Canadians like to find an excuse to celebrate. We mark the Queen’s birthday with a long weekend commonly known as ‘May two-four’, always near the 24th of May and referring to a flat of 24 beers. Royal? Maybe. We also have more statutory holidays than the US (sorry) and we created a two-week festival in Ottawa, in February, that partly takes place on a frozen river (true story). In that spirit of celebration, three little words can sum up wine festivals and events around here: we got this.
Every growing region from east to west, and some of those adjacent, has found their own ways to gather and pay tribute to the valiant efforts of these cooler climate grape growers and winemakers. Find your favorite Tidal Bay appellation wine in the Atlantic; choose your own adventure trail in Québec; geek out on all things cool Chardonnay in Ontario; take the family to stomp some grapes in British Columbia. Make time for a festival or event as you explore Canadian wine country. And trust the wine locals. They know what they’re doing.
Wine Festivals & Events in Canada – 2019 List by Province
MAY 10: Tidal Bay Annual Release and Tasting Event with the Wines of Nova Scotia in Halifax. Taste the region’s signature appellation-based white wine from 12 member wineries, other new releases, and challenge yourself at the “blind” tasting bar. Tickets are $65/person and available online.
JUNE 22: Summer Celebration at Luckett Vineyards for casual communal-style dining, wine, and dancing among the vines. Wear your comfy pants. Tickets are $55/person.
OCT 12: Jost Vineyards Harvest Festival for wine tastings and food pairings. Admission is free, winery tours are $5/person, and a special menu is featured at the winery’s Seagrape Café.
JUNE 14 – 16: La Grande Gourmandise in Boucherville. Now in its 7th year, this event offers tastings of local products including QC wineries. Tickets available online and admission fees go toward the Youth Fund for Quebec students.
JULY 6 – 7: Open House Along the Wine Route in the Eastern Townships. A dedicated weekend where vineyards and wineries on the Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route offer guided tours and free tastings.
SEPT 1 – 9: Fête des Vendages Magog-Orford, presented by the SAQ. Over two weekends in September, the theme is “25 years of local flavors” and includes wineries, cideries, breweries, and more. Tickets available soon – check the website.
OCT 5 – 13: Balade Gourmande (Flavor Route) of Victoriaville, over two weekends in October. Explore local producers on well-marked routes in the Centre-du-Québec. Consider it a tasty choose your own adventure.
OCT 31 – NOV 2: La Grande Degustation de Montréal is one of the largest wine events in eastern Canada, showcasing local and international producers (wine, spirits, beer). Yes, it’s global – and it will show you just how well QC wines stand up to their counterparts from around the world. Tickets online.
MAY 18 – 19: Terroir on the Move, exploring Prince Edward County on your own, passport-guided, for unique wine experiences at participating wineries plus winemaker-led tastings. Tickets are $50 and available online.
JUNE 1 – 2: Graze the Bench and join local wineries as they “ring in summer’s arrival on the Beamsville Bench” in wine style. Tickets are $40/person and include access to private ‘graze zones’, a Riedel wine glass, a glass of wine, and your first nibble with more available for purchase if you so desire. You’ll definitely so desire.
JUNE 15 – 23: Niagara Wine Festival, over two weekends in Canada’s largest wine region. One of three signature Festivals through the year, there’s something happening almost every season. Go to a tailgate party, have brunch in a vineyard, or enjoy one of the hundreds of local winery events. Full listing and tickets available online.
JULY 6 – 7: Muddy Paws Wine Festival at Vineland Estates Winery and Featherstone Estate Winery. Welcoming well-behaved pooches (on leashes) and their owners with special activities at each winery. Don’t have a dog? Doesn’t matter – come anyway. A portion of ticket sales goes to charity.
JULY 19 – 20: International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration for a mix of industry and enthusiast chard lovers. Events include a Grand Cru Experience weekend package at White Oaks Resort (enthusiast), School of Cool – viticultural and winemaking sessions (industry), and Cool Chardonnay World Tour Tasting & Dinner (everyone). Tickets for these events and more are available online.
SEPT 14 – 29: Niagara Grape & Wine Festival now in its 67th year with signature festival sponsored events, local winery events, and a parade. Everyone loves a parade, right? Tickets available online or check directly at participating wineries. Some events sell out quickly, so act fast.
NOV 9 – 11: Hamilton’s Food & Drink Fest, where attendees can sample Ontario VQA and international wines plus enjoy other tasty treats from restaurants, chefs, food trucks, and breweries. Music and cooking demos, too. Tickets available online.
See more Wine Country Ontario events here
MAY 1 – 12: The Okanagan Wine Festivals Spring Wine Festival, the first of four seasonal BC wine festivals with signature events and winery-specific happenings. Tickets go fast for popular parties. Full event listings and tickets are available online. Recommended: The Spring WestJet Wine Tastings (with several dates) and the Best of Varietal Awards and Reception on May 8. NOTE: check out the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival Oct 3 – 13, smack dab in the middle of harvest.
MAY 4: Pig Out with the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association. Ridiculously popular and in its 8th year, Pig Out brings together local wineries with regional chefs under a theme. For 2019 it’s “May the Pork Be With You”, is largely carnivore-oriented, and always sells out. A family friendly but pet-free event. (2019 is sold out, sorry, but you will want it on your radar for next year. Trust me.)
May 24 – June 1: Kamloops Wine Festival in one of the newer wine regions. Paint with wine at the Kamloops Art Gallery, dine with a winemaker at the winery, and then there’s the Grand Wine Tasting Party wrap up. Ticket prices vary and are available online.
JUNE 7 – 9: Tofino Food and Wine Festival on beautiful Vancouver Island is the way to explore BC wines. This year will see 75 BC wineries with 20 chefs and 21 breweries. Probably one of the more coveted events in the industry that winemakers and proprietors vie to attend because Tofino is just so darn beautiful. So. Darn. BEAUTIFUL.
JUNE 8: Chef Meets BC Grape Okanagan edition, by the British Columbia Wine Institute. Vancouver Island and Mainland events have already sold out. Featuring 45 wineries and 12 restaurants, this year it’s at See Ya Later Ranch in Okanagan Falls. A tented, festival-style outdoor culinary and wine fair-type fête with tastings and educational seminars. Pretty, informative, and tasty in one.
JUNE 22: Grand Sommelier Express with Summerland’s wineries. Board a heritage steam train for an unparalleled food and wine adventure. Ride the rails and hobnob with winemakers, then enjoy a wine-paired gourmet reception at the station complete with live music. Tickets are $125 or $165/person, two departure times. (close to if not already sold out)
SEPT 14: Naramata Bench Tailgate Party is one of the most popular events in the Okanagan. Wine country casual and usually with a theme, tickets aren’t yet on sale but they’ll go super quick. Truth.
SEPT 27: MeatStock 2019 at Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery. It’s a self-professed “meat feast extraordinaire” hosted at the winery with food prepared by the on-site Smoke & Oak Bistro. Tickets are $99 and available online. Will sell out quickly.
OCT 6: Festival of the Grape in Oliver, “crushing it since 1997”. Family friendly and a local’s fave, BC wineries take over the community park and play host to over 4,500 wine-loving guests. Words can’t express. So popular it caught the eye of Canadian cultural commentator Rick Mercer who showed up with video crew and got into it.
Grape stomping, food trucks, a kid zone, and oodles more. Wine can be fun for the whole family.
NOV 7 – 17: Cornucopia Whistler for wine at altitude. This celebration of food and drink features the best and brightest BC wines along with international sips. Where “the epic and the epicurious come together”. Indeed. A popular series of wine and food events scattered around an alpine village. Tickets sell out fast so if something tickles your fancy, get on it.