biological activity. The ideal vineyards are located at the centre of the island where deeper soils encourage and ensure properly set root systems, as much of the island is concave and below the surface of Lake Erie drainage pipes expel excessive rainfall. This excess water is carried into the island’s century old dyke system. Winds off the lake ensure consistent and proper air flow through the vineyards, limiting humidity and possible fungus diseases. Pelee Island Winery is a founding member of Sustainable Winemaking Ontario, which recognizes wineries and growers committed to enhancing the environment by using sustainable practices in their wineries and vineyards.

Varietals grown on the island include:

  • White

    Chardonnay | Gewurztraminer | Riesling | Sauvignon Blanc | Vidal | Pinot Gris | Tokay Friulano

  • Red

    Merlot | Pinot Noir | Cabernet Sauvignon | Cabernet Franc | Baco Noir | Shiraz | Tempranillo | Chambourcin | Gamay | Zweigelt | Lemberger

“The health of our environment rests in
the hands of each and every one of us.”

At Pelee Island Winery we employ a proactive approach to maintaining and bettering the microclimate we are so fortunate to have.

This preservation begins in our vineyards where Bruno Friesen, our viticulturist, uses a protocol for integrated pest management developed with support from World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF). Bruno regularly monitors the health of our vines and our clay soils. Our commitment to the limited use of ecologically responsible pesticide spraying, and, usage of ‘all natural’ island grown fertilizer are just two ways that Bruno has elevated the standard of our vineyards above and beyond current regulations and guidelines. The winery has established a stewardship for a Red Cedar Savannah forest that is unique to Pelee Island. Restoration efforts have saved this forest from extinction and also allowed for new growth, as well as the acclimatization of dozens of unique habitats.

Moreover, the winery plans to engage a in five year study that will facilitate the total rehabilitation of this forest. With vineyards, beaches and water surrounding us, Pelee Island Winery has a big vision for the future. If our island community can take certain steps towards becoming North America’s greenest community it will spur others to take action around the country; an eco-friendly drive that can only benefit everyone. With investments in renewable energies (such as solar and wind power), recycling, water treatment facilities, composting, bio-dynamic sewage systems and organic farming, Pelee Island Winery plans to lead the way as the most environmentally safe community anywhere.

Winemaking History

The tradition of award winning wines

History, sustainability and sense of place permeate all we do at Pelee Island Winery. Beginning with the first plantings of grapes for wine on Pelee Island in 1854 to our present day 700+ acres, this southernmost Canadian jewel is a natural habitat for Vinifera grape growing.  From the first international accolades awarded at Paris World Fair 1878, to recent prestigious international awards, we continue to share with the world the unique terroir of the Canadian South Islands sub-appellation through Vinifera varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Merlot.  Crafted from vine to wine by a winemaking and viticultural team devoted to quality and authenticity, it is our pleasure to share our passion for wine and our region with you in every glass.  

The first estate winery in Canada, Vin Villa was founded in the 1860’s and its ruins remain on the island today.

Meet the Team

This is our Pelee Island Winery team. Learn more about us here.
Pelee Island Winery President, Walter Schmoranz, pouring wine at the Pelee Island Winery tasting bar. Learn more about us on this page

Walter
Schmoranz

President | Vintner

Considered one of Canada’s winemaking pioneers, Walter Schmoranz was born in Ruedesheim, Germany; one of the world’s finest winemaking regions. In 1986, he joined Pelee Island Winery where his experience and skills have led to Pelee Island Winery winning hundreds of awards around the world, most notably for our 2002 Cabernet Franc Ice wine – winner of the Citadelle de France Gold Medal.