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Essex County wine making has a rich history, starting in the 1860s when three gentlemen farmers from Kentucky came north looking for winemaking opportunities…
They found them on Pelee Island, just off the shores of Lake Erie. In 1866 the trio – D.J.Williams, Thomas Williams and Thaddeus Smith – opened Canada’s first commercial estate winery, Vin Villa Estates. Since then, a growing number of vintners have been reclaiming the soil and the region’s reputation by producing some of Canada’s best wines. Today, there are approximately 1,000 acres of grapes in the Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island Designated Viticultural Areas.